Rescue from Gilligan's Island


When a decaying Russian satellite crashes on the island, the Professor uses a key component for a barometer. With that device, he learns that a massive wave is going to swamp the island. In desperation, the castaways lash their huts together into one structure in order to have any chance to ride the disaster out. The wave strikes the island and the hut is swept out to sea. Once there, Gilligan accidents starts a fire trying to cook a meal and nearly burns the floating hut down. Occupied with stopping the fire, the gang fails to notice that the smoke caught the attention of a naval helicopter who summoned a ship to rescue the castaways. In triumph, they return to Hawaii, only to learn that things have changed over the years and they will have trouble fitting in.

Rescue from Gilligan's Island is a 1978 two-part television movie that continues the adventures of the shipwrecked castaways from the 1964–1967 TV series Gilligan's Island starring Bob Denver and Alan Hale, Jr. The film first aired on NBC October 14 and October 21, 1978. In depicting the rescue, at last, of the castaways, the film forms a cathartic response to many of the episodes of the series in which "they almost get off the island". The film was directed by Leslie Martinson.


The movie begins with Gilligan and the Skipper in their hut. Gilligan wakes up having a nightmare causing the other castaways to rush in to see what is a matter. Gilligan tells them his nightmare of the island melting. The film then says that far away from Gilligan's Island in unidentified country (one may assume the U.S.S.R.), a military unit is monitoring a satellite that is experiencing technical problems. The scientists controlling the satellite activate a self-destruct mechanism to prevent the satellite from crashing to Earth, as it contains a disc that holds some very important, top-secret information. Seconds later, the satellite blows up. The metal disc from the satellite is not destroyed, instead making it through the Earth's atmosphere and landing right at the edge of the lagoon, eventually being found by Gilligan himself.
After Gilligan shows the Professor the disc, the Professor then realizes that the unique alloy can be used to make a barometer. While using the new barometer, the Professor makes an educated guess that they are going to be hit by a tsunami of such magnitude, it will destroy the island (he can't back this up, as even their radio has finally broken down due to age). The Professor has the castaways maneuver three huts together and secure them to one another (a trick he learned from one of the tribes that they had encountered while on the island- one canoe alone would not withstand the rough waters, but tying three together would) hoping they might stand a chance at surviving the killer wave.
When the castaways awaken the next morning, they realize that the Professor's prediction has come true; they have been swept off the island and their huts have become a makeshift raft. They use clothes donated by the Howells to make a sail, and try to make their way to land. In an attempt to broil a snapper he had caught, Gilligan makes a fire on the deck, and as Gilligan normally does, he walks away and leaves the fire unattended while he told the gang the good news about the cooking fish. Unfortunately for Gilligan, the fire begins to spread out of control, but the other castaways promptly extinguish it. After being angry at Gilligan, the castaways are then grateful when the United States Coast Guard spots the smoke and rescues them. Ironically, the helicopter pilot remarks that without Gilligan's fire they probably would not have been spotted.
After the raft is towed to Hawaii, the castaways' names are announced to the anxious crowds. Most of the cast's full names are recited, but a bullhorn obscures part of the first mate's name, and all that is heard is "Gilligan". The crew, at first, are confused by modern life. They are informed that the President is now Jimmy Carter, and that they had missed the presidencies of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. After a ton of hoopla and media hype the group hug it out and move on to begin their new lives apart, though agreeing to meet again at Christmas aboard the S.S. Minnow II.
During the interview on TV after the ticker-tape parade, the powers that be of the unknown country are made aware that Gilligan is in possession of the recording disc from their satellite and send two spies to try to recover it.
The Skipper and Gilligan are next seen hard at work urbishing the Minnow II. However, the insurance company informs them that they will not be able to get a settlement unless their former passengers sign a statement testifying that the Skipper was not responsible for the shipwreck (recalling an earlier episode where the Skipper was tried Trial in absentia and acquitted of responsibility).
First they find Ginger. She is making a movie, and is upset at the changes in Hollywood in the last 15 years. She is told that sex and swearing are what makes a movie successful, and that nothing else matters. The director overhears Gilligan talking about some recent films he had seen which were hits, such as Jaws (film) and Episode IV: A New Hope, neither of which had profanity nor bawdiness, and quickly decides that acting is what really matters. Ginger signs the insurance statement and the Skipper and Gilligan go off to find the Professor.
