Cast Away Movie Poster Image

Cast Away



Tom Hanks' powerful, brutal, and mature story.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Review Date: May 18, 2003
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2000
  • Running Time: 143 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable

Extremely scary plane crash, dead body, scenes of peril, some bloody, emotional.

Not applicable

Some strong language.


Practically a commercial for Fed Ex.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie has brief strong language, a very scary plane crash, a dead body, and scenes of peril (some bloody). The deprivation and losses may be very upsetting to some kids and teens. Noland considers suicide, and speaks of attempting it, which some people may also find disturbing.

What's the story?

Called to duty on Christmas Eve, Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks), a precise time-watcher who works for Federal Express, promises his girlfriend (Helen Hunt) that he'll be home for New Year's. But his plane crashes in the Pacific, and everyone else is killed. Chuck washes up on a deserted island. Suddenly, all he has is time. He expects to be rescued, and sorts the FedEx packages that wash up. When he finally realizes no one's coming, he gets to work, using items from the packages as survival tools. A volleyball, stained with his own blood, becomes a companion. But he leaves one package unopened as a symbol of his identity – the man who gets the packages delivered. Four years later, the side of a cabin bathroom washes ashore, and Noland has what he needs to create a sail. He knows the tides and the seasons well and plans an escape, knowing he'd rather die out on the ocean than stay on the island. What finally makes it possible for him to leave isn't what he relied on in his old life, but the hope he has learned on the island. Still, it is his sense of the press of time that it spurs him to action.

Is it any good?


Cast Away is a moving exploration of what happens when everything we hold on to is taken away from us. There may be crystal waters and azure skies, but this is no Blue Lagoon, and he's no Brooke Shields. There is no music, and almost no dialogue. It is brutal and painful. For 45 minutes, we are alone on the island with Noland. He shreds his leg on coral and has to extract an abscessed tooth. Noland is an engaging character, and Hanks is undeniably one of the world's most engaging actors. But it is more impressive than involving and begins to seem more of an acting exercise than a saga about the triumph of the human spirit or the importance of love and family.

There are some moving and beautiful moments on the raft, especially the glimpse of a whale's eye peeking just above the water. But once he gets home, the movie falters. We know, though, that the world he left now seems strange to him and that it will take a long while for him to reorient himself and decide where he will go next. He has mastered the skill of spearing a fish and making a raft, but he has to learn a whole new set of survival skills back at home.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what is left when we strip away the conventions and conveniences of our society. How do we decide what our priorities are, and what our values are?

  • Compare this movie to other desert island sagas, from Lord of the Flies to The Admirable Crichton.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 22, 2000
DVD release date:March 5, 2002
Cast:Helen Hunt, Paul Sanchez, Tom Hanks
Director:Robert Zemeckis
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Run time:143 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:some intense images and action sequences

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written bytexas family April 9, 2008

Great movie that teaches children the importance of survival

My kids loved this movie. They were very interested in how he was going to survive and get off the island. Yes, there were a few brief disturbing scenes. However, they did not last long. Overwhelmingly, the movie captured my kids attention a lot more than I thought it could. They were trying to figure out what they would do and how they would handle this type of a situation.
Adult Written byTheShaman April 9, 2008


For those who havent seen this movie yet... Get your heads out of the sand and rent it. Better yet, buy it! I know, I know, how can you like a movie that only has 2 characters for 90% of the movie? and one is a coconut (wilson). Well you will, Tom Hanks is simply Briliant in this movie! Must have seen this movie 20 times. Never gets boring! Watching Hanks learn how to make due on a deserted island is very entertaining. Cant tell you too much about this as to give away plot. ONLY ITS A MUST RENT/OWN for all viewers. Beginning of movie is a little scarry, but is entirely necessary to show how he ends up on the island. Wilson should have gotten the oscar for best supporting actor!
Teen, 13 years old Written bygarfield2710 April 9, 2008

Good but Creepy.

This movie was a great movie but its kinda creepy. The body found on the island and the airplane crash is graphic. Wait till your kids are pre-teens to see it.


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