Rescue from Gilligan's Island

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Rescue from Gilligan's Island
Rescue from Gilligan's Island.jpg
Created bySherwood Schwartz
Written bySherwood Schwartz
Elroy Schwartz
Al Schwartz
David Harmon
Directed byLeslie H. Martinson
StarringBob Denver
Alan Hale, Jr.
Dawn Wells
Jim Backus
Natalie Schafer
Russell Johnson
Judith Baldwin
Theme music composerGerald Fried
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
Executive producerSherwood Schwartz
ProducerLloyd J. Schwartz
Production locationsParamount Studios - 5555 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California
CinematographyRobert Primes
EditorMarshall Neilan
Running time95 minutes
Production companiesRedwood Productions
Sherwood Schwartz Productions
Original networkNBC
Original releaseOctober 14 –
21, 1978
Preceded byGilligan's Island
Followed byThe Castaways on Gilligan's Island

Rescue from Gilligan's Island is a 1978 made-for-television comedy film that continues the adventures of the shipwrecked castaways from the 1964–67 sitcom Gilligan's Island, starring Bob Denver and Alan Hale, Jr. The film first aired on NBC as a two-part special on October 14 and October 21, 1978. In depicting the long-awaited rescue of the castaways, the film forms a cathartic response to many of the episodes of the series in which "they almost get off the island". The film was directed by Leslie H. Martinson.[1]


The story picks up 15 years after the original shipwreck. Gilligan has a nightmare about the island melting. The film then notes that far away from Gilligan's Island in an unidentified country (one may assume the Soviet Union), a military unit is monitoring a satellite that is experiencing technical problems. The scientists controlling the satellite activate a self-destruct mechanism to prevent the satellite from crashing to Earth, as it contains a disc that holds some very important, top-secret information. The metal disc from the satellite is not destroyed, instead making it through the Earth's atmosphere and landing at the lagoon, eventually being found by Gilligan.

The Professor realizes that a unique alloy in the disc can be used to make a barometer. While using the new barometer, the Professor deduces that they are going to be hit by a tsunami of such magnitude that it will destroy the island (he can't back this up, as even their radio has finally broken down due to age). To survive the killer wave, the Professor has the castaways maneuver three huts together and secure them to one another.

When the castaways awaken the next morning, they realize that the Professor's prediction has come true; they have been swept off the island and their huts have become a makeshift raft. Gilligan makes a fire on the deck to cook a fish, and leaves the fire unattended. Unfortunately for Gilligan, the fire begins to spread out of control, but the other castaways promptly extinguish it. After being angry at Gilligan, the castaways are then grateful when the United States Coast Guard spots the smoke and rescues them.

After the raft is towed to Hawaii, the castaways' names are announced to the anxious crowds. Most of the cast's full names are recited, but a bullhorn obscures part of the first mate's name, and all that is heard is "Gilligan". The castaways are at first confused by modern life. After a ton of hoopla and media hype, the group agrees to meet again at Christmas aboard the S.S. Minnow II.

After viewing an interview of the castaways on TV, spies from the unknown country are made aware that Gilligan is in possession of the recording disc from their satellite and are sent to recover it.

An insurance company informs the Skipper and Gilligan that they will not get a settlement payment for the first Minnow unless their former passengers sign a statement testifying that the Skipper was not responsible for the shipwreck (recalling an earlier episode where the Skipper was tried in absentia and acquitted of responsibility).

First, they visit Ginger. She is making a movie, and is upset at the changes in Hollywood in the last 15 years. She is told that sex and swearing are what makes a movie successful, and that nothing else matters. The director overhears Gilligan talking about some recent films he had seen which were hits, such as Jaws and Star Wars, neither of which had profanity nor bawdiness, and quickly decides that acting is what really matters. Ginger signs the insurance statement and the Skipper and Gilligan go off to find the Professor.

The Professor is trying to get back into research and is busying himself in his college lab conducting experiments. After a series of encounters with college cheerleaders, another faculty member and the college dean, the Professor signs the insurance statement.

Gilligan and the Skipper then go to meet the Howells. They are having dinner with old friends and are delighted when the Skipper and Gilligan arrive. The Howells introduce them to their acquaintances before going into the library to discuss matters. However, over the intercom they overhear their rich "friends" making insults toward Gilligan and the Skipper. The Howells angrily throw their supposed friends out of their house and off their property. The Howells then sign the insurance statement.

The Skipper and Gilligan go see Mary Ann. After 15 years, she is set to marry her fianceé, Herbert Rucker. However, she is sad and her acquaintance Cindy, who is a childhood friend of Mary Ann's, tries to console her. Mary Ann explains that she and Herbert have both changed and she no longer loves him. Cindy says she should call off the wedding, but Mary Ann insists she must do the right thing and marry Herbert. Again unannounced, the Skipper and Gilligan show up looking for a signature for the insurance statement. Mary Ann is thrilled to see them but they notice she is unhappy. She brushes it off and asks them to stay for the wedding. Cindy confides her true feelings regarding Herbert, and his for her, to Gilligan and the Skipper. They decide that they must "save" Mary Ann from making a huge mistake. They grab a tractor pulling an old wagon laden with watermelons and proceed to "scoop" Mary Ann out of the arms of Herbert. Subsequently, the two spies (who just happen to be in attendance no matter where Gilligan goes) and all the male guests begin running after what is clearly the slowest tractor ever and almost catch the threesome until Gilligan ingeniously hurls a single watermelon into the group and they tumble over like a "perfect strike". Meanwhile, as Mary Ann contemplates how to break the news to Herbert without breaking his heart, in the background, the traditional wedding music starts playing. This time, Herbert and Cindy are getting married. Mary Ann is out of her predicament and the Skipper gets his insurance statement signed.

Eventually, the insurance company pays for the first Minnow, and the castaways and crew are ready for a cruise on the Minnow II. The spies make one last attempt to get the disc, but are thwarted at the last minute by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Finally, the cruise gets under way.

However, just as 15 years before, the Minnow II is caught in a storm, because while cleaning the compass, Gilligan had rendered it useless by removing the magnet that makes the compass work, causing the Skipper to sail for hours in the wrong direction. When the storm finally subsides, the group is seen pulling themselves from the water onto a beach. After getting some not-so-happy looks from the rest of the gang, Gilligan runs into the jungle. Gilligan returns to say he knows where they are by showing the rest of the group a piece of wood from the original Minnow (the name plate of the original ship, which is incorrectly marked Minnow I). The group react in shock when they realize they landed right back on the same island, and when Gilligan says "we're home," the Skipper chases him into the lagoon.



Tina Louise declined to appear in the movie, claiming that she was not going to reprise the role that she felt had devastated her career. Reportedly she asked for a prohibitively large sum of money. Judith Baldwin, a substantially younger actress who resembled Louise, was cast in her place. The following year, Baldwin would go on to play Ginger again in The Castaways on Gilligan's Island. Cassandra Peterson also auditioned for the part of 'Ginger,' shortly before KHJ-TV offered her the horror-host position as 'Elvira Mistress of the Dark'.


Rescue from Gilligan's island aired on NBC on October 14, 1978 and October 21, 1978 in two parts. The made-for-TV-movie was released on DVD on January 1, 2002, August 1. 2012, June 23, 2015, and July 9, 2015.[2]


  1. "Rescue from Gilligan's Island". Turner Classic Movies. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System (Time Warner). Retrieved November 6, 2016.
  2. "Rescue from Gilligan's Island". Eclipse. The Criterion Collection. ASIN B00005KHJF. Retrieved November 6, 2016.

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