Treasure Island (1972) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
19 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Welles makes this film work
dvandevi11 October 2004
At first glance, Orson Welles did indeed seem to be woefully mis-cast in this bastardized [French, Italian, Spanish, British, West German and who knows what else] version of the Stevenson classic. Fortunately, by the second or third viewing you start to focus less on Welles articulation and more on the film itself. It is a menacing version. From the moment ships' cook Silver opens the galley window with his crutch and demands 'Three cheers for Cap'n Smollett!' this version is dripping with evil. And Welles is just the actor [and his mumbling delivery is deliberately utilized] to bring that evil into sharp focus. Kim Burfield is superb as Jim Hawkins [a kid alternately scared-to-death and naively cocky] , and even when Silver asserts that 'I thinks gold-dust of this here boy!' you know the kid's in trouble. That international crew of pirates brings an air of realism to the production [even if their lips aren't always moving in synchronization with the spoken dialogue] which an all-English crew wouldn't have imparted, and Jean Lefebvre's somewhat dazed Ben Gunn is in fine contrast to Geoffrey Wilkinson's loopy Disney version. Natale Massara's score is wonderful, though apparently there never was a soundtrack ['and more's the pity'], and the cinematography is magnificent. My only two criticisms are that Lionel Stander is badly mis-cast as Billy Bones [the guy still sounded like exactly what he was: a tough-guy from the Bronx], and the pirates' treasure-hunting seems much-too-much like they're out for a leisurely Sunday after-dinner stroll. It definitely lacks urgency. This said, I would rank this version almost on a par with the Disney/Newton version, and well worth owning and watching again and again.
22 out of 25 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A good version of Treasure Island
Tony Rome30 January 2011
I agree this film is slow paced, however it has some redeeming points. Lionel Stander gives a great performance as Billy Bones. Stander was gruff looking and perfectly cast. Jim Hawkins, played by Kim Burfield, does remind one of young Jackie Cooper, in the Wallace Berry version. Walter Slezak is good as the squire, but he does not get many scenes to play out his role. Orson Welles plays Long John Silver very well, his mumbling may at times be unintelligible, however this appears to have been done so that the audience gets a good picture, or a rough, tough, sea faring man who has seen a lot in his years as a pirate. The relation ship between Jim and LJS is almost like a father son relationship. I enjoyed this version, the cinematography, and costume design are superb. A++++
8 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Best adaptation of Stevenson
ubisuntleones23 April 2008
Treasure Island with O Wells is simply the best adaptation of the Stevenson story ever done. Why ? Beside the great play of Wells, and others good actors, i would say that the movie keep alive the spirit of the book which is the one of people who like the old seaman story, who like the wind, the sea, the waves, this touch of tough adventure and sea. BUT MORE important than anything else, the movie keeps and makes everyone feel strongly this specific young spirit with the which one Stevenson himself started his book : spirit which is necessary to enjoy this sort of story. Really better than the one of Walt Disney ( too sugary ), this Treasure Island will enjoy people who like to be told a story like when one read the book for hours and hours, unable to leave it. Or like children, exactly the expectation of Stevenson, who told too about the young of his time : "may be too wise young..." "Too wise", meaning unable to taste the spirit of adventure and ability to dream, sail full of wind and salt ! The music is great too. N.
13 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
I loved this dark version of Treasure Island
caesarmoridon6 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I find this to be the definitive version of Treasure Island. I thought that Orson Wells's performance was exactly what it needed to be as a pirate. He was evil, but charming, violent but kind, he was as two sided as a coin. In my mind that is what a pirate is romantically. I saw this film first when I was 10 years old approximately and loved it then. I saw it again in the 1990's and fell in love with it again. With all the bad, weird and annoying versions of this classic novel like treasure planet (lame!) It is nice to have a standard to base them upon in cinematic form. This is it. Not Orson Wells greatest film by far but an enjoyable treat yes!
11 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
European remake of the Robert Louis Stevenson pirate adventure
ma-cortes20 June 2009
Fabulous and appealing adventures starred by two unforgettable characters , Jim Hawkins and Long John Silver . Again we live the roaring adventure of men against the sea . We share the struggles , the heartaches , the laughter of courageous souls who leave their houses they love to dare the wrath of the angry pirates . Upright men and greedy pirates in conflict with their destiny enacting the Robert Stevenson's most thrilling story . Jim Hawkins (Kim Burfield) encounters the map that leads to a distant island where is a buried treasure . Jim , captain Smollett (Rik Battaglia) , Squire (Walter Slezak's final film ) , Doctor Livesey (Angel Del Pozo) and , of course , a boisterous Long John Silver (a brilliant triumph by Orson Welles who was paid $150,000) carry out a journey to isle of hidden bounty . The young cabin boy Hawkins has a treasure map and a boatload of kill-crazed pirates eager for the riches hidden on Treasure Island . Unfortunately, a large number of Flint's old pirate crew are aboard the ship . But even greater risks lie ahead when Hawkins finds out that his trusted colleague Long John is actually a nasty pirate with mutiny on his mind . As young Jim Hawkins is torn between his loyalty to his benefactors and his affection for lovable rogue Long John Silver in their struggle to recover a buried pirate treasure .

