All Is Lost

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All Is Lost
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJ. C. Chandor
Written byJ. C. Chandor
Produced by
StarringRobert Redford
CinematographyFrank G. DeMarco
Edited byPete Beaudreau
Music byAlex Ebert
Distributed by
Release dates
  • May 22, 2013 (2013-05-22) (Cannes)
  • October 25, 2013 (2013-10-25) (North America)
Running time
105 minutes[3]
Budget$8.5 million[5]
Box office$13.6 million[6]

All Is Lost is a 2013 action drama film[7] written and directed by J. C. Chandor. The film stars Robert Redford as a man lost at sea.[A] Redford is the only cast member, and the film has 51 spoken English words. All Is Lost is Chandor's second feature film, following his 2011 debut Margin Call. It screened Out of Competition at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.

The title of the film is a nod to E. W. Hornung's observation that when courage is lost, "all is lost".

Among many honors, the film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Sound Editing (Steve Boeddeker and Richard Hymns) and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score (Alex Ebert). Redford was nominated for his own Golden Globe and won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor.


The film begins with a flash-forward in which a man (Robert Redford) narrates a letter addressing people he will miss, as the camera pans across a lost shipping container.

In the Indian Ocean eight days earlier, the man wakes to find water flooding his boat. It has collided with a wayward shipping container, ripping a hole in the hull. The man uses a sea anchor to dislodge the container, then changes course to tilt the boat away from the hole. He patches the hole and uses a manual bilge pump to remove the water from the cabin. The boat's navigational and communications systems have been damaged by saltwater intrusion. The man tries to repair the marine radio and connects it to one of the boat's batteries. When he climbs the mast to repair an antenna lead, he sees an oncoming tropical storm.

When the storm arrives, the man runs before the wind. He intends to heave to, but as he crawls to the bow to hoist the storm jib, he is thrown overboard and only regains the deck after a desperate struggle. The boat capsizes and rights itself; during a second roll, which throws the man overboard again, the boat is dis-masted and most of the equipment is destroyed. After going below deck and being knocked out by colliding with a post, he regains consciousness to find the boat sinking, so he abandons ship in an inflatable life raft. When the storm has passed, he salvages whatever he can from his sinking boat and transfers it to the raft. Before the boat sinks, he tends to the gash on his forehead.

As the man learns to operate a sextant, he discovers he is being pulled towards a major shipping lane by ocean currents. He survives another storm but his supplies dwindle, and he learns too late that his drinking water has been contaminated with sea water. He improvises a solar still from his water container, a plastic bag, and an aluminum can, producing fresh water, and he snags a fish, but it is snapped up by a shark before he can reel it in.

The man is passed by two container ships, but he is unseen despite him using signaling flares. He drifts out of the shipping lane with no food or water. On the eighth day, he writes a letter, puts it in a jar, and throws it in the ocean as a message in a bottle. Later that night, he sees a light in the distance. He uses pages from his journal along with charts to create a signal fire. The fire grows out of control and consumes his raft. He falls into the water and allows himself to sink. Underwater, he sees the hull of a boat with a search light approaching his burning raft. He swims towards the surface to grasp an outstretched hand.



All Is Lost was written and directed by J. C. Chandor, his second feature film, following 2011's Margin Call. Chandor developed the idea for All Is Lost during his time commuting from Providence, Rhode Island to New York City.[9] After meeting Robert Redford at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, where Margin Call premiered, Chandor asked the veteran actor to be in the film. On February 9, 2012, Redford was confirmed as All Is Lost's only cast member.[10] With only one character, the film has no dialogue, although there are a few spoken lines.[11] The shooting script was only 31 pages long.[9]


Principal photography began in mid-2012 at Baja Studios in Rosarito Beach in Mexico. Baja Studios was originally built for the 1997 film Titanic.[10] Filming took place for two months in the location's water tank.[12] In addition the crew spent "two or three days" filming in the actual ocean.[13] Chandor would later remark that completing the film was "essentially a jigsaw puzzle"[13] and that the crew spent less time on the actual ocean than the film would have viewers believe.[13] At a press conference after the film's screening at Cannes 2013, Redford revealed that his ear was damaged during the production.[14]


The film score to All Is Lost is composed by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros' frontman Alex Ebert, who signed on to the film in November 2012.[15] Speaking of the experience of working on the film, Ebert said, "This project was a dream—an open space to play in but also space to listen to the elements—wind, water, rain, sun, are the story's other characters to me. I knew I had quite a task ahead of me: to at once allow the elements to sing and to give Redford a voice with which to, once in a while, respond."[16] The "extra features" of the Blu-ray Disc explain the unique development of the sound track, music, script and other production considerations.

