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Swiss Family Robinson
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Reviews & Ratings for
Swiss Family Robinson More at IMDbPro »

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27 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

a bit of 60s-era trivia

Author: notmicro from Seattle
5 June 2004

IMBD refused to post this in the "Trivia" section, so I'll add it as a comment: note that throughout the film, the men are often shirtless; however their pants and shorts are always carefully tailored to cover their navels, like Barbara Eden's harem-pants in "I Dream of Jeannie".

If you have access to the DVD, it is very well worth it to watch the special-features documentaries and interviews on disc 2. What the actors and crew went through to make this thing is incredible! The many animals used are mostly nasty and potentially very dangerous. That no one got disemboweled by a zebra or ostrich kick, or a tiger-claw, is a miracle; let alone the face-off scene with the hyenas! Wrestling an anaconda chest-deep in a mosquito and leech-infested swamp is probably not a role most actors dream of. James MacArthur was told by the snake's handler to just dunk the snake's head under water when it started to constrict him; apparently it worked, as he lived to tell the tale!

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28 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

Great Disney film!

8/10
Author: kolob (dan6305@earthlink.net) from Portland, Oregon
5 October 1999

This is one of Disney's best efforts. Beautiful scenery, great soundtrack music, and a hard-working cast add much to this compelling story of a shipwrecked family. To me this film is an exception to the less-weighty fare that Disney was wont to produce over the years. I like Disney flicks, but this is one I can go back and watch when I want to get lost in an idyllic setting (with beautiful soundtrack music to establish the mood). You've gotta love those coconut bombs!

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20 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

Swiss Family Robinson

Author: mhrabovsky1-1 from michigan
8 January 2006

Pure Disney magic! What a movie....might just be the greatest Disney film of all, might throw in "Pollyanna" and "Song of the South" in there as close competition. What is there not to like? Beautiful photography and a perfect casting of Dorothy McGuire as the mother who is the glue that holds the family together along with the suave British actor John Mills (Hayley's father) as the dad of the family. Great opening scene of foundering ship nearly stuck on a reef during violent storm...family quickly recognizes they will be on the island for the long haul and makes it an island paradise complete with a tree house that the Hilton hotel chain could rent out for big bucks. Family makes use of every scrap of fabric, wood, powder, and weapons as they struggle to survive the hazards of the island they are stranded upon. How in the world did the Disney team transport all of the animals onto that small island for this wonderful film? Zebras, elephants, snakes, tigers, and throw in an ostrich too for a family fun filled ride picnic. Only thing I wondered about was how the entire crew of pirates seem to be madeup of asians....most pirates in films are usually caucasians. Tommy Kirk, Kevin Corcoran, who flew into Tobago days after finishing "Pollyanna" and James McArthur play splendid roles as the three sons who grow up physically and discover themselves as young men on the island. Love the scenes of the watering hole complete with a natural water slide and swinging vines to traipse back and forth on. Janet Munro plays the stranded girl, rescued by McArthur and Kirk, and becomes a tug of war for affection between the two. Just the scenery alone on the island and the lagoons makes me want to visit the filming sight. This is a timeless classic, watch it a couple of times a year and it is just as entertaining the second time as the first. Wish Disney would re-release this film to theatres so you could see it on a big wide screen, preferably Imax. Movies just do not get any better than this one. Perfect film for family viewing.

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17 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

A great adventure movie for the family

Author: Kirsten from San Francisco, CA
24 May 2002

I loved this movie growing up, and had to get the recent DVD. It's great! The extras are wonderful and the movie is even better. I love Disney movies, but some of the older live-action movies get annoying to me after awhile. This one doesn't. I love to imagine myself on that island with all the animals and fighting pirates. It's great. I definitely recommend it!

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Get me to a tree house!!!...tremendous family fun...

7/10
Author: Neil Doyle from U.S.A.
26 August 2006

SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON is the ultimate family adventure film from Disney, photographed on the island of Tobago for some lush scenery and exotic settings. But that tree house rules!! Everyone's favorite fantasy is this sort of adventure whereby a shipwrecked family finds refuge on what appears to be a deserted island, only to find that they're not exactly alone.

DOROTHY McGUIRE and JOHN MILLS play the parent roles (played originally by Thomas Mitchell and Edna Best in the B&W '40 version), and the kids are played with equal skill by Kevin Corcoran, Tommy Kirk and JAMES MacARTHUR, who excels as the oldest son.

There's some rough going when the pirates invade, but it's all done in true Disney style and you know there's going to be a happy ending.

Summing up: The kind of film the whole family can enjoy. A lot more visually appealing than the old B&W version filmed on RKO sound stages.

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9 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Exciting Family Fun!

