Muppet Treasure Island

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Muppet Treasure Island
Theatrical release poster by Drew Struzan
Directed by Brian Henson
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based on Treasure Island 
by Robert Louis Stevenson
Music by Hans Zimmer
Cinematography John Fenner
Edited by Michael Jablow
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, Inc.
Release dates
  • February 16, 1996 (1996-02-16)
Running time
99 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $34.3 million

Muppet Treasure Island is a 1996 American musical adventure comedy film based on Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. It is the fifth feature film to star The Muppets and was directed by Brian Henson.

Similarly to its predecessor Muppet Christmas Carol, the key roles were played by live-action actors, with the Muppets in supporting roles. The live-action actors consisted of Tim Curry, Billy Connolly, Jennifer Saunders, and Kevin Bishop in his feature film debut. Kermit the Frog appeared as Captain Abraham Smollett, Fozzie Bear as Squire Trelawney, Sam Eagle as Mr. Samuel Arrow, and Miss Piggy as the gender-bent castaway "Benjamina" Gunn. Following their success as the narrators of The Muppet Christmas Carol, The Great Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat appeared in specially created roles as Jim's best friends. The film was released on February 16, 1996, one month before Muppets Tonight premiered on ABC.[citation needed]


Jim Hawkins is a young orphan who lives in the Admiral Benbow in England with his friends Gonzo and Rizzo. Jim listens to the tales of Billy Bones, who tells of his former captain, Captain Flint, who buried his treasure trove on a remote island and executed all of his crew so only he would own the island’s map. One night, one of Bones’ fellow crewmates Blind Pew arrives, giving Bones the black spot. Bones dies of a heart attack, but gives Jim the treasure map beforehand. An army of pirates attack the inn, destroying it, but the boys escape with the map.

The trio take the map to the half-wit Squire Trelawney, who arranges a voyage to find the treasure. The boys are enlisted aboard the Hispaniola as the cabin boys, accompanied by Trelawney, Dr. Livesey, and his assistant Beaker. The ship is commanded by Captain Abraham Smollett and his overly strict first mate Mr. Arrow. The boys meet the cook Long John Silver, a one-legged man who Bones warned them of, but Jim and Silver become good friends. The ship sets sail, but Smollett is concerned by the crew, and has the map locked up when Gonzo and Rizzo are threatened by three of the crew who turn out to be pirates.

It is revealed that Silver and all the pirates are formerly part of Flint’s crew and want the treasure for themselves. Silver fools Mr. Arrow into leaving the ship to test out a rowboat, claims he drowned, and has his minions steal the map during Arrow’s memorial service. Jim, Gonzo, and Rizzo discover Silver’s treachery and inform Smollett. Arriving at Treasure Island, Smollett orders the entire crew save the officers to go ashore, but Silver kidnaps Jim to have leverage against the captain. On the island, Silver invites Jim to join them in the treasure hunt using his late father’s compass. Smollett, Gonzo, and Rizzo are captured by the native tribe of pigs, where Smollett reunites with his jilted lover Benjamina Gunn, the tribe’s queen.

The pirates find the cave Flint hid the treasure is empty leading to a brief mutiny, Silver allowing Jim to escape. Smollett and Benjamina are captured by Silver, and hung from a cliff to fall to their deaths, but Benjamina reveals the treasure is hidden in her house. Jim rescues his friends and with Mr. Arrow, the group gain control of the Hispaniola, and rescue Smollett and Benjamina. The group engage the pirates in a swordfight, until only Silver is left standing, but he surrenders when he finds himself outnumbered. While all the pirates are imprisoned, Silver discovers he has Mr. Arrow’s keys and tries to escape with the treasure. Jim confronts him allows him to leave as long as they never cross paths again, much to Silver’s disappointment. However, Mr. Arrow informs Jim and Smollett that the boat Silver used was not seaworthy, and Silver is stranded on the island with no gold.

With Jim promoted as the ship’s new captain, the crew of the Hispaniola sail away, while Silver is left marooned with only a wisecracking Moai head for company.