A soundtrack album featuring ten original compositions and one new song, all written, composed, and produced by Ebert, was released on October 1, 2013, by Community Music.[17] On September 12, 2013, the song "Amen" from the soundtrack was made available for streaming.[18]


All Is Lost screened Out of Competition at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival on May 22.[19] The film was distributed theatrically by Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions jointly in the United States.[20] FilmNation Entertainment handled foreign sales. In February 2012, Universal Pictures purchased distribution for the UK, Australia, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, South Korea, Russia and Scandinavia. Other deals were made with HGC in China, Square One Entertainment in Germany, Sun Distribution in Latin America, Paris Filmes in Brazil, Audio Visual Entertainment in Greece and Pony Canyon in Japan.[21] It began a limited release in the United States on October 18, 2013.


Film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 94% of critics gave the film a positive review based on 238 reviews; the average rating is 8.00/10. The site's consensus states: "Anchored by another tremendous performance in a career full of them, All Is Lost offers a moving, eminently worthwhile testament to Robert Redford's ability to hold the screen."[22] On Metacritic the film has a score of 87 based on 45 reviews, considered to be "universal acclaim".[23]

After the screening of the film at the Cannes Film Festival, Redford received a standing ovation.[24] Writing for The Independent, Geoffrey Macnab says the film was "utterly compelling viewing".[25] Andrew Pulver, writing for The Guardian, says that "Redford delivers a tour de force performance: holding the screen effortlessly with no acting support whatsoever."[26] Justin Chang of Variety says of Redford's performance that he "holds the viewer's attention merely by wincing, scowling, troubleshooting and yelling the occasional expletive".[27] Robbie Collin of The Telegraph says, "The film's scope is limited, but as far as it goes, All Is Lost is very good indeed: a neat idea, very nimbly executed."[28]

In The Guardian, Peter Bradshaw raves: "Redford's near-mute performance as a mysterious old man of the sea adrift and utterly alone makes for a bold, gripping thriller." Spotting a possible metaphor, he observes: "... the entire drama works well as a parable of old age… the news of impending mortality pouring in through the windows like seawater" and concludes: "What a strikingly bold and thoughtful film."[29] Alan Scherstuhl of The Village Voice writes that the film is "a genuine nail-biter, scrupulously made and fully involving, elemental in its simplicity."[30] David Morgan of CBS News gives the film a positive review, stating, "Four decades ago Redford demonstrated a similar capacity for survival skills as the mountain man Jeremiah Johnson. Today, at age 77, without a supporting cast and performing virtually all of his water stunts himself, Redford proves he is still up to the task, shining in what is an extremely physical but also an intellectually demanding role."[31]

However, the film has been criticized in the sailing world for being unrealistic, in particular for the lack of certain safety equipment deemed standard for sailboats navigating the open ocean, such as an EPIRB, and other bad decisions made by the main character.[32][33][34] An exception to this criticism is English Yachting Monthly, in which Dick Durham claims: "Certainly the film is authentic and grippingly realistic."[35] Director Chandor himself, who says he went sailing with his parents when young and later a few times as an adult, stated in an interview with German sailing magazine Segeln [de] that everything that happened in the film could have happened in reality. His only reservations were about the probability of crossing the Indian Ocean single-handed and the failure to evade the storm using modern technology and due attention.[36]

Top ten lists[edit]

All Is Lost was listed on many critics' top ten lists.[37]


