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Wilson is Friday to Chuck Noland's Robinson Crusoe.

"Just a castaway, an island lost at sea, oh
Another lonely day, with no one here but me, oh
More loneliness than any man could bear
Rescue me before I fall into despair, oh"
The Police, "Message In A Bottle"

A Robinsonade is a plot about characters being stranded in the wilderness far away from civilization, and forced to live off the land in order to survive. Robinsonade takes its name from the 1719 novel Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, which spawned enough imitations that its name was used to define a genre. The term was coined in 1731 by the German writer Johann Gottfried Schnabel in the Preface of his work Die Insel Felsenburg.

At its heart, the Robinsonade is a Man vs. Nature conflict. The characters are forced to battle for survival. Sometimes they succeed in style, turning their desolate location into a taste of paradise; sometimes they fail, descending into a pit of savagery. How easy this survival is depends on the location and the skill level of the person stranded. Depending on the work, the characters might find themselves in a bountiful paradise or an exceptionally hostile environment. If it's a nice enough place, and the right kind of person, they may decide they don't even want to be rescued. Sometimes the characters are already skilled survivors before they become marooned, but more often they are forced to undergo a difficult learning process full of Character Development. Additional conflicts can also be introduced. If a group of characters are marooned together, the Robinsonade allows for a variety of interpersonal interactions. Another variation is to have the location inhabited by natives, who can be either hostile or helpful.

The Deserted Island is the archetypical setting of such stories. The island serves to keep the characters on it trapped, allowing attempts to get off the island (by building a boat, constructing a signal bonfire, etc) to move the story forward. However, the location need not be an island. Any sufficiently isolated Wild Wilderness will do, such as a desert or arctic region. In Science Fiction, a deserted planet or Lost Colony can be substituted for the island.

While many such works try to depict nature in a realistic manner, others delve into the realm of Speculative Fiction. Characters may be forced to deal with some sort of strange phenomenon, such as Eldritch Abominations, dinosaurs, mutant man-eating shrews, or mutant animal human hybrids. This is especially likely if they are trapped in a Lost World.

Audiences have long been used to the kind of Robinsonade stories that hardly ever go into detail as to what exactly being stranded on a deserted island implies and what you need to do in order to survive. As a result, it's hardly surprising quite many people have developed a cynical attitude to the premise, assuming that in Real Life only the baddest of badasses with years of experience on survival in the wild could possibly dream of making it through all the way until the rescue arrives. A case of Reality Is Unrealistic as in fact most deserted islands do offer plenty of fresh water and food, provided that you know where to look and how to catch or harvest the food. There are numerous recorded cases in which even people with little to no experience of living outside the conveniences of modern civilization managed to survive for quite a while before being rescued. Experts in deserted island survival have even posted YouTube videos showing basic skills. (Protip: fresh water, shelter, fire (including signal fires), and food, in that order.)

If a character is marooned alone or is willingly choosing solitude, he may Go Mad from the Isolation. Compare with Closed Circle and Bottle Episode. Generally has nothing to do with Mrs. Robinson.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • 7 Seeds is entirely about this.
  • One Piece: A younger Sanji and Zeff were stranded this way after a storm destroyed the ship they were on.
  • Maison Ikkoku had a (subverted) desert island episode (released as an OVA) that is mostly notable for having one of the worst puns in Rumiko Takahashi history in its title, playing off "nanpa" being both "hit on/pick up girls" and "shipwreck".
    • Takahashi does it again in the Ranma ˝ manga, with Ranma and several girls fighting for their virtue when a plague turned all the males that had been shipwrecked with them into that most hideous of monsters — honeymooners on a tourist trip to Hawaii! Oh Noes!
  • Mujin Wakusei Survive puts its cast on a deserted planet, and then, just to be thorough, starts them out on an island on said planet.
  • Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water: The "Lincoln Island" arc.
  • Restaurant to Another World: Alphonse Flugel was mistaken for a Barbarian Hero when he debuted but his spotlight episode revealled that he was a shipwrecked sailor experiencing one of these, punctuated by weekly trips titular otherworld restaurant.

    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: In episode 38, the heroes wind up draining all their energy while fighting a wrecking ball monster, thus stranding them on the island where the fight took place.
  • In the Lamput episode "Cast Away", Lamput and Fat Doc are trapped in a cargo crate that floats away during a storm, while Slim Doc remains where they all were. Fat Doc and Lamput end up stranded on an island and team up to survive as Slim Doc looks for them.

