The Island (1980)

R | 114 mins | Drama | 13 June 1980

Director:

Michael Ritchie

Writer:

Peter Benchley

Cinematographer:

Henri Decae

Production Designer:

Dale Hennesy

Production Companies:

Universal Pictures , Zanuck/Brown Company
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HISTORY

       Hairstylist Paquita Núñez is credited onscreen as Paquita Nuñes.
       As tracked in articles in the 17 Oct 1979 LAT and the 6 Jun 1982 LAT, two successful films, Jaws (1975, see entry) and The Deep (1977, see entry), were based on books written by Peter Benchley. In 1979, Universal and producers Richard Zanuck and David Brown of the Zanuck/Brown Co. paid a record breaking $2.15 million for screen rights to Benchley’s most recent novel, The Island. According to Benchley, his deal was so strong, he could have retired if the film had been a hit. Benchley’s deal included ten percent of the “true non-adjusted gross from the first dollar,” five percent of the soundtrack album’s profits, approval of the director, producers, writers and locations, bonuses for the weeks his book was listed as a NYT best seller, and a monthly accounting from Universal and the Zanuck/Brown Co.
       The 29 Aug 1979 HR reported principal photography began 14 May 1979. Locations included Antigua, West Indies, the Bahamas, Miami, FL, and Fort Lauderdale, FL. An item in the 14 Sep 1979 DV noted that Gene Polito, who does not receive onscreen credit, took over for director of photography Henri Decae after seventeen weeks of filming on location. Union rules prohibited the French citizen Decae from working in Hollywood, CA, so Polito handled the cinematography for the final weeks of production in the U.S. The 29 Aug 1979 Var stated the film’s budget might exceed $15 million, and reported the completion of principal photography on ... More Less

       Hairstylist Paquita Núñez is credited onscreen as Paquita Nuñes.
       As tracked in articles in the 17 Oct 1979 LAT and the 6 Jun 1982 LAT, two successful films, Jaws (1975, see entry) and The Deep (1977, see entry), were based on books written by Peter Benchley. In 1979, Universal and producers Richard Zanuck and David Brown of the Zanuck/Brown Co. paid a record breaking $2.15 million for screen rights to Benchley’s most recent novel, The Island. According to Benchley, his deal was so strong, he could have retired if the film had been a hit. Benchley’s deal included ten percent of the “true non-adjusted gross from the first dollar,” five percent of the soundtrack album’s profits, approval of the director, producers, writers and locations, bonuses for the weeks his book was listed as a NYT best seller, and a monthly accounting from Universal and the Zanuck/Brown Co.
       The 29 Aug 1979 HR reported principal photography began 14 May 1979. Locations included Antigua, West Indies, the Bahamas, Miami, FL, and Fort Lauderdale, FL. An item in the 14 Sep 1979 DV noted that Gene Polito, who does not receive onscreen credit, took over for director of photography Henri Decae after seventeen weeks of filming on location. Union rules prohibited the French citizen Decae from working in Hollywood, CA, so Polito handled the cinematography for the final weeks of production in the U.S. The 29 Aug 1979 Var stated the film’s budget might exceed $15 million, and reported the completion of principal photography on 23 Aug 1979.
       The 17 Jun 1980 HR reported that The Island was released on Friday, 13 Jun 1980 at 650 theaters, and noted that the first weekend’s boxoffice gross was approximately $3.2 million. A list in the 17-23 Sep 1980 Village Voice stated that The Island was one of the “big disappointments” of the year with a box office gross of $10 million.
The Island marked the feature film debut of actor Jeffrey Frank.
      End credits include the following statement: “We gratefully acknowledge the cooperation of the officers and men of the ‘Dauntless’ and the United States Coast Guard, as well as that of the government and people of Antigua, West Indies and the Bahamas.”
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
14 Sep 1979.
---
Hollywood Reporter
29 Aug 1979.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Jun 1980
p, 4.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jun 1980.
---
Los Angeles Times
17 Oct 1979.
---
Los Angeles Times
13 Jun 1980
p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
6 Jun 1982.
---
New York Times
13 Jun 1980
p. 16.
Variety
29 Aug 1979.
---
Variety
4 Jun 1980
p. 20.
Village Voice
17 - 23 Sep 1980.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
A Zanuck/Brown Production
A Michael Ritchie Film
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Sea photog
Key grip
Gaffer
Matte photog
Cam op
Asst cam
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
1st asst film ed
Asst film ed
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Const coord
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Cost supv
Asst cost des
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
SOUND
Prod mixer
Prod mixer
Prod mixer
Sd re-rec
Sd re-rec
Sd re-rec
Sd re-rec
Sd re-rec
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec visual eff by
Spec eff
Titles and opt eff
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
United States Coast Guard adv
Tech adv
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod secy
Loc auditor
Unit pub
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Island by Peter Benchley (Garden City, 1979).
MUSIC
"Ein Heldenleben" by Richard Strauss, by arrangement with A.M.P., Inc.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Release Date:
13 June 1980
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 13 June 1980
Production Date:
began 14 May 1979
Copyright Claimant:
Universal City Studios, Inc.
Copyright Date:
18 July 1980
Copyright Number:
PA74346
Physical Properties:
Sound
Recorded in Dolby® Stereo
Color
Lenses
Filmed in Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
114
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
25872
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

