“The Blue Lagoon” is a controversial choice, since Brooke Shields’ performance was so panned in the film that she even received a Golden Raspberry Award, or Razzie, for worst actress. Still, the movie was one of the most talked-about films of 1980 and even received an Oscar nomination for cinematography, so clearly it has its merits. We chose the film not because it is good, but because of its enduring cult status. Many of the film’s filming locations have been incorporated into a fancy Fiji resort. “I feel like I’m a part of that island’s history, and that island’s a huge part of my life. After I left that island, my whole life changed,” star Christopher Atkins told People.
Shields and Atkins play cousins Richard and Emmeline Lestrange who, along with a galley cook named Paddy Button (Leo McKern), survive a devastating shipwreck, though Paddy later dies. While Richard’s father Arthur (William Daniels) eventually rescues them, the cousins are stranded on the island for years, and much of the film explores how they utilize the jungle and lagoon to build a meaningful life.
As they mature, Richard and Emmeline are left to navigate puberty and sexuality without any adult supervision, which leads to them developing a romantic and sexual relationship, which results in a child they name Paddy. The movie is based upon a 1908 novel of the same name, and it spawned a far less successful sequel in 1991, entitled “Return to the Blue Lagoon.”