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Stranded: Eight Movies About Deserted-Island Dwellers

May 21, 2010  |  7:00am
Stranded: Eight Movies About Deserted-Island Dwellers

Although Lost is a groundbreaking show in certain respects, its central theme—a group of people stranded on a remote island, surviving against the odds—is far from new. The idea of being stuck on a deserted island for an indefinite period of time has been explored in countless books, movies and television shows for probably about as long as there have been islands and boats. In honor of Lost, we’ve compiled a list of eight (see what we did there?) movies that chronicle the lives of the castaways and may have inspired J.J. Abrams’ deserted island-centric opus.

Paradise Lagoon (1958)

Set in turn-of-the-20th-century England, Paradise Lagoon is a case study in class structure. When a sea cruise goes awry, Lord Loam and his family find themselves stranded on an island with a handful of servants. Maybe back home Lord Loam is master, but when it comes to survival it’s Crichton the butler who has the upper hand. After the group is rescued and back on dry land, Loam takes undeserved credit for the family’s safety, and Crichton resigns to his role as servant. Sigh.

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Swiss Family Robinson (1960)

Based on the 1812 novel by Johann David Wyss, Swiss Family Robinson tells the tale of a family headed to Australia that instead ends up shipwrecked somewhere in the East Indies. Fulfilling every kid’s fantasy, the family sets up its new home in a tree house. Not only do they have to keep food on the table, but they must remain vigilant against pirates and an unrealistic array of wild beasts, all the while maintaining strong family values.

Lord of the Flies (1963)

Also inspired by literature, this film brings author William Golding’s story of youthful dystopia to life. A group of boys end up marooned on an island after their plane crashes. With no adult supervision, a hieracrchy emerges. Hostility and primal instincts take over.

Island of the Blue Dolphins (1964)

The Island of the Blue Dolphins story—based on true events—begins when a young Native American girl and her brother are left behind on an island. Unable to save her brother from a pack of hungry wolves, she continues a life devoid of human contact until, years later, she leaves behind the only life she’s ever known to travel across the ocean with a group of white men. Sound familiar? Chances are you’ve probably done a book report on the 1960 novel on which the movie was based. At least, everyone on YouTube has.

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