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22 Stranded on a Desert Island Movies

On 16, Mar 2011 | 58 Comments | In Featured, For Your Entertainment, Travel Ideas | By Jacqueline Boss

Here’s one way to get yourself excited about getting out and traveling– watch a movie about people on a beautiful tropical desert island. From the old to the new and the suspenseful to the romantic, here are 21 movies to get you in the mood to take a vacation. (click for the trailer, if available)

1: Six Days Seven Nights (1998)

Starring Harrison Ford. A couple takes a vacation to a beautiful tropical island, but when the woman, Robin Monroe, is called back to work, she gets a plane ride with Ford’s character and the two of them become stranded on a remote island.

2: Robinson Crusoe (1997)

Starring Pierce Brosnan. A man comes to an island, builds himself a new home, and protects himself from savages. He is stuck there for years before he is rescued.

3: Cast Away (2000)

Starring Tom Hanks. A Fed Ex employee becomes stranded on a deserted island and must fend for himself for years, remembering his life at home and the woman he loved.

4: Swept Away (1974)/ Swept Away (2002)

A rich woman and her friends take a trip on a yacht, and the sailor can’t stand them. Her friends leave and she wants to catch up with them, so she has the sailor take her to them on a small boat, which breaks down and they become deserted. The original rated better, but it is in Italian, so you’ll need subtitles. Unless you speak Italian.

5: The Beach (2000)

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio. I’m going to be honest- this is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen in my entire life. The idea of it is just so cool (DiCaprio and some friends search for a rumored island of perfection), but the characters are so poorly developed that I literally could not tell them apart.

6: Lord of the Flies (1990)

A group of British school boys become stranded on a deserted island, and must fend for themselves and form their own government, but the results are disastrous.

7: Swiss Family Robinson (1960)

A family becomes shipwrecked on a island full of pirates. They build an amazing home for themselves and explore and learn to live on the island. 

8: Paradise Lagoon (American)/ The Admirable Crichton (British) (1957) (trailer unavailable)

A Lord and his servants are shipwrecked on an island, putting the traditional class system to the test.

9: Island of the Blue Dolphins (1964) (trailer unavailable)

Based on a true story, a young girl is stranded for years on an island.

10: Respiro (2000)

A free-spirited woman on a beautiful Italian island is accused of madness by the people living there.

11: Mediterraneo (1991)

Italian soldiers become stranded on a Greek island that they believe to be deserted, until the townspeople come out of hiding and the Italians assimilate into their culture. Italian language film.

12: Mysterious Island of Beautiful Women (1979)

5 men become shipwrecked on an island where a group of girls have been living for years. A nun has taught the girls that all men are evil, so the girls are out to kill them. 

13: Bare Essentials (1991)

A couple gets stranded on a desert island, and they re-discover love, but not with each other.

14: The Mosquito Coast (1986)

Starring Harrison Ford. A man takes his family to get away from it all and have a new life on an island, but it isn’t all fun and games.

15: Nim’s Island (2008)

Starring Jodie Foster and Gerard Butler. An adventure writer, Alex Rover, is summoned by a young girl to a private island when her dad becomes lost at sea and her island is invaded.

16: Three (Survival Island) (2005)

Three people become marooned on an island and have to fight for survival.

17: The Blue Lagoon (1980)/The Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991)

Two children get stranded on a lush island and as they grow up they develop feelings for each other.

18: Paradise (1982)

A supposedly love-it-or-hate-it movie involving some sort of kidnapping and eventual love in an oasis.

19: Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

After a bad breakup, a man takes a vacation on a beautiful island, and behold, his ex is there with her new boyfriend. Comedy.

20: A Perfect Getaway (2009)

A couple on vacation in Hawaii meets another fun couple on a desert, but then learn that there are two wanted murderers on the loose- a man and a woman.

21: Couples Retreat (2009)

Starring Vince Vaughn. A couple goes to an island resort to re-ignite their spark, but soon they learn that they will be tested and will have to make their marriage work. Comedy.

22: Land of the Lost (2009)

Starring Will Ferrell. A man who theorizes about time warps goes back through time, and he and his friends must try to survive. Unfortunately, it may be the worst movie ever made. Comedy.


If you like these island movies, learn how to travel the world for free and have your own exotic adventures! Read my ebook “How to Become the Jack of All Travel: A Beginner’s Guide to Traveling the World for Free“. It is possible, and it really works- I’ve been doing it myself for years. 

