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Shipwrecked
Haakon Haakonsen.jpg
International theatrical release poster
by John Alvin
Directed by Nils Gaup
Produced by John M. Jacobsen
Nigel Wooll
Written by O.V. Falck-Ytter (novel)
Nils Gaup
Bob Foss
Greg Dinner
Nick Thiel
Starring
Music by Patrick Doyle
Cinematography Erling Thurmann-Andersen
Editing by Nils Pagh Andersen
Studio Walt Disney Pictures
AB Svensk Filmindustri
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release date(s) 3 October 1990 (1990-10-03) (United States)
1 March 1991 (Norway)
1 August 1991 (Sweden)
Running time 93 minutes
Country Norway
Sweden
United States
Language Norwegian
English
Budget 60 million Norwegian Kroner (around $8.7 million in 1989)
Money made $15.1 million

Shipwrecked (Norwegian: Haakon Haakonsen) is a 1990 family action-adventure film directed by Nils Gaup and starring Stian Smestad and Gabriel Byrne. The film is a dramatization of Norwegian author Oluf Falck-Ytter's book Haakon Haakonsen: En Norsk Robinson (Haakon Haakonsen: A Norwegian Robinson).

The movie was produced by a consortium of Scandinavian companies and released in the US in an English-language version by Walt Disney Pictures.

Plot

Haakon Haakonsen (Stian Smestad), a young Norwegian boy in the 1850s, becomes the sole support of his family as a cabin boy on a ship after his father is injured. Jens (Trond Peter Stamsø Munch), a family friend and a fellow shipmate of Haakon's father, becomes an older brother to Haakon on their voyage.

At first, Haakon has a difficult time adjusting to life at sea, but eventually earns the respect of his shipmates. After shore-leave in London, a British naval officer, supposedly known as Howell, joins the crew ostensibly to provide protection from pirates. Haakon learns that Howell has secretly brought guns onto the ship, and Howell attempts to persuade Haakon not to say anything about the guns to the captain.

After the mysterious death of the admired captain (who had been poisoned by Howell's first mate), Howell assumes command. Upon arriving in Sydney, shore-leave is abruptly cancelled and a suspicious new batch of sailors come on board. After departing Australia, Haakon discovers a stowaway (Louisa Milwood-Haigh) named Mary who turns into a love interest. Work on board ship soon becomes terrible for Haakon, Jens, and the original sailors, which intensifies when the new captain finds Mary and demands whomever has been fraternizing with her to show his face. Haakon admits responsibility, and the captain sentences him to be lashed with the cat o'nine tails. Jens protests, saying that whipping Haakon would be an effective death penalty, to which Howell orders that Jens will administer the punishment to Haakon instead of Howell. However, the court martial is interrupted by a terrible storm that damages the mainmast, then sinks the ship. Haakon manages to rescue Mary from the brig but in the confusion is separated from the crew and wakes alone up on a deserted tropical island.

After searching the island, Haakon discovers treasure as well as wanted posters for an English pirate named Merrick, who looks identical to Howell. (In the first scene of the film, the real Howell was murdered by Merrick, who then stole the identity as a doppelganger). Haakon discovers that the suspicious shipmates (i.e. the new batch of abusive shipmates who were brought on after Merrick's captaincy) are really pirates, who stored the treasure during a hot pursuit from naval forces, and will soon return to the island to extract their loot.

Following a self-training with a sword and gun, Haakon manages to use a horn when a gorilla attacks. This makes the gorilla docile, who then starts to befriend Haakon, behaving like a pet. Haakon devises a set of booby traps anticipating that the pirates will soon return for their treasure. Although Haakon adjusts to the island, he misses Jens, and more so his family back in Norway. One day, Haakon sees smoke from a distant island and tries various attempts to get there on a raft of his own.

Upon successfully arriving there, he finds a village of natives doing a night dance. Haakon encounters Mary in the middle of an altercation with several of the natives. Misinterpreting the situation, Haakon reveals himself and frightens the natives with a gunshot until he backs into Jens, who explains that the natives are peaceful and saved his and Mary's lives. The reunited trio happily depart for Haakon's island the next day.

Shortly thereafter, the three friends witness the arrival of the pirates along with Berg and Steine (Knut Walle and Harald Brenna), two of Jens' friends who survived the sinking ship and are being held prisoner. After Haakon's traps fail to work, he quickly devises a plan to save their friends. At night, Mary sneaks aboard the ship and frees the remaining crew who manage to overpower their pirate guards and retake the ship. Meanwhile, on land, Haakon and Jens manage to distract the pirates long enough to free Berg and Steine and narrowly make it back to the ship, stranding the pirates on the island. Haakon, Jens, Mary and the liberated crew return to their native Norway. Each man keeps a small share of the treasure, with Haakon deciding to use his share to help his impoverished family.

Back home in Norway, Haakon reunites with his family and introduces them to Mary. His parents agree to take her in until she can reestablish contact with her own relatives.

Cast of characters

  • Haakon Haakonson (Stian Smestad) - A Norwegian youth who signs on as cabin boy aboard a ship whose captain is his father's close friend. At first he is shy and timid from years of being teased and picked on because he is poor, but after being stranded alone on the island and forced to survive, he becomes more confident.
  • Lt. John Merrick (Gabriel Byrne) - The pirate captain who poses as a member of the English military, he eventually takes over the ship Haakon is on after the original captain mysteriously dies and proceeds to make life difficult for everyone.
  • Jens (Trond Peter Stamsø Munch) - The family friend of Haakon's family and a sailor. He sailed with Haakon's father and considers himself Haakon's guardian on the ship after promising Haakon's father to look out for him.
  • Mary (Louisa Milwood-Haigh) - A young stowaway searching for her uncle in Calcutta. She escaped from a workhouse in Australia, where she was placed after the death of her parents.
  • Berg (Knut Walle) - One of Jens' shipmates.
  • Steine (Harald Brenna) - One of Jens' shipmates.
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