5 Classic Movies on an Island Blogathon

Which five movies would you choose to take with you on a deserted island? Clearly, if you could prepare, you'd  throw out the movies and take survival guides and other useful items. But this is fantasy. You might choose films from five different decades and from multiple genres. That's what we've done here.

1. A Silent Film - Cinderella (1911)

Charles Perrualt's classic tale  -Cinderella - comes to life in this silent film  from 1911 directed by George O. Nichols. It stars Florence La Badie as the title character - a daughter forced to work in her own house as an abused servant who wishes to attend the royal ball.

Though only 14 minutes long, you would still take it with you on the island when you want a simple and short story. It's a brief respite from your island woes; you can quickly return to your hut-making, chopping wood, or whatever it is you're doing to survive.

Click here to watch Cinderella (1911).

2. An Epic - Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925)

Moving up a decade to a bigger budget and a longer running time, we have Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ  (1925). The Lew Wallace novel roars on to the screen with Ramon Novarro as a young man who seeks revenge on a childhood friend (Francis X. Bushman) who has betrayed his family.

This is another silent film, it runs for over 2 hours. The pageantry, the action, the epic-ness of it all bears repeat viewings, making it perfect to have on rotation.

3. A RomCom - Evergreen (1934)

This Gaumont British Picture is a romantic comedy, a film about time, stage craft and aspiring actors. Above all, it's an Art Deco extravaganza!

Evergreen (1934) so encapsulates 1930s films it almost seems a parody of its own modernity. Starring Jessie Matthews in a dual role, we find a young actress who pretends to be her late mother coming out of retirement.  

Evergreen is a story about time - savoring time, stopping time, changes over time, similarities over time, the trends of the day, the music of an era, the ultimate dominance of time, fighting time.

Great for a deserted island because you'll have some time on your hands to be nostalgic.

4. A Drama - The Heiress (1949)

A Paramount Pictures adaptation of a Broadway play that is based on a Henry James novel cannot help but have layers.

In this taut drama, Olivia De Havilland stars as a wealthy young lady who does not know whether her new beau (Montgomery Clift) loves her (as she believes he does) or her money (as her father, Ralph Richardson, believes he does).

Discovering all the lights and shadows of the characters would be like unwinding the inside of a baseball; you'll never run out of concepts to explore within this film.

5. A Musical - A Star is Born (1954)

A rotation of deserted island movies would not be complete without a musical. Why not one from the 1950s when they were just hitting a peak before they fizzled out?

And why not one of the most massive, well-acted, well-choreographed musicals in the English language? I'm talking about A Star is Born  (1954) with Judy Garland in her Oscar-nominated role as an aspiring film actor whose career ascends as that of her husband (James Mason) descends.

It's a long film with a variety of great moments and musical numbers which you could treat as their own little movies within a movie. This is a film you can watch again and again

What 5 Movies Would You Take with You? Leave a Comment Below.


This post is in celebration of National Classic Movie Day (May 16, 2016) with the
5 Movies on an Island Blogathon hosted by Classic Film and TV Cafe.


  1. Java, what an intriguing list! I expected to see THE HEIRESS, but CINDERELLA and EVERGREEN were were surprise picks. I have seen neither one of them! But you have great taste and so, if you're taking them to your island for repeated viewing, then I definitely need to see them.

  2. Fascinating choices. You make me ashamed for leaving off some of my favourite silent comedies.

    I have seen Ben-Hur grab and hold the most ardent denier of the power of the silent era.

  3. All wonderful choices -- haven't seen your #1 or #3 but they are in great company here. Judy's A Star is Born is also one of my favorites (but couldn't fit it on my list) and so special and touching and perfect. I'll bring the popcorn to your island for sure!

  4. How marvelous! Of all the movies I imagined finding represented in this blogathon, I never imagined "Evergreen". Adore Jessie Matthews.

  5. Wow. You have a very impressive list here. I was almost going to list "A Star Is Born", as it's one of my all time favorites. I also love "The Heiress", and would love to have that on an island too.

    I also invite you to check out my contribution to the blogathon.


  6. What great choices! I can't believe I didn't even think of The Heiress or a Star is Born for my list... oh well, maybe next time :)

  7. Wow - what a great list. Jessie Matthews is a brilliant choice! But, I think you could have added another - 14 minutes for Cinderella entitles you!

  8. What clever criteria: one from each decade! I love it. Thanks for participating.

  9. Yay! I finally found someone who would also take the silent Ben-Hur to the island! Indeed, this film deservs to be seen several times, with a few tears every time.
    I'd also take A Star is Born, but the 1937 version. As much as I love Judy, the original film just crushes my heart.


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About Java

"Java's Journey: A really fun, informative well-written blog that explores all of the things - and I mean all - I love about classic films."-- Flick Chick of A Person In The Dark Email: java-rush@hotmail.com


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