The Robert Louis Stevenson Archive



Film Versions of Treasure Island

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Dates and titles are confused by the custom of giving local titles and release dates in listings. * indicates a parody or a very loose adaptation.

Abbreviations
B = Becattini, Alberto (1998). In Pratt, Hugo (1988). L’isola del Tesoro. GenovCast: Le Mani (Comics). [not totally reliable]
Bo = Bordat, Francis (2003). "L’image à l’aventure : L’île au trésor au cinéma". 351-366. In Menegaldo, Gilles and Jean-Pierre Naugrette (eds.). 2003. R. L. Stevenson & A. Conan Doyle. Aventures de la Fiction. (Actes du colloque de Cerisy, 11-18 sett., 2000). Rennes: Terre de Brume.
DF = Mereghetti, Paolo (1997). Il Dizionario dei Film (Milano: Baldini & Castoldi).
F = Fuller, Graham (2009). [article on films based on Stevenson's works]. Sight and Sound 19.i: 40-44.
G = Gromier, Bernadette (ed.). R.L. Stevenson. L’île au trésor. Paris: Hachette (Classiques Hachette), 1994.
L = Richard Llewellyn, Chronology of Animation
IMDb = Internet Movie Database.
N = Nollen, Scott Allen (1994). Robert Louis Stevenson: Life, Literature and the Silver Screen. New York: McFarland.
S = listing in Swearingen, Roger (2000). "Robert Louis Stevenson". In The Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature (3rd edition, 2000). Vol. 4: 1800–1900 (ed. Joanne Shattock). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

1901-1910

1908 The Story of Treasure Island (Vitagraph)
Production: Vitagraph, USA
[1 reeler, no prints exist, N (G lists this as Pirate’s Treasure, dir. J. S. Blackton, who was, however, an early animationist)]

1911-1920

1912 Treasure Island (Edison)
Production: Edison, USA
Cast: Ben F. Wilson (Silver), Addison Rothermel (Jim)
[no prints exist, N]

1918 Treasure Island (Franklin)
Director: Chester M. Franklin, Sidney Franklin
Production: Fox, USA
Cast: Violet Radcliffe (Silver), Francis Carpenter (Jim)
[6-reel adaptation with child actors; G lists this as 1917]

1920 Treasure Island (Tourneur)
Director: Maurice Tourneur
Production: Maurice Tourneur Productions / Paramount-Artcraft Pictures
Cast: Charles Ogle (Silver), Shirley Mason (Jim), Lon Chaney (Pew/Merry)
Screenplay: Jules Furthman (as Stephen Fox)
Photography: Rene Guissart
[apparently no copy is extant, though there are a few stills; costumes inspired by the 1911 Wyeth book illustrations]

1921-1930

1922 Colonel Heeza Liar’s Treasure Island
Director: Vernon George Stallings
Production: J. R. Bray
Animation: Walter Lantz
[first animated film version, a short in the Colonel Heeza Liar series (1922-24)]

1931-1940

1934 Treasure Island (Fleming)
Director: Victor Fleming
Production: MGM, USA
Cast: Wallace Beery (Silver), Jackie Cooper (Jim), Lionel Barrymore (Billy Bones)
Screenplay: John Howard Lawson, John Lee Mahin, Leonard Praskins
Photography: Clyde De Vinna, Ray June, Harold Rosson
["the best film version", DF; Bo agrees and sees a pervading ironic spirit, an annoying Jim but the best Ben Gunn; N sees it as "maudlin" and full of "Hollywood hokum"]

1934 Treasure Island (White)
Director: Brian White
Production: Raycol Films, UK
[short animation; L]

1937 Ostrov sokrovisch / Treasure Island (Weinstock)
Director: Vladimir Weinstock (Vajnshtok)
Production: USSR
Cast: Osip Abdulov (Silver), Klavdiya Pugachyova (Jenny), Nikolai Cherkasov (Billy Bones)
Screenplay: Oleg Leonidov, Vladimir Weinstock
Photography: Mikhail Kirillov
[G and IMDB list this as 1938 - perhaps a difference between home and foreign release dates; Dr Livesey falls in love with Jenny, the girl heroine; the story also involves an Irish rebellion (Furnas, Voyage to Windward, p. 544 n8); David Bradley directed the English-language version]