    Comic Books 
  • Superman/Supergirl: Maelstrom: Implied to be the titular villain's final fate. Supergirl gets Maelstrom stranded in a faraway, primitive alien planet with no way out, and she is never seen again.
  • Green Arrow: This became the central part of Oliver Queen's backstory courtesy of Jack Kirby. Finding himself stranded on a deserted island following his yacht sinking, Ollie taught himself archery to hunt and survive. When a gang of criminals later showed up, he used his newfound skills and primitive trick arrows to take them down and escape the island. Once he reached civilization he would continue fighting crime and became the superhero known as Green Arrow.

    Comic Strips 
  • Prince Valiant: A frequent plot device is that when Val takes a sea voyage, his ship almost inevitably gets waylaid on some cursed island with a puzzle Val must solve to avoid the crew being trapped forever or killed.

    Fairy Tales 
  • In Andrew Lang's "The Elf Maiden", the main character is marooned in a deserted island. He takes up residence in an abandoned fishermen's hut, uses his only tool -a knife- to fabricate a bow and arrows, and lives off hunting birds and fishes during the cold season until a colony of elves arrive at the island.

    Fan Works 
  • Mother of Invention: The focus of the initial chapters is on Applejack's struggle to gather the materials she needs to survive on her Island of Mystery.
  • The Naked Jedi: The first story arc, "Escape From The Lost World," details how Sarza became marooned on a deserted world, trained as a Jedi, and ultimately her escape.
  • Prodigal Son: After another botched attempt at finding Helheim's Gate, Astrid winds up shipwrecked on a deserted isle, only being able to get back to Berk by taming a Deadly Nadder using Hiccup's notes.
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines: The Laramie Gaiden sidestory tells the story of Leeroy Laramie, Lara Laramie's grandfather and a veteran of the Trainer-Ranger Wars, and how after a shipwreck ends up stranded on an island with a Ranger soldier named Jenkins Jackrum who likewise was the Sole Survivor of his own crew. The two need to overcome their differences and learn to understand each other's philosophies to find their way back home.
  • Star Trek: Phoenix: After the destruction of the Enterprise, Sunset spends two years stranded on an uninhabited planet. She manages to create a basic shelter, food stores and tools, but is mostly reduced to hunting and foraging — her preference would have been to graze, but she found the local plant life toxic — until she finds the ruins of a recently-abandoned installation and scavenges enough parts to build a crude radio transmitter.

    Films — Animated 
  • Astro Kid: Centers around a boy named Willy, who finds himself crash landing on an unknown planet following the destruction of his parents' ship. With the help of Buck, a survival robot, and Flash, an alien creature he befriends, he will have to hold until the arrival of a rescue mission.
  • The first part of The Red Turtle focuses on the father and his survival on and escape attempts from the island he got stranded on.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • And Kong: Skull Island borrowed it for its Mr. Exposition's backstory. Except the Japanese guy got eaten by a monster before they could launch their escape-boat.
  • Alive was a movie based on a true story of the survivors of a plane crash in the Andes. The survivors were stranded in the mountains without food and resorted to eating the flesh of those killed in the crash.
  • The Blue Lagoon: two kids are shipwrecked and grow up on a deserted island with no adult supervision. See Literature below.
  • Cast Away: A globetrotting FedEx efficiency expert (Tom Hanks) is marooned on a tropical island after a catastrophic plane crash and must survive alone for years, leading to a monumental attempt to escape to sea.
  • Castaway on the Moon: After failing to kill himself by jumping off a bridge, the man is washed up on a deserted island in the middle of the river, but within view of the city's high-rises. He attempts to escape, but soon accepts his fate and the challenges in living on the island.
  • Castaways: The plot of the film centers on Cara and Emily, two young American women, washing up on a Deserted Island in the Pacific Ocean somewhere. Both know a lot of survival skills however, with the Deserted Island having many resources to sustain. They also are quite happy due to becoming lovers while living there.
  • Hell in the Pacific: Two soldiers, one Japanese and one American, are marooned on an island in World War II. Neither understands the other's language, and after a period of hostility, work together to survive and escape the island.
  • Jungle is the story of Yossi Ghinsberg who spends three weeks lost in The Amazon Rainforest jungle and barely survives the ordeal.
  • Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N. is this, as a comedy, with Dick Van Dyke!
  • The Martian: Shows how to do it with near-complete scientific accuracy.
  • Paradise: a Blue Lagoon ripoff starring Willie Aames & Phoebe Cates.
  • Robinson Crusoeland, aka Atoll K, aka Utopia, is the last film of Laurel and Hardy. In it Stan, Ollie, and their two companions on a yacht wind up shipwrecking on a desert island. They wind up making a little society of their own.
  • Robinson Crusoe on Mars: just what it says.
  • In Sands of the Kalahari, a disparate and desperate group of plane crash survivors are thrust into a desolate mountainous desert region somewhere within present-day Namibia.
  • Stranded, a loose Swiss Family Robinson adaptation made for television by the Hallmark Channel in 2002.
  • In Swiss Army Man the main character starts off trapped on a small desert island but is able to escape by using the farts from a magical talking corpse like a jet ski (seriously), however even after they make it to the mainland they have to survive while trekking through the wilderness to reach civilisation. The ending implies that most of the story may or may not have been All Just a Dream.
  • Swiss Family Robinson: The 1960 Disney Film of the Book, one of Disney's top grossing movies of all time, adjusting for inflation.
  • Welcome to the Jungle: The executives of an advertising company are sent on a weekend team-building survival session. Their pilot dies after they land and the person running the expedition is eliminated via a wild tiger, so they're forced to fend for themselves.