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  1. Peter

    Hi, thank’s, that’s a good list! I’ll be back to add more :)

  2. imo

    Good list! I love watching films like these. Oh, and I love the film The Beach, I think it’s great haha!

  3. noblebrutus

    I love these types of films! Here are a couple more to add to your list:

    Male and Female (1919)

    Four Frightened People (1934)

  4. spiderturd44

    Swept Away (1974)The rare English language print on youtube Published on May 9, 2012 by subversivesaints

  5. What was the name of the movie from the 50s in which the butler becomes the leader on the island?

    ~ Mike

    • Jacqueline Boss

      That sounds like Swept Away, #4 on the list… although I don’t know if “butler” was his technical role

    • CC

      It’s called The Admirable Crichton (1957). Watched it recently on TV.

      • Jacqueline Boss

        Thanks for the info, I’ll look into that one and try to get it on the list soon.

        • Perhaps you can let me know where I can watch myself, I don’t recall ever seeing It!

    • paradise lagoon ( 1957 ) -aka- the admirable crichten

    • Bob

      I have been looking for this movie forever. The butler becomes leader and finds a cache of pearls and presumably lives happily ever after with the daughter of the family. Is it indeed Swept Away?

  6. jv

    blue lagoon the awakening 2012 is the third instalment of the be blue lagoon series

    • Jacqueline Boss

      thanks, good to know.

  7. Why is Forgetting Sarah Marshall on a list of movies about people stranded on desert islands? They’re in Hawaii, and no one is ever stranded.

  8. What was that film called where a family gets stranded on an island. One of the sons joins the pirates, and at the end the pirate leader guy gets speared by some native?

    • Jacqueline Boss

      I couldn’t tell you, sorry- but if you find out, let me know!

      • What’s the movie where the main character live on a island and can talk to animals and then a ship full of people come and she likes one of the guys but she never lets them see her I think at least it goes something like that I haven’t seen it in a long time and is probably a kids movie thx for help

        • Anonymous

          It’s Nim’s Island, if it’s the movie I think you’re talking about.

    • It’s called “The Island” with Michael Caine.

    • It’s called stranded – a TV movie from 2002

    • Anonymous

      its called swiss family robibson. It was a movie in the 50s based on a book

  9. A GREAT Japanese Film “MATANGO” or “Attack Of The Mushroom People” is one Great & Under rated creepy deserted island film! Watch it, and see where GILLIGANS ISLAND came from! Yep…a movie star, a skipper, a millionare, small town girl, professor….

  10. Castaway on the Moon is a great one, too!

  11. Monte Carlo is a good one:) so is PS I Love You and Letters to Juliet

  12. 1949 Blue Lagoon! It must be the original Blue Lagoon… You can watch it on youtube!

  13. Anonymous

    Does Jurassic Park count?

    • Jacqueline Boss

      Hmm… that’s a thought. I love that movie and I just recently read the book, which unfortunately is complete garbage. Can’t wait until the next Jurassic Park movie comes out though, I think it’ll be next year!

  14. Andreas

    The Disney movie “shipwrecked” also named “Haakon Haakonsen” diserves a place. Used to love that movie growing up.

    Also, clearly you have never been backpacking. Or else you would have liked The Beach :)

  15. lyn

    what is that movie with three survivors stranded on an island? a mother and her baby daughter and some kid… then the mother died due to some kind of flu. then years passed and the daughter and the kid fell in love with each other? really wanna know. thanks a lot.

    • Anonymous

      I think what you are talking about is the first blue lagoon for the early 1980s

  16. Anonymous

    Sounds like Return to the blue lagoon

  17. Brad Woodward

    You should add Adrift (1986) in your list.

  18. Brad Woodward

    Oops I meant, castaway (1986)

  19. Zack

    Even with some mistakes in the series here & there, if you want a more family type Island movie where it’s like Swiss Family but a little more up to date while still set in the 1830s with hours of action that actually completes it from the one season it was on the air staring the guy who played Johnboy on Walton’s & some good actors from New Zealand is The adventures of the Swiss Family Robinson 1998. From Boston to the journey, storm, wreck, adventures on the island with pirates & other things in a non blood & gut sort of way then back to Boston & finally to the Island again, it’s a pretty good show since it can be viewed a couple hours a day or say 4 hours a week through the entire venture.

