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4.4 out of 5 stars
Treasure Island
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59 of 62 people found the following review helpful
I have loved this movie since I was but a wee lad (born in 1967). I had the record LP as a child and still have the VHS tape. It remains to this day my favorite live action Disney film and the best pirate movie to date. Sadly,this DVD is a travesty!!! The colors are good but there is still lots of work to be done on it to call it "fully restored". Plenty of grain remains on the print. And what's all this about no special features?!?! No 2nd disc?!?! This film is a milestone in Disney's history! Yet here it is treated as second rate! Nothing more than quick sell DVD to put on the same display self as Treasure Planet when it was being released to DVD. Now how about doing it right Disney and release this gem on Blu-ray, cleaned up real good and filled with extras. Do it like Walt was still in charge.
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79 of 90 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 2003
There's no doubt about it-Disney's version of Treasure Island is a classic (particularly the iconic perfomrance of Robert Newton as Long John Silver, a role that people *still* identify as the quintessential pirate), and the restoration of this movie is pretty good, and that's why I've rated this disc 5 stars.
*But*, the extras stink. Actually, who am I kidding? There are no extras! None, not even a trailer (like the oldest Gold Collection releases even had). There's no mistaking that this disc is meant as a tie-in to Trasure Planet, but you'd think that Disney, which has gotten *a lot* better with its DVD releases in the last 18 months, would put out a disc with at least cursory features (trailers, a classic short, and maybe some vintage intro or something by Walt himself). Apparently, I'm wrong.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 17, 2002
Robert Louis Stevenson's tale of treachery on the high seas comes to life in Disney's first fully live-action feature film, Treasure Island! The always wonderful Bobby Driscoll, Disney's star of Song of the South and So Dear To My Heart, plays young Jim Hawkins, the son of a local tavern keeper woman. The ocean brings all sorts of seamen into the tavern where the small boy lives and works, filling his head with ideas of adventure and excitement on the open sea. But fantasy becomes reality when a pirate treasure map comes into Jim's possession. Suddenly, he and his adult friends, the sensible Dr. Livesey and the pompous and careless Squire Trelawney, are planning there own adventure on the good ship Hispanola, in search of the treasure of the infamous Captain Flint. But before they can sail, they need a crew, and the foolish Squire allows their strange new friend, innkeeper and retired Navy cook Long John Silver, to sign one on for them. Long John quickly befriends Jim Hawkins and immediately gathers a crew, but rather than recruiting former Navy men as promised, Long John Silver hires on his REAL shipmates, PIRATES! Pirates of every shape and size! Soon, the crew of good guys, and bad guys in disguise, heads out to sea in search of Treasure Island. However, by the time they reach the isle, Jim Hawkins has overheard the mutiny Silver and his men are planning. Now it's good guys versus bad pirates in a battle over life, liberty, and untold riches! No one is sure of the outcome, but the real question is, is Long John really Jim's enemy, or his friend?
No child should go through life without experiencing this Disney classic! Treasure Island is truly one of the best films to come out of Disney's wonderful vault. It's full of fun and adventure, with great characters and settings, a perfect mood, and a superb cast. Robert Newton OWNS the role of Long John Silver! There will never be another loveable villain like him! For more fun with Robert Newton in the role of Long John, search for the 1953 film "Long John Silver Returns To Treasure Island," a sequel made by some other studio in an attempt to cash in on Disney's Masterpiece. Like I said, Robert Newton plays Long John again in that film, so for that reason alone, it's worth checking out. Also, pick up Muppet Treasure Island if you're a fan of Tim Curry and the Muppets! It's great fun!
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2001
(...)Who in the world actually thinks that a movie made from a book should include every line of dialog from the book? The beauty and art of cinema is supposed to be in the many interpretations of the same story/tale. Each director/producer team makes these interpretaions for themselves. Byron Haskin (director) and Perce Pearce (producer) have made a wonderful adaptation of the R.L. Stevenson classic tale.
This Disney movie can be enjoyed by both children and adults. I personally have seen this movie as a child in the 1960's, as a teenager in the 1970's and yet again as an adult in my thirties in the 1990's and appreciate it now more than ever. Who says that a child can only be entertained by cartoon characters and silly songs? As a child I loved the adventure storyline and friendship between pirate Long John Silver and young boy Jim Hawkins.
The quality of this film can be traced directly to the production team of Haskin/Pearce and indirectly to Walt Disney himself. All of the Disney films by this production team ( Treasure Island, The Sword and the Rose, Robin Hood and His Merrie Men and, I think, Song of the South) have the same beautiful stage sets with a look not seen elsewhere, rousing and thrilling musical scores by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, lush cinematography shot in the English countryside and excellent casting and acting. If the characters were not perfectly casted then there were certainly none that seemed out of place. Treasure Island has all these good qualities about it.