A deep sea fishing boat docks for the night near a seemingly deserted, uncharted island. As the cabin boy, Manuel, serves drinks, a pirate appears and kills the men. Later, in New York City, reporter Blair Maynard convinces his editor to let him investigate the latest vessel missing in the “Bermuda Triangle,” claiming that 600 boats have vanished in that area in the last three years. In his office, Maynard is surprised to find his former wife has left their son, Justin, with him for the weekend. Maynard cajoles the reluctant boy into travelling to Florida, promising a trip to Disneyland. However, when Maynard prioritizes the investigation first, Justin accuses him of backing out on another promise, and manipulates his father into purchasing a handgun for him. Elsewhere, two sailboats stop near the island as night falls. During the night, pirates attack the boats, killing everyone except for a young girl. The next day, Maynard and Justin visit the Miami docks and learn of the two additional missing boats, which set sail from the island of Navidad. A sailor theorizes that drug smuggling is involved and explains it is common in that part of the ocean. Maynard hires a rickety cargo plane to fly to Navidad, but the plane’s wheels do not descend and they crash land. The pilot, Maynard, and Justin escape just before the plane explodes. Later, Justin wanders the beach as Maynard is directed to Windsor, who rents boat. Windsor refuses Maynard’s request, but changes his mind upon meeting Justin. The boy is excited to deep sea fish and catches a barracuda. ... +


