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A castaway is a person who is cast adrift or ashore. While the situation usually happens after a shipwreck, some people voluntarily stay behind on a deserted island either to evade their captors or the world in general. Alternatively a person or item can be cast away, meaning rejected or discarded.

The provisions and resources available to castaways allow them to live on the island until other people arrive to take them off the island. However, such rescue missions may never happen if the person is not known to still be alive, the fact that they are missing is unknown or if the island is not mapped. These scenarios have given rise to the plots of numerous stories in the form of novels and film.


Castaways in popular culture

Various novels, television shows and films tell the story of castaways:

Pre-20th century


This is a list of fiction. There are also memoirs such as Castaway.


Title Director Notable cast Summary Released Notes
The Blue Lagoon W. Bowden, Dick Cruickshanks Molly Adair First film adaptation of the novel. 1923
Mr. Robinson Crusoe A. Edward Sutherland Douglas Fairbanks A yachtsman makes a bet his friends that he can swim ashore on a remote island in the South Seas with nothing but a toothbrush and be "living the life of Riley" when they return. 1932
The Blue Lagoon Frank Launder Jean Simmons, Donald Houston Second film adaptation of the novel. 1949
Swiss Family Robinson Ken Annakin John Mills, Dorothy McGuire, James MacArthur Walt Disney adaptation based on the book of the same name. 1960
In Search of the Castaways Robert Stevenson Hayley Mills, Maurice Chevalier, George Sanders, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Michael Anderson, Jr. Walt Disney adaptation based on the book of the same name. 1962
Lord of the Flies Peter Brook James Aubrey, Tom Chapin and Hugh Edwards Based on the book of the same name. 1963 Awards: 1 NBR Award
Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N. Byron Paul Dick Van Dyke Walt Disney adaptation based on the book of the same name. 1966 Awards: 1 Golden Laurel
Hell in the Pacific John Boorman Lee Marvin, Toshiro Mifune An American pilot and a Japanese naval captain match wits when both are marooned on an uninhabited island during World War II. 1968
Swept Away Lina Wertmüller Giancarlo Giannini, Mariangela Melato A rich woman and a communist sailor are stranded on a Mediterranean island. 1974 Awards: 1 David di Donatello Award, 1 other award
The Blue Lagoon Randal Kleiser Brooke Shields, Christopher Atkins, Leo McKern Two shipwrecked children grow up on a tropical island. 1980 Third film version of the novel.
Castaway Nicolas Roeg Oliver Reed, Amanda Donohoe Based on the book of the same name. 1986
Lord of the Flies Harry Hook Balthazar Getty, Chris Furrh, Danuel Pipoly Shipwrecked on a tropical island, a group of English schoolchildren eventually revert to savagery in spite of the efforts of a few rational children. 1990 Remake of the 1963 film of the same title.
Return to the Blue Lagoon William A. Graham Brian Krause, Milla Jovovich, Lisa Pelikan The son of the original castaways is marooned with a young girl on a tropical island. 1991 Sequel to The Blue Lagoon.
Robinson Crusoe Rod Hardy, George T. Miller Pierce Brosnan Film adaptation loosely based on the novel. 1997
Six Days Seven Nights Ivan Reitman Harrison Ford, Anne Heche, David Schwimmer A New York magazine editor and a pilot fight pirates and face other dangers after crash landing on a deserted South Seas island. 1998
Cast Away Robert Zemeckis Tom Hanks After surviving a plane crash, a FedEx systems analyst finds himself stranded on a deserted island. 2000 Awards: 1 Golden Globe, 15 other awards
Swept Away Guy Ritchie Madonna, Adriano Giannini, Bruce Greenwood Remake of the 1974 film of the same title. 2002
Survival Island Stewart Raffill Billy Zane, Kelly Brook, Juan Pablo Di Pace A love triangle turns deadly when a husband and wife, and her lover, are stranded on a desert island. 2005
The Breed Nicholas Mastandrea Michelle Rodriguez, Oliver Hudson, Taryn Manning A group of college students fly to a "deserted" island for a party weekend find themselves under siege by murderous hounds. 2006
Life of Pi Ang Lee Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Adil Hussain A boy along with a Tiger gets cast away in sea in a shipwreck. 2012 Awards: 4 Academy Awards, 1 Golden Globe, 2 BAFTAs, 51 other awards


