Treasure Island movie cover Movie Locations Guide

Where was Treasure Island filmed?

1990

About Treasure Island

Several films based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s riveting 1883 novels have graced our screens since 1917. However, Fraser Clarke Heston’s 1990 adaptation of Treasure Island stands as the most faithful to the source material. The adventure film stars Christian Bale, Christopher Lee, Julian Glover, Pete Postlethwaite, and Oliver Reed.

It centers on Jim Hawkins (Bale) who stumbles upon a treasure map. Captain Bones (Oliver Reed) stops by the Admiral Benbow inn, which is an establishment Jim and his widowed mother (Isla Blair) co-own. The elderly Captain is quite a nuisance as he spends days waiting for the arrival of a one-legged man.

The man in question is a pirate called Black Dog (John Benfield), and when he eventually turns up at the inn, the two engage in a sword fight. On the verge of defeat, Captain Bones retreats. The strain of the duel takes an immediate toll on his health, and Bones suffers a cardiac arrest.

Jim attempts to offer him help just as Blind Pew (Lee), a former pirate, arrives. The former pirate serves the injured captain with the infamous Black Spot and leaves. In Stevenson’s book, the black spot infers that a pirate has been officially pronounced guilty.

As Bones breathes his last, he hands Jim a key to his chest. Later, the Hawkinses go through Bones’ chest, and a packet of papers catches Jim’s attention. Before he can make sense of them, Black Dog, Pew, and a few more men return for the papers.

Thankfully, Dr. Livesey (Glover) arrives with a cavalry of his own men to scatter the pirates away, killing Pew in the aftermath. Jim accompanies Livesey to call on Squire Trelawney (Richard Johnson), who upon going through the papers realizes that one marks the spot where Captain Flint buried £700,000.

Trelawney hires Captain Smollett (Clive Wood) to helm the Hispaniola, a ship he procures for the voyage in search of Flint’s treasure. Smollett is to head the expedition with help from Long John Silver (Charlton Heston), a one-legged publican.

City Locations

Cornwall, Devon, Buckinghamshire

Location Types

Naturescapes, Ship Docks, Studios

Location Styles

Exotic/Tropical, Sail, Shipping Yard/Dock

Treasure Island Locations

The made-for-TV movie is not widely cited as the best Treasure Island production, but it still stands out because of the overall cinematic treatment. Filming commenced in May 1989, and it first aired in January 1990.

Made for the TNT network, Heston directed his old man in the film. The senior Heston and Bale became good friends after working on the movie. Charlton Heston had also previously shared the screen with Lee and Reed in the 1973 Live-action film, “The Three Musketeers.”

As for the few scenes featuring Long John and his shoulder parrot, Heston’s director’s commentary explained that the bird kept nibbling on his dad’s ear. Hence the reason they limited the scenes featuring the parrot.

Heston’s next film, “Needful Things,” featured a scene where Leland Gaunt’s character sells a copy of “Treasure Island.” It goes to show how the movie is special to those who worked on it and fans alike.

A walk down memory lane is well in order, for a recap of some of the best scenes from Treasure Island and where they were filmed.

Fun facts:

While navigating through Jamaica’s Windward Passage, the crew thought it was a great idea to fly a pirate flag. Needless to say, their stunt resulted in the Cuban Navy sailing out to intercept their vessel.

Jim overhears defectors planning a mutiny scene in Treasure Island

Cornwall, England

Alongside a crew of sailors Smollett and Long John gather, and Jim and Livesey accompany the team to serve as cabin boy and ship doctor respectively. Smollett's rebellious conduct annoys Trelawney who quickly loses trust in him.

However, when Jim is retrieving an apple from a barrel for Trelawney, he learns that Dick Johnson, Israel Hands (Michael Halsey), and Silver are the real threats. The trio plans a mutiny, and once they see some land, Jim lets Smollett, Trelawney, and Livesey know what he overheard.

When Trelawney promises to see the defectors hang for their traitorous actions, Livesey has a rather hilarious response for him. “If they are successful, you won’t see anything at all because you will be quite dead.”

Some of the crew go ashore, with Smollett’s permission, leaving fewer defectors on board. Meanwhile, Trelawney, Livesay, Smollett, and three of his servants, Redruth (James Cosmo), Joyce, and Hunter (Michael Thoma), hole up in the vessel’s cabin.

Cornwall is listed as one of the Treasure Island filming locations. The 1950 version was also filmed around Carrick Roads, River Fal, Falmouth, Helford, and Gull Rock in Cornwall.

The Southwest England county is where you will find the remains of King Arthur’s birthplace, Tintagel Castle. Other points of interest include the Tate Gallery and Barbara Hepworth Museum in St Ives.

Jim finds Ben Gunn scene in Treasure Island

Clovelly, Devon

Jim sneaks ashore and witnesses Silver and the other defectors killing two soldiers who won’t join their cause. He also finds Ben Gunn (Nicholas Amer), a pirate who Flint left stranded on the island.

In the three years, he was marooned on the island, Gunn supposedly had toasty dreams. “Many long nights I’ve dreamed of cheese. Toasted, mostly.”

Hunter and Livesey also sneak off the ship and they find Flint’s former stockade. They arrange to have their party use the enclosure as their base of operations. Unfortunately, Hands sinks the jolly boat ferrying Smollett’s troupe to the stockade.

