Follow TV Tropes


Film / Robinson Crusoe on Mars

Go To

Robinson Crusoe on Mars is a 1964 Science Fiction film that adapted the classic novel Robinson Crusoe to an IN SPACE! setting.

Next Sunday A.D. (at least from the viewpoint of when it was made), Martian Gravity Probe 1 approaches the Red Planet; unfortunately, at the last minute a close call with a meteor forces the two-man (plus one monkey) crew to eject. Now, Commander Christopher "Kit" Draper (Paul Mantee) must struggle to survive on the desolate Martian surface with only his skills, cunning, and the limited supplies on his escape pod. And soon, he discovers he's not alone (and no, we don't mean the monkey).

Notable for featuring Adam West in a major role two years before he became famous for Batman (1966).

A Criterion Collection LaserDisc edition was released in 1994, and a remastered DVD edition came out in 2007.


Provides Examples Of:

  • Almost Out of Oxygen: A constant problem for Draper (especially while sleeping) until he figures out how to extract oxygen from the rocks around him and sets up a Bamboo Technology sand clock to wake him up for regular O2 boosts.
  • Artistic License – Astronomy: Friday supposedly comes from the star Alnilam (the center star in Orion's' belt), which is a blue supergiant that is extremely unlikely to have planets with complex life.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Air pills and the occasional sip of oxygen from a tank won't protect you from the subfreezing temperatures and near-vacuum atmospheric pressure of the Martian environment.
  • Dead Person Conversation: At one point, a combination of loneliness, guilt, and food poisoning cause Draper to hallucinate that the dead Colonel McReady is staring at him silently.
  • Advertisement:
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Especially when they help you find food and water, and provide someone to talk to.
  • Filk Song: Victor Lundin (the actor who played Friday) was also a singer/songwriter with two albums to his credit. He composed the song "Robinson Crusoe On Mars", which he performed at science-fiction convention appearances.
  • Food Pills: Draver lives off of food tubes from his survival pack until he discovers some sausage-like plants with the help of Mona the monkey.
  • Gravity Sucks: The act of dodging the meteor at the start of the movie forces Draper's ship into a lower orbit which ostensibly allows Mars to pull it even further down. Ironically, after the crew ejects it remains in orbit (albeit without fuel), periodically taunting Draper until he sends it a destruct signal.
  • Hope Spot: Draper sees the parachute to Colonel McReady's escape pod and joyously runs toward it, only to find the pod (along with his commanding officer) smashed and half-buried in the ground.
  • Human Aliens: Friday, his fellow slaves, and their masters.
  • I Owe You My Life: Draper rescues Friday as his former masters open fire from their spaceships; in return, Friday shares his air pills with his savior, and later saves him from being buried in debris from an exploding meteor.
  • Instructional Film: Draper engages in a snarky one-sided conversation with the stuffy presenter of a survival instruction film.
  • Jitter Cam: Draper uses a video camera to record the aliens' actions; the playback looks like this as he crouched behind a rock while he filmed.
  • Lampshading/Name Drop: As his ordeal on Mars goes on, Draper actually refers to himself as "Robinson Crusoe" and to the alien slave he rescues as "Friday".
  • Older Than They Look: When Draper finally gets the second black bracelet off of Friday, he asks how long he had it on. Friday replies "Sixty-two years". He then explains he's seventy-eight (although it's unclear how long he considers a year). For the record, the actor who played him (Victor Lundin) was 34 when the movie was released.
  • Reactionless Drive: The human spaceship uses conventional retrorockets to maneuver, but the aliens' spaceships can stop on a dime.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Draper's survival kit includes one.
  • Robinsonade: Well, duh.
  • Sci-Fi Bob Haircut: Friday's "Prince Valiant" hairdo is a not-too-common male example.
  • Shock Collar: Friday's black bracelets act like this until Draper cuts them off.
  • Stock Footage: Of volcanic eruptions and avalanches as Draper and Friday make their way across the Martian surface.
  • Yellow Rocks: The yellow rocks Draper finds serve as fuel for a campfire and naturally generate enough oxygen to keep him alive after his air tanks run out.
  • Zeerust: Draper's equipment and the interior of Mars Gravity Probe 1 definitely have a 1950s-early 60s "Conquest Of Space" feel.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: