Robinson Crusoe (1997 Film) - Differences From The Novel

Differences From The Novel

Although titled "Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe" in various releases, the film differs markedly from the book.

In the film, Crusoe is portrayed as being a Scotsman with a love interest. The title of the novel states that its main character is from York, in Northern England. In the film Crusoe flees by sea to escape being hunted down by the family of the friend he killed. In the novel, Crusoe departs against his parents' wishes, due to a longing for adventure. In the film he initially spends less than a year at sea before being shipwrecked. Crusoe in the book is stranded on multiple occasions and at sea much longer; He spends time on numerous ships in a variety of places. In the film his ship founders near New Guinea in the vicinity of New Britain (although chameleons and vervet monkeys do not belong to the fauna of New Guinea or New Britain). The island in the novel is near Venezuela off the mouth of the Orinoco River.

Crusoe's interactions with people – particularly Friday – vary considerably. In the film Crusoe comes to accept Friday's culture. This is the opposite of the theology of the novel, where Friday converts to Christianity. The film also avoids all instances of mutineers and European prisoners that lead to Crusoe's rescue in the original novel.

Crusoe's rescue in the book occurs when he helps the captain of a mutinous vessel in return for a passage home. The mutineers are left on the island instead. In the film, Crusoe is wounded by Friday's enemies and Friday takes him to his own island to be healed, but Friday's tribe has disowned him, and force Crusoe and Friday to fight to the death after saying they will allow the winner to go free. Just as Friday is about to kill Crusoe (after Crusoe tells Friday to take his life and be free), a slaver ship arrives and kills Friday before enslaving his tribe and razing their village. Crusoe then returns to England and Mary. In the novel, Friday is not killed and accompanies Crusoe on his return to England, where he begins another round of adventures.

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