Title Network Notable cast Summary Years Notes
Gilligan's Island CBS Bob Denver, Alan Hale, Jr., Jim Backus, Natalie Schafer, Tina Louise, Russell Johnson, Dawn Wells Classic sitcom about seven castaways stranded on a desert island. 1964-1967 Awards: 3 TV Land Awards, 1 other award
The Admirable Crichton NBC Norman Barrs, Pamela Brown, Edward Cicciarelli A group of English aristocrats are shipwrecked when their yacht runs around on a South Pacific island. 1968 Television film
The New People ABC Tiffany Bolling, Zooey Hall, David Moses A group of young college students are stranded after their plane crashes on a mysterious island in the south Pacific Ocean. 1969-1970
Lost Flight NBC Lloyd Bridges, Anne Francis, Ralph Meeker The crew and passengers of a jet airliner crash struggle to survive on an uninhabited South Pacific island. 1970 Television film
Der Seawolf ZDF
Edward Meeks, Raimund Harmstorf, Reinhard Glemnitz Based on the book of the same name. 1971-1973 Television mini-series
The Cay NBC James Earl Jones, Alfred Lutter III Based on the book of the same name. 1974 Television film
Shogun NBC Richard Chamberlain, Toshiro Mifune, Yoko Shimada An English navigator and his crew are shipwrecked in feudal Japan. 1980 Television mini-series.
Awards: 3 Golden Globes, 5 other awards
Danger Island NBC Lisa Banes, Richard Beymer, Maria Celedonio A group of vacationers survive an airliner at sea on a flight and are cast ashore on a mysterious island. 1992 Television film
Mysterious Island Family Channel Alan Scarfe, Colette Stevenson, Stephen Lovatt Based on the book of the same name. 1995
Bermuda Triangle ABC Sam Behrens, Susanna Thompson, Lisa Jakub After their boat sinks in an unusual storm, a family become stranded on an island in the "27th dimension". 1996 Television film
Forbidden Island Nikita Ager, Paul Kersey, Grayson McCouch Survivors of a plane crash are stranded on a mysterious tropical island which possesses supernatural powers. 1999
Survivor CBS N/A Reality television series that pits contestants against each other on various remote island areas. 2000-
Castaway 2000 BBC N/A Reality television series in which a volunteer community lived for a year on the previously uninhabited Taransay in the Outer Hebrides 2000-2001
Jumping Ship Disney Channel Joey Lawrence, Matthew Lawrence, Andrew Lawrence Three brothers sailing to Australia for summer vacation are forced to abandon ship during an encounter with modern-day pirates. 2001 Television movie. Sequel to Horse Sense.
Dinotopia ABC Tyron Leitso, Wentworth Miller, David Thewlis Two American teenage boys on a joyride in their father's plane crash land on an isolated island where humans and sentient dinosaurs peacefully coexist. 2002 Television mini-series.
Awards: 1 Primetime Emmy, 5 other awards
Lost ABC Terry O'Quinn, Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, Josh Holloway, Jorge Garcia Drama series about the 48 survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 as they try to survive on a mysterious island in the South Pacific. 2004-2010 Awards: 1 Golden Globe, 56 other awards
Mysterious Island Hallmark Channel Kyle MacLachlan, Gabrielle Anwar, Patrick Stewart Based on the book of the same name. 2005 Television film
Flight 29 Down Discovery Kids Allen Alvarado, Jeremy James Kissner, Johnny Pacar Adventure series about teenagers after a plane crash on an island somewhere in the South Pacific. 2005-2010
Blue Lagoon: The Awakening Lifetime Indiana Evans, Brenton Thwaites Remake of the The Blue Lagoon set in the 21st century. 2012 Television film
Arrow WBTD Stephen Amell, Katie Cassidy, Colin Donnell Based on the fictional character Green Arrow. Oliver Queen is a castaway, and to survive he must forge himself into a weapon. He goes on to become a vigilante crime-fighter to clean up his city. 2012-


Minor part of the story

Castaways are part of other stories as well, where the event is not the central plot but is still an important aspect. Examples include:

Desert Island Discs

Desert Island Discs is a BBC Radio 4 interview show in which the subject is invited to consider themselves as a castaway on a desert island, and then select their eight favourite records, one favourite book (in addition to The Bible and books by Shakespeare), and a luxury inanimate object to occupy their time.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Castaway" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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