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So in the first Pirates of the Caribbean, The Curse of the Black Pearl, when Jack Sparrow first arrives at the port, the man asks him for a schilling and his name in order to "tie up his boat" in the dock. Jack Sparrow gives him 3 schillings instead in hopes for remaining nameless. As Jack Sparrow walks away, the man calls him "Mr. Smith".

Also, later when he is talking to the two guards at the boat, just before Elizabeth Swan falls from the ledge into the water, the guards ask him his name and he replies "Smith".

Is there any significance in this in the fact that he is referenced to as and references himself as Smith, since the first mate that he recruits for his quest is Arabella Smith, the daughter of the infamous pirate Laura Smith? Or is this just a mere coincidence?

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up vote 13 down vote accepted

I'm not sure if it has some special significance in this particular instance, but "Smith" is one of the most common surnames in the US, perhaps even the most common. So when someone wants to pick a pseudonym to mask their true identity, it's a typical choice. And for some reason, "Smith" has acquired this reputation more than any other common surname, so you'll frequently see it used for that purpose in TV and movies.

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As illustrated in Marty Feldman's "The Last Remake of Beau Geste":… – Will Feldman Mar 23 '14 at 4:30
Totally agree, and would also add that "John" is the common accompaniment to that surname. Therefore, "John Smith" would be the most common "fake" name used (probably due to the popularity of both names). – Andrew Martin Mar 23 '14 at 11:11
It's more relevant that it was one of the most common surnames in England and its colonies at that time. I mean, the US didn't even exist yet... – Lightness Races in Orbit Dec 9 '14 at 12:44
@LightnessRacesinOrbit true, though I think it's more relevant that the movie was primarily targeted at an American audience. – David Z May 1 '15 at 16:11
@David: That would be strange, seeing as there are more people not in America than in America. Indeed, it grossed more internationally than domestically and it's hard to imagine that anyone in the marketing department did not expect that. – Lightness Races in Orbit May 1 '15 at 16:14

The harbormaster is indicating that he has accepted the bribe and will allow Jack to remain anonymous. He may also be slyly suggesting that he thinks Jack is up to no good. Giving the name of Smith when registering at a public accommodation is strongly associated in the public imagination with devious behavior.

For example, it is the name which adulterers supposedly write in hotel registers. Groucho Marx got a lot of mileage out of this in A Night in Casablanca. His character is working at the reception desk of a hotel when a Mr. and Mrs. Smith try to register. He loudly expresses the belief that "with a name like Smith" they can't possibly really be married.

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