  • Robinson Crusoe (1719) is the Trope Namer and Trope Maker.
  • The German novel Die Insel Felsenburg ("The Island Rock-Castle", 1731-1743) by Johann Gottfried Schnabel. The full title somewhat gives the plot away; translated into English it reads: "Strange fates of some seafarers, specifically Albertus Julius, a native Saxon, who took to ship in his 18th year, was thrown onto a cruel cliff through shipwreck along with 3 others, discovered the most beautiful land after surmounting it, married his companion and begat a family of more than 300 souls, excellently cultivated the land, collected marvellous treasures through special chances, brought about the fortune of the friends he found in Germany. Sketched out at the end of the year 1728, the hundredth year of his life, when he was still energetically and healthily alive (as he probably still lives) by his brother's son's son's son, Monsieur Eberhard Julius, but written out for the delectation of curious readers and brought to print through commission by Gisander." It should be noted that the population of the island was replenished from time to time with other marooned sailors etc.
  • The Swiss Family Robinson (1812) by Johann David Wyss: A marooned family...
    • The original German title of the book, Der Schweizerische Robinson oder der schiffbrüchige Schweizer-Prediger und seine Familie ("The Swiss Robinson, or: The Shipwrecked Swiss Preacher and His Family") acknowledges the model. The surname of the family is never given, but almost certainly is not Robinson, which is essentially an English name.
  • The English naval officer and author Frederick Marryat wrote among other books four robinsonades. Of these Masterman Ready, or the Wreck in the Pacific (1841) has seen much success in Germany and for a while was almost as famous as Defoe's book. It was written as a reply to The Swiss Family Robinson, as Marryat considered that book to be too much in the vein of a romantic adventure.
  • The Mysterious Island (1875) by Jules Verne.
    • Verne liked this trope: he also wrote Two Years Vacation (a bunch of New Zealand schoolboys) and The Robinson Crusoe School (the good-for-nothing son of a millionaire, who feels the young man needs to be toughened up). He even did a recycled-in-space version in Off On A Comet (a collection of sailors, soldiers, a merchant, and an astronomer). The preface of Two Years Vacation acknowledges the trope, describing the infinite number of books that could be written by dropping different groups of people onto different desert islands.
    • The castaways in In Search of the Castaways (that's the film title; Verne called his book Captain Grant's Children) have spent several years marooned on the next island over from The Mysterious Island, and that book ends with its villain, Ayrton, being left marooned there, where he can be rescued by the heroes of The Mysterious Island, and redeem himself. And they in turn are rescued by the people who come back to collect Ayrton after leaving him in exile for twelve years.
  • The Blue Lagoon, 1908 novel by H. De Vere Stackpoole. This was inspired by, or a takeoff on, two earlier novellas, Primordial and Three Laws And The Golden Rule (1898-99), both by Morgan Robertson. There were many such stories being published a hundred years ago. Four years after Dick and Em, Tarzan was born.
  • The Coral Island (1857): Boys marooned, without adult company, who prosper.
  • Lord of the Flies (1954): Boys marooned, without adult company, who don't prosper. A Deconstruction of the genre, and specifically of The Coral Island (the main characters of which were named Ralph, Jack and Peterkin, corresponding to Lord of the Flies' Ralph, Jack and Piggy)
  • Tunnel in the Sky (1955), by Robert A. Heinlein — More marooned children, this time of mixed genders on an alien planet. They were intentionally marooned as part of a high school wilderness survival course. However, due to a small technological "hiccup," they were actually marooned for much longer than expected.
  • Life of Pi (2001) is this on a boat. He actually does find an island partway through, but it turns out to be made out of carnivorous algae. So he gets back on the boat and leaves. Subverted in that he made it all up, possibly
  • Jurassic Park (1990, original book by Michael Crichton) — all of them.
  • Ben Gunn in Robert Louis Stevenson 's Treasure Island (1883): Ben Gunn was marooned on the eponymous island.
  • H. G. Wells' The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896).
  • Dr. Franklin's Island (2001) by Ann Halam. Loosely based on H.G. Wells' novel, The Island of Doctor Moreau, it tells the story of three teenagers who end up on an island owned by Dr. Franklin, a brilliant but insane scientist, who wants to use them as specimens for his transgenic experiments. The first chunk of the book is them struggling to survive as "prisoners in paradise". One even references the Swiss Family Robinson, saying that that family salvaged a department store's worth of goods and they are doing pathetically in comparison.
  • "Survivor Type", a short story by Stephen King. After the ship he's on sinks, a disgraced surgeon washes up on an island. In an unusual variation, it's a tiny rocky knob with absolutely nothing growing on it. Occasionally he lucks out and catches a bird, or some dead sealife washes ashore. Guess what he eats the rest of the time. Go on, guess.
  • Hatchet (1986), by Gary Paulsen, is a YA novel about a 13-year-old boy who is lost in the northern Canadian wilderness when the light plane taking him to visit his father crashes in a lake. He starts out with only a hatchet, but later in the summer, manages to salvage some other gear from the downed plane after a storm moves it closer to the shore of the lake. It's as much a coming of age story as a Robinsonade.