  • Kevin Bishop as Jim Hawkins, a good-natured orphan boy who for most of his life has worked at Mrs. Bluberidge's inn, but has always dreamed of nautical adventures. He is an incredibly trusting boy, which proves to be somewhat of a downfall for him, as he forms a bond with the ship's chef Long John Silver, who is ultimately revealed to be a pirate.
  • Tim Curry as Long John Silver, a deceptively charming pirate, posing as a chef, who befriends Jim Hawkins at first, until he is overheard by Gonzo, Rizzo, and Jim as he reveals his dastardly plans to his fellow pirates aboard the Hispaniola. During Silver's siege on Treasure Island, it is suggested that Long John Silver and Benjamina Gunn share a romantic history. Despite his villainous nature, he genuinely cares about Jim.
  • Jennifer Saunders as Mrs. Bluberidge, a loud, plump woman who owns the Admiral Benbow Inn where Jim and his friends work. She has an uncanny ability to know when people are not doing what they should be doing, which leads to various characters exclaiming, "How does she do that?!" Though rough with the "boys", she does show a genuine concern for Jim, helping him escape the pirates before seeing them off herself.
  • Billy Connolly as Billy Bones,[1] an ex-pirate, previously a member of Captain Flint's crew who witnessed the burial of gold on Treasure Island and tells Jim he still has the map to the treasure before he suffers a fatal heart attack. During a 2002 live performance in Dublin, Connolly jokingly claimed to be the only man to ever die in a Muppet movie.[2] In fact, in the film, Rizzo points this out: "He died? And this is supposed to be a kids' movie!"
  • David Nicholls as Captain Flint, a pirate who buried the treasure at his own island years ago, and killed his crew to prevent them from telling where the treasure was buried. He also marooned Benjamina Gunn on Treasure Island. His first name is revealed to be Burney.
  • Frederick Warder as Calico Jerry. One of the human pirates of Long John Silver's crew, he was the first aboard the Hispaniola to come down with the Cabin Fever. He is later defeated by Jim Hawkins.
  • Harry Jones as Easy Pete, another member of Silver's Crew. He is defeated easily by Benjamina Gunn.
  • Peter Geeves as Black Eyed Pea, a pirate with two black eyes. Another of the human pirates and members of Long John Silver's Crew. He is introduced during the roll call and sings a solo in "Professional Pirate". He too is defeated by Benjamina via a swift kick between the legs.
  • Danny Blackner as Short Stack Stevens, a dwarf pirate and the smallest human pirate on board the Hispaniola. Like Easy Pete and Black Eyed Pea, he is defeated by Benjamina in the fight sequence with a kiss and a head butt.
  • Jessica Hamilton as Big-Fat-Ugly-Bug-Faced-Baby-Eating O'Brien, a beautiful woman pirate with a deep manly voice. Her name does not at all match that of her appearance: the horrible name of the beautiful lady was a comic parallel to the lovely name of the hideous monster Angel Marie, who was next on the roll call. The character is shown only once and does not appear again.

Five other unnamed human pirates with no speaking lines appear aboard the Hispaniola while the other pirates go with Long John Silver. The beginning of the film also features several unnamed human pirates who were members of Flint's crew during the credit sequence of "Shiver My Timbers". Other unnamed human pirates are members of Blind Pew's at the Admiral Benbow Inn. There were also other unnamed non-pirate human characters who appeared both at the Admiral Benbow inn and in the town of Bristol.[citation needed]

Muppet performers[edit]

Main article: List of Muppets

As Oz was unavailable for most of the film's shooting, fellow Muppet performer Kevin Clash puppeteered his characters for the film, while Oz dubbed the voices in post-production. Oz had already participated in a recorded read-through of the script; Clash used these recordings to help prompt his performances. According to Kevin Clash, Frank Oz gave him a brief description of each of his characters prior to shooting. Oz described Miss Piggy as "a truck driver wanting to be a woman", and Fozzie Bear as somebody similar to Jerry Lewis.


Box office[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Muppet Treasure Island received generally positive reviews; Rotten Tomatoes reported that 70% of critics gave the film positive reviews.

Home media[edit]

This is the second Muppet film co-produced and released by Walt Disney Pictures, following The Muppet Christmas Carol. The film has been made available on home video formats. It was released on VHS in October 15, 1996 by Walt Disney Home Video and Jim Henson Video, and twice on DVD in Region 1. Before then, Jim Henson Video released a Muppet Sing Alongs VHS tape entitled Muppet Treasure Island to coincide with the film's theatrical release.

The first DVD release in the U.S. on June 4, 2002 was in a fullscreen-only format. Other releases of these were in widescreen only format. The DVD release has 3 bonus features added like "Hidden Treasure Commentary", "The Tale of the Story Behind the Tail" and "Treasure Island Sing-Along" (but the menus were in widescreen format).