And finally, this movie as well as the others listed were released when Walt Disney himself were still alive. After Walt died the quality of Disney fare became... uh.... well, one can see the quality of today's Disney with Eisner in charge. I'll leave it at that. I hope that I am wrong, but I don't think cinema like this will ever show up again. To bad! What a great treasure of a movie! (Pardon the pun)
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on June 25, 2001
Like so many adventure stories, there have been numerous film versions of Robert Louis Stevenson's "Treasure Island". Walt Disney's 1950 live-action film gets my vote as the best version. Robert Newton, of course, steals the film as Long John Silver, but praise should also go to Bobby Driscoll as Jim Hawkins and the top-notch British supporting cast. This film has almost nothing that is mostly associated with Disney movies, including no songs or funny characters, but that doesn't bother me. I still love it, mainly because of the two main characters, Long John and Jim Hawkins, and the well-developed relationship they have.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
There have been a vast number of versions of TREASURE ISLAND, and I am sure the future will bring a great many more, but this one remains the one to watch for one and one reason alone: Robert Newton. There have been many, many fine Long John Silver's, from Wallace Beery to Orson Welles to Jack Palance to Charlton Heston, but none of these others got anywhere near to the performance of Robert Newton. One of the great character actors of the forties and fifties, Newton isn't very well known in the United States because he did only limited work in Hollywood (even TREASURE ISLAND was filmed in England, not in the Caribbean or Hollywood). But fans of film will remember him in Sir Carol Reed's great film ODD MAN OUT (he plays an artist who wants to paint the dying visage of James Mason), in Coward and Lean's THIS HAPPY BREED, and an appropriately terrifying Bill Sikes in Lean's OLIVER TWIST. Newton was a glorious ham actor, in the best possible sense, and to watch him chew up scene after scene, always being over-the-top yet taking the part with complete seriousness. He is everything one can possible imagine in Long John Silver.
To be honest, apart from Newton's utterly dominating performance, there isn't much reason to prefer this version TREASURE ISLAND to any other. Apart from his Long John, the film as a whole is solid if unspectacular. While we have seen perhaps the finest Long John Silver we are ever likely to see in Robert Newton (who was so glorious in the role that Disney did both a sequel film and a television series featuring his Long John), we have yet to see the definitive film version of Stevenson's tale. The book contains darker elements than have ever been brought to screen. The 1934 MGM version (with Wallace Beery as Silver and Jackie Cooper as Jim Hawkins) is highly sanitized family fare, though it is perhaps the version with the best overall cast. It would, however, be nice to see an adult version of the tale, with all the darkness and complexity left intact. But even after that film does appear, this film will be well worth going back to just to relish Robert Newton's incomparable performance.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2001
Although 30 years of age I still love this. It is a pity that nowadays few people seem to appreciate the charm of this movie. If you ever read the book you'll find Robert Newton is exactly the Long John Silver presented by Stevenson. And not to forget the fine British cast. They make the movie all the more worthwile. There are other, more recent versions but they lack both energy and charme. And in comparison with the book: Sometimes they've even kept the exact words, but also changed part of the story.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 2004
"Treasure Island" is one of Disney's masterpieces, a superb adaptation of the wonderful Robert Louis Stevenson novel which had one of the most vivid characters in history, Long John Silver, here brought to life in all his colorful glory and brio by Robert Newton. This is a fantastic production from stem to stern. Set in England in 1765, the period captured in beautiful Technicolor detail, it tells the story of young Jim Hawkins (Bobby Driscoll), working at the Admiral Benbow Inn in his mother's absence, who becomes in possession of a treasure map that pits him against pirates on a hunt for buried gold. The story comes alive with a cast of British character actors who are vivid and memorable and larger-than-life enough to appeal to kids and adults alike, ranging from Geoffrey Wilkinson as Ben Gunn (absolutely delightful, reminds me of "Dobie the Elf" from the "Harry Potter" series) to Newton, the definitive Long John Silver. Newton's crusty one-legged pirate with the terrific real parrot on his shoulder, complete pirate regalia, saucy wink and mannerisms (including his "Ahr! Shiver me timbers!") has never been bettered. There is also an interesting mutual respect and relationship that builds between Long John Silver and young Hawkins. I'd put it in a league with Errol Flynn's swashbuckling adventures. It isn't at all marred by the over-sugary element that can give some Disney productions tooth decay; there's actually some surprising, appropriate violence. Talented Bobby Driscoll, a clean-cut and cute Disney kid (and the only one with an American accent in the production), holds his own against this formidable cast to make a very appealing protagonist. On all counts- thrilling adventure for all, matey!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Disney has always called on classic stories for inspiration. Robert Louis Stevenson's great classic "Treasure Island" provided the inspiration for this Disney adaptation. The adaptation deviates from Stevenson's and becomes a classic separate from Stevenson's.

