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Treasure Island

Released Aug 17, 1934 1h 45m Adventure List
100% Tomatometer 9 Reviews 73% Audience Score 1,000+ Ratings
Young Jim Hawkins (Jackie Cooper) works at the Admiral Benbow Inn with his mother. Soon after Billy Bones (Lionel Barrymore), a stranger, arrives and starts ranting about treasure, he dies. Jim finds a map in his possessions leading to a pirate's treasure stash. Squire Trelawney (Nigel Bruce) is convinced to raise money for an expedition. Pirate Long John Silver (Wallace Beery) infiltrates the voyage as ship's cook, bringing his crew with him and preparing to mutiny and steal the treasure. Read More Read Less
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Critics Reviews

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Otis Ferguson The New Republic The frank swagger of the story was caught from the first, and somewhere near the first there was a fine sequence of the ship getting under weigh, one of the most lovely I have seen. Jan 23, 2024 Full Review Forsyth Hardy Cinema Quarterly The film is, until the maudlin final scene comes, a lively record of swashbuckling adventure, broad in its sweep, exciting in its photography and, curiously, distinguished by a more stirring sense of British patriotism than most of our own films. Feb 3, 2021 Full Review Meyer Levin (Patterson Murphy) Esquire Magazine Swell production of Stevenson's classic. Some knock-out sailingship shots; a prize gallery of rough-neck facial make-ups. Apr 21, 2020 Full Review Ann Ross Maclean's Magazine The Stevenson classic done in fine eighteenth century style. Aug 1, 2019 Full Review Graham Greene The Spectator Even a child can recognise the greater dignity and depth of this Scottish presbyterian's Mansoul written in terms of an adventure story for a boys' magazine. May 8, 2018 Full Review Charles Cassady Common Sense Media Spry adaptation of beloved pirate yarn has a treasured cast. Rated: 3/5 Dec 15, 2010 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