    • Gary Paulsen has also written several more of these.
  • The first half of The Black Stallion by Walter Farley is a Robinsonade featuring teenaged Alec Ramsey and the titular stallion on a small island following a shipwreck.
  • The Star Wars Expanded Universe novel The Clone Wars: Wild Space has this happen to Obi-Wan and Bail Organa. As expected it's of the marooned-on-a-deserted-planet variety.
  • My Side of the Mountain plays with this trope by having the young protagonist purposefully go into the wilderness alone, with the intent of living off the land. Despite his determination to survive on his own and his careful study and preparation for wilderness survival, he still ends up visiting a nearby town from time to time.
  • There is some of this in Dragonsong when Menolly leaves her home Hold for a sea cave in a relatively unexplored area some miles away.
  • Steel Beach by John Varley has a section with this trope, initially somewhat inexplicably. It turns out to be a set of fictitious implanted memories of the protagonist spending time in a Robinson Crusoe manner living normally, used as a method of therapy by the AI overseeing everything, to try to help with psychological disorders e.g. suicidal depression
  • The Col Sec Trilogy owes a lot to the concept.
  • Friday, or, The Other Island by Michel Tournier is a literal retelling of Robinson Crusoe with the key difference that two thirds into the book pretty much every thing Robinson built is destroyed in a gunpowder explosion and Friday ends up educating Robinson in living a life more attuned to nature. When the rescue ship comes Robinson decides to stay but to his horror Friday leaves...but a young boy from the ship has also decided to sneak onto the island. Robinson names him "Sunday".
  • The Cay (1969, by Theodore Taylor): A black man and a blind, racist white boy get stranded on an island.
  • The Flight Of The Phoenix by Elleston Trevor (1964). The plot involves the crash of a transport aircraft in the middle of a desert and the survivors' desperate attempt to save themselves. The book was the basis for the 1965 film The Flight of the Phoenix starring James Stewart and the 2004 remake.
  • The Martian (2011) by Andy Weir. Mark Watney was left for dead when disaster struck his expedition to Mars. He'll have to survive on his own and travel thousands of miles to the landing site of the next mission, which isn't due for over four years.
  • Bloody Jack (2002, by L.A. Mayer): Jacky is temporarily stranded on an island after being blown away by the wind on a giant kite. She isn't stranded for too long - she survives handily for a few days, then manages to signal the warship she is employed on as a ship's boy. A boat crew comes to rescue her...only to find pirates waiting to ambush them.
  • Robert Crews by Thomas Berger is a sort of a modern-day version of Robinson Crusoe where a failed alcoholic finds himself stranded in the middle of wilderness, and must undergo Character Development, with the help of his companion Friday (who is a girl on the run from her abusive husband.)
  • Stanisław Lem:
    • In one of Lem's "Fables for Robots", Automatthew's Friend, the protagonist ends up stranded on a tiny island which - to the confusion of his titular friend - is completely devoid of convenient safe and cozy caves, crates washed ashore full of useful tools and literature, etc. Upon noticing all this, his friend concludes that the most logical thing to do in this situation is to immediately commit suicide, since the alternative is a long, slow agony.
    • A Perfect Vacuum (a book of reviews of nonexistent books) contains a review of Les Robinsonades, a retelling of Robinson Crusoe's tale where he makes up several imaginary friends out of desire for company, and things end up spiralling out of control.
  • The A. A. Milne poem "The Old Sailor" is a parody: the sailor makes a list of the many things that are essential for survival, but can't decide which of them is the most important, so he just sits on the beach waiting to be rescued instead.
  • Another very dark parody is J.G. Ballard's 1976 Concrete Island, where a guy gets stuck on a freeway island when his car crashes through the barrier on a bridge.
  • In Barbara Newhall Follett's Lost Island (written 1934, published in 2020), Jane and her friend Davidson do very well after their shipwreck, and their "rescue" is a tragedy.
  • "Westliche Robinsonade" by Fritz Spiesser is an anti-semitic Robinsonade. But at the end you pity the scheming Jew who started the whole series of events to make a philosophical point. Meaning the author was an epic fail when it comes to Nazi propaganda (or it was on purpose - his life gives subtle hints for this interpretation).
  • Scott O'Dell's Island of the Blue Dolphins (1960) is this with a twist - Karana isn't stranded far from civilization, she's stranded without civilization. When the entire population of her island is taken away on a boat, Karana must learn to survive alone in the place she's always called home by taking on all the roles her community previously filled: hunting, fishing, gathering, shelter building, making clothing, et cetera.
  • There is some of this in Earth's Children in both Clan of the Cave Bear (1980) and The Valley of Horses (1982) during periods where Ayla is exiled from the Clan. Like Karana, she uses the skills she learned from her adoptive family, and later figures out new ideas and inventions when she lives independently.
