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Film / The Island at the Top of the World

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The Island at the Top of the World is a 1974 adventure movie made by Disney based on the 1968 novel The Lost Ones by Ian Cameron.

Inspired by Jules Verne-like adventure stories, the movie is about wealthy British industrialist Sir Anthony Ross who in 1907 arranges an expedition to the Arctic in the search of his son with the help of an American archaeologist, an eccentric French inventor and captain of a dirigible and their (forcefully enrolled) Eskimo guide. In the quest they accidentally uncover a Lost Colony of Vikings totally isolated from society, thus living like they did a thousand years in the past.

The film is infamous in some Disney fandom circles as being the centerpiece and Achilles' Heel of one of the most prominent examples of What Could Have Been in the Disney Theme Parks, a steampunk land known as Discovery Bay proposed for Disneyland. Though the film's failure spelled doom for the original project, the Hyperion found its way into Disneyland Paris and occasionally finds itself connected to other attractions through Story Breadcrumbs hidden here and there.


This film provides examples of:

  • Bad Boss: Sir Anthony's single minded determination to find his son causes him to butt heads repeatedly with Captain Brieux and Professor Ivarsson, and kidnap Oomiak.
  • Cool Airship: The Hyperion.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Once the Vikings realize they can't kill them (and The Gothi's death certainly helps) the Vikings agree to let them go peacefully as far as one of them stays behind.
  • Elephant Graveyard: Or in this case a whale graveyard.
  • Green Aesop: Prof. Ivarsson volunteers to stay behind saying that if humanity is foolish enough to destroy itself this could be humanity’s last refuge.
  • Hidden Elf Village: Astragard, the isolated Viking village.
  • Hindenburg Incendiary Principle: The Hyperion is set on fire when a Viking fires a burning arrow at it.
  • Horny Vikings: Averted, the Norsemen use historically accurate helmets with no horns.
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  • Karmic Death: The Gothi causes his own death by shooting an arrow to the dirigible causing it to fall covered in flames.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The Team Pet is a small Cooker Spaniel.
  • Sexy Scandinavian: Freya, the main Love Interest of Donald (Sir Anthony’s son).
  • Token Minority: The Eskimo guide Oomiak played by Japanese actor Mako.