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Steve D Never liked the story and this version is worse than most. Rated 0.5 out of 5 stars 12/25/23 Full Review Charles T I lucked out in high school. I had a good streak of English teachers. While other classes were reading "The Great Gatsby," "The Pigman," and "Hamlet," I was entrenched in "Frankenstein," "In Cold Blood," and "Macbeth." Another classic I got to avoid was "Treasure Island." After watching the 1934 film version, I kind of get the feeling Robert Louis Stevenson's book was better. Jim Hawkins (Jackie Cooper) and his mother (Dorothy Peterson) run a small inn in England. One night a creepy paranoid drunk named Billy Bones (Lionel Barrymore) checks in, demanding Jim watch out for a one-legged man who wants to get Billy and the secret he carries in his ship's chest. Billy does call attention to himself, and drinks himself into an early grave, just as mysterious men descend on the inn, looking for Billy's secret- a treasure map. Jim has taken the map, shown it to the local magistrate/doctor Livesey (Otto Kruger), and the local squire Trelawney (Nigel Bruce) funds an expedition to the Caribbean to find Billy Bones' treasure. The ship, the Hispaniola, is being captained by Smollett (Lewis Stone), but the hired crew keeps disappearing before they set sail. A one-legged local tavern owner named Long John Silver (Wallace Beery) is hired on as cook, and he conveniently fills out the crew with friends of his. Of course, Silver is the one-legged man Bones was warning Jim about. Silver goes about befriending the boy, all the while picking up clues on where Bones' treasure is. Silver's crew begins murdering the rest of the original crew, and after Jim warns the captain and others of Silver's plan, there is a mad rush for the treasure once the ship hits the island. Beery and Cooper teamed before, more successfully I have heard, in "The Champ" a couple of years earlier. In that film, Cooper's incessant crying had the film audiences of the day in tears themselves, and from clips I have seen of the film, I can understand why. He was incredibly good then, not overly cute, and very believable. Here, as Jim, he cries again at Silver's doings, but it does not come off as well. As Silver continuously manipulates Jim, and is caught and called out on it, Jim sobs, then goes right back to the well for more. It comes to the point where Jim's naivete becomes Jim's irritating stupidity, as he doesn't seem to learn a thing- from the very beginning of the film to the strange final scene. And oh, what Jim sees! Director Fleming was more an action director, making his "The Wizard of Oz" and "Gone With the Wind," his best known films, notable in that he took over from someone else on both. "Treasure Island" is violent, even for the mid-1930's. One man is run over by a wagon, and we see him scream and writhe. Murders occur around Jim at an alarming rate. Jim is threatened and grabbed, and even forced to kill. Yet, Jim keeps seeing the good in the murderous Silver, and Fleming fills the screen with bloody mayhem- accompanied by light sea shanties, and comic relief from Charles "Chic" Sale as Ben Gunn, a man who has been on the treasured island for three years without human contact. The tone is so off, and so weird, I watched to see what horrors Jim would experience next, and bottle up inside. Someone should write a sequel where Jim ends up in an insane asylum like Bedlam, a quivering mass of jelly expecting drunkards and one-legged men to pop out and attack him. Beery and Cooper don't even try English accents, and while well-shot, the film is stagy. The ship scenes work, and some of the supporting performances are great- Barrymore especially- but you can often see poor Beery's leg merely bent up to look absent, thanks to some lousy editing. While this outing of "Treasure Island" isn't all bad, coming from the Golden Age of Cinema, the 1930's, it is a disappointment. I'll give the superior "Mutiny on the Bounty" and "Captains Courageous" another look next time I feel the need for big boats and bigger water. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 09/27/23 Full Review Shadowman4710 One of the earliest and still one of the best of the Treasure Island adaptations. Jackie Cooper is pretty solid (he was 11 at the time) as Jim Hawkins as he's paired once again with Wallace Beery as Long John Silver (they had co-starred in 1931 in "The Champ. The supporting cast is also very good, which includes Lionel Barrymore as Billy Bones and Nigel Bruce as Squire Tralawny. There are some excellent action sequences here and the film really holds up as an action/adventure yarn, even after 90 years. Worth watching for fans of the story. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 08/10/23 Full Review deke p Awesome! cuz: 1934! WALLACE BEERY! JACKIE COOPER! Classic novel! I dimly remember it as only saw it as a kid. Wish it was on tv now. (note also xlnt was ROBERT NEWTON as the pirate in the remake about 1950) Rated 4 out of 5 stars 03/30/23 Full Review ashley h Treasure Island is a decent film. It is about young Jim Hawkins who is torn between his loyalty to his benefactors and his affection for lovable rogue Long John Silver in their struggle to recover a buried pirate treasure. Jackie Cooper and Lionel Barrymore give good performances. The screenplay is a little slow in places. Victor Fleming did an alright job directing this movie. I liked this motion picture because of the adventure. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member The Best Cast - The Best Version Wallace Beery and Jackie Cooper hew closest to the Robert Louis Stevenson book than any of its imitators -- and it also is more adventurous and fun to watch. The chemistry Beery and Cooper exude is not to be missed. Lionel Barrymore is an unexpectedly adept pirate in the film's beginning as the opening scenes grab the audience's attention almost immediately because of the great and bold acting by Barrymore and the other principals. This movie takes you on Stevenson's journey, every pirate fleshed out, and every plot detail clear and understandable. The adventures on the island are no less engaging, and the goodbye scene between Beery and Cooper is played genuinely and is believable. This version has always been the one to beat and no one has been able to do that yet. "Repairing" the quality of this classic and finding a better way to genuinely provide natural color for it would be an improvement -- I expect new technology will revolutionize the colorization process and the poorly colorized movies of the past may be replaced by realistic masterpieces that enhance the film. This is a classic and should be in any film hall of fame. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 02/16/23 Full Review Read all reviews
Treasure Island

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Cast & Crew

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Movie Info

Synopsis Young Jim Hawkins (Jackie Cooper) works at the Admiral Benbow Inn with his mother. Soon after Billy Bones (Lionel Barrymore), a stranger, arrives and starts ranting about treasure, he dies. Jim finds a map in his possessions leading to a pirate's treasure stash. Squire Trelawney (Nigel Bruce) is convinced to raise money for an expedition. Pirate Long John Silver (Wallace Beery) infiltrates the voyage as ship's cook, bringing his crew with him and preparing to mutiny and steal the treasure.
Victor Fleming
Production Co
Original Language
Release Date (Theaters)
Aug 17, 1934, Original
Release Date (Streaming)
Dec 1, 2014
1h 45m
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