  • Beauty Queens is one long parody of this trope as the shipwrecked survivors are beauty pageant girls with only their pageant gear to help them survive. They manage to jury-rig a home anyway in ways that would make the Professor proud. Of course it helps that they soon learn that the island isn't abandoned, and while the other inhabitants may want them dead they feed and heal them first as a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing act (that the girls see through and take advantage of).
  • In the young adult novella The Island Keeper by Harry Mazer (1981) a grieving teen invokes this trope upon herself when she runs away to the small island where she and her late sister used to camp in the summer. Things get desperate when a storm destroys her canoe and she's forced to endure the Canadian winter until the lake freezes solid enough to walk out.
  • Recycled In Space in Five Against Venus, a 1952 sci-fi juvenile by Philip Latham, with a Robinson family as the protagonists.
  • Invoked in-universe in World War Z by the military when cleaning up the United States. They classified lone survivors into two groups informally. Crusoes, after the book, and Last Man on Earth. Crusoes were people that were relieved to see another, much like Crusoe when found Friday. The "lameos"? Not so much.
  • The premise of Small Game's show-within-the-story: five strangers surviving in the wild with limited gear. Anyone who can last six weeks wins a cash prize.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel: Fred. "I've been trying to make an enchilada out of tree bark."
  • Earth 2: The series combined the Robinsonade with the Space Western.
  • Flight 29 Down was a show about a bunch of kids and a pilot who got stranded on an island after their plane crashed. They split up, and the show focuses on one group of kids, while the others are off-screen with the pilot for most of the series.
  • Gilligan's Island: As the closing theme states, the castaways are left with no phone, no lights, no motorcar; Not a single luxury. Like Robinson Ca-rusoe, it's primitive as can be.
  • Land of the Lost (1974) does it with dinosaurs.
  • Lost — a Deserted Island with plenty of Phlebotinum
  • Lost in Space where the family was even the Robinsons IN SPACE!!
    • For most of season 1 they were stranded on an unknown planet. At the beginning of season 2 they managed to take off, only to crash land on an almost identical planet. D'oh! At least in season 3 they managed to actually get back into space.
    • The 2018 Netflix remake takes the same concept and gives it a slightly more hard sci-fi feel. It's also notable in that after the first few episodes they discover they aren't the only stranded families on the planet, but it's still a survival story for the whole community.
  • The Mighty Boosh: The episode "The Nightmare of Milky Joe" centers on Vince and Howard getting stranded on a tiny, tropical island. Howard fashions a companion called Milky Joe out of a coconut, which sparks Vince's envy. The pair gradually descends into madness as they invent a whole society of coconut people who slowly come to life.
  • Mythbusters did an episode on this, with the cast having to make do using only the materials found on a big pallet of duct tape.
  • Primeval stranded Abby and Connor in the Cretaceous for a year. They managed to do rather well given their lack of supplies, but although they were in good health when they returned, the entire experience was clearly traumatic. It's likely that their nascent romance played a major role in keeping them sane, together, and alive.
    • Also notable as one of the few examples on this list where running into dinosaurs would be quite normal.
  • In an episode of Quantum Leap, "The Leaping of the Shrew", Sam leaps into the body of a Greek sailor who's shipwrecked on an island with a spoiled heiress (played by Brooke Shields from the above-mentioned The Blue Lagoon), who was planning to enter an Arranged Marriage before her yacht capsized. Sam helps set up shelter for them and attempts to create a signal flare with her aerosol hairspray can, but she had used up all the hairspray. She later reveals that she intentionally emptied the hairspray cans because she had fallen in love with the sailor and didn't want to return to civilization and her arranged marriage. According to Al and Ziggy, the two would be rescued in ten years, by which time they would have four children, and would be Happily Married for many years after their rescue.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series: Kirk maroons Khan in the episode "Space Seed". Also, Zephram Cochran (inventor of Warp Drive) was stranded all alone on a deserted something-or-other in space.
    • Khan and his augments actually made a fairly good living on the world they were marooned on. Then a nearby planet exploded and it promptly became a Crapsack World and Khan's wife died...
  • Survivor takes the cynical version where everyone turns on each other and makes it an actual competition.
  • Done on the Stargate SG-1 episode "Paradise Lost". The entire plot is basically a Robinsonade IN SPACE!, with O'Neill and Maybourne stranded on a "paradise" planet (actually a moon). This added a plant that caused paranoia in anyone who ate it with Mayborne constantly noshing on it.
  • In an episode of The Mighty Boosh, Howard and Vince find themselves trapped on a deserted island. They both end up building these weird coconut people so they won't be as lonely. Weirdness ensues.
  • The Wilds features an all-female take on Lord of the Flies.
  • Yellowjackets centers around an all-female high school soccer team whose plane crashes in the Canadian wilderness and they end up stranded for 18 months. The series was inspired by talks of an all-female remake of Lord of the Flies that ended up falling into Development Hell.

