Lord of the Flies (1990)

R | 90 mins | Drama | 16 March 1990

Director:

Harry Hook

Writer:

Sara Schiff

Producer:

Ross Milloy

Cinematographer:

Martin Fuhrer

Editor:

Harry Hook

Production Designer:

Jamie Leonard
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HISTORY

The 9 Jun 1984 Screen International reported that a new British film development fund called Screen Development Services was ready to remake Lord of the Flies (1963, see entry) in New Zealand, from a script by veteran screenwriter Jay Presson Allen, wife of Lewis Allen, the producer of the 1963 film. However, the project did not come to fruition until four years later, when a new American company, Castle Rock Entertainment, chose the $8-million film as its first production, the 4 Jun 1988 Screen International noted. Jay Presson Allen was not credited in the final film, the 21 Mar 1990 Var reported. Unhappy with the way actor-director Rob Reiner, head of Castle Rock Entertainment, re-edited the film, Presson Allen demanded that her name be dropped. A pseudonym, “Sara Schiff,” was credited instead.
       The 27 Jun-4 Jul 1990 issue of Time Out [London, England] reported that Lewis Allen, who retained film rights of William Golding’s 1954 novel, resisted proposals from various film companies to remake Lord of the Flies with “girls and mental retards” instead of schoolboys. Eventually, he agreed to remake the film with American child actors instead of British. Most of the twenty-four young actors were amateurs hired in Texas. The star, Balthazar Getty, broke both arms when he fell out of a tree before production began, and was in pain throughout filming. His character wore a sling on his left arm.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, principal photography for a scheduled twelve-week shoot began 22 Aug 1988 in Jamaica. The cast and crew stayed at Frenchman’s Cove Hotel near Port Antonio. ... More Less