A deep sea fishing boat docks for the night near a seemingly deserted, uncharted island. As the cabin boy, Manuel, serves drinks, a pirate appears and kills the men. Later, in New York City, reporter Blair Maynard convinces his editor to let him investigate the latest vessel missing in the “Bermuda Triangle,” claiming that 600 boats have vanished in that area in the last three years. In his office, Maynard is surprised to find his former wife has left their son, Justin, with him for the weekend. Maynard cajoles the reluctant boy into travelling to Florida, promising a trip to Disneyland. However, when Maynard prioritizes the investigation first, Justin accuses him of backing out on another promise, and manipulates his father into purchasing a handgun for him. Elsewhere, two sailboats stop near the island as night falls. During the night, pirates attack the boats, killing everyone except for a young girl. The next day, Maynard and Justin visit the Miami docks and learn of the two additional missing boats, which set sail from the island of Navidad. A sailor theorizes that drug smuggling is involved and explains it is common in that part of the ocean. Maynard hires a rickety cargo plane to fly to Navidad, but the plane’s wheels do not descend and they crash land. The pilot, Maynard, and Justin escape just before the plane explodes. Later, Justin wanders the beach as Maynard is directed to Windsor, who rents boat. Windsor refuses Maynard’s request, but changes his mind upon meeting Justin. The boy is excited to deep sea fish and catches a barracuda. As they head further out, they see a girl floating near a life raft. Justin reaches for her, but the girl pulls him into the water and attempts to drown him. As Maynard moves to rescue his son, a pirate boards the boat and attacks. Maynard shoots and kills the pirate, but the body falls into Maynard, knocking him unconscious. Maynard regains consciousness on the island where he and Justin are prisoners of a band of pirates. When the pirates’ leader, Nau, learns Maynard’s name, he declares Maynard’s ancestors killed the pirate Blackbeard and therefore, the boy has “good blood.” They take Justin away, informing Maynard that the boy is no longer his son. Beth, the dead pirate’s widow, demands Maynard’s death, but Nau determines that she needs a man who can impregnate her, and Maynard is sentenced to that task. Meanwhile, Justin’s eyes are pried open with twigs to keep him awake as the pirates rename him Tubar and brainwash the boy to reject his father and embrace their way of life. Days later, Justin practices shooting with Manuel, the former cabin boy who is also Nau’s protégé. A gourd is placed in Maynard’s hand and Justin shoots it, claiming he could have killed his father if he wanted to. Maynard claims people are searching for them, but Justin rejects his father and insists he is the pirate Tubar. Maynard is shackled and lead about by a chain, but glimpses the combination lock’s packaging and gets the code. Late at night, as Beth sleeps, he unlocks his chains and sneaks outside. He sees Justin in another hut, being instructed in the pirates’ history. Maynard runs to the beach and dives into the ocean, but is stung by jellyfish and forced to swim ashore. Beth finds him just before the others rush to the beach, and she claims they were bathing. The other pirates do not believe her, pull jellyfish from the ocean and rub the stingers over her as punishment. The next day, as Maynard works alongside Beth, he sees Windsor arrive in a boat. Beth chases Maynard as he runs to warn Windsor, but learns the man is colluding with the pirates. A schooner approaches the island and, as the pirates prepare for battle, Windsor admits he reported Maynard and Justin as lost at sea, and reveals the pirates are an “anthropologist’s dream,” having preserved their culture by living apart from the world for hundreds of years. However, the pirates’ inbreeding has created numerous problems. They need Justin to carry on their leadership, and since Beth is the only fertile woman, they require Maynard’s genes to replenish their line. The pirates take Maynard and Justin with them and sail for the schooner. They board the ship, and the slaughter begins as the pirates steal anything of value, except for the large supply of cocaine being smuggled inside. Maynard spots a flare gun and places it among Beth’s loot. When one of the ship’s occupants climbs a mast to escape, Nau hands Justin a gun and orders him to shoot. Justin kills the man before the pirates leave the schooner, blowing it up behind them. At camp, Beth finds the flare gun and tosses it aside, but Windsor takes it. Later, in the hut, Beth informs Maynard that she is pregnant. Maynard asks to be set free, but she declines, drags him outside, and demands that they be married. After the wedding vows, Nau declares that he is taking Justin as his son, instead of Manuel, as originally planned. Manuel is furious and leaves camp. Later, as Beth bathes, Manuel frees Maynard and offers to help him leave if he takes Justin. Maynard sneaks to the campfire where everyone is asleep, gags his son, and carries him to Manuel’s boat, but when he sets Justin down, the boy runs screaming for Nau. Maynard sets sail, but Manuel had sabotaged the boat and it sinks, forcing Maynard to swim back to shore. The next morning, Justin asks to lead the hunt for his father, and Nau agrees. As the others search, Nau and Windsor observe Coast Guard ships arriving to investigate the multitude of cocaine packets floating free from the schooner’s wreckage. As Windsor heads to intercept them, he discovers that Maynard spilled gunpowder across the deserted camp. Windsor grabs an ax, but Beth shoots him, allowing Maynard to light the gunpowder and destroy the camp. Seeing the explosion, the Coast Guard sends a boat to investigate, but the pirates attack the men. Maynard swims toward the ship as Nau, Justin, and Manuel don Coast Guard life vests and pretend to be the returning landing party. At the ship, the pirates climb aboard and start killing. An officer relays a “May Day” message before he is shot. As the pirates toss supplies into their boats, Maynard sneaks onboard, climbs to the upper deck, discovers a machine gun, and opens fire. Nau, Justin, and Manuel hide as the rest of the pirates die. When the machine gun is empty, Nau orders Justin to kill his father, but he cannot, so Manuel reaches for Justin’s gun. As the boys struggle, Manuel is killed. Nau takes the gun and pulls Justin inside the ship, but Maynard finds a flare gun and follows. As Nau shoots out the lights and binds Justin with ropes, Maynard fires a flare and sees Justin’s location. The boy calls for his father as Nau attacks with a knife, and Maynard shoots a flare at the pirate, killing him. Maynard rushes to his son as rescuers arrive. +

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

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