1941-1950

1947 Treasure Island (CBC)
Production: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
[TV adaptation, N]

1950 Treasure Island (Haskin)
Director: Byron Haskin
Production: RKO-Disney, USA
Cast: Robert Newton (Silver), Bobby Driscoll (Jim)
Screenplay: Lawrence Edward Watkin
Photography: Freddie Young
[for N this resembles the 1937 version in its "abridged narrative, one dimensional characterizations, and fabricated dialogue", however many other commentators see this as one of the best adaptations and Robert Newton’s campily excessive Silver is enjoyable, for F it is "a more ambiguous Silver than those of Orson Welles, Charlton Heston and Jack Palance" and "close to... greatness"; Disney’s first film without any animation; A sequel to this version was made in 1954, called Long John Silver, and Newton starred in and Australian TV series 1955-6 loosely based on Treasure Island (see below)]

1951-1960

1951 Treasure Island (BBC)
Cast: Bernard Miles (Silver), John Quayle (Jim)
[7-part TV serial, N, but IMDb has 8-part serial (N also lists a BBC one-part "feature" in the same year)]

1954 Long John Silver’s Return to Treasure Island / Long John Silver
Director: Byron Haskins
Production: Joseph Kaufman, Australia
Cast: Robert Newton (Silver), Kit Taylor (Jim)
Screenplay: Martin Rackin
[sequel; "expands the worst qualities of the Disney production", N]

1954 Return to Treasure Island
Director: E. A. Dupont
Production: World Films
Cast: Robert Newton (Silver), Dawn Adams (Jamesina Hawkins), Tab Hunter (Clive Stone)
Screenplay: Aubrey Wisberg and Jack Pollexfen
[low-cost B-movie; "the worst motion picture based on or suggested by a Stevenson work", N]

1955 The Adventures of Long John Silver
Dirctor: Lee Sholem
Production: Isola d’Oro & Joseph Kaufman, Australia
Cast: Robert Newton (Silver), Kit Taylor (Jim)
[TV series: 26 30-minute episodes with same actors as in the 1954 Long John Silver's Return to Treasure island]

1957 The Old Buccaneer
Production: BBC
[on the "For Children" programme, N; not clear how close this is to the original]

1959 Isola del Tesoro ("Treasure Island") (Majano)
Director: Anton Giulio Majano
Production: RAI, Italy
Cast: Ivo Garrani (Silver), Alvaro Piccardi (Jim), Arnoldo Foà (Smollet)
Screenplay: Paolo Levi
[a classic Italian "sceneggiato", always fondly remembered by those who saw it in childhood, with a professorial-satanic Silver and a memorable theme tune "Quindici uomini".]

1960 Treasure Island
Production: David Suskind
Cast: Hugh Griffith (Silver), Richard O’Sullivan (Jim), Michael Gough (Livesey), Boris Karloff (Bones)
[75 min. TV production; N praises Karloff’s acting]

1961-1970

[1964 Treasure Island (Director: Xinyan Zhang) - a title no longer found on IMDb; maybe an unrelated adventure film - more information required]

*1965 Mr. Magoo's Treasure Island
Production: UPA animation

1965 Shin Takarajima ("New Treasure Island")
Production: Mushi, Japan
[TV special]

1966 Die Schatzinsel / L’ile au trésor
Director: Wolfgang Liebeneiner
Production: DEROPA / Franco London Films, France, for ZDF (D) and ORTF (F)
Cast: Ivor Dean (Silver), Michael Ande (Jim)
Screenplay: Walter Ulbrich
[4-part colour TV mini-series of c. 85 mins each; the production won a large audience and is still affectionately remembered; see Seewolf & Co. site devoted to this production (in German, many photos); broadcast in Italy in 1979; not listed by N]