The 9 Jun 1984 Screen International reported that a new British film development fund called Screen Development Services was ready to remake Lord of the Flies (1963, see entry) in New Zealand, from a script by veteran screenwriter Jay Presson Allen, wife of Lewis Allen, the producer of the 1963 film. However, the project did not come to fruition until four years later, when a new American company, Castle Rock Entertainment, chose the $8-million film as its first production, the 4 Jun 1988 Screen International noted. Jay Presson Allen was not credited in the final film, the 21 Mar 1990 Var reported. Unhappy with the way actor-director Rob Reiner, head of Castle Rock Entertainment, re-edited the film, Presson Allen demanded that her name be dropped. A pseudonym, “Sara Schiff,” was credited instead.
       The 27 Jun-4 Jul 1990 issue of Time Out [London, England] reported that Lewis Allen, who retained film rights of William Golding’s 1954 novel, resisted proposals from various film companies to remake Lord of the Flies with “girls and mental retards” instead of schoolboys. Eventually, he agreed to remake the film with American child actors instead of British. Most of the twenty-four young actors were amateurs hired in Texas. The star, Balthazar Getty, broke both arms when he fell out of a tree before production began, and was in pain throughout filming. His character wore a sling on his left arm.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, principal photography for a scheduled twelve-week shoot began 22 Aug 1988 in Jamaica. The cast and crew stayed at Frenchman’s Cove Hotel near Port Antonio. Because most of the cast were children, a dormitory with bunk beds and a school classroom were set up at the hotel, and eight teachers, along with school director Peter W. Cookson, Jr., supervised the boys’ education and recreation. Locations included Reach Falls (where filming began), Frenchman’s Cove beach, and rugged terrain west of Port Antonio. Only interior cave sequences were filmed in a studio. Hurricane Gilbert, one of the most powerful of the 20th century, struck Jamaica during filming, and the production was forced to shut down for a week to rebuild sets and clear debris. Director Harry Hook decided to work the hurricane into the story in order to finish the film amid the storm’s devastation. The film wrapped in late Nov 1988, the 30 Nov 1988 Var noted.
       The May 1990 Box blamed the film’s low opening ten-day gross of $8.3 million on the “bad casting” of “unskilled newcomers.” The 13 Mar 1990 DV also complained that the replacement of the novel’s rigid British class system with the less-ingrained hierarchy of an American military school deprived the story of “its irony and impact.”
       End credits contain the following information: “Filmed on location in Port Antonio, Jamaica. Producers wish to thank Martin Shafer; Jeff Stott; Rosalie Swedlin; Rochelle Stevens; Greg Paul; Jess Wittenberg; Speare & Company; Mrs. Sally Porteous and Suzanne Thomas of Jamaica Film Office; the Los Angeles Arboretum; Bullfrog Amphibious Formula Sunblock; B. F. Goodrich; Miles Inc. and Hawaiian Tropic for their support in making this film.”
       Credits include a character designated “Marine petty officer.” Petty officer is a U.S. Naval rank and does not exist in the Marine Corps. Also, the captain’s bars on the collar of the “Marine officer” are larger than a real Marine captain’s. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
May 1990.
---
Daily Variety
7 Sep 1988
p. 34
Daily Variety
13 Mar 1990
p. 2, 25
Hollywood Reporter
16 Aug 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Sep 1988.
---
Hollywood Reporter
9 Jun 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 Mar 1990.
---
LAHExam
16 Sep 1988.
---
Los Angeles Times
16 Mar 1990
Calendar, p. 8
New York Times
16 Mar 1990
p. 19
Newsday (Long Island, NY)
9 Jun 1988
p. 6
Screen International
9 Jun 1984.
---
Screen International
4 Jun 1988.
---
Time Out (London)
27 Jun-4 Jul 1990.
---
Variety
30 Nov 1988
p. 16
Variety
14 Mar 1990
p. 17
Variety
21 Mar 1990
p. 1, 3
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Castle Rock Entertainment
in association with Nelson Entertainment presents
A Harry Hook Film
A Jack's Camp/Signal Hill Ltd. Production
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
3d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Assoc prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Focus puller
Clapper/Loader
Key grip
Best boy grip
Best boy grip
Best boy grip
Best boy grip
Gaffer
Best boy
Elec
Generator op
2d unit cam
2d unit cam asst
Underwater cam
Underwater cam
Still photog
Photog equip by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Supv ed
Asst ed
2d asst ed
2d asst ed
Post prod coord
Negative cutting
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Dressing props
Standby props
Asst props
Asst props
Asst props
Standby painter
Standby carpenter
Standby stagehand
Standby stagehand
Standby stagehand
Standby stagehand
Standby stagehand
Greensman
Greensman
Landscape contractor
Landscape foreman
Const mgr
Supv carpenter
Supv painter
Supv painter
Supv plasterer
Supv plasterer
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward master
Standby ward
Ward asst
Ward asst
Ward runner
MUSIC
Mus ed
Mus performed by
Violin solo
Tin whistle
Synthesizer
Bass recorder
Mus rec and mixed at
Rec eng
Asst eng
Mus contractor
SOUND
Boom op
Supv sd ed
Sd asst
Foley artist
Foley artist
Sd eff assoc
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
VISUAL EFFECTS
Jamaica spec eff
Jamaica spec eff
Jamaica spec eff
Jamaica spec eff
Jamaica spec eff
Jamaica spec eff
Jamaica spec eff
U.S. spec eff
U.S. spec eff
U.S. spec eff
U.S. spec eff
U.S. spec eff
Opt eff & matte paintings (U.K.)
Titles des
Optics by
MAKEUP
Make-up
Hairdresser
Make-up asst
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Prod coord
Prod coord
Loc mgr
Prod accountant
Prod accountant
Prod secy
Scr supv
Marine coord
Teacher
Teacher
Teacher
Teacher
Teacher
Teacher
Teacher
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Co-capt
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Catering by
Catering by, Sunrise Caterers
Catering by, Sunrise Caterers
Catering by, Sunrise Caterers
Catering by, Sunrise Caterers
Catering by, Sunrise Caterers
Catering by, Sunrise Caterers
Craft service
Craft service
Craft service
Craft service
Craft service
Craft service
Prod shipper
Courier
Projectionist
Prod physician
L.A. casting assoc
East Coast casting
East Coast casting
Post prod accountant
Post prod accountant
Asst to Mr. Milloy
Banking services
Legal services
Completion bond
Air transportation provided by
STAND INS
Stunt coord
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Lord of the Flies by Sir William Golding (London, 1954).
DETAILS
Release Date:
16 March 1990
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 16 March 1990
New York opening: week of 16 March 1990
Production Date:
22 August--November 1988
Copyright Claimant:
Castle Rock Entertainment
Copyright Date:
10 April 1990
Copyright Number:
PA464338
Physical Properties:
Sound
Recorded in Dolby Stereo®
Color
Prints
Prints by DeLuxe®
Duration(in mins):
90
Length(in feet):
8.086
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
29967
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