8/10
Author: lawrence_elliott from Canada
2 May 2007

This is a Disney adventure film at its best. Excitement, adventure, far off exotic places, shipwrecks, pirates - all the ingredients for a thrilling recipe of family ties that bind (love), and respect for a father who protects and leads his family to battle the hostile elements of the outside world in order to survive.

Tigers in pits, wild animals domesticated, outside fresh air away from all civilization, this is a movie for the whole family to watch together, preferably on a big screen at a theatre, where the producers designed to have it seen in the first place.

This movie is fun, exciting and scary with pirate ships and uphill battles that make this one worth owning.

I remember my Dad took me to see this film when I was 7 years old and the nostalgia of security of family rooted in a firm grounding and foundation of family tradition, for me made this film a memorable one for all time. I hope you enjoy this one too for old time's sake.

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10 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Elephants and Tigers and Pirates, Oh My!

Author: Pepper Anne from Orlando, Florida
20 July 2004

The Swiss Family Robinson is one of the best family adventure films, and definitely one of Disney's finest family films. Based on the Johan Wyss novel is the story of a British family shipwrecked during a storm, interuppting their migration to New Guinea.

Not sure of how long they will be stranded or the whereabouts of the remaining crew (Disney ambiguously glosses over the issue of whether the crew is dead, but given the presence of sharks in the ocean and the tenacity of the storm the caused the wreck, I think it's safe assume they're night), they make the new island their home. Any young kids would probably love this aspect of the movie, the thought of having the jungle where you get to play in the river and build one of the most gnarliest treehouses (oddly complete with many modern conveniences despite the lack of electricity, etc). I would imagine that the actors who played the three brothers (Disney regulars, of course) had a lot of fun filming this movie. (Note: They recreated the treehouse for a walk-through tour at the Orlando Walt Disney World theme park).

But, as Mother Robinson (Dorothy MacGuire) suggests, their jungle abode should only be considered temporary, because they can't forget that they are the only ones on the island. Being the typical maternal Disney character, she worries staying on the island provides no life and no opportunity for the three sons, Francis (MacArthur), Ernst (Kirk), and Francis (Corcoran), especially because there are no other girls there other than Mother. But the boys and their father (Sir John Mills) are also aware that they must also question whether it is a good idea to stay there because the pirate ship that they keep seeing.

Pirates and treehouses? Oh, this is a good adventure story! The only way they can tell whether they're on a peninsuala (Enrst suggests there is or was a land bridge because of the presence of many different animal species in one area) or an island is if the two oldest brothers try sailing around it. And that's where they run into a gang of pirates who have taken a British diplomat and his kid hostage. Saving them would make the Robinson boys pirate targets for sure, and their family, too. But, it seems like the Robinsons are ready for anything. Who's scared of a little machette-weilding pirate, eh?

This is a fantastic adventure film for younger children, though they may tend to get bored by some of the dreamy conversations between Mother and Father Robinson as they discuss their son's prospects and other concerns about the island. But, it is often non-stop adventure and looks like a lot of fun (like the Ostrich racing scene).

Present, however, are some of the Disney stereotypical elements. The pirates, the villains, are Asian (I don't even think the pirate actors use a real language) and the good guys are the British. The female characters don't do any strong arm work and often engage in conversations limited to domestics (family life, nothing too intelligent). When Roberta is revealed to be a girl, all of a sudden anything she did that was macho while in disquise, vanishes and she becomes a helpless girl (it is Francis and Ernst who have to wrestle the snake and Roberta freaks at the sight of a lizard and so forth).

Despite all of that, this is exemplary of what good old-fashioned adventure tales were made of, so younger boys would definitely be drawn to those elements, and hopefully, younger girls as well. Pirate chases, monster treehouses, snake wrestling. It's good times. And surprising for an older Disney film, has very little singing numbers. Skip on the remake of the 'The Swiss Family Robinson' and check this one out.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Full-blown and entertaining adventures based on Johann Wyss novel , being shot on location

7/10
Author: ma-cortes from Santander Spain
8 October 2013

Gorgeous production with Disney all-star-cast , funny sequences , spectacular adventures and amusement . Amusing family fun in which a Swiss family formed by a father (John Mills) , mother (Dorothy McGuire) and children (James McArthur , Kevin Corcoran , Tommy Kirk) must survive being shipwrecked on a deserted tropical island . As a family seeking to getaway Napoleon's wars in Europe , set sail for New Guinea , but shipwrecks on an island . There they built an idyllic life , only to be confronted by a gang of pirates (led by Sessue Hayakawa). Furthermore , they battle anaconda , tiger , and finally dispatch a group of cutthroats . Meanwhile , they domesticate animals , as among the Robinson's pets are : Duke and Turk the dogs, Rocky the elephant, Lightning the donkey, Clementine the ostrich, Duchess the Zebr and an anaconda was actually pregnant during filming .