    If you like a sexy female, there are a couple along the way as well as two really handsome young men yet nothing is really sexual so if looking for total action or near porn, it wouldn’t fit the bill for you. It’s the kind for all ages but figured it wasn’t listed here so now we have yet another one since is like a very long movie.

  20. Zack

    Adventures of Swiss family Robinson and some of the other ones here can be found free on Hulu with some ads or sometimes youtube then Netflix etc. BTW, I noticed the writer said worst movie pertaining to two as worst of all time so which one was the worst? lol I think if looking for Island movies where there is a real tree house which a lot of us guys like, Adventures of fits the bill. Today, many are actually building real nice tree houses in the US that are small to mansion yet literally in the trees with AC/heat and everything including ability to open it up often in the middle of a few acres for privacy. Even a lot of women are starting to like that but I tend to think the tree house deal is more of a guy thing. I love them and have since I was a little kid. I might have one built one day but not in the Tropics. I like change of seasons.

  21. Vijay

    hi can you please tell me what is the movie in which the aeroplane gets crashed on the unknown Island, about eight or seven family ( around 25people) group survives in the landing. they found a house in the middle of the island, they live there but soon they found animals like tiger lion, cheetahs elephants , etc in and around the house .
    it creates hilarious situations like the man who is in the toilet can’t come out because the lion is out there. a couple is sleeping when the lion walks in the room.
    please let me know what the movie is

    • Anonymous

      lol vijay that the same movie i looking for

      • Kelly

        The name of the movie is Crazy Jungle Adventure 1982 starring James Mitchum

        • Mario

          Thanks kelly i been looking for that movie for years

          • Kelly

            You’re welcome Mario

  22. Haylz

    Thanks so much for sharing your list! I’m off to find quite a few of these as I’ve been feeling in the mood to watch these types.
    To add to your list…a movie called Eden came out in 2014. It’s about a U.S soccer team that gets stranded on a deserted island after a plane crash.
    Love Wrecked starring Amanda Bynes. It’s a romantic comedy about a girl who get stranded with a rock star on a beach in the Caribbean.

  23. Maseera

    hello guyz…i need your help! I am in search of a film… it goes like this-there are few people travelling in a plane and then their plane gets destroyed on some island or something like that…that place have houses n other things but are empty..then they find that that place is full of lions and tigers and then they befriend them and some how get back to their homes!! it was an old film..please help me guyz!

    • Kelly

      The name of the movie is Crazy Jungle Adventure 1982 starring James Mitchum

  24. Ross

    “Crusoe” with Phillip Winchester

  25. Anonymous

    hi, does anyone know the name of a movie where about 7 people are on a yacht. it sinks and they are on a deserted island with half man/ half ape like creatures that live in a cave. there is a lady survivor after the others die from the animals. the lady beats the leader in the end and the others back off and gets away on a life boat.

  26. Anonymous

    hi everyone.. i m searching for a movie where lots of people are castaways on an isolated island..there is a woman who she found a cave with ancient swords and weapons.. a woman and her son..and many others..i think that there are pirates too at the end of the movie..

  27. abhi

    Movie where couple gets stranded in island and found a house but it was owned by father and 2 sons.They beat the husband and take the wife.

  28. Javi

    Ive been looking for a movie i saw years ago when i was a child. So the movie is about a group of tourist go out to sea on small boat i think, it breaks downs and they have no food and one lady had a small dog, so everyone decides to eat the dog. that’s all i can remember. Anyone help, its driving me crazy not being able to find the tittle.

  29. I am looking for a silent movie about a guy that took a ship to go somewhere and had a wreckage. He survived with others and lived in an Island for a long time, later he got rescued and came back to his town and went to church and saw his fiancé marrying somebody else. My father used to telmy he watch this movie when he was 4 years old around 1922. I hope you find it for me. Thank you.

  30. David del Mar

    Hi… I have been trying to find an island movie I saw a year or two ago on Netflix (I think!). The movie was probably made in the last 10-15 years, and the main character is an American actor that you’d recognize, but I don’t remember his name. He plays a middle-aged businessman who lives alone on an island in Indonesia. He used to run a mining operation there but no more.

    The man doesn’t have a boat so gets to a main city (perhaps Jakarta or Bangkok) by a merchant sailing ship. Meets a young girl (musician in a traveling band) and eventually takes her away to the island (and away from the mean guy running the musical troop). A couple bad guys follow them… and that is about as much as I remember.