    Video Games 
  • The Survival Sandbox genre itself is pretty much this by default, with some exceptions. They generally feature the same kind of mechanics and elements of being stranded in a strange, hostile environment, managing hunger/thirst/fatigue levels, literally banging rocks together to work up from primitive tools to more advanced technology, and so on.
  • Parodied in the Monkey Island games with Herman Toothrot, the crazy old hermit living on the titular island who, in the fourth game, is revealed to be the amnesiac grandfather of the Love Interest. He has a boat. He just doesn't use it because it's traditional to wait and be rescued. If you've sunk your own boat by the time you get as far as being ready to head home, Herman will even lend you his boat so that you can rescue him in it.
  • Parody: The Hub Level of Super Mario Sunshine has a pianta stuck on a desert island (about 100 feet offshore of the capital city) for "the last ten years" because he can't swim. When the ocean floods (!), he manages to swim to a city rooftop — But then he misses sitting on the island.
  • Paper Mario 2 has a chapter in which the characters are shipwrecked on an island. The community that ends up being built there flourishes, so most of the former crew decided to stay even after they get an undead pirate captain to ferry them back and fourth to the mainland whenever they want.
  • The Survival Kids/Lost in Blue series uses this as its main plot driver: You are a child (or young adult) stranded on a desert island, and must either figure out how to escape or how to thrive in your new surroundings.
  • That's also in Virtual Villagers, especially the first game. The tribe's original home was destroyed in a volcano eruption, and only five are left to explore and settle a new island.
  • Stranded: Robinsonade the Game.
  • Robinson's Requiem — it's right there in the title.
  • Tomb Raider (2013) (the Grimdark reboot) puts Lara and the crew of Endurance in this situation. The Man vs. Nature part is subverted though, because the weather really is controlled by a vengeful undead witch-queen.
  • Though not survival-oriented, Proteus certainly follows the alone-on-an-island part to the letter. There's no sign that humans ever inhabited the island, and even animals are a tad scarce, so you'd best not be craving companionship when you play.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild plays with this in the "Stranded on Eventide" quest. When you reach Eventide Island you're stripped of your entire inventory, including the clothes off your back. You're forced to scavenge for new weapons and armor in order to survive the many enemies found on the island and collect three large orbs in order to complete the trial and reclaim your things. Truth is you can leave at any time, but if you do so or wind up dead then your progress on the island is reset and you'll have to start from the beginning (and if you end up losing one of the orbs in the ocean or quicksand you'll probably have to).
  • Minecraft is something like this — you must build shelter, gather resources and fight monsters when night falls with no other humans around (excluding Villagers, who are more like neanderthals than the main character, Steve?). It can even potentially follow the trope further straight if (like this guy) you spawn on a "Far Side" Island far from any sort of mainland.
  • In The Forest, you are the survivor of a plane crash on a tropical island inhabited by cannibal tribes. The game's core requires to harvest food and various material (leaves, rocks, sticks, etc), scavenge things, build shelters (you actually can create actual camps with customized walls) and tools, make fire. And fight against the cannibals.
  • In RimWorld's default starting scenario, your first three characters are the survivors of some unspecified disaster that destroyed their visiting spacecraft, leaving them stranded on an undeveloped planet with just enough supplies to allow them to put up some shelter and live off the land. Other options added later are slight variations on the same theme, but the endgame objective is the same for all of them: Cobble together a spaceship and return to civilisation.
  • Don't Starve: The player character is dumped in the midst of a spooky forest, and must survive off the resources they can find.
  • In Stranded Deep the player drifts out to sea in a life raft, where they need to survive on a small island.
  • Starbound starts with the player stranded on an undeveloped planet (technically they have a ship in orbit, but it's derelict). While you don't technically need to build shelter, you will need to farm food, smelt ore so you can craft armor to help you survive, and so on. Building a safe house to work from is just so much more convenient than keeping things on your cramped ship.
  • Subnautica has the player start as the only remaining survivor of the crash of an exploration starship on a watery planet. Although the lifepod you start in is capable of sustaining you indefinitely, finding out what caused the crash and getting off the planet will require you to salvage equipment from scattered wreckage and build the infrastructure necessary to dive deeper and deeper. Additionally, the lifepod only contains enough rations for about two in-game days, so you must largely catch or grow your own food and distill your own fresh water from the outset.
  • In Durango: Wild Lands the player is abruptly yanked out of the modern world and thrown into a bizarre Patchwork World populated by dinosaurs and other extinct megafauna and other survivors. You must then learn how to craft weapons, cultivate food, hunt (and tame) said dinosaurs, and establish yourself in the haphazard society of castaways.
  • In Uncle Albert's Mysterious Island, we learn that Uncle Albert got stuck on an island for years back when he travelled all around the world in his youth. The situation is even compared to Robinson Crusoe's.

