Treasure Island Adaptations

Treasure Island, the beloved adventure novel by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, was originally serialized in the children’s magazine Young Folks in 1881 – 1882 under the title Treasure Island, or the mutiny of the Hispaniola and credited to Stevenson’s pseudonym, Captain George North. It was first published as a book in 1883 by Cassell & Co.Treasure Island, and is traditionally considered a coming-of-age story, telling a tale of pirates, buried treasure and adventure on the high seas. Featuring twists, turns and one of the most iconic characters in adventure fiction, Long John Silver, it should come as no surprise that is one of the most frequently dramatized of all novels. Below you will find some of our favorite cinematic version of the classic tale.

Treasure Island trailer from the 1934 film

The first production of Treasure Island in the “talkie” era, this version starring Wallace Beery, Jackie Cooper, and Lionel Barrymore has long been considered the original and definitive cinematic representation of Stevenson’s story.

Treasure Island trailer from the 1950 film

Featuring Bobby Driscoll, Robert Newton, and Basil Sydney, this was not only the first Treasure Island film to be made in color but also the first live-action film that Disney ever made.

The Trailer for Muppet Treasure Island (1996)

A great favorite here at EIL, this version features Tim Curry’s iconic performance as Long John Silver, Kevin Bishop as Jim Hawkins and, of course, everyone’s favorite Muppets. It has a variety of musical numbers and a sanitized version of the violence involved in mutiny, piracy and general skullduggery, making it perfect for younger viewers.

Of course, presentations of such a classic story aren’t limited to film; Treasure island has also been produced for the stage and radio. You may listen to a vintage radio production of Treasure Island from the Mercury Theatre at


If you found these trailers for Treasure Island to be helpful in visualizing the story and characters, you may enjoy some of our other Introduction to Literature (E1) videos.

If you’d like to learn more about the life and work of this author, we recommend checking out our Robert Louis Stevenson Biography. You may also find it interesting to read G. K. Chesterton’s thoughts on Robert Louis Stevenson.


When will you read Stevenson’s writing in Excellence in Literature?

E1.6 Focus text: Treasure Island
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson





E1.6 Honors text: Kidnapped

Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson

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