Lord of the Flies (1990 film)

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For the novel, see Lord of the Flies. For the 1963 film, see Lord of the Flies (1963 film). For other uses, see Lord of the Flies (disambiguation).
Lord of the Flies
Lord of the Flies (1990 film).jpg
Theatrical Release Poster
Directed by Harry Hook
Produced by Lewis M. Allen
Written by Screenplay:
Sarah Schiff
Based on Novel 
by William Golding
"Rite of Spring
by Igor Stravinsky
Starring Balthazar Getty
Chris Furrh
Danuel Pipoly
James Badge Dale
Andrew Taft
Edward Taft
Music by Philippe Sarde
Cinematography Martin Fuhrer
Edited by Harry Hook
Distributed by Columbia Pictures (original)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (current)
Release dates
March 16, 1990 (1990-03-16)
Running time
90 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $13,985,225[1]

Lord of the Flies is a 1990 American survival film adapted from the classic novel Lord of the Flies written by William Golding. It is the second film adaptation of the book, after Lord of the Flies (1963). The film was a moderate box office success and critics gave it average reviews.


An aircraft carrying young military school cadets returning home crash lands into the sea near a remote, uninhabited, jungle island in the Pacific Ocean. Among the survivors is the pilot, Captain Benson (Michael Greene), who is seriously injured and delirious. Meanwhile, on the beach, an overweight cadet, whose real name is never revealed, nicknamed “Piggy” (Danuel Pipoly), finds a conch seashell and takes it to the grouped cadets, who adopt it to signal the right to speak and be heard by the group. The senior cadet, and one of the elder boys, Cadet Colonel Ralph (Balthazar Getty), organizes a meeting to discuss surviving their predicament. Ralph and Jack (Chris Furrh) emerge dominant, with Ralph's seniority in rank making him the one in charge. Tensions begin to grow between Ralph and Jack, however, and the group gradually becomes divided between the two leaders.

One night, as they sleep, the delusional Capt. Benson escapes from them into the jungle, eventually making his way to a cave deep inland. Later, one of the boys, in the darkness of the cave, mistakes Capt. Benson for a wild animal and kills him. He tells the other boys and they all think it is a monster. Jack, tired of listening to Ralph and Piggy, leaves and forms his own camp, taking many of the boys with him. Expecting to be rescued, Ralph's civilized leadership establishes a permanent signal-fire to alert passing ships of their presence on the island. Not expecting to be rescued, Jack's savage leadership adapts to circumstance; he establishes his camp as spear-bearing hunters who provide meat to both camps. They kill a wild pig and leave its head as an offering to "the monster" that they believe is in the cave. Eventually, identical twins Sam and Eric (Andrew Taft and Edward Taft), two of Ralph's friends, leave him to join Jack's tribe.

One night, using a glow stick, cadet Simon (James Badge Dale) explores the cave where the “monster” was killed, and discovers the cadaver of Capt. Benson. He runs to alert the boys of his discovery. In the ensuing hysteria, Simon's waving of the light frightens the other boys, who mistake him for the monster and stab him to death with their spears as Ralph and Piggy watch in horror.

After Piggy's glasses are stolen one night, Piggy and Ralph travel to Jack's camp, attempting to call a meeting using the conch. Piggy insists that everyone be sensible and work together, but Jack's savages refuse to listen. As they jeer him, Roger (Gary Rule), the cruel torturer in Jack's tribe, pushes a boulder off a cliff and smashes Piggy's head, killing him. A distraught Ralph swears that Jack will not get away with the murders, but Jack declares that Ralph is now on his own as Simon and Piggy are dead and all the other cadets have defected and joined Jack. Jack and his savages throw stones at Ralph to drive him away. Ralph returns at night time, and is warned by Sam and Eric that the hunters will chase after him.

The next day, Jack and his hunters begin setting the jungle on fire to force Ralph out of hiding so they can kill him. Just barely dodging the spreading fire and Jack's hunters, Ralph makes a desperate run to the sea, where he encounters a U.S. Marine Corps officer (Bob Peck) who has just landed on the island with other Marines. He is surprised to see them there, and asks what they are doing. Ralph begins to sob while a shocked, guilty and horrified Jack and his stunned hunters look on in silence.



Critical response[edit]

The film has a rating of 61% or "Fresh" on the movie review site Rotten Tomatoes.[2]

Some cited that the novel in general is somewhat dated and unsuitable for a remake. Roger Ebert remarked in his review that "events take place every day on our mean streets that are more horrifying than anything the little monsters do to one another on Golding's island."[3]

Barrie Maxwell of DVD Verdict commented that the color of the island creates a more superficial atmosphere than the stark black and white of the previous version.[4]


  1. ^ Lord of the Flies. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 26, 2010.
  2. ^ "Lord of the Flies on Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2007-10-23. 
  3. ^ Ebert, Roger (1990-03-16). "Lord Of The Flies: Roger Ebert Review". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2007-10-23. 
  4. ^ Maxwell, Barrie (2001-11-20). "DVD Verdict Review — Lord Of The Flies (1990)". Retrieved 2008-04-01. 

External links[edit]