  • And Shine Heaven Now, with the Obligatory Desert Island arc.
  • Narbonic has the main cast on a recently deserted island just before the false ending.
  • Anna Galactic: The entire setting of the comic is about a ship stranded on an alien planet with no response to distress signals for now.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Steven Universe episode "Island Adventure" has Steven, Lars, and Sadie stuck on an island.
    • "Jungle Moon" has Stevonnie (Steven and Connie's fusion) getting stranded on a alien moon after their ship is shot down by Emerald and are forced to survive there until Lars can find and rescue them.
  • The backstory of some of the islanders for Mike, Lu & Og. The descendents of the original shipwrecked pirates are living on the other side of the island.
  • The Simpsons have an episode where Bart, Lisa, and the other kids get stranded on an Deserted Island. A Lord of the Flies parody ensues.
  • The Bugs Bunny cartoon "Rabbitson Crusoe", which features Yosemite Sam, a pair of desert islands (1 Castaway, 1 Palm Tree), and the shark Dopey Dick.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show episode "Marooned" featured the deserted planet version.
    Commander Hoek: We're marooned!
  • Barbie as the Island Princess is a light form of this trope, where Ro grew up with her animal friends, until a Prince finds the island.
  • Garfield and Friends
    • The episode "Castaway Cat" is based off Robinson Crusoe.
    • The episode "The Discount of Monte Cristo" is based on The Count of Monte Cristo, but ends in a Robinsonade so that the characters can strand Aloysius inside an imagination sequence so he won't bother them anymore.
  • The Heathcliff carton by Ruby-Spears features an episode parody of Robinson Crusoe.
  • While many Transformers media start with both sides stranded on planet Earth, Beast Wars plays the trope straight with both sides marooned on a prehistoric Earth with limited resources and no contact with any civilization, human or Cybertronian.
  • Parodied in the Duck Dodgers episode "Just the Two of Us", where Dodgers and the Martian Commander are both stuck on a desert island on an unknown planet. Although this should be an Enemy Mine situation, Dodgers is so wasteful and unconcerned with basic survival procedure that they end up in rival encampments on opposite sides of the beach. Then it turns out they're actually just one row of trees away from a busy vacation resort.
  • Gummi Bears: Gruffi and Tummi shipwreck in an island and discover there a long lost artist Gummi Bear named Gusto.
  • Milo Murphy's Law has an episode in which the class and faculty of Milo's school gets to ride on a yacht. They end up shipwrecked on an island. The children are relatively calm about the whole incident but the same can't be said for the adults.. They panic with the exception of Principal Milder, who leaves to round them all up. Meanwhile, Milo and his friends fix the boat and discover that there's going to be a huge wave that can lift the boat and push it all the way back to their hometown. When the adults are found, they have established a primitive society in which Principal Milder is queen. Only one of them "wonders what became of the young ones."
  • Surprisingly averted in Robinson Sucroe, despite Robinson Crusoe obviously being its inspiration. Here, Robinson is not unwittingly stranded on an island; rather, he volunteers to go to the island to see if it's safe to inhabit, and is asked to write stories in the newspaper saying whether it is safe to inhabit.
  • In the Ready Jet Go! episode "Castaway Carrot", Carrot gets stranded on the moon. He ends up going through a Sanity Slippage.
  • 101 Dalmatians: The Series: The episode "Shipwrecked" has Lucky and Scorch tossed overboard during a three hour cruise and stranded on a tiny deserted island and have to learn to work together to get rescued.
  • Tom and Jerry: At the beginning of the cartoon "His Mouse Friday", Tom is already shipwrecked. He floats on a deck with nothing to eat but a shoe until he reaches a Caribbean island. The episode's title is a reference to the character Friday from Robinson Crusoe.
  • Skull Island (2023): The main conflict of the series is that Wild Child Annie, the explorer family that rescued her, and the mercenaries chasing after her are all stranded on Skull Island.