Fun story with plenty of adventure , intrigue , fights and action . The whole piece of adventure teems with emotion , thrills , humor , exotic atmosphere and being pretty amusing . Orson Welles who is also screenwriter hands perfectly the role as rogue pirate and gives a memorable acting , as always , though Yul Brynner was also chased by the producers for the Long John Silver part . Delightful performance by Jean Lefebre as Ben Gunn , as well . At the film appears usual secondary actors in several Spaniard-Italian co-productions, such as Paul Muller , Barta Barry , Victor Israel , Jose Jaspe and Aldo Sambrell . Colorful cinematography , the opening scenes were filmed in Italy : Mount Gelato Falls , Lacio , and remaining ones were shot in Mojacar , Almeria , Andalucia , Spain . The motion picture was middlingly directed by John Hough and uncredited by Andrew White . This production is powered by the great Orson Welles. Rating : Acceptable and passable .

Other renditions based on this classic novel are the followings : vintage version (1934) by Victor Fleming with Wallace Beery , Jackie Cooper and Lewis Stone ; Disney take on (1950) by Byron Haskin with Robert Newton and Bobby Driscoll ; (1999) retelling by Marc Charlesbois with Jack Palance , Patrick Bergin and Kevin Zegers ; TV recounting by Fraser C Heston with Charlton Heston , Christian Bale and Richard Johnson ; ¨Treasure Island in Outer Space", TV miniseries (1987) set in space directed by Antonio Margheriti with Anthony Quinn as Long John Silver , David Warbeck as Doctor Livesy and Philippe Leroy as Squire ; ¨Muppet's Treasure island¨ (1996) and recent rendition (2012) by Steve Barron , starred by Eddie Izzard , Rupert Penry-Jones , Daniel Mays , Donald Sutherland and Elijah Wood . In addition , a cartoon-Sci-Fi version as ¨Treasure planet¨ (2002) directed by John Musker and Ron Clemens .
9 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
TREASURE ISLAND (John Hough and, uncredited, Andrea Bianchi and Antonio Margheriti, 1972) **
Bunuel197613 May 2006
In my childhood, this was a perennial on Italian TV over Christmas - but, somehow, I never got to watch it! It's surely the least of the three most renowned film versions of the R.L. Stevenson classic but, in itself, is decent enough...if still mainly interesting for the contribution (both as actor and writer) of Orson Welles.