Young Jim Hawkins (the late Bobby Driscoll, who appeared in "The Fighting Sullivans," "Song of the South," "So Dear to My Heart," and was the voice of Peter Pan in the Disney classic) encounters pirate Captain Billy Bones. Bones is an imposing figure, and yet he is kind to Jim Hawkins. Soon, other, more vicious and threatening, characters appear on the scene, all looking for Billy Bones' treasure map, which is now in the possession of Jim Hawkins. One of those of these characters is Long John Silver (the late Robert Newton, who also played Mr. Fix in the epic 1950's classic "Around the World in 80 Days").

Jim Hawkins is now caught up in a series of events over which he initially has little control. A group of men decide to pursue the treasure shown on the map, and they decide to take Jim Hawkins aboard as a cabin boy. Jim is our observer throughout this tale, and we see many of the events that transpire through his eyes. Thus, we gain knowledge of an impending mutiny and come to realize how vicious the pirates masquerading as crewmembers are.

The excitement and action increase when the pirates mutiny and everyone searches for the treasure. Jim comes into his own as he realizes that he is the one person in a position to make thing happen, if he only dares. Though Disney modified many things from Stevenson's story in this adaptation, Jim Hawkins' coming of age story remains relatively intact. We also learn why Long John Silver is beloved by all who have seen this classic as we see his vicious side and the care and concern he has for Jim Hawkins.

I remember seeing this story decades ago as a young child. The violence in the movie (though there is minimal blood) seemed normal for a pirate movie. I also thought little of the drinking and smoking that occurred throughout the movie. Watching the movie as a parent, I was a little surprised at the violence, drinking and smoking that occur in this movie, but I also realize that I survived seeing all those things and, more importantly, I remember my enjoyment of the movie as a child; i.e., for those of you who think children should be protected from these images, get a life. Pirates drank, were violent and smoked. Disney managed to keep the rough stuff to a level that achieves a PG rating. If you object to drinking, smoking and violence in real life, then use this story to help explain why we do not do those things.

I do consider this movie a family movie, in spite of my comments above. You may wish to wait until the youngest in the family is 7 or 8 years old, just so that you can explain the effects of alcohol and smoking and that life in that era was very different from our life today.

Disney's version of "Treasure Island" is a grand classic. The movie does mute some of Stevenson's morality tale and does remove much of Stevenson's characterizations. These changes were necessary to adapt Stevenson's classic to a 96 minute film. In spite of those changes, "Treasure Island" survives as a marvelous coming-of-age story that is both entertaining and inspirational. My children loved this movie when they were in elementary school and I suspect yours will too.

Enjoy!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 2005
I loved this terrific adventure movie as a child, and I find that it still holds up quite well after all these years.

This DVD loses one star because although the transfer is very good, it is slightly flawed. And the utter lack of extras for this milestone film in Disney's history (it was the studio's first live action feature) is inexcusable.
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