    Real Life 
  • Alexander Selkirk, the inspiration of the original Robinson Crusoe, was a Scottish Privateer who more-or-less voluntarily chose to remain on the Juan Fernandez Island off Chile. (To be precise, he elected to remain behind, since he was worried about the seaworthyness of their ship. As they sailed off, he regretted it immediately; but the captain, in a notorious Kick the Dog moment, refused to admit him on board because he didn't like Selkirk.) It should be noted that Selkirk was vindicated shortly thereafter when the ship sank. Selkirk lived on the island for four years, feeding first on shellfish, and later by eating the feral goats he could hunt inland, when sea lions drove him away from the shore. He was rescued by gentleman privateer William Dampier in 1709, and his story later became famous.
  • A more tragic example from real life: in May, 1724, Dutch sailor Leendert Hasenbosch was marooned on Ascension Island in the Atlantic for being gay. He was marooned because he was an officer; a lower-ranked sailor would have just been drowned. He could not find a substantial supply fresh water on the island, and had to drink turtle blood as well as his own urine, but it did not help. In May of 1725, a British ship reached Ascension and found his tent as well as his diary, with its last note from 9-14 October 1724, reading "everything as before". "Before" meaning plagued by unquenchable thirst, mind you, and fruitlessly pleading to God for mercy. The irony being that his story got quite popular in England, ''because it showed how homosexuality was punished.'' His story is notable for being one of the few where a more or less complete story of a castaway that died is known, since he wrote a diary that was found; most who died are simply lost to history.
  • Happened a number of times in the South Pacific during WWII, the best-known case being that of John F. Kennedy and his PT boat crew who survived several days in the Solomons before being rescued by natives and coastwatchers.
  • Francisco del Puerto was a cadet of the Spanish expedition of Juan Díaz de Solís to the Americas. Solís discovered the Río de la Plata and landed in modern Uruguay for the first contact with the natives. He was killed on sight, a few survivors escaped back to Europe, and Francisco del Puerto was left behind. He was found several years later by Sebastian Cabot. Del Puerto told him the myths he had heard about a "white king" and a hill of pure silver, and several Spanish expeditions tried in vain to locate this hill. This is the reason of the name of Argentina, which means "land of silver", even when it never had any silver sources.
  • A standard feature of military training, and also used by personal development courses such as Outward Bound's "solo".
  • "The real Lord of the Flies", in which six boys were shipwrecked in 1965 for fifteen months six schoolboys in 1965 stole a boat and were shipwrecked on the rocky island of 'Ata for 15 months. Unlike the tragic novel published a decade earlier, the boys cooperated well, began each day with song and prayer, let a boy who broke his leg rest until he made a full recovery, and remained in excellent physical condition until they were rescued. The boys even kept a perpetual fire going throughout their entire shipwreck, unlike the boys in the novel who came to blows when they couldn't. After they were rescued, the man who owned the stolen boat pressed charges and they were arrested, but one of the boys had the brilliant idea to raise bail money by calling a TV station in Sydney and convincing them to create a documentary about their adventure. They would later go on to join the crew of the very same sailor who rescued them.

Alternative Title(s): Shipwrecked, Robbing The Crusoe, Wilderness Survival Plot, Marooned In The Wilderness, Marooned On A Deserted Island, Marooned On An Island, Wilderness Survival Story