Not many situations could be worse than waking up one day and being completely alone, stranded and away from the rest of civilization. And it’s long been a plot central to movies, though some characters fair better than others. A little worse for wear, there characters made it back safely. Here are a few of the best cinematic stranded-on-a-desert-island depictions.
“Robinson Crusoe,” based on the classic book of the same name, is the quintessential desert-island story of the modern era. The titular character, Robinson, played by Pierce Brosnan must survive and thrive on this island, brave the elements, learn to survive and avoid being harried by the local tribes. By adding the elements of having to deal with a local population in addition to living against nature makes this very different from the other movies in this list. “Robinson Crusoe” is a special story because it was one of the first modern retelling of various castaway stories like those that were found in the Odyssey and other early works. Along with a fantastic performance from Brosnan, leads “Robinson Crusoe” to one of the top spots on this list.
‘Lord of the Flies’
What would happen if one day civilization just fell apart? This is exactly the premise of the “Lord of the Flies.” A group of students survives a plane crash and needs to work together to survive. At first they build a rudimentary society with basic rules and taboos but it quickly disintegrates as fear grips the boys and causes them to turn on one another. The film targets the larger implications of how people act in tough situations without the greater pressures from a larger society. The uniqueness around this story stems from the age of the characters: teenagers. They’re expected to run a society without the life experience to do it.
The 2000 movie, “Cast Away,” staring Tom Hanks and directed by Robert Zemeckis, is the best desert-island movie out there. “Cast Away” is all about the struggles Chuck Noland (Hanks) has after he survices a plane crash and washes up on an island in the middle of nowhere. While other movies of this nature allow the main character to have some sort of living companion, whether other survivors or animals from their environment, Noland is completely without any sort of intelligent stimulation for the several years he is stranded on the island. A few FedEx packages wash up on shore. Among them: a Wilson volleyball, which becomes his friend. Watch this heart-wrenching scene here. The isolation is both intense and riveting, the lack of real dialogue allows Hanks to focus on his actions driving the emotion and interest in the story. Noland chooses to not open one of the packages. He doesn’t know what it contains (What if there was a satellite phone in there?!) “Cast Away” is a relatable film, as Noland is just a man who wants to get home to his wife. It’s a riveting story of survival and hope.