1968 Billy Bones
Production: BBC
["continuation", then expanded by Franco London Films into a 13-part (CBC) serial in 1969, N; note that Franco London Films also produced the 1966 TV adaptation, unless there is some confusion of data. ]

1969 Treasure Island (CBC)
Production: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation / Franco London Films
[13-part TV serial]

1970 Treasure Island (Janzic)
Director: Z. Janzic
Production: Australia
[animation; 45 mins.]

1971-1980

1971 Doubutsu Takarajima ("Animal Treasure Island") / Treasure Island Revisited
Director: Hiroshi Ikeda
Production: Toei Animation, Japan
Animation: Yasuji Mori (consultant, Hayao Miyazaki)
[animation; US release1972; the characters appear as animals (Silver is a mean-looking pig), apart from Jim and Kathie, the girl who goes with him; Miyazaki is considered one of the world"s greatest animators; 78 mins.]

1971 Treasure Island (Fridman)
Director: Yevgeny Fridman
Production: Gorky Central Film Studios, USSR
Cast: Boris Andreyev (Silver), Aare Laanemets (Jim)
Photography: Valery Basylev
Music: Alexei Rybnikov
[available on YouTube in 8 parts with English subtitles]

1971 Treasure Island (API)
Production: Air Programs International (API), USA
[animation; aired on CBS; part of API's "Famous Classic Tales" series; 1 hour for B, but in a DVD version it is described as 45 mins.]

1972 Treasure Island (Hough)
Director: John Hough and "Andrew White" (Andrea Bianchi)
Production: National General Pictures, USA / etc.
Cast: Orson Welles (Silver), Kim Burfield (Jim), Walter Slezak (Squire Trelawney), Rik Battaglia (Captain Smollett), Jean Lefebvre (Ben Gunn)
Screenplay: Orson Welles ("O.W. Jeeves") and Wolf Mankowitz
Photography: Cecilio Paniagua
[S gives the date as 1971 and this appears in other sources too, so this may be a different release date in some markets; Bianchi is uncredited as director in the English-languiage version; DF and S just give John Hough; "Welles's Long John Silver is the worst on film", "one-dimensional caricatures", N]

1972 Treasure Island (Sutherland)
Director: Hal Sutherland
Production: Filmation, USA
[animated feature film; listed by B as 1980]

*1973 Scalawag
Director: Kirk Douglas
Production: Paramount
Cast: Kirk Douglas (Peg), Mark Lester (Jamie), Danny De Vito (Fly-Speck)
Screenplay: Albert Malz and Sid Fleischman
[contains Tr Is elements; "the second of two Stevenson abominations that Douglas contributed during 1973", N]

[1974 - a New Zealand "feature-length [TV] adaptation" listed by N is possibly a a French-German-Romanian TV adpatation of Verne's Deux Ans de Vacances (directed by Gilles Grangie) in which boys from a New Zealand school are wrecked on a desert island and meet pirates]

1977 Treasure Island (Bryant)
Director: Michael E. Bryant
Production: Barry Letts / BBC
Cast: Alfred Burke (Silver), Ashley Knight (Jim)
Screenplay: John Lucarotti
[4-part TV serial; "Alfred Burke is a quite astonishing Sea Cook; slick, violent, cunning, and dangerously plausible. The characterisation bears comparison with that of Robert Newton", Wikipedia]

1978 Takara Shima or Takarajima ("Treasure Island")
Director: Osamu Dezaki and Hideo Takayashiki
Production: Nippon Animation / Tokyo Movie Shinsa, Japan
Drawings: Akio Sugino
[TV cartoon serial, twenty-six 24-minute episodes; one correspondent from Egypt says “I watched it when I was 14 or 15. Now I am 33 and I will never forget it”]

1981-1990

[1981 Treasure Island, a New Zealand TV serial: uncertain, more information required]

1982 Ostrov sokrovishch ("Treasure Island") (Vorobyov)
Director: Vladimir Vorobyov
Production: USSR
Cast: Oleg Borisov (Silver), Fyodor Stukov (Jim)
[3-part TV film; 205 mins.]