Video game[edit]

A video game based on the film was released for Windows and Mac OS in 1996 by Activision.[3] PC Zone gave the game 80 out 100 in a review.[4]


The Muppet Treasure Island: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by The Muppets
Released October 29, 1996
Genre Soundtrack
Label Angel Records
The Muppets chronology
The Muppet Christmas Carol: Original Soundtrack
Muppet Treasure Island: Original Soundtrack
Muppets from Space: Original Soundtrack (1999)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[5]

The Muppet Treasure Island: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack features an instrumental score by Hans Zimmer, with additional music by Harry Gregson-Williams, as well as songs written by pop songwriters Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. The film's ending includes the reggae number "Love Power" performed by Ziggy Marley, which was released as a single and promoted with a music video featuring Marley and some Muppets with dreadlocks.

Track listing
  1. "Treasure Island"
  2. "Shiver My Timbers" (Jerry Nelson, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire, Brian Henson, Frank Oz, Kevin Clash, Bill Barretta, and John Henson)
  3. "Something Better" (Kevin Bishop, Dave Goelz, and Steve Whitmire)
  4. "Sailing for Adventure" (Tim Curry, Kevin Bishop, Nelson, Goelz, Whitmire, Brian Henson, Frank Oz, Kevin Clash, Bill Barretta, and John Henson)
  5. "Cabin Fever" (Rob Paulsen, Jerry Nelson, Jess Harnell, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire, Brian Henson, Frank Oz, Kevin Clash, Bill Barretta, and John Henson with Louise Gold)
  6. "Professional Pirate" (Tim Curry, Jerry Nelson, Goelz, Whitmire, Brian Henson, Rob Paulsen, Kevin Clash, Bill Barretta, and John Henson)
  7. "Boom Shakalaka" (Jerry Nelson, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire, Brian Henson, Jess Harnell, Kevin Clash, Bill Barretta, and John Henson)
  8. "Love Led Us Here" (Frank Oz, Steve Whitmire)
  9. "Map"
  10. "Captain Smollett"
  11. "Land Ho"
  12. "Compass"
  13. "Long John"
  14. "Rescue"
  15. "Honest Brave and True"
  16. "Love Power [As Used in the Film Muppet Treasure Island]" (Ziggy Marley, Melody Makers)
  17. "Love Led Us Here" (John Berry, Helen Darling)

Note: During the song "Cabin Fever", the upbeat music plays a tiny portion of the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor when Real Old Tom comes out of the black coffin with purple silk inside.

Score cues left off the soundtrack
  1. Isn't That a Story Worth the Hearin'?
  2. Lighting the Lamp (segues into "Something Better")
  3. Blind Pew
  4. The Hispaniola
  5. Many a Dark-Hearted Scoundrel/One-Legged Man
  6. This Voyage Has Begun (segues into "Sailing for Adventure")
  7. Moonlit Dance (Electric Mayhem Band)
  8. Waiting to Pounce
  9. Give Me the Map/No Wind
  10. Mutiny
  11. Never Get Involved in Politics (Electric Mayhem Band)
  12. "A Professional Pirate" (Full version, with instrumental interlude)
  13. Benjamina Gunn
  14. Treasure Hunting
  15. You Dare to Give ME the Black Spot?
  16. Return of Mr. Arrow
  17. The Pirates Attack/Sneaking Aboard/Where’s the Bloody Treasure?!
  18. Long John Escapes
  19. Sailing for Adventure (Finale)


The Hormel Foods Corporation (who are the creators of Spam) sued Jim Henson Productions for using the name "Spa'am" for one of the film's tribal pig characters.[6] Their suit failed on September 22, 1995. The judge dismissed it after a trial for failure to prove damages, noting, "one might think Hormel would welcome the association with a genuine source of pork."[7] When Spa'am later appeared as a racing boss in Muppet RaceMania, he was credited as "Pig Chief".[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Treasure Island' Gets Muppetized". 1996-11-14. Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  2. ^ Billy Connolly Live 2002, 2002
  3. ^ "Muppet Treasure Island". MobyGames. Blue Flame Labs. Retrieved May 10, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Muppet Treasure Island for PC". GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 10, 2014. 
  5. ^ AllMusic review
  6. ^ McKinley, James C. McKinley, Jr. (1995-07-26). "Hormel Sues Over a Boarish Film Muppet". The New York Times. 
  7. ^ Tina Kelly (2000-08-06). "Following Up – When Is a Wart Hog A Canned Pork Product?". The New York Times. 

External links[edit]