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Swiss Family Robinson (1940)

A family setting out for a new life across the sea is shipwrecked on a deserted island. The family members collaborate to create a home for themselves in the jungle environment.


Edward Ludwig
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »


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Cast overview:
Thomas Mitchell ... William Robinson
Edna Best ... Elizabeth Robinson
Freddie Bartholomew ... Jack Robinson
Terry Kilburn ... Ernest Robinson
Tim Holt ... Fritz Robinson
Bobbie Quillan Bobbie Quillan ... Francis Robinson (as Baby Bobbie Quillan)
Christian Rub ... Thoren
John Wray ... Ramsey
Herbert Rawlinson ... Captain


A family setting out for a new life across the sea is shipwrecked on a deserted island. The family members collaborate to create a home for themselves in the jungle environment. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Come Along to Action - Thrills and Excitement on ADVENTURE ISLAND! See more »




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Release Date:

8 February 1940 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Come Robinson Crusoè See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


In the 1960s Walt Disney remade "Swiss Family Robinson", The Disney Studios bought up the rights to the 1940 version produced and distributed by RKO, then Walt Disney confiscated all known prints of RKO Radio Pictures version so there wouldn't be comparisons to the Disney remake. Luckily there were a few survivors to this cinematic holocaust, so the film survives today, much to the relief of film historians and preservationists. See more »

Alternate Versions

Also exists in a version running 108 minutes (15 minutes longer than the generally available print). This 108-minute version was shown at a classic film festival in the United States in the late-1990s/early-2000s. See more »


Version of Swiss Family Robinson (1958) See more »

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User Reviews

In its own way, just as good as Disney's version.
26 August 2019 | by kfo9494See all my reviews

I was lucky enough to borrow a copy of this movie from a friend in Europe. Even though the film was on 'PAL standard ' signal, my friend was able , with help, to convert the format to DVD. With the increase lighting and RKO distribution credits, this copy was so much better than others I have seen. But even with this better condition film, at times you can tell that it was copied directly from some kind of projector film since you can detect film cracks and slippage during watching.

About the film- This 1940 early version may not have all the bells and whistles as the 1960 version, but it holds its own with nice acting and an interesting script. Thomas Mitchell does a great job, as the viewer is placed right in the middle of the course that the Father has planned for the family. You end up rooting for the man (Mr Robinson) as he wants what is best for his sons even though his wife is not always on board with his agenda.

This film does a great job of making each son a totally different character from the other sibling with each having their own identity which helps the interest. The viewer can find a little bit of themselves in at least one of the boys on the island

Even though the production staff went rather economical on casting actors (there is only nine credited actors, one a baby, and that involves living in England and boarding a ship for days) the film does go all-out on special effects. Even though they are rough by today's standards, the lightning storm is just as powerful as anything in modern films.

When a film ends and you wish there was more- then everyone associated with the production has done their job. It was an exciting, interesting tale that I wish could have continued with later information about the family. But it was naught to be. Anyway, a film that is just as good as any copy of the story.

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