Stuck On A Desert Island: Best Castaway Movies Ever Made

film reviews | movies | features | BRWC Stuck On A Desert Island: Best Castaway Movies Ever Made

Have you ever wondered how the plot of some classic Hollywood movies would have been different (or non-existent!) if mobile technology had existed? I mean, just think about the classic 1960 thriller Psycho: Janet Leigh’s character would have had a GPS, her car would have been traceable and the infamous Bates Motel would have been rated on Expedia. (Can you imagine the user reviews? “Clean, old-fashioned place, but the manager Norman is a bit odd and rude, he looks a bit like a serial killer. Stay away if you can.”)

One of the most exciting sub-genres in cinema is the castaway movie. These films follow the classic fish-out-of-the-water narrative and put characters in precarious situations after a shipwreck or a plane crash. They are so engaging because they make spectators question what they would do if they suddenly found themselves on a desert island, isolated from the rest of the world.

But what would have happened if these castaways had used modern technology such as satellite phones and state-of-the-art geolocalization devices? As these technologies become more sophisticated, and as transport infrastructures are increasingly interconnected, getting lost and ending up as a castaway is more unlikely.



In honor of this great genre (which might soon be extinct!) here’s are the best castaway movies:

5. Robinson Crusoe

1997, Rod Hardy and George Miller; 5/10 golden coconuts

In between his James Bond movies, Pierce Brosnan squeezed in this somewhat efficient adaptation of the Daniel Defoe classic. It is not a great movie, but it certainly does the trick if you have to pass a high-school exam on the novel or were just too tired to prepare before your book club.

4. The Blue Lagoon

1980, Randal Kleiser; 6/10 golden coconuts

A whole generation of teenagers found out about the secrets of love and passion from this classic film from 1980. Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins star as a couple of kids who fend for themselves in a South Pacific island. A bit cheesy at times, but also a timeless and lusty piece of pop culture.

3. Cast Away

2000, Robert Zemeckis; 8/10 golden coconuts

Tom Hanks stars in this riveting film about a FedEx employee who is involved in a plane crash and ends up spending a long, long time in a desert island, with only a volleyball for company. It also wins all of the awards for the best acting by a piece of sporting equipment.

2. Life of Pi

2012, Ang Lee; 9/10 golden coconuts

This is the story of Pi Patel, an Indian boy who survives a shipwreck and who, along a tiger, encounters extraordinary adventures in the ocean and an enigmatic island. This piece of magical realism is an amazing example of the power of digital filmmaking and earned its director, Ang Lee, an Oscar. Watch this heart-pounding scene. A cool funfact: the tiger is all 3D animation.

1. Lord of the Flies

1963, Peter Brook; 9/10 golden coconuts

This adaptation of the novel that earned William Golding the Nobel Prize in Literature lives up to expectations. The story of a group of schoolboys who crash into an island and create a mini-civilization with powerful and powerless individuals is still relevant and haunting. An intense peek into the heart of darkness that lies within us all. These scenes could haunt us forever.


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Alton loves film. He is founder and Editor In Chief of BRWC.  Some of the films he loves are Rear Window, Superman 2, The Man With The Two Brains, Clockwise, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Trading Places, Stir Crazy and Punch-Drunk Love.

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