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The Best Desert Island Movies 

Ranker Film
Updated March 5, 2020 620 votes 231 voters 21.5k views 27 items

This list may not be marooned on far away shores, but it does have lots of awesome desert island movies, ranked from best to worst by user votes. The best desert island movies offer adventure as they showcase the lead characters' will to survive. Desert island films often feature one man's journey, but some of the best shipwrecked movies include star-studded casts. A few of the best stranded films are even based on true stories.

What films will you find on this best desert island movies list? All you need to make a great movie is Tom Hanks, as proven by the 2000 survival movie, Cast Away. After getting stranded on a desert island, Chuck Noland (Hanks) befriends a volleyball named Wilson and does whatever it takes to make it back home. The Blue Lagoon is another one of the best desert island movies.

Animal instincts quickly come to the surface in the classic film Lord of the Flies, which is based on William Golding's 1954 novel of the same name. Other good movies that are featured on this top desert island films list include Swept Away, The Beach, and Life of Pi.

How will we ever determine which movie deserves the top spot on this list? Help us decide by giving the best films a thumbs up and add any other deserted island films you love that aren't already listed.

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Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt, Chris Noth

Released: 2000

Directed by: Robert Zemeckis

Cast Away is a 2000 American adventure drama film directed and produced by Robert Zemeckis and starring Tom Hanks as a FedEx employee stranded on an uninhabited island after his plane accident ...more

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#17 of 292 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #33 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #387 of 804 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made

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John Mills, Dorothy McGuire, Tommy Kirk

Released: 1960

Directed by: Ken Annakin

Swiss Family Robinson is a 1960 British-American family film starring John Mills, Dorothy McGuire, James MacArthur, Janet Munro and Tommy Kirk in a tale of a shipwrecked family building an ...more

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#20 of 143 The Best Disney Live-Action Movies #64 of 160 The Best Costume Drama Movies

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Brooke Shields, William Daniels, Leo McKern

Released: 1980

Directed by: Randal Kleiser

The Blue Lagoon is a 1980 American romantic adventure film directed by Randal Kleiser. The screenplay by Douglas Day Stewart was based on the novel The Blue Lagoon by Henry De Vere Stacpoole. ...more

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#125 of 624 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #17 of 32 Great Movies Set on the Beach

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Harrison Ford, Anne Heche, David Schwimmer

Released: 1998

Directed by: Ivan Reitman

Six Days Seven Nights is a 1998 adventure-comedy film, directed by Ivan Reitman and starring Harrison Ford and Anne Heche. The screenplay was written by Michael Browning. It was filmed on ...more

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#206 of 302 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time #11 of 32 Great Movies Set on the Beach

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Gérard Depardieu, Irrfan Khan, Tabu

Released: 2012

Directed by: Ang Lee

Life of Pi is a 2012 American historical drama film directed by Ang Lee, based on the novel of the same name by Yann Martel. Pi Patel (Suraj Sharma), a young man who is cast away after a ...more

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#329 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #178 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars

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Dan O'Herlihy, Jaime Fernández, José Chávez

Released: 1954

Directed by: Luis Buñuel

Robinson Crusoe is a 1954 Mexican film by director Luis Buñuel, based on the novel Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. Both English and Spanish versions were produced. Lead actor Dan ...more
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Leonardo DiCaprio, Tilda Swinton, Robert Carlyle

Released: 2000

Directed by: Danny Boyle

The Beach is a 2000 adventure drama film directed by Danny Boyle and based on the 1996 novel of the same name by Alex Garland, which was adapted for the film by John Hodge. The film stars ...more

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#76 of 156 The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made #9 of 15 Terrible Movies With Amazing Soundtracks #83 of 90 List of Movies Like Inception

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Nicholas Hammond, James Aubrey, Kent Fletcher

Released: 1963

Directed by: Peter Brook

Lord of the Flies is a 1963 British film adaptation of William Golding's novel of the same name. It was directed by Peter Brook and produced by Lewis M. Allen. The film was in production for ...more

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#186 of 363 The Best Movies Based On Books #8 of 43 The Best Coming of Age Movies About Boys

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Jodie Foster, Gerard Butler, Abigail Breslin

Released: 2008

Directed by: Mark Levin, Jennifer Flackett

Nim's Island is a 2008 American-Australian adventure-fantasy film directed by Jennifer Flackett and Mark Levin and starring Abigail Breslin, Jodie Foster, and Gerard Butler. The story is based ...more

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#278 of 318 The Best Movies for Kids #32 of 32 The Best Fantasy Movie Posters

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Island of the Blue Dolphins is a 1960 children's novel written by Scott O'Dell. The story of a young girl stranded for years on an island off the California coast. It is based on the true story ...more

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#137 of 302 The Greatest Children's Books That Were Made Into Movies #46 of 63 The Best Books for Fourth Graders

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manjo_ds added Jung Ryeo-won, Jung Jae-young, Mi-kyeong Yang

