The Lost Treasure of Sawtooth Island

Movie review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
The Lost Treasure of Sawtooth Island Movie Poster Image
Low-budget family adventure has peril, mild scares.
  • PG
  • 1999
  • 92 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Meant to entertain rather than educate.

Positive Messages

Don't give up, think things through to solve problems. Loved ones stay with us in our hearts. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Danny is brave and loyal, but runs away from authorities because he doesn't want to be placed in a foster home. He wants to know the truth about his father's past, and whether there's really any treasure or not. When Jeanne learns to let go of her resentment and not to blame the wrong people for her problems she becomes a loyal friend and valuable team member.

Violence & Scariness

An important character dies in a diving accident when he's struck by debris. His body floats away and then the camera cuts to a sad graveside ceremony. A man falls from the top of a lighthouse; his body is seen on the ground but there's no blood or gore. Some sword fighting, pushing and shoving, and threatening with knives and guns. A man slaps a teen on the back of the head. Characters in mild peril. Mention of past drowning. A magical being disappears under water. A teen suddenly comes across a skeleton. A teen in a scary mask practices sword fighting, played for comedy.

Sexy Stuff

"Butt." Name-calling includes "dumb" and "goober."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Pipe smoking shown once.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Lost Treasure of Sawtooth Island is an adventure that's mildly suspenseful and scary, with a one-eyed banshee, sword fighting, finding a skeleton, and the (not-at-all gory) body of someone who fell from a lighthouse. There's some sadness, too, because Danny's an orphan and an important adult in his life dies. There's some name calling like "gooberhead," and one use of "butt." Positive modeling and messages are weakly conveyed, but the teens are brave, loyal, and work together as a team. It's fine for most kids, but it's not likely to hold the littlest ones' interest.

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What's the story?

Orphaned teen Danny wants to find THE LOST TREASURE OF SAWTOOTH ISLAND, and not only because he needs the money to be able to keep his father's boat. He also wants to find out if his father was right or wrong about the quest for treasure that cost him his life. With his best friend Rufe, old family friend Toby, and Toby's niece Jeanne, Danny sets sail on Lake Michigan looking for some answers. Along the way they'll have to face some bad characters who also want the treasure, a one-eyed banshee, and figure out if they can trust the mysterious Mr. Brand.

Is it any good?

Unfortunately, the brief presence of Oscar-winner Ernest Borgnine is not enough to save this movie from its problems. The Lost Treasure of Sawtooth Island suffers from poor acting, a predictable story, and props like swords that even kids will easily spot as fake. It doesn't build enough excitement to keep younger kids interested, but tweens who can add a lot of their own imagination to the story may find it mildly enjoyable. But with so many other great treasure-hunting adventures out there, this one should go to the very bottom of the list.


Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why Danny was searching for The Lost Treasure of Sawtooth Island. Was it because he's greedy?

  • What other pirate adventure movies have you seen? Which one's your favorite?

  • Did anything scare you? What makes you feel safe when you're scared? How do you know you'll be OK?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love adventure

Themes & Topics

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