An airplane carrying twenty-four boys from an American military preparatory school crash-lands near a deserted island. Still dressed in school uniforms, the boys climb aboard an inflatable lifeboat, rescue their badly injured pilot, Captain Benson, and find refuge on the deserted island. After the boys sleep and locate drinking water, one of them, a heavy-set lad, pulls a conch shell out of the surf and tells Ralph, a senior cadet, that it can be used as a trumpet. Ralph, whose damaged left arm is in a sling, blows into the conch to gather the other cadets. He announces that whoever holds the conch gets to speak, and as they pass it around, the boys discuss their predicament. They appear to be the only humans on the island, and nobody in the outside world knows where they are. Ralph insists they need to build a fire and keep it going, to alert airplanes flying overhead. Also, they need to maintain school discipline and allocate duties. In an impromptu election, the boys pick Ralph as their leader over another senior cadet named Jack. When Jack claims that their chance of being rescued is negligible, the heavy-set boy accuses him of undermining group morale. Jack dismisses the boy by calling him “Piggy,” a nickname that inspires snorting sounds from other cadets. Under Ralph’s direction, the boys build a camp of wood and thatch, search for edible berries and fruit, and gather firewood. They light a bonfire on a hilltop using a lens in Piggy’s eyeglasses, and take turns on “fire watch” to keep it going. One boy, Simon, is assigned the job of looking after the barely conscious Captain Benson. At the ... +