    The reason I am so interested in finding this movie is that the architecture of his house was very nice, almost a mix of Balinese and western colonial. We would like to borrow some of the elements for an island resort we are planning to build in the Eastern Tropical Pacific, off Panama.

    Thanks, Dave

  31. yogesh patel



      Year Ref.
      The 33 2015 [4]
      ’71 2014
      127 Hours 2010 [5]
      Against the Sun 2014 [6]
      Alive 1993 [7]
      All Is Lost 2013 [8]
      Apollo 13 1995 [9]
      Buried 2010 [5]
      Shackleton 2002
      Captain Phillips 2013 [10]
      Cast Away 2000 [5]
      The Deep 2012 [11]
      Deliverance 1972 [7]
      The Descent 2005
      Desierto 2016
      The Edge 1997 [7]
      Escape from Alcatraz 1979 [12]
      Everest 2015 [13]
      The Flight of the Phoenix 1965 [3]
      Frozen 2010
      Gravity 2013 [10]
      The Grey 2011 [14]
      Hey, I’m Alive! 1975 [15]
      A Hijacking 2012 [9]
      The Impossible 2012 [16]
      I Am Legend 2007 [17]
      In the Heart of the Sea 2015
      Into the Wild 2007 [5]
      Jeremiah Johnson 1971 [18]
      Life of Pi 2012 [19]
      Lifeboat 1944 [20]
      Lone Survivor 2013 [10]
      Lost in the Desert (also called Dirkie) 1969
      Marooned 1969 [20]
      The Martian 2015 [21]
      Man in the Wilderness 1971 [20]
      Meek’s Cutoff 2010 [18]
      The Naked Prey 1965 [20]
      Nobody Wants the Night 2015 [22]
      The Omega Man 1971 [20]
      On the Beach 1959 [20]
      Open Water 2003 [5]
      Ordeal in the Arctic 1993 [23]
      Panic in Year Zero! 1962 [20]
      Planet of the Apes 1968 [20]
      Poseidon 2006
      The Poseidon Adventure 1972 [3]
      Quest for Fire 1981 [5]
      Rabbit-Proof Fence 2002 [5]
      Rescue Dawn 2006 [5]
      The Revenant 2015 [24]
      The Road 2009 [9]
      Robinson Crusoe 1997 [25]
      Robinson Crusoe 1954
      Robinson Crusoe on Mars 1965 [26]
      Sanctum 2011 [27]
      Sands of the Kalahari 1965 [20]
      The Savage Is Loose 1974 [20]
      Seven Waves Away (also called Abandon Ship!) 1957 [9]
      The Shallows 2016 [28]
      The Snow Walker 2003 [29]
      Southern Comfort 1981 [18]
      Soylent Green 1973 [20]
      Sunshine 2007 [30]
      Survival Quest 1989 [7]
      The Survivalist 2015
      Swiss Family Robinson 1960 [14]
      Teenage Cave Man 1958 [20]
      Titanic 1997
      Touching the Void 2003 [5]
      Stranded: I’ve Come from a Plane that Crashed in the Mountains 2007 [9]
      The Ultimate Warrior 1975 [31]
      Vertical Limit 2000
      The War Game 1965 [20]
      Walkabout 1971 [9]
      The Way Back 2010 [5]
      Wild 2014
      The World, the Flesh and the Devil 1959 [20]
      World Trade Center 2006
      Zero Population Growth 1972 [20]
      Unbroken 2014


  33. Tyrone

    What’s the name of this tv movie from early 1990s ?? : A ”typical” american family gets stranded on an isolated tropical island in the pacific , they arrived there , i think by small plane or maybe by small boat but i don’t think there was a big storm scenario involved ; they went there for a vacation for to be quiet and peaceful but somehow by mistake they winded up on the wrong island ; an island that was uncharted/unknown & the family had no way to contact civilization for help once they arrived there. I think that maybe they were dropped off there by someone in either a small plane or small boat i don’t know. I only remember small bits and pieces of the movie. Anyway, they were very upset once they realized they were on the wrong island but then after time decided they liked the place and then years later once contact with civilization was established ; they decided to not go back & just stay right there on that island. This was pretty much a ”family film” like rated pg.

  34. Markus

    What about Hell in the Pacific? That’s a very good “stranded on a desert island” flick, if not the best.

    And, outside of Castaway, anyone know of any movies where just one person is stranded on an Island?

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