Welles' presence alone elevates any film he appears in - though he's quite restrained here (certainly in comparison to Robert Newton) and, unwisely, adopts perhaps the silliest accent since THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI (1948)! As for his script - co-written, under the pseudonym O.W. Jeeves, with Wolf Mankowitz - it's reasonably faithful to both the spirit and letter of Stevenson's original. However, the low-budget hurts the overall effort (Welles must have identified with such a predicament, as his own films were too often plagued by compromise!) and the 'modern' score composed by Natale Massara is quite inappropriate.

Still, despite a good cast - including Kim Burfield (unexceptional but not bad as Jim Hawkins), Walter Slezak (as Squire Trelawney), Lionel Stander (as Billy Bones), Paul Muller (as Blind Pew) and Maria Rohm (as Mrs. Hawkins) - it's essentially a 'kiddie' film and is, therefore, in sharp contrast with most of producer Harry Alan Towers' output (particularly his collaborations with Jess Franco)!
9 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
mmka124 March 2009
So far as I've seen, this is the most commendable of all interpretations of Robert Lewis Stevenson's stirring book; yet, still a great disappointment.

Most of the cast did well enough in their rolls, with the exception of, believe it or not, Orson Welles. Mr. Welles so severely under played the part of Long John Silver he made the character completely uninteresting; that and his unintelligible mumbling fatally scuttles what should have been a great and memorable film.

The music of Natale Massara, another problem, while expertly orchestrated, is derivative of other works and does nothing to convey the feeling of a thrilling tale of the sea. It would have been better suited to an episode of "Little House On The Prairie" with it's ocean of grass.

I certainly won't say that it is a waste of time to watch this version, but if it were not for Wolf Mankowitz writing the screenplay, this might well have been a complete failure.

For a real treat, go see "Muppet Treasure Island". You won't be sorry! More information at .
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Euro version of the classic pirate story
Leofwine_draca4 January 2018
Warning: Spoilers
TREASURE ISLAND is a European-made version of the classic Robert Louis Stevenson novel mostly watchable thanks to an overbearing performance from Orson Welles as Long John Silver. The main problem isn't his overacting, which is fine, but rather the fact that he's dubbed in some of his scenes, which is a real travesty. The rest is a workable little production that utilises some nicely exotic Spanish locations and a seasoned cast of Euro genre actors including Rik Battaglia, Maria Rohm, Aldo Sambrell, and Paul Muller to make things work. This has a noticeably gloomy tone with some sequences which feel like they've come straight from a horror film, which is little surprise given that Andrea Bianchi (BURIAL GROUND) and Antonio Margheriti (WEB OF THE SPIDER) worked on the direction alongside John Hough, the man behind THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE. It's no classic and can't really be considered the definitive version of the story, but it's worth a look regardless.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
This is the BEST adaption i've ever seen of TREASURE ISLAND!
flyboy-76 July 1999
I love this film! It is so great! I was sitting on my couch eating Ruffles potato chips when this film called TREASURE ISLAND came on! I was caught up in it all the way! I especially love the way Maria Rohm plays Mrs. Hawkins! She is so sinister in her role that it makes me glad! I hope that this film will come on again! I love the smell of it!
10 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Strange Casting,Shoddy Production
schweinhundt196723 November 2002
The level of production values,the caliber of the sets,the quality of the writing tend to make me think of the peplum films and cheap swashbucklers made in Europe during the post-war period and the 1950s and early 1960s that we used to see at Saturday afternoon matinees at the cinema or on Television.Let's face it,it doesn't even come up to the level of bad entertainment.Where do we begin? 1.)The ship is so small and shoddy that it couldn't even qualify as a fishing boat,let alone a deep-water vessel. 2.)The fort on the island,described as a sturdy log cabin in the story,is a stucco and brick hacienda,with a stone wall rather than the log stockade required. 3.)The casting is really quite strange:a.)Stander is so benign as to be unbelievable;b.)Slezak,as the squire is too refined and much too Middle-European to portray the blustering,blowhard Stevenson intended;c.)Who,in the name of all that's holy,suggested that Welles play Silver?He's too old,too lethargic,and too unhealthy looking to gives us the strong,powerful,vital villain we all think of.The only truly piratical trait he has is a genuine penchant for evil.