An airplane carrying twenty-four boys from an American military preparatory school crash-lands near a deserted island. Still dressed in school uniforms, the boys climb aboard an inflatable lifeboat, rescue their badly injured pilot, Captain Benson, and find refuge on the deserted island. After the boys sleep and locate drinking water, one of them, a heavy-set lad, pulls a conch shell out of the surf and tells Ralph, a senior cadet, that it can be used as a trumpet. Ralph, whose damaged left arm is in a sling, blows into the conch to gather the other cadets. He announces that whoever holds the conch gets to speak, and as they pass it around, the boys discuss their predicament. They appear to be the only humans on the island, and nobody in the outside world knows where they are. Ralph insists they need to build a fire and keep it going, to alert airplanes flying overhead. Also, they need to maintain school discipline and allocate duties. In an impromptu election, the boys pick Ralph as their leader over another senior cadet named Jack. When Jack claims that their chance of being rescued is negligible, the heavy-set boy accuses him of undermining group morale. Jack dismisses the boy by calling him “Piggy,” a nickname that inspires snorting sounds from other cadets. Under Ralph’s direction, the boys build a camp of wood and thatch, search for edible berries and fruit, and gather firewood. They light a bonfire on a hilltop using a lens in Piggy’s eyeglasses, and take turns on “fire watch” to keep it going. One boy, Simon, is assigned the job of looking after the barely conscious Captain Benson. At the beach camp that night, Jack tells horror stories around a fire. Simon dreams that a healthy Captain Benson announces they are going home, but awakens to see the pilot still in a state of delirium. The next day, Simon captures a large lizard and makes it a pet. As the boys swim and play on the beach, Ralph blows the conch shell to assemble them. He admonishes the boys for being childish and stresses the need to work and fish until they are rescued. Several boys, led by Jack, laugh at Ralph and defy him. Jack later carves a primitive face into a large rock. When Ralph and other boys try to spear fish on a rocky beach, Roger, one of Jack’s cohorts, throw rocks at them, and others join in. At night, sitting around a campfire, the cadets discuss television shows and wonder which ones are airing at that moment. In the morning, Jack and several others carve weapons for hunting wild boar. A boy knocks Simon’s pet lizard out of his hand and spears it. Hearing a sound, the boys prepare to attack a boar, but find Captain Benson feverishly stumbling through the vegetation. Simon leads the disoriented pilot back to camp. Ralph later insists they look after Captain Benson, but Jack claims the pilot is going to die anyway, so they should let him go. That night, the captain awakens and walks into the jungle. The boys search for him in the morning, but find only his jacket on the rocky beach. However, Simon believes Benson is still around somewhere. During a boar hunt, when Roger cuts his head, Jack uses his blood to paint stripes on both their faces. On the beach, Piggy proposes making a sundial with a stick in the ground, to maintain a sense of time. They see a helicopter in the distance, but when Ralph runs to the top of the hill, the fire has gone out and nobody is tending it. The aircraft disappears. Finding Jack and other boys carrying a freshly killed boar on a pole, Ralph shouts at Jack for letting the signal fire go out. Jack claims he is tired of taking orders from Ralph and has formed his own “gang.” Jack’s young tribesmen leave camp, taking the boar with them. That night, a storm hits the island and destroys the shelters on the beach. In the morning, Ralph, Piggy, and others walk through the devastation, gathering their scattered fruit supplies. Climbing the hill to build a new fire, they find a dead boar, but Piggy reminds them that if they eat the meat without cooking it, they will get deadly trichinosis. Elsewhere, Jack and his tribe hunt boar with spears. One boy finds a cave and ventures inside, but when a dark figure accosts him, he spears it and runs outside. Jack investigates, but before going in, he hears noises from inside the cave. Jack declares that there is a monster inside and sends twins Sam and Eric to the hilltop to alert Ralph’s fire-watchers. Tony defects to Jack’s gang, but tells Jack he left his “survival knife” at Ralph’s camp. When Jack sends several boys to get the knife, Ralph refuses to surrender it. As the boys leave, two more members of Ralph’s group depart with them. That night, Jack’s boys invades Ralph’s camp, tear down Ralph’s shelter, and steal the knife. They also accidentally break one of Piggy’s eyeglass lenses. Simon visits Jack’s tribe to get the location of the cave where the monster lives. Meanwhile, outside the mouth of the cave, Jack cuts off the head of a wild pig, puts it on a stick, and leaves it as an offering for the monster. Later, Jack’s gang raids Ralph’s beach camp and invites everyone to a pig roast. Using mud and blood, Jack’s boys paint each others’ faces and bodies. They are naked now except for loincloths made from school uniforms. In a campfire ritual, the boys act out the pursuit of a wild boar, using Roger as their mock prey. Meanwhile, Simon approaches the cave and ventures past the fly-covered boar’s head. He enters the cave with a toy “glow stick” and finds Captain Benson’s dead body. Simon runs back to camp to tell the others, but when Jack’s gang sees his figure approaching in the darkness, they kill him with spears, thinking he is the monster. The next day, Ralph and Piggy sit alone on the beach. Ralph feels guilt over Simon’s death, but Piggy assures him it was an accident. The twins stop by to ask if Ralph and Piggy have any fire, because last night’s rain put theirs out and they cannot start a new one. In Jack’s camp, the gang whips a boy for stealing. Jack announces that since the monster may come anytime, they must remain vigilant. He also promises to get their fire back. That night, the gang sneaks into what’s left of Ralph’s camp and call out Piggy’s name. Jamming spears into Ralph and Piggy’s shelter, they grab Piggy’s glasses and run. In the morning, Piggy cries over the loss of his vision and bemoans the fact that acting civilized has done them no good. Ralph assures him they did the right thing by not joining the tribe. They hike to Jack’s camp, where Ralph demands the return of Piggy’s glasses. Ralph and Jack get into a fight, but stop when Piggy blows the conch, demanding that everyone stop acting like savages and cooperate with each other. One of Jack’s gang, Roger, drops a large rock on Piggy’s head, killing him. The other boys hurl rocks at Ralph to drive him away. Ralph sneaks back later and tries to convince the twins, Sam and Eric, to rejoin him, but they warn him that Jack plans to hunt him down. In the morning, Ralph awakens in the jungle to hear the gang setting fires and searching for him. The twins see Ralph crouching in the vegetation, but do not betray him. However, another boy spots Ralph, forcing him to run through flames. As he reaches the beach, Ralph stumbles onto the sand. Looking up, he sees two U.S. Marines, and several others standing nearby, next to a helicopter. Jack’s gang bursts out of the vegetation and stops dead at the sight of the adults. The Marine captain asks, “What are you boys doin’?” +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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