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Film / Treasure Island (1990)

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The 1990 made-for-television film adaptation of the adventure novel Treasure Island, starring Christian Bale as Jim Hawkins and Charlton Heston as Long John Silver, along with Oliver Reed as Billy Bones and Christopher Lee as Blind Pew.

A map for the treasure of Captain Flint, a feared buccaneer on the Spanish Main, is discovered among the possessions of an old pirate, and an expedition sets forth to claim it. However, Flint's former crew manages to slip among it, and upon reaching the island, they try to claim the treasure for themselves.

This film has examples of:

  • Adaptational Badass
    • Hunter goes from just being a brave and steady Red Shirt to a man who charges through a field of fire with a pistol in each hand to provide cover for Captain Smollett to throw a bomb at the pirates. Once Smollett is wounded, Hunter grabs the bomb and makes the run himself without any covering fire.
    • Joyce gets an Adaptational Comic Relief treatment due to some polite but nervous dialogue that emphasizes his lack of experience with weapons. He also survives the wound that killed him in the book and proceeds to kill multiple pirates during the battle of the stockade.
  • Adventurous Irish Violins: The score was composed by Paddy Moloney of the Irish band The Chieftans.
  • The Alcoholic: Billy Bones spends his days drinking rum, which eventually leads to his death after receiving the black spot.
  • The Aloner: Ben Gunn and several associates tried to find Flint's treasure by themselves without his map. Frustrated by being unable to find the thing, his partners marooned him on the island and left. He has been on the island for over three years before the events of the film.
  • Alliterative Name: Billy Bones, the brown old seaman who makes Admiral Benbow Inn his home.
  • Big Bad: Long John Silver, the leader of the Flint's former crew and the rest of the mutineers aboard Hispaniola.
  • Foreshadowing: Upon aboard the vessel, Squire Trelawney makes a mention how a child could sail the Hispaniola. Later in the film, Jim Hawkins, the youngest of the crew, sneaks into into the ship, and with a help of his pirate captive Israel Hands, sails it to the other side of the eponymous island to hide it from Silver's men.
  • Composite Character: Gray the carpenter and Squire Trelawney's manservant Hunter are combined into one character who has Gray's status as a crewman and survivor but Hunter's name and role in accompanying Dr. Livesey on a scouting trip.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: As he drunkenly fights his fellow guard aboard Hispaniola, Israel Hands breaks a bottle over the guy's head.
  • Guns Akimbo: Jim Hawkins carries two flintlock-pistols that he found on Billy Bones' seachest on his person, and later has to blast Israel Hands with them as he threatens to kill him.
  • Handicapped Badass: Silver lost his left leg to a broadside a long time ago, but still manages to kill a man much younger than him in a fight.
    • Despite being completely unable to see, Blind Pew proves to be a vicious and dangerous man, almost killing Jim and his mother by himself.
  • In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: The opening titles present the film as Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island.
  • Karma Houdini: In the end, Long John Silver Manages to make his escape from Hispaniola on a boat with a small portion of treasure with him.
  • Leitmotif: The film features leitmotifs provided by the Chieftains for the loyals, the pirates, the island, and the ship. The only character to have his own leitmotif is Silver, however.
  • Pirate Parrot: Silver's parrot, which is mostly seen sitting on his shoulder.
  • The Place: The eponymous Treasure Island, which is even called by that name by the map pointing towards it.
  • The Siege: The honest men of Hispaniola discover an old stockade in the island, and make it their stronghold. And after a parley, the pirates are soon upon them with swords, muskets and a cannon, since they have the map.
  • Slashed Throat: For Silver's men, the first morning on the island is a rough one as they found few of their number with their throats slit, courtesy of Ben Gunn.
  • Sword Fight: The terse meeting between Billy Bones and his old shipmate Black Dog about the treasure map erupts into a brief swordfight.
  • Use Your Head: As they have their blades locked in a fight, Billy Bones headbutts Black Dog, causing his nose to bleed.