10 Best Desert Island Movies | TheReviewGeek Recommends

When we think of desert islands, our minds often conjure up images of isolation, survival, and adventure. However, in the world of cinema, the desert island has been used to convey a myriad of emotions and metaphors.

From tales of survival to love stories and political commentary, the setting of a desert island provides filmmakers with a versatile canvas to explore themes of human nature and society. We have put together a list of the 10 best desert island movies that we consider make the best use of the setting. Let us know what you think about our picks in the comments below:

Lord of the Flies - Best Desert Island Movies

Lord Of The Flies (1963)

“Lord of the Flies” is a 1954 novel by William Golding, which was adapted into a film in 1963. The story follows a group of British schoolboys who become stranded on an uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean during a war evacuation. The boys, who range in age from six to twelve, must learn to survive on their own without any adult supervision.

Initially, the boys attempt to organize themselves and establish rules and order. However, as time passes and their situation becomes increasingly dire, the boys begin to succumb to their primal instincts and their society descends into chaos and violence. Two boys, Ralph and Jack, emerge as leaders with different visions for how to survive and ultimately be rescued.

The Beach - Best Desert Island Movies

The Beach (2000)

“The Beach” is a 2000 adventure drama film directed by Danny Boyle, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tilda Swinton, and Virginie Ledoyen. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Alex Garland.

The story follows Richard, a young American backpacker who travels to Thailand in search of adventure and escape from the monotony of his everyday life. He soon hears about a secluded and seemingly idyllic island paradise, hidden away from the tourist crowds. Richard sets out on a journey to find this paradise, and after a perilous trek through the jungle, he discovers the secret beach along with a community of travellers who have also been drawn to this elusive destination.

Swiss Family Robinson - Best Desert Island Movies

Swiss Family Robinson (1960)

The film follows the Robinson family, consisting of a father, mother, and their three sons, who are shipwrecked on a deserted island in the South Pacific. The family must use their ingenuity and resourcefulness to survive and adapt to their new home. They build a treehouse, domesticate animals, and create a sustainable lifestyle on the island.

“Swiss Family Robinson” is known for its stunning tropical island setting and breathtaking scenery. The film was shot on location in Tobago and is praised for its use of natural beauty to convey the sense of adventure and wonder that the Robinson family experiences.

Blue Lagoon - Best Desert Island Movies

The Blue Lagoon (1980)

“The Blue Lagoon” is a 1980 romantic adventure film directed by Randal Kleiser and starring Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins. The film is a loose adaptation of the 1908 novel of the same name by Henry De Vere Stacpoole.

The film has been praised for its portrayal of innocence and natural love, as well as its exploration of the challenges of survival and growing up in a remote and isolated environment. It has also been criticized for its controversial themes, including the romantic relationship between two young cousins and its portrayal of a seemingly idyllic and simplistic lifestyle on the island.

Cast Away - Best Desert Island Movies

Cast Away (2000)

“Cast Away” is a 2000 survival drama film directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Tom Hanks. The film tells the story of Chuck Noland, a FedEx executive who becomes stranded on a deserted island in the South Pacific after his plane crashes
One of the most notable aspects of the film is its use of minimal dialogue, allowing the audience to fully immerse themselves in the experience of being stranded on a deserted island. The film also explores the psychological effects of isolation, as Noland begins to lose touch with reality and finds solace in a volleyball he names “Wilson.”

All is Lost - Best Desert Island Movies
All is Lost (2013)

“All Is Lost” is a 2013 survival film written and directed by J.C. Chandor and starring Robert Redford. The film tells the story of a lone sailor, identified only as “Our Man” in the credits, who becomes stranded in the Indian Ocean after his sailboat collides with a shipping container.

The film is known for its minimalist approach, with almost no dialogue and a sole focus on the character’s journey and struggle to survive. Robert Redford’s performance as Our Man is powerful and moving, conveying the character’s emotions with subtle gestures and facial expressions.

Nim's Island - Best Desert Island Movies

Nim’s Island (2008)

“Nim’s Island” is a 2008 adventure film directed by Jennifer Flackett and Mark Levin, based on the children’s novel of the same name by Wendy Orr. The film stars Abigail Breslin as Nim, a young girl who lives on a remote island with her scientist father. When her father goes missing during a storm, Nim reaches out for help to her favourite adventure novelist, Alex Rover, who is actually a reclusive woman named Alexandra Rover, played by Jodie Foster.

Abigail Breslin delivers a charming performance as Nim, a young girl who is smart, resourceful, and independent. Her relationship with her animal friends, including a sea lion named Selkie and a bearded dragon named Fred, is a highlight of the film, showcasing the importance of connecting with nature and the animals around us.

The Martian - Best Desert Island Movie

The Martian (2015)

“The Martian” is a 2015 science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott, based on the novel of the same name by Andy Weir. The film stars Matt Damon as Mark Watney, an astronaut who is stranded on Mars after his crew believes he has died during a storm. With limited resources and no way to communicate with Earth, Watney must find a way to survive on the harsh and unforgiving planet while NASA works tirelessly to bring him home.

The film’s focus on the science and engineering behind Watney’s survival also sets it apart from other survival films. Watney must use his knowledge of botany, chemistry, and physics to grow food, create water, and make repairs to his equipment. The film’s attention to detail and accuracy in its portrayal of life on Mars has earned it praise from both scientists and film critics.

Life of Pie - Best Desert Island Movie

Life Of Pi (2012)

“Life of Pi” is a 2012 adventure drama film directed by Ang Lee, based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Yann Martel. The film follows the journey of Pi Patel, a young Indian boy who is stranded on a lifeboat in the Pacific Ocean after a shipwreck that kills his family and the crew of the ship. Pi must learn to survive on the open sea, alongside a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker, who was also on board the ship.

Beyond its visual splendour, the film also explores themes of faith, spirituality, and the power of storytelling. Pi’s journey is one of self-discovery, as he grapples with questions of belief and morality in the face of unimaginable tragedy. His relationship with Richard Parker also becomes a metaphor for the human struggle to coexist with nature and our own primal instincts.

Robinson Crusoe Movies - Best Desert Island Movies

Robinson Crusoe Movies

“Robinson Crusoe” is a novel written by Daniel Defoe, first published in 1719. It tells the story of a man named Robinson Crusoe, who is stranded on a deserted island for 28 years after his ship is wrecked in a storm. The novel is considered a classic of English literature and is widely regarded as one of the earliest examples of the survival genre.

The novel is known for its vivid portrayal of Crusoe’s struggles to survive on the island, including his efforts to find food, build shelter, and defend himself against wild animals. Crusoe’s ingenuity and resourcefulness in the face of isolation and adversity have made him an enduring literary character and an inspiration to generations of readers.

Since its publication, “Robinson Crusoe” has been adapted into numerous films, television shows, and other forms of media. Its enduring popularity speaks to the universal appeal of its themes of survival, resilience, and the human spirit’s ability to adapt and overcome adversity.

That is it, our list of 10 best desert island movies. What do you think about our picks? Did we mention one of your favourites? Let us know in the comments below.

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