The Professor is trying to get back into research and is busying himself in his lab conducting experiments. Four cheerleaders enter the lab and inform him that he has been selected as the Homecoming King and they belt out a special. He attempts to rebuff them, but they insist that he must accept as all the women on campus are "into him" and he is so "macho", words clearly alien to him. He finally agrees, just to get them to leave his lab and allow him to get back to his experiments. Second, someone from the Anthropology department enters and asks him if he has been witness to any tribal courtship rituals, as her department has a vested interest in them. He assures her he has, and one in particular had the natives sharing a straw while drinking. She then gives into her obvious attraction for the Professor and bends him over and begins kissing him. She only stops when Gilligan and the Skipper knock and enter his lab, whereby she drops the Professor to the ground and hastily makes her exit. Finally, after Gilligan has been misdirected by the Professor and knocks over a fake experiment, the Professor introduces them to his latest inventions: the frisbee and the skateboard. As Gilligan is amusing himself on the skateboard, the Dean of the college enters the lab and is immediately run into by Gilligan. After the Skipper and Gilligan leave, the Dean tries to get the Professor to stop his research and teaching to concentrate on fund-raising. Later, the former castaways agree that things were much simpler on the island and the Professor signs the insurance statement.
Next they go to meet the Howells. They are having dinner with old friends and are delighted when the Skipper and Gilligan arrive. The Howells introduce them to their acquaintances before going into the library to discuss matters. However, over the intercom they overhear their rich "friends" making insults toward Gilligan and the Skipper. The Howells angrily throw their supposed friends out of their house and off their property. It is apparent that the Howells have grown substantially during their time on the island and they too sign the insurance statement willingly.
The Skipper and Gilligan go see Mary Ann. After 15 years, she is set to marry her fiancé, Herbert. However, she is sad for some reason, and her acquaintance Cindy tries to console her. Mary Ann explains that she and Herbert have both changed over the course of 15 years and she no longer loves him. Cindy says she should call off the wedding but Mary Ann insists she must do the right thing and marry Herbert. Again unannounced, the Skipper and Gilligan show up looking for a signature for the insurance statement. Mary Ann is thrilled to see them but they notice she is unhappy. She brushes it off and asks them to stay for the wedding. (She had asked no one from the island, as she had wanted to surprise them with her new husband during the Christmas reunion). For whatever reason, Mary Ann's acquaintance Cindy confides her true feelings regarding Herbert, and his for her, to Gilligan and the Skipper. They decide that they must "save" Mary Ann from making a huge mistake so they grab a tractor pulling an old wagon laden with watermelon and proceed to "scoop" Mary Ann out of the arms of Herbert. Subsequently the two spies (who just happen to be in attendance no matter where Gilligan goes) and all the male guests begin running after what is clearly the slowest tractor ever and almost catch the threesome until Gilligan ingeniously hurls a single watermelon into the group and they tumble over like a Strike (bowling)! Meanwhile, as Mary Ann contemplates how to break the news to Herbert without breaking his heart, in the background you can hear the traditional wedding music that is played as the married couple have their first kiss and we see Herbert and Cindy are that kissing couple. Suffice it to say, Mary Ann is out of her predicament and the Skipper gets his insurance statement signed.
Eventually the insurance company pays for the Minnow, and the castaways and crew are ready for a cruise on the Minnow II. The spies make one last attempt to get the disc, but are thwarted at the last minute by the FBI. Finally, the cruise gets under way.
However, just as 15 years before, the Minnow II is caught in a storm, because while cleaning the compass, Gilligan had rendered it useless by removing the dirty old piece of metal (the magnet that makes the compass work) thereby causing the Skipper to sail for hours in the wrong direction. Consequently they were so off-course after the storm they had no idea where they were. When the storm finally subsides, the group are seen pulling themselves from the water onto a beach, thankful to be alive. After getting some not-so-happy looks from the rest of the gang, Gilligan hightails it into the jungle. As the others talk of how they have no idea where they are, Gilligan returns to say he does and shows them a piece of wood from the original Minnow (the name plate of the original ship, which is incorrectly marked "Minnow I".) The group react in shock when they realize they landed right back on the same island, and when Gilligan says "we're home," the Skipper chases him into the lagoon.


  • Gilligan (Gilligan's Island) - Bob Denver
  • The Skipper - Alan Hale, Jr.
  • Thurston Howell - Jim Backus
  • Lovey Howell - Natalie Schafer
  • Ginger Grant - Judith Baldwin
  • The Professor (Gilligan's Island) - Russell Johnson
  • Mary Ann Summers - Dawn Wells
Tina Louise declined to appear in the movie, claiming that she was not going to reprise the role that she felt had devastated her career. Reportedly she asked for a prohibitively large sum of money. Judith Baldwin, a substantially younger actress who resembled Louise, was cast in her place. The following year, Baldwin would go on to play Ginger again in The Castaways on Gilligan's Island. Cassandra Peterson also auditioned for the part of 'Ginger,' shortly before KHJ-TV offered her the horror-host position as 'Elvira Mistress of the Dark'.

Category:1978 television films
Category:American television films
Category:1970s comedy films
Category:English-language films
Category:Films directed by Leslie H. Martinson
Category:Gilligan's Island films
Category:Reunion films
Category:NBC network original films
Lloyd J. Schwartz

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