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Swiss Family Robinson [VHS]

778 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

Swiss Family Robinson [VHS] + Pollyanna [VHS] + The Parent Trap [VHS]
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Product Details

  • Actors: John Mills, Dorothy McGuire, James MacArthur, Janet Munro, Sessue Hayakawa
  • Directors: Ken Annakin
  • Writers: Johann David Wyss, Lowell S. Hawley
  • Producers: Basil Keys, Bill Anderson, Walt Disney
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, HiFi Sound, NTSC
  • Rated: G (General Audience)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Buena Vista Distribution Company
  • VHS Release Date: July 6, 2004
  • Run Time: 126 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (778 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6304291701
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,234 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

The Disney touch is all over this grand, colorful version of the Johann Wyss adventure of a European family set off for the new world of New Guinea. The film opens on a ship jostled and torn by a raging storm while a family struggles to make it through alive. Tossed into a reef near a deserted tropical island, father John Mills takes charge and the family soon turns their island prison into a veritable paradise. Their multilevel tree house, built in record time, is complete with running water and a working pipe organ scavenged from the ship, while their grand yard is abloom in English roses. As a tale of hardship and pioneer pluck, the tale is pure fantasy, but as entertainment it's energetic and appealing. The island is impossibly populated by ostriches, zebras, lions, and elephants, a private zoo that delights the youngest boy and offers plenty of comic relief. The two older brothers discover even wilder life when they rescue the prisoner of oriental pirates (led by hard-bitten Sessue Hayakawa). There's little real danger anywhere in the film--even the climactic battle with the pirates is a cartoonish affair, with coconut bombs and nonlethal booby traps, until the final desperate, deadly moments. Hardly a faithful adaptation of the novel, but a lush, beautifully photographed film and an entertaining adventure safe for all ages. Dorothy McGuire costars as the proper, worry-prone mother. (Ages 5 and older) --Sean Axmaker

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

283 of 292 people found the following review helpful By microjoe TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 2, 2003
Format: DVD
I strongly recommend! Originally released in 1960, the film returned to theatres 4 times in later years. This is absolutely one of the most fun family films the Walt Disney Studios ever made. There is truly something for everyone... comedy, action, adventure, drama, romance, and suspense. Even at 126 minutes in length, it does not feel too long. Starting in the aftermath of a shipwreck, the Swiss family rebuilds their life on an uncharted tropical island. They use the wealth of salvage in livestock, tools, guns, furniture, wood, and more to build a safe home in the trees, complete with running water and other conveniences. The mother and father begin an idealic exhistance with their 3 boys aged 9, 16, and 18. But one day the older boys decide to take a canoe and survey the rest of the island. They stumble across pirates that are attacking the crew of a ship, and rescue the captain's daughter, bringing the wrath of the pirates on them since they are discovered.

Directed by Ken Annakin, the movie was filmed on location on the caribbean island of Tobago. While the production went way over budget for a total cost of $4 million, Walt did not get upset with his production team at the time since the film was looking to be success when he reviewed clips from the set. As it turned out, with subsequent theatre releases, television, and video airing, the film has turned out to be one of the top-grossing films from Disney.

The tropical scenery is spectacular as they filmed all over the island; waterfalls, forests, grass plains, flowers, beaches, cliffs, mountains, oceans, streams, and much more. Contributing a tremendous amount to the exotic locale of the movie are animals, pirates, ships, and a tree house to beat all tree houses ever made.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 29, 2002
Format: DVD
The folks at Walt Disney Home Video have put together four excellent new "Vault Disney" releases that truly showcase DVD technology at its best. "Swiss Family Robinson," one of Walt Disney's best-loved live-action adventures, benefits immensely from DVD technology, especially the wide-screen presentation and THX restored picture and sound quality. The widescreen alone would have satisfied most fans, so the plethora of extras on the supplemental disc are truly special. I have never seen a DVD with so many extras presented in such a creative and easily accessible way. Thank you to everyone at Walt Disney Home Video for this wonderful DVD. Hopefully, more titles will follow in this series (like Third Man on the Mountain, Darby O'Gill and the Little People, The Moonspinners, and Summer Magic) and ALL Disney DVD's will be released in their original theatrical ratios
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Lulu on May 20, 2002
Format: DVD
What a fantastic DVD this is. The Vault Disney series is wonderful, and I hope they give more films the same treatment soon. Not only is the film beautifully restored (in its original 2:35:1 theatrical aspect ratio, and with 5.1 THX surround sound), but the DVD itself is packed with delightful extras.
There's a documentary about making "Swiss Family Robinson" that is nearly 50 minutes long and contains interviews with Sir John Mills, James MacArthur, Tommy Kirk, and Kevin Corcoran. There's a commentary track with the latter three contributing comments about the film. There's an additional interview with MacArthur about his film work, the original theatrical trailer and television spots, radio spots, the entire story album that came out with the film, a Donald Duck cartoon, and more! If you like "Swiss Family Robinson," get this DVD -- even if you already have the VHS tape. It's worth it just to finally have a widescreen version of this family-friendly classic (the better to view the wonderful island vistas), even if you don't figure all of the wonderful extras into the bargain.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 20, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
You can't get much more wholesome than this. This film definitely has the Disney stamp all over it. The Swiss Family Robinson are on their way to New Guinea. Chased by pirates on the high seas, their ship runs up against a reef, and they find themselves shipwrecked by a deserted tropical island. They manage to get themselves and all their belongings and animals ashore, intact and none the worse for wear.
The mother, played by the lovely Dorothy McGuire, is always clean, perfectly groomed and coiffed. The father, played by the wonderful English actor, John Mills, is positively cheerful the entire film. Talk about optimism. His three sons, played by the hunky James MacArthur, the adorable Tommy Kirk, and the cute-as-a-button Kevin Corcoran, work tirelessly to make their new home into an island paradise.
In record time, they build a multi-level house to die for, high up in the trees. Somehow, they manage to get a pipe organ off the wrecked ship, ashore, and up into their multi-level tree house, so that they can sing Christmas Carols at the appropriate time. Kevin Corcoran even has a baby elephant for a pet, and they parade around their sculpted lawn which is surrounded by what appears to be a manicured, English country garden.
After a while, two of the boys set out on a home made sail boat to check the terrain around the island. They discover yet another casualty of the pirates' onslaught, delightfully played by Janet Munro. The two older boys are sweet on her, which causes a little fun loving tension. All is well, until the pirates come a-calling on the island, and all you know what breaks loose. Never fear. Rescue is on the way.
Who in their right mind, however, would ever want to be rescued from this magical island, where nothing can possibly go wrong, and everyone loves each other? Pure Disney fantasy, this film is a lot of fun to watch and, better yet, can be enjoyed by the whole family.
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