1985 L'île au trésor / Treasure Island (Ruiz)
Director: Raúl Ruiz
Production: Paulo Branco E Antonio Vaz Da Silva / Bfi Production / Cannon / Les Films Du Passage, Chile / France
Cast: Vic Tayback (Silver), Melvil Poupaud (Jim)
Screenplay: Raúl Ruiz
[set in 20th century]

*1985 Return to Treasure Island
Director: Alan Clayton, Piers Haggard and Alex Kirby
Production: Disney
Cast: Brian Blessed (Silver), Cristopher Guard (Jim)
[10-part TV mini-series; Long John Silver is dissatisfied he has not found Treasure Island the first time, so he returns and forces Jim to come with him for a second voyage...; "often… tedious", N, but the series is remembered affecionately who praise the performance of Brian Blessed]

1986 Ostrov Sokrovisch: Karta Kapitana Flinta (Film 1) / Treasure Island 1: The Captain's Map
Director: David Cherkassky
Production: Kievnauchfilm (Kiev Science Film), USSR
Music: Vladimir. Bystryakov
[TV animation; in 2 parts: Karta Kapitana Flinta / The Captain's Map and Sokrovischa Kapitana Flinta / The Treasures of Captain Flint (1988)]

1987 Treasure Island (Burbank Films)
Production: Burbank Films, Australia)
[animation; 50-mins.]

*1987 Isola del Tesoro
Director: "Anthony M. Dawson" (aka Antonio Margheriti)
Production: RAI, Italy
Cast: Anthony Quinn (Silver), Itaco Nardulli (Gimmi), Ernest Borgnine (Billy Bones)
[sci-fi adaptation; TV serial of 5 1-hr episodes; the Hispaniola becomes a spaceship, the island becomes a distant planet]

1988 Ostrov Sokrovisch: Sokrovischa Kapitana Flinta (Film 2) / Treasure Island 2: The Treasures of Captain Flint
Director: David Cherkassky
Production: Kievnauchfilm (Kiev Science Film), USSR
Music: Vladimir Bystryakov
[TV animation in 2 parts: Karta Kapitana Flinta / The Captain's Map and Sokrovischa Kapitana Flinta / The Treasures of Captain Flint;

1989 Treasure Island / Devil's Treasure (Heston)
Director: Fraser Clarke Heston
Production: Agamemnon Films / Turner Network Television (TNT)
Cast: Charlton Heston (Silver), Christian Bale (Jim), Julian Glover (Livesey), Richard Johnson (Trelawney), Oliver Reed (Billy Bones), Christopher Lee (Pew), Clive Wood (Capt. Smollet)
Screenplay: Fraser Clarke Heston
[1990 for N - maybe a difference between TV and cinema release; made for TV broadcasting; much dialogue from the book; "the best version of Treasure Island to date", "the Silver-Hawkins relationship is represented correctly for the first time", "Technically… almost flawless", N; N however judges adaptations by their faithfulness to the book and other reviews have been less enthusiastic]

[*1989 McTreasure Island: animation loosely based on the original; first of the McVideos series (The Adventures of Ronald McDonald); 30 mins entertainment/promotional film for the McDonald's hamburger chain]

1991-2000

[1991 Treasure Island a 29-min. animation by Fuji TV / International Services - uncertain, more information required]

*1993 The Legends of Treasure Island
Director: Dino Athannassiou
Production: Filmfair; UK
Voice: Dawn French (Jim), Hugh Laurie (Trelawny)
[TV animation series in 26 episodes loosely based on the original; characters played by animals (see 1971 Japanese animation): Jim and most of the loyal characters are dogs, Silver a fox, Pew a rat; also found listed as 1997]

*1994 Treasure Island: The Adventure Begins
Director: Scott Garen
Production: Hard Times, USA
Cast: Anthony Zerbe (Silver)
[60-min TV film; a young boy with an active imagination vacations at Treasure Island in Las Vegas with his parents and fantasizes that he meets Long John Silver]