Released: 2009

Directed by: Lee Hae-jun

"Accomplished and original, Castaway on the Moon is a fascinating love story by one of South Korea's most promising young filmmakers. Lee Hey-jun made his debut in 2006 as co-director of ...more
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Paradise Lagoon
Paradise is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Desert Island Movies
Mick McKenzie added Phoebe Cates, Willie Aames

Released: 1982

Directed by: Stuart Gillard

Paradise is a 1982 English language Canadian-produced romance and adventure film starring Phoebe Cates and Willie Aames, written and directed by Stuart Gillard. The original music score was ...more
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Madonna, Elizabeth Banks, Jeanne Tripplehorn

Released: 2002

Directed by: Guy Ritchie

Swept Away is a 2002 romantic comedy film directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Madonna, Adriano Giannini, and Bruce Greenwood. It was released by Screen Gems and produced by Matthew Vaughn. The ...more

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#596 of 624 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #11 of 24 The Best Madonna Movies

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Marlon Brando, Val Kilmer, Ron Perlman

Released: 1996

Directed by: John Frankenheimer, Richard Stanley

The Island of Dr. Moreau is a 1996 American science fiction horror film, the third major film adaptation of H. G. Wells' novel The Island of Doctor Moreau, about a scientist who attempts to ...more

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#579 of 812 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #6 of 43 The Best Horror Movies About Deserted Islands The Making Of The Island Of Dr. Moreau Was A Disastrous Nightmare

Return to the Blue Lagoo... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Desert Island Movies
Mick McKenzie added Milla Jovovich, Gus Mercurio, Brian Krause

Released: 1991

Directed by: William A. Graham

Return to the Blue Lagoon is a 1991 American romance and adventure film starring Milla Jovovich and Brian Krause, produced and directed by William A. Graham. The screenplay by Leslie Stevens was ...more

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#39 of 233 The Worst Sequels Of All Time #136 of 264 The Best Teen Romance Movies

The Island is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Desert Island Movies
Scott Merritt added Michael Caine, David Warner, Don Henderson

Released: 1980

Directed by: Michael Ritchie

The Island is a 1980 American thriller film, directed by Michael Ritchie and starring Michael Caine and David Warner. The film was based on a novel of the same name by Peter Benchley who also ...more

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#7 of 43 The Best Horror Movies About Deserted Islands #60 of 108 The 25+ Best Michael Caine Movies of All Time, Ranked

Blue Lagoon: The Awakeni... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Desert Island Movies
Mick McKenzie added Denise Richards, Indiana Evans, Christopher Atkins

Released: 2012

Directed by: Mikael Salomon, Jake Newsome

Blue Lagoon: The Awakening is an American television film that premiered on Lifetime on June 16, 2012. Indiana Evans and Brenton Thwaites star in this film, which is a remake of the 1980 film ...more
Rescue from Gilligan's I... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Desert Island Movies
Scott Merritt added Dawn Wells, Alan Hale, Jr.

Released: 1978

Directed by: Leslie H. Martinson

Rescue from Gilligan's Island is a 1978 two-part television movie that continues the adventures of the shipwrecked castaways from the 1964–1967 TV series Gilligan's Island starring Bob Denver ...more
The Castaways on Gilliga... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Desert Island Movies
Scott Merritt added Dawn Wells, Alan Hale, Jr.

Released: 1979

Directed by: Earl Bellamy

The Castaways on Gilligan's Island is a 1979 television movie that continues the adventures of the shipwrecked castaways from the 1964-1967 TV series Gilligan's Island and the first reunion ...more
The Harlem Globetrotters... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Desert Island Movies
Scott Merritt added The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island Dawn Wells, Martin Landau, Alan Hale

Released: 1981

Directed by: Peter Baldwin, Peter Baldwin

The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island is a 1981 made-for-television movie. It is the third of three movies that reunited the cast of the 1964-67 sitcom Gilligan's Island.
Trouble in Paradise is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Desert Island Movies
Scott Merritt added Raquel Welch, Nicholas Hammond, Anthony Wong

Released: 1989

Directed by: Di Drew

Trouble in Paradise is a 1989 film directed by Di Drew.
Pirates of the Caribbean... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Desert Island Movies
Scott Merritt added Johnny Depp, Penélope Cruz, Keith Richards

Released: 2011

Directed by: Rob Marshall

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides a 2011 action adventure film based on Tim Powers' novel. The film is directed by Rob Marshall

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#323 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #133 of 624 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies The Best Characters in the Pirates of the Caribbean Movies

Prey is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Desert Island Movies
Logan Miller, Kristine Froseth, Jolene Anderson

Released: 2019

Directed by: Franck Khalfoun

Prey is a 2019 American horror film directed by Franck Khalfoun. Toby (Logan Miller), a highschool senior who is struggling with behavioral issues is put on a supposedly uninhabited island but ...more
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RobLein added Oliver Reed, Amanda Donohoe, John Sessions

Released: 1986

Directed by: Nicolas Roeg

Castaway is a 1986 film starring Amanda Donohoe and Oliver Reed, and directed by Nicolas Roeg. It was adapted from its namesake 1984 book by Lucy Irvine, telling of her experiences of staying ...more