Award Category Recipients and nominees Result
AARP Annual Movies for Grownups Awards[38] Judge's Award for Extraordinary Merit All is Lost Won
86th Academy Awards Best Sound Editing Steve Boeddeker, Richard Hymns Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association Best Actor Robert Redford Nominated
Critics' Choice Movie Awards Best Actor Nominated
Detroit Film Critics Society[39] Best Actor Nominated
2013 Deauville American Film Festival[40] Prix du Jury (Jury Special Prize) J. C. Chandor Won
71st Golden Globe Awards[41][42] Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama Robert Redford Nominated
Best Original Score Alex Ebert Won
Gotham Awards[43] Best Actor Robert Redford Nominated
Independent Spirit Awards[44] Best Feature Neal Dodson, Anna Gerb, J. C. Chandor Nominated
Best Director J. C. Chandor Nominated
Best Male Lead Robert Redford Nominated
Best Cinematography Frank G. DeMarco Nominated
Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel Awards[45][46] Best Sound Editing: Sound Effects & Foley in a Feature Film Richard Hymns, Steve Boeddeker Nominated
New York Film Critics Circle[47] Best Actor Robert Redford Won
Phoenix Film Critics Society[48] Best Actor in a Leading Role Nominated
San Francisco Film Critics Circle Best Actor Nominated
Best Editing Pete Beaudreau Nominated
Satellite Awards[49] Best Motion Picture Neal Dodson, Anna Gerb, J. C. Chandor Nominated
Best Actor – Motion Picture Robert Redford Nominated
Best Sound (Editing and Mixing) Brandon Proctor, Richard Hymns, Steve Boeddeker Nominated
Best Visual Effects Brendon O'Dell, Collin Davies, Robert Munroe Nominated
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association[50] Best Actor Robert Redford Nominated