The Treasure Island production unit also filmed scenes around Clovelly in Devon. A privately owned harbor village, Clovelly belongs to John Rous of the Hamlyn family.

Other productions filmed in Clovelly include “Sense & Sensibility,” “Passion,” and “The Mrs. Bradley Mysteries.”

Silver attempts to parley with Smollett scene in Treasure Island

Jamaica

Redruth is shot in the ensuing chase across the island. Using Gunn’s instructions, Jim makes it to the stockade with a cryptic message for the Squire. Silver unsuccessfully attempts to parley with Smollett, the next morning, in exchange for the map.

Smollett doesn’t mince his words telling Silver, “you are either my ship's cook and then you were treated handsome-or Captain Silver, a common mutineer, and pirate, and then you can go hang!"

The pirates breach the fence leaving the Captain and Joyce wounded, they are driven away. Later that night, Jim sails to the Hispaniola, aboard a coracle he steals from Gunn, and he cuts the vessel’s anchor line.

Jamaica is an exotic island country that needs little introduction, and it happens to be one of the filming locations of Treasure Island. The picturesque locale provides plenty of photogenic highlights including Frenchman’s Cove, the Good Hope Great House, Downtown Kingston, and Caymanas Estate.

Some of the other notable productions filmed in Jamaica include “No Time to Die,” “I Am Bolt,” and “The Treasure Seekers.”

Jim runs the Hispaniola aground scene in Treasure Island

Pitcairn Island, PCRN 1ZZ, Pitcairn Islands

Hands, who is injured following a fight that broke on board, offers to help Jim get back to the ship. However, he changes tunes and later tries to stab Jim in the back once the vessel runs aground.

He delivers the line, “dead men don’t bite” as he tries to knife the cabin boy. Jim escapes to the shrouds, and Hands’ thrown knife cuts him on the shoulder. He manages to eventually shoot and kill Hands.

The Bounty II deserves an honorable mention as one of the Treasure Island locations. MGM Studios built the replica ship in 1960 for “Mutiny on the Bounty” starring Marlon Brando. Since then, it features in several productions until the ‘80s when the studio berthed her in St. Petersburg as a tourist attraction.

The ship returned on the screen for Treasure Island, and in 1993, the Fall River Chamber Foundation received her as a donation from Turner. She exchanged ownership again in 2001 after the HMS Bounty Organization LLC purchased her.

The organization kept the shopping sailing until 2012 when it sank near the Carolinas in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Silver spares Jim’s life scene in Treasure Island

Pinewood Studios, Pinewood Rd, Slough, Iver SL0 0NH, United Kingdom

Jim then returns to the stockade and finds that the defectors have taken it over. Jim bravely admits to having stirred things up leading to the series of events, and Silver wants him dead. “Them that die will be the lucky ones!”

George Merry (Postlethwaite) nearly deposes Silver for it but his saving grace comes in the map he has in hand. Explaining how he struck a bargain to get it from Livesey, the pirates support Silver once again.

Eventually, they decide to keep Jim a hostage. When Livesey stops by the next day to treat the wounded pirates, Jim confides to him about the ship. He also mentions that he owes Silver his life.

Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire housed some of the Treasure Island film sets. Located in the village of Iver Heath, the studio is the home to well-known productions like the “Carry On” and “James Bond” film franchises.

Studio tours allow visitors to see where the magic happens. The Heatherden Hall and Gardens, now operating as the admin block, is available for rent as a wedding venue. Bus 3 or 107 can get you to the Pinewood Studios.

The group sails home scenes on Treasure Island

Black Park Road, Black Park Rd, Slough SL3 6DS, United Kingdom

Livesey alerts the others in their party about the turn of events. The pirates eventually set off in search of Flint’s treasure. They get spooked along the way when they hear Captain Flint’s voice.

Merry tells Long John that he shouldn’t cross any spirit. Long John responds, “man, beast, or spirit, I don’t care if it’s Beelzebub himself. I’m gonna get that loot!”

Only that it’s Gunn mimicking Flink to tease them. On arrival at the spot on the map, they find that the treasure isn’t there. Merry leads a rebellion against Silver, and Livesey’s party arrives to drive them off.

The doctor, Jim, and Silver return to Gunn’s cave. They find the treasure hauled up in the cave after Gunn previously moved it all in there. The group loads up the Hispaniola and starts the journey back home.

The Black Park in Iver Heath is listed as another Treasure Island location. Its location, adjacent to the Pinewood Studios, makes it a popular film shoot location.

Some of the films with scenes shot at the park include “The Brides of Dracula,” “The Curse of the Werewolf,” and “The Curse of Frankenstein.” Bus 3, 106, or 107 can get you to Black Park.

Conclusion

The Treasure Island production released in 1950 is worth watching if only to feast your eyes on the marvelous locations. Filming of the Byron Haskin-directed movie took place around Cornwall, Devon, Iver Heath, Bristol, and the Denham Film Studios.

For the ship scenes, the crew filmed aboard the real-life 19th-century schooner called the Ryelands. Production of the 1934 version, directed by Victor Fleming, took place around California and Hawaii. IMDB lists 16 Treasure Island adaptations, with the most recent release being Steve Barron’s 2012 action adventure.