Interestingly enough,they do show Ben Gunn as was the original concept.And the scenes at the Benbow Inn are quite realistic and accurate.In addition,the scenes at Silver's inn,interactions among the pirates there,and the introduction of Silver's mulatto wife give this production it's only redeeming moments.Watch this ,and see what not to do.
7 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A Terrible Version
geoffspare9 July 2009
A terrible version.

Wooden acting, mumbled lines,inept background music...etc etc.

Who ever said this is the 'definitive version of Treasure Island.' has not read the book.

One of the most important parts of the book is when young Jim sees Silver for the first because he has been warned about the one-legged sailor. To win Jim's trust, R.L. Stevenson has Black Dog appearing in The Spyglass and Silver chases him out.

I have 4 version of Treasure Island. This is by far the worse. The Charlton Heston is good but the 1951 Disney version is best. (The Muppets Treasure Island is brilliant!).
5 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
june_crabwall3 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
We were on holiday with our Spanish friends and we were taken to look at the place her mother was born a place now abandoned on top of the hill overlooking the bay Somberica she told us the film Treasure Island was filmed there .She said her mother used to walk to Mojaca to go to school,also she carried water up the hill to the house as they had no water supply,th view from the house was spectacular. Our friend took us to the chiringquita for lunch,the bar was owned by her uncle her mothers brother and was used in the film. Her intention was to measure the ground round the house so as to sell it .it was wild up there the bar was empty so was the lovely bay it was an isolated beautiful wild place it was an experience we will never forget . Seeing the film today has prompted me to buy the d,v,d. Which I can't wait to receive June leech
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The best ? You have to be kidding.
gvis15 February 2021
Slow paced and Orson Welles is absolutely terrible. He is as wooden as a plank and half the time I had no clue what he was saying because he spoke some mumbling gibberish.