The picture contains noisy adventures , humor , emotion , stirring action and sensational outdoors . The film displays some scenes have you on the edge of your seat as the amusing images when the protagonists fight an anaconda and against a band of pirates . Lots of adventure for family viewing , including an climatic as well as bemusing ending battle ; it was a direct influence on the final Ewok skirmish in ¨The return of the Jedi¨ , as George Lucas was a huge fan of the film . Excellent , powerful cast with sympathetic protagonists , many of them Disney ordinaries such as Janet Munro , James MacArthur ; in fact , Dorothy McGuire, Tommy Kirk and Kevin Corcoran had previously played a family in Disney's Old yeller . However , Tommy Kirk considered quitting at one point as he was so desperately homesick . Colorful cinematography reflecting marvelous landscapes by Harry Waxman , filmed on location in island of Tobago ; although set in a tropical paradise, the filming was considerably hampered by almost constant rain . Lively and evocative music by Willyam Alwyn , conducted by customary Muir Matheson . It has abundant special effects and some matte painting by Disney specialist Peter Ellenshaw ; being Walt Disney's first film in Panavision . In fact , this is one of Disney's rare widescreen films, shot with Panavision lenses , previous widescreen efforts from Disney had usually been in CinemaScope. It's a winning Disney effort made by its usual director Ken Annakin. At the box office, the film took roughly $40,000,000 , around $367,000,000 in today's money, making it one of the most successful family films ever made . It's a must for the Disney fans but is beautifully released , being recommendable for all family and especially for little boys public . Rating : Good , entertaining and with great lots of amusement .

This fun picture was professionally directed by Ken Annakin , being enthusiastically funny though overlong . It was stunningly realized in splendidly amusing style , is all color , thrills and action . Ken was an expert on Adventure genre such as ¨The new adventures of Pippi Longstockings¨, ¨Pirate movie¨ , ¨Paper tiger¨, ¨The fifth Musketeer¨ , ¨Call of wild¨, ¨In search for the castaways¨, ¨Land of fury¨, ¨The Sword and the Rose¨, ¨The story of Robin Hood and his Merry Men¨, ¨Third man on the mountain¨ and Wartime genre as ¨Battle of the Bulge¨, and ¨The Longest day¨.

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Classic family adventure film

8/10
Author: johno-21 from United States
8 May 2006

I first saw this during it's initial theatrical release when I was 6 years old and of course immediately loved it and have seen it several times over the years. It's one of those family classics that even though it's dated it seems to live on forever entertaining new generations. A great live-action film from the Disney studios. When many years after I first saw this movie, I first visited Disneyland in 1984, the first thing I wanted to see was the Swiss Family Treehouse exhibit. The attraction had lost it's luster and I was the inly one visiting it. They've since turned it into Tarzan's tree house from what I understand. The movie doesn't lose it's luster and the tree house is the film's central attraction. It does seem a little unbelievable that a family who could construct such a fantastic structure why couldn't they use those same skills to repair their ship wreck or build a new ship to take them away from the island? This is beautifully photographed by cinematographer Harry Waxman, John Howell is the production designer and Jack Stephens is the set decorator. Ken Annakin who directed several adventure films is the director. Lowell S. Hawley who was one of the writers on Disney's Zoro TV series wrote the screenplay in his adaptation of the Johann David Wyss novel. John Mills and Dorothy McGuire play the parents and James McArthur, Tommy Kirk and Kevin Corcoran are their sons in the story of a family shipwrecked on a remote island with dangerous animals and the threat of bloodthirsty pirates in the waters. Janet Munro, Sessue Hayakawa and Cecil Parker round out the cast. I would give this an 8.5 out of 10.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Bizarrely encapsulating, for all the wrong reasons

2/10
Author: flagpants from United Kingdom
10 March 2012

John Mills was a fine actor, but in this he's a bit like a rocket engine attached to hot-air balloon in this.

I'm a fan of old movies, but found this example to be a pretty poor one and not recommended for anyone interested in giving old classics a shot.

It's certainly not short of budget or "adventure". Things are happening constantly. Including the most annoying soundtrack I can ever recall. With peculiar incidental music that accompanies absolutely every tiny thing that happens along the way. Constantly.

What I found most disturbing, by today's standards, was the many examples of animal cruelty in the film. Including a tiger being harassed by 2 great dane dogs (potentially lethal for the dogs and distressing for the tiger), riding an ostrich and a zebra trapped in mud. All done with real performing animals.

Couldn't be rated as a true old classic in my opinion. Probably only thought of fondly by people who saw it when they were young.

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