1995 Ken Russell's Treasure Island / Treasure Island
Director: Ken Russell
Production: Dreamgrange for Channel 4
Cast: Hetty Baynes (Long Jane Silver), Gregory Hall (Jim), Michael Elphick (Billy Bones)
Screenplay: Ken Russell
[63-min TV musical; the pirates are led by Jane Silver (played in the style of Marilyn Monroe). "Faithful it's not, entertaining, that's hard to say. It's certainly different" (Ryan K. Johnson)]

1996 Muppet Treasure Island
Director: Brian Henson
Production: Walt Disney
Cast: Tim Curry (Silver), Kevin Bishop (Jim), Billy Connolly (Billy Bones)
Screenplay: James V. Hart, Jerry Juhl, Kirk R. Thatcher
[stays fairly close to the original story; key roles played by actors, Muppets (puppets) in supporting roles; musical]

[1998 The Magic Map by Featherwind Productions is a 30 min. animation in "The Adventures of Elmer and Friends" series; RLS makes an appearance - not really an adpatation of Treasure Island: "Uses humor, imagination, treasure maps and songs to present ideas about writing stories. Emphasis is on child's own discovery. Reinforces the importance of literacy and map skills."]

1998 Treasure Island (Rowe)
Director: Peter Rowe
Production: Plaza Entertainment, Canada
Cast: Jack Palance (Silver), Kevin Zeger (Jim)
Screenplay: Peter Rowe
[Some changes to the story: the captain and the Squire know that Silver and his men are pirates and send Jim (considered "expendable" by the captain) along with them. A friendship develops between Silver and Hawkins and SIlver protects Jim because of his kindness (in contrast the captiain tortures him, taking advantage of his handicap). During the hunt for the treasure a gunfight breaks out in which everyone is killed but Long John, Ben Gun, and Jim Hawkins; 95 mins.]

2001-2010

*2002 Treasure Planet
Director: John Musker
Production: Disney
Cast: Ron Clements
[animation; basic Jim-Silver relationship, mutinous crew and hunt for treasure in a space-voyage science-fiction adventure]

2007 Die Schatzinsel / Treasure Island (Thurn)
Director: Hansjörg Thurn
Production: ProSieben, Gemany
Cast: François Goeske (Jim), Tobias Moretti (Silver), Diane Willems (Sheila/Bobby), Jürgen Vogel (Israel Hands).
[Two-part TV film: 26 and 27 November 2007; Film site. The critics raise an amused eyebrow (especially at Flint’s daughter Sheila disguised as cabin boy Bobby) and remember with nostalgia the German 4-part TV version of 1966.
Schatzinsel Spezial - Die wahre Geschichte (broadcast 26 November 2007) – a documentary (accompanying the above TV broadcast) about the "real" Treasure Island. This is based on Reisen im Licht der Sterne (2005) in which Alex Capus suggests that Stevenson was inspired to write Treasure Island by the story of the pirated church-treasure of Lima, buried on Cocos Island. Capus further suggests that the treasure was actually buried on another Cocos Island not far from Samoa, that Stevenson found this out, and (possibly) found the treasure there himself.]

2007 L'île aux trésors
Director: Alain Berbérian
Production: FIT Productions/Bac Films (France)
Script: Fabrice Roger-Lacan

Cast: Gérard Jugnot (SIlver), Vincent Rottiers (Jim)

[100 mins; comedy version loosely based on the original; almost universally judged a failure]

2011-2020

2011 The Curse of the Black Spot
[episode in the Dr Who series (episode 3, series 6/3); 45 mins; elements of Treasure Island are used in this episode of time-travellers]

2014 Black Sails
Author and Executive producer: Jonathan Steinberg

Director: Sam Miller, T.J. Scott

Production: Starz (producers: Michael Bay, Jon Steinberg, Robert Levine)

Cast: Toby Stephens (Captain Flint), Luke Arnold (John Silver)

Plot: Captain Flint and his men twenty years before the start of Treasure Island

Notes: 8-episode TV series, to be continued in 2015.


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