The version with Charlton Heston is still the best I think. Avoid this.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The best version
mharrison-1762712 July 2020
Far more realistic and exciting than the 1950 Disney version, and with a much better budget. Kim Burfield was excellent as Jim Hawkins and the locations in Spain and Italy are superb. It is like a spaghetti western.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Mumbling Orson Welles
PeterB242210 October 2003
I saw this film as a child and the only things I remember were that it was very slow paced and that Orson Welles was completely unintelligible. He makes James Dean look like a linguist. A sad misstep for an often brilliant actor.
5 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Orson Welles Is Long John Silver!!!
zardoz-1328 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
The Internet Movie Database lists three directors for the 1972 version of "Treasure Island: Andrea Bianchi of "Strip Nude for Your Killer," John Hough of "The Watcher in the Woods," and Antonio Margheriti of "Seven Dead in the Cat's Eye." Out of all three, only Margheriti helped to pen the screenplay. I don't think that there is any way to distinguish precisely who did what, but this cinematic adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic adventure novel is extremely faithful to its source material. Orson Well es steps into the role immortalized by Robert Newton, but Welles doesn't chew the scenery with the same gusto as Newton did in the Disney version. Instead, Welles plays Long John Silver as a realistic but cunning dastard. The remainder of the cast doesn't fit their roles like a glove, but Spaghetti western star Rik Battaglia makes a reasonable facsimile of Captain Smollett who has the helm of the ship. Reasonably successful, too, are Lionel Stander as Billy Bones and Walter Slezak as Squire Trelawney. Clearly, several other cast members have been dubbed, and the film was lensed in Carboneras, Almería, Andalucía, Spain as well as Monte Gelato Falls, Treja River, Lazio, Italy. Prolific cinematographer Cecilio Paniagua of "100 Rifles" did a splendid job of photographing this sea-going saga and camera operator Silvano Mancini pulls some fantastic zooms. There are moments of memorable beauty when Paniagua's cinematography is captures a scene whether aboard ship or on land. One of the best things about this version is its apparent realism. Miniatures were eschewed in favor of the genuine article, particularly the ship. Despite its physical authenticity and some good performances, "Treasure Island" follows most of what Stevenson wrote, but the filmmakers have changed a few things. First, after our heroes flee from the ship, Jim Hawkins made his way back aboard the ship and runs it aground. This scene is missing, while some of the secondary villains don't stand out as much as they did in the novel. Second, Captain Smollett doesn't get wounded during the stockade stand-off. Otherwise, on the whole, this rendition of "Treasure Island" is worth watching.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
and now for something completely different
malcolmgsw10 December 2017
When I saw a bearded Ben Gunn come running across the beach towards Jim Hawkins,I thought he would utter the immortal lines"and now for something completely different".Followed by Carol Cleveland and Eric Idle on the organ.My biggest problem with this was the miscast Orson Welles.He is awful,not a patch on dear old Robert Mewton.This does the impossible and makes the story boring
1 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Lacklustre swashbuckler
shakercoola28 April 2019
An American adventure based on the 1883 Robert Louis Stevenson novel, "Treasure Island". It's a coming-of-age story about a brave young Bristol boy who acquires a map of huge treasure which was buried on a distant tropical island in the South Seas. His quest, with friends, and ruthless pirates, is to find the loot. It deals with themes such as the search for heroic role models, and the futility of desire. While faithful to the source material, the film has a rather dispirited feel and this is down to a lacklustre direction. Orson Welles as Long John Silver is well-cast. Kim Burfield as Jim Hawkins has a wide-eyed charm, and conveys the wonder and excitement. But, ultimately, the film lacks excitement and fails to create any sense of urgency or real danger.
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Pretty good
TheLittleSongbird21 November 2014
This version may be one of the weaker versions of the classic story, it's nowhere near as good as the 1990 Charlton Heston or the 1934 Wallace Beery versions(Muppet Treasure Island is great too) but it is a long way from bad. And I really do have to respectfully disagree with the commentator who said that this was the worst Treasure Island, the uncomfortably bizarre 1998 Jack Palance version is by far the worst. The film may be lower in budget than most of the versions of Treasure Island, with some of the camera work(which can be too reliant on close ups though most of it is inventive and appropriate) and the handsomely rendered if very undersized Hispagnola it does show but it was decent compared to most lower-in-budget films personally seen, the shadowy lighting was quite effective and the locations are splendid. The script is amusingly tongue in cheek with some darkly tense moments too.

The story is suspenseful and lots of fun on the most part with the storytelling at least coherent and structurally relatively faithful. The start of the film suitably intense and sets up the story well and the action is staged surprisingly well with a Spaghetti Western vibe in places. Some of the treasure hunting scenes are a little leisurely however and are slightly lacking in urgency. The acting is mostly good with Orson Welles giving the most memorable one, he can be charmingly sympathetic but he drips with evil as well, some of the performance is very fruity but I appreciated the restraint he gave the character here. Kim Burfield is an appealing Jim, Walter Slezak brings out the conflicts of Squire Trelawny's character very well- sometimes blustering, other times refined- and Jean Lefevbre an amusing Ben Gunn. Lionel Stander however is too gangster boss-like as Billy Bones and Angel del Pozo is a dull Dr Livesey.

Where the film is least successful is in the music score and especially the dubbing. The score is nowhere near "rousing adventure"-like enough, sounding more like at points like "sentimental television" scoring. The dubbing is unfortunately shoddy, very stiff and some of it sounds like they're mumbling their way through their lines. Robert Rietty is the least bad, he does sound like how Welles would speak but some of his line delivery sounds like he was drunk at the time. On the whole, a long way from great or being the best version, but it's still pretty good and is miles ahead of the Palance adaptation. 6/10 Bethany Cox
0 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed