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Lord of the Flies (1963)

7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 11,011 users  
Reviews: 98 user | 62 critic

Shipwrecked on an island, the castaway boys eventually revert to savagery despite the few rational kids' attempts to prevent that.

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Title: Lord of the Flies (1963)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Aubrey ...
Tom Chapin ...
Hugh Edwards ...
Roger Elwin ...
Tom Gaman ...
Roger Allan ...
Piers
David Brunjes ...
Donald
Peter Davy ...
Peter
Kent Fletcher ...
Percival Wemys Madison
...
Robert
Christopher Harris ...
Bill
Alan Heaps ...
Neville
Jonathan Heaps ...
Howard
Burnes Hollyman ...
Douglas
Andrew Horne ...
Matthew
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Storyline

A group of young boys are stranded alone on an island. Left to fend for themselves, they must take on the responsibilities of adults, even if they are not ready to do so. Inevitably, two factions form: one group (lead by Ralph) want to build shelters and collect food, whereas Jack's group would rather have fun and HUNT; illustrating the difference between civilization and savagery. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

boy | island | hunting | no adults | plane | See more »

Taglines:

Evil is inherent in the human mind, whatever innocence may cloak it...


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

13 August 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lord of the Flies  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$250,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The 60 hours of film from the 1961 shoot was edited down to 4 hours, according to editor Gerald Feil. This was further edited down to a 100-minute feature that was shown at the 1963 Cannes Film Festival (May 9 to 22), but the cuts necessitated that new audio transitions and some dialog changes be dubbed into the film more than a year after shooting. The voice of James Aubrey, who played Ralph, had dropped three octaves and was electronically manipulated to better approximate his earlier voice, but it is still significantly different. Tom Chapin, who played Jack, had lost his English accent and another boy's voice was used to dub his parts. The U.S. distributor insisted the film be further edited to 90 minutes, so one fire scene and scenes developing the character Ralph were cut. See more »

Goofs

In at least one place the plaintive cry of the mourning dove can be clearly heard. This common North American bird is not found in the Pacific islands where the story takes place, but reflects the fact that the film was shot in the Caribbean. See more »

Quotes

Roger: LOOK! The beast!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits list the entire production crew but none of the actors. See more »


Soundtracks

Kyrie Eleison
(uncredited)
Performed by Choir Group
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Society's child lost in Utopia.
10 May 2001 | by (Los Angeles, California) – See all my reviews

What kid did not fantasize, at one time or another, being left alone, completely unsupervised, for a long, long, LONG period of time? To be allowed to say or do whatever he pleased, whenever he pleased. To eat anything he wanted, to go to bed late, to not go to school, to act or behave as he pleased without reproach. To be his own adult. Usually those kind of thoughts permeated our little minds right after a heavy-duty punishment. In 1990's "Home Alone," we saw a broad, comical take on this fantasy. With 1963's "Lord of the Flies," we get to experience the flip side.

"Lord of the Flies" was required reading in junior high school. William Golding's dark, sobering allegory, set during wartime London, tells the story of a large group of young schoolboys airlifted out of England who are left to their own devices after a plane crash leaves them marooned on an uninhabited isle with no surviving adults. As the boys struggle to adapt to their crude but strangely exotic "Robinson Crusoe" existence, the troop begins to splinter into two opposing sects after failing to come to terms on an autonomous code of ethics. Most of the boys decide to revel in their unsupervised freedom, reverting to primitive, animal-like behavior while resorting to barbaric acts and ritualistic practices. A conch shell becomes the embodiment of power; a boar's head a symbol of lordly conquest. On the other side, a minority group try to repel the tempting force of evil by forming a more civilized commune. Eventually the "survival of the fittest" factor sets in as the anointed leader of the hostile group incites violence to force an autocracy.

Golding's fascinating premise certainly does not hold much hope for the future of mankind. We are conditioned as a people to be civilized; it is an acquired trait, NOT an inherent trait – according to the author. And if and when the shackles of goodness and purity are at any time removed to the extent that we are allowed to become our own social and moral dictator, we will invariably revert back to what comes naturally. And with a child, who has been less-conditioned, it will take little time at all. Evil is stronger, easier, and much more seductive. When playing "good guys and bad guys" as a kid, which did YOU prefer to be?

Boasting a surprisingly natural cast of amateur actors and directed by radical stage director Peter Brook ("Marat/Sade"), this lowbudget British effort impressively captures much of the novel's back-to-nature symbolism that I found so powerful and fascinating. The young masters representing good and evil, James Aubrey ("Ralph") and Tom Chapin ("Jack"), effectively portray the resolute leaders of the two disparate tribes, while butterball Hugh Edwards as the bespectacled, philosophical "Piggy" and towheaded Tom Gaman as the quietly sensitive "Simon" are touching as two of the weaker followers who become likely targets of the surrounding chaos and burgeoning brutality. What I love most about this cast is that they act like little boys, not little actors, grounding their often awkward actions and behaviors in reality. Trivia note: one of the secondary boy players is none other than Nicholas Hammond, who went on to play young Friedrich in the film classic "The Sound of Music" two years later.

Brook's use of grainy black-and-white photography, plus the lack of any comprehensive musical score (remember Tom Hanks' "Castaway"?), accentuates the bleakness of its surroundings and feelings of isolation. The movie can hardly be expected to capture fully every single intention of this highly complex novel (most don't), but it does respect Golding's words and captures the very essence of what he wanted to say. For that alone it should be applauded.

By the way, don't waste your time on the 1990 color remake featuring "professionals" like Balthazar Getty. The poetic beauty is all but dissipated in this haphazard, jarringly Americanized update. It makes me worship Peter Brook's version even more.

And what story could BE more disturbing yet topical than "The Lord of the Flies" as it applies to today's "latch-key" society?


66 of 71 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Awful Film. My second 1/10 ever. sdsigma
What is the beast? VelvetVoice
ralph or jack? billybutts
Just saw this movie... b-barbera
Sound out of sync in opening credits suferia
Book campared to movie RasAlBane
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