Duration ScreenplayRobert Louis Stevenson LanguageEnglish
Release dateJanuary 22, 1990 (US) WriterFraser Clarke Heston, Robert Louis Stevenson (novel) Music directorThe Chieftains, Paddy Moloney CastCharlton Heston (Long John Silver), Christian Bale (Jim Hawkins), Oliver Reed (Billy Bones), Christopher Lee (Blind Pew) Similar moviesPeter Pan, The Samurai Pirate, Treasure Island, Pan, Captain Phillips, Castle in the Sky
Treasure Island is a 1990 TV film adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous 1883 novel Treasure Island, written & directed by Fraser Clarke Heston (Charlton Heston's son), and also starring several notable British actors, including Christian Bale, Oliver Reed, Christopher Lee (both of whom had starred alongside Heston in the 1973 Three Musketeers film), Julian Glover and Pete Postlethwaite.
The film was an original production filmed and aired by the TNT network, and was also released theatrically outside the US. The title has appeared on some covers as "Devils Treasure", rather than "Treasure Island". This version of the story is noted for its faithfulness to the book, with much of the dialogue coming directly from it, as well as recreating several of the more violent scenes from the book.
Treasure island 1990 charlton heston premiere intro
Jim Hawkins (Christian Bale) discovers a treasure map and embarks on a journey to find the treasure, but pirates led by Long John Silver (Charlton Heston) have plans to take the treasure for themselves by way of mutiny.
Charlton Heston as Long John Silver
Christian Bale as Jim Hawkins
Oliver Reed as Billy Bones
Christopher Lee as Blind Pew
Richard Johnson as Squire Trelawney
Julian Glover as Dr Livesey
Isla Blair as Mrs Hawkins
Clive Wood as Captain Smollet
Nicholas Amer as Ben Gunn
John Abbott as Joyce
James Cosmo as Redruth
James Coyle as Morgan
Michael Halsey as Israel Hands
Michael Thoma as Hunter
Pete Postlethwaite as George Merry
Robert Putt as Job Anderson
John Benfield as Black Dog
Richard Beale as Mr Arrow
Brett Fancy as Young Tom
Steven Mackintosh as Dick
Bill Sloan as Scarface
It was filmed in 1989 on location in Cornwall, England, in Jamaica, and also at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, England. The replica ship Bounty II was used as the fictional Hispaniola on film. It was originally constructed for the film "Mutiny on The Bounty", and was set to be destroyed at the end of the film but Marlon Brando protested and the ship was kept intact. It sank off the coast of the Carolinas during Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.
According to Allmovie, Charlton Heston "plays the character of Long John Silver as written: a cold, crafty, cunning rogue, by turns charming and deadly, but never to be underestimated" and, unlike other filmed versions of the story, the movie "adheres with utter fidelity to the Stevenson novel". However, Tom Shales of The Washington Post wrote of the film: "The mast ain't all that's mizzen in a dreary and confused new production of Treasure Island...miscasting and embarrassingly poor performance of Charlton Heston as Long John Silver, a laborious mistake from arrival (in the second half hour) to departure. That Heston is one of the most humorless hulks who ever stood before a camera helps not a bit..." (Tom Shales, The Washington Post, January 22, 1990, STYLE; PAGE B8)
The film was released on VHS and Laserdisc, which were both out of print for many years. Eventually, a DVD was released on September 27, 2011.