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Redford is credited as "Our Man", but the character is not named in the film.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "All Is Lost". American Film Institute. Retrieved October 28, 2016.
  2. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (February 9, 2012). "TOLDJA! Robert Redford To Star In J.C. Chandor's 'All Is Lost'; FilmNation On Sales: Berlin". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
  3. ^ "ALL IS LOST". 20th Century Fox. British Board of Film Classification. December 16, 2013. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
  4. ^ a b "All Is Lost". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on September 6, 2015. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  5. ^ Lawless, Jill (May 24, 2013). "JC Chandor gains a Cannes hit with 'All Is Lost'". Yahoo! News. Yahoo!. Associated Press. Retrieved October 23, 2013.
  6. ^ "All is Lost (2013)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 6, 2015.
  7. ^ "All is Lost". British Board of Film Classification.
  8. ^ Crompton, Sarah (December 19, 2013). "The making of All is Lost: 'Robert Redford lied to me'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved June 23, 2014.
  9. ^ a b Dowd, Maureen (October 9, 2013). "The Sun-Dried Kid: Robert Redford Goes to Sea in 'All Is Lost'". The New York Times. p. 2. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  10. ^ a b McClintock, Pamela (February 9, 2012). "Berlin 2012: Robert Redford Confirmed for J.C. Chandor's 'All Is Lost'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 16, 2014.
  11. ^ Jagernauth, Keith (January 17, 2013). "Robert Redford Says 'Margin Call' Director J.C. Chandor's 'All Is Lost' Is Dialogue Free". The Playlist. indieWire. Archived from the original on January 21, 2013. Retrieved January 28, 2013.
  12. ^ Savage, Sophia (August 7, 2012). "First Look at J.C. Chandor's 'All is Lost' with Robert Redford". indieWire. Archived from the original on August 19, 2012. Retrieved September 24, 2012.
  13. ^ a b c Mohan, Marc (October 17, 2013). "'All Is Lost' interview: Director J.C. Chandor puts Robert Redford to work". Oregon Live. Retrieved August 10, 2014.
  14. ^ UK Screen, May 30, 2013 | Cannes Shows Redford Has Lost Nothing Archived January 16, 2017, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Barker, Andrew (November 20, 2012). "Edward Sharpe's Alex Ebert to score J.C. Chandor pic". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  16. ^ "ALL IS LOST Soundtrack". Wisdom Digital Media. Broadway World. September 11, 2013. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  17. ^ "Community Music Announces Release of All Is Lost". Community Music. September 10, 2013. Archived from the original on October 17, 2013. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  18. ^ Rahman, Ray (September 12, 2013). "Hear Alexander Ebert's song 'Amen' from the Robert Redford 'All Is Lost' soundtrack". Entertainment Weekly. CNN. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  19. ^ "2013 Official Selection". Cannes Film Festival. April 21, 2013. Retrieved April 21, 2013.
  20. ^ Lodderhose, Diana (February 9, 2012). "Lionsgate nabs Redford starrer 'All Is Lost'". Variety. Retrieved September 16, 2014.
  21. ^ McClintock, Pamela (February 12, 2012). "Berlin 2012: FilmNation sells Robert Redford starrer 'All Is Lost' to Universal". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 15, 2014.
  22. ^ "All Is Lost (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  23. ^ "All Is Lost Reviews - Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved October 29, 2013.
  24. ^ "Cannes: Robert Redford gets ovation for All Is Lost". BBC News. May 23, 2013. Retrieved May 23, 2013.
  25. ^ "Cannes Film Festival 2013 review: All Is Lost starring Robert Redford is almost dialogue-free, but exceptionally compelling nevertheless". The Independent. May 23, 2013. Archived from the original on June 8, 2013. Retrieved May 23, 2013.
  26. ^ "Cannes 2013: All Is Lost – first look review". The Guardian. May 23, 2013. Retrieved May 23, 2013.
  27. ^ "Cannes Film Review: 'All Is Lost'". Variety. May 23, 2013. Retrieved May 23, 2013.
  28. ^ "Cannes 2013: All Is Lost, review". The Telegraph. May 23, 2013. Archived from the original on June 9, 2013. Retrieved May 23, 2013.
  29. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (December 26, 2013). "All Is Lost – review". The Guardian. Retrieved March 25, 2014.
  30. ^ "In All Is Lost, Robert Redford Won't Go Down Easily". The Village Voice. Retrieved October 17, 2013.
  31. ^ Morgan, David (October 9, 2013). "NYFF review: Robert Redford in "All Is Lost"". CBS News. CBS. Retrieved October 18, 2013.
  32. ^ Uwe Janßen (10.01.2014). Filmkritik. "All is lost" – so sieht es die YACHT. Archived July 17, 2016, at the Wayback Machine Yacht (retrieved 16.11.2014)
  33. ^ Tom Lochhaas (undated). Sailor's Review of Movie All Is Lost. Fatal Flaws. About Sailing (retrieved 14.07.2019)
  34. ^ Kreuzpeilung Judith Duller-Mayrhofer (7.2.2014). Wolfgang Mayrhofers monatliche Kolumne aus der Printausgabe der Yachtrevue. Des Seglers Fluch. Yachtrevue (retrieved 16.11.2014)
  35. ^ Dick Durham (20.12.2013). Redford acts out our worst nightmare. Yachting Monthly (retrieved 16.11.2014)
  36. ^ Kai Köckeritz (13.1.2014). Robert Redford über "All is Lost". Archived November 29, 2014, at the Wayback Machine Segeln (retrieved 16.11.2014)
  37. ^ Dietz, Jason (December 8, 2013). "2013 Film Critic Top Ten Lists". Metacritic. Archived from the original on January 2, 2014.
  38. ^ "AARP Names '12 Years a Slave' Best Movie for Grownups". AFI. January 6, 2014. Retrieved January 6, 2014.
  39. ^ Long, Tom (December 9, 2013). "Detroit Film Critics Society nominates top films". The Detroit News. Archived from the original on December 13, 2013. Retrieved December 10, 2013.
  40. ^ "'Night Moves' Wins Deauville Grand Prize". September 7, 2013. Retrieved September 17, 2015.
  41. ^ "Golden Globes Nominations: The Full List". Variety. January 11, 2014. Retrieved March 10, 2014.
  42. ^ "Golden Globe Awards Winners". Variety. January 12, 2014. Retrieved March 10, 2014.
  43. ^ Thompson, Anne; Hanna, Beth (October 24, 2013). "2013 Gotham Nominations, Led by '12 Years a Slave', 'Inside Llewyn Davis' and 'Upstream Color', Boost Spirits and Oscar Hopefuls". Thompson on Hollywood. Archived from the original on October 27, 2013. Retrieved October 24, 2013.
  44. ^ Johnson, Mark (November 26, 2013). "Independent Spirit Award Nominations Announced!". The Awards Circuit. Archived from the original on June 30, 2019. Retrieved November 26, 2013.
  45. ^ Walsh, Jason (January 15, 2014). "Sound Editors Announce 2013 Golden Reel Nominees". Variety. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  46. ^ "'Gravity' and '12 Years a Slave' lead MPSE Golden Reel Awards nominations". HitFix. Retrieved January 15, 2014.
  47. ^ Sheehan, Paul (December 4, 2013). "'12 Years a Slave' came this close to winning New York Film Critics Circle". GoldDerby. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
  48. ^ "Phoenix Film Critics Society 2013 Award Nominations". Phoenix Film Critics Society. Archived from the original on December 31, 2013. Retrieved December 10, 2013.
  49. ^ Kilday, Gregg (December 2, 2013). "Satellite Awards: '12 Years a Slave' Leads Film Nominees". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 2, 2013.
  50. ^ "The 2013 WAFCA Awards". Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association. December 9, 2013. Retrieved December 9, 2013.

External links[edit]