Gilligan's Island Wiki
Rescue from Gilligan's Island
Film information

Directed by

Leslie H. Martinson

Produced by

Lloyd J. Schwartz (producer) Sherwood Schwartz (executive producer) Valton Lee Taylor (associate producer)

Written by

Sherwood Schwartz, Elroy Schwartz, Al Schwartz, David P. Harmon

Release Date(s)

10/14/78 (part 1), 10/21/78 (part 2)

Running time

95 minutes



Preceded by

Gilligan the Goddess

Followed by

The Castaways on Gilligan's Island

  Rescue from Gilligan's Island is an American TV movie that aired in two parts. It first aired October 14, 1978 with the second half airing on October 21, 1978, following up the characters of Gilligan's Island fifteen years after the end of the series. In the movie, the Castaways are finally rescued after a tsunami and return to civilization, struggle to re-enter society, and encounter Russian spies in search of a data disc Gilligan is carrying, only to find themselves marooned on the Island once more after a reunion cruise aboard the S.S. Minnow II.
Although a cropped version of the movie has appeared on DVD through several markets, Warner Brothers, who owns the distribution rights of the series, has yet to release the original version of the film on DVD.


After almost fifteen years on the Island, the Skipper is still having a hard time sharing a hut with Gilligan, who has started snoring and making noises in his sleep. One night Gilligan wakes up screaming from a nightmare that rouses the other Castaways into rushing to check in on him. Gilligan tells them that he had a nightmare of the island melting into the sea, and the Professor assuages his fears. Meanwhile, in a secret Russian Air Force base, the scientists discover one of their derelict satellites has malfunctioned, eventually blowing up and losing its memory disc that falls to Earth to the island where Gilligan finds it and shows it to the Professor. Experimenting with it, the Professor discovers it is sensitive to weather and uses it to calculate a tsunami on the way of such magnitude that it could destroy the island. He asks Gilligan to keep it secret before he can confirm his reading, but the others realize something is up and confront him over it. He believes they can survive the storm by lashing the huts together on the big raft (possibly Ginger's Stage) and securing themselves to it. Everything seems to go to plan until Mrs. Howell remembers her little dog, FiFi, and Gilligan rushes out to find her. The Skipper tries to stop him, but he gets blown back into the lashed huts as the tsunami hits the island, and Gilligan holds on to a tree with the wind lifting him off the ground.
When the castaways awaken the next morning, Mr. Howell wakes first and heads out to inspect the damage, only to stumble and fall into the open sea. They all realize that they have been swept off the island into the shipping lanes with a good hope of being rescued, but their joy turns to sorrow when the Skipper can’t find Gilligan, who they discover survived the storm by lashing himself to an uprooted tree pulled out to sea by the huts. They eventually use clothes donated by the Howells to make a sail, but when Gilligan starts a fire to broil a snapper he had caught, the fire causes smoke that arouses the curiosity of the United States Coast Guard who spots the smoke and their rescue. One by one, everyone is stunned and surprised that after almost fifteen years that they’ve finally truly been rescued.
After their raft is towed to Hawaii, the castaways are stunned by the huge media news coverage of their rescue. They are also confused by how much society has changed. Without their radio, they have missed the election of Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter as well as Watergate and men on the moon. They find themselves public celebrities on TV and radio, but when the Professor publicly reveals how they were rescued with Gilligan’s lucky charm, espionage agents Dimitri and Ivan at the Russian Embassy recognize it as the lost memory disc and plot to get it back. However, the news coverage eventually wanes, and the Castaways find themselves at the saddest part of returning to their previous lives and coming to a parting of the ways after 15 years together. Crying and hugging each other good bye for the last time, they promise to reunite at Christmas.
Restarting his old excursion tour in Honolulu, the Skipper and Gilligan acquire and start refurbishing a new boat, but the Skipper can’t pay it off until his insurance company reimburses him for the loss of the Minnow. To get his check, he needs the passengers to sign a promissory note that they won’t sue over the shipwreck. They track down Ginger to a movie studio in Hollywood where her old-style movie ethics place her at odds with her producer. Upset with the profanity and sex in her movie, she retreats to her dressing room where the Producer overhears Gilligan talk about recent movie successes without sex and profanity. Changing his mind on his direction of the movie, he gives Ginger free rein on the script, and the Skipper and Gilligan head to the East Coast where the Professor is teaching at a university and struggling to accept the politics of the school over his lessons and experiments. He feels no one cares about science anymore, even realizing there is very little to challenge him intellectually. The anthropology teacher even makes a move on him, and the dean wants to use him to get more donations to the school. Feeling depressed, his spirit lifts when he sees the Skipper and Gilligan, even putting up a display for Gilligan to knock over to the floor. The Skipper and Gilligan reveal they still respect him and run into Dimitri and Ivan dressed as class men, but they just shrug them off and head off campus.
Meanwhile, the Howells are having a dinner party with the Devonshires and the Fellows at their home when the Skipper and Gilligan arrive for their signatures. They try to introduce them to their guests, but they overhear the Devonshires and Fellows mocking them over an intercom in the mansion. Offended and humiliated, they send their rude friends off the property along with Dimitri and Ivan posing as guests. Off to Winfield, Kansas, the Skipper and Gilligan are off to see Mary Ann, who after fifteen years is set to marry her fiancé, Herbert Rucker. Realizing she no longer loves him, she does not feel she can marry him anymore. Meanwhile, the Skipper learns that Mary Ann’s friend, Cindy Smith, is in love with Herbert, and he and Gilligan steal a tractor to rescue Mary Ann, abducting her in the middle of the wedding with Dimitri, Ivan and Mary Ann’s friends and family running after them then getting knocked down with a wagon full of watermelons. Herbert and Cindy meanwhile get married in the background, and the Skipper gets his promissory note signed.
The Skipper gets the Minnow II paid off and ready for the Castaways Christmas reunion; they all realize how lucky they were to know each other on the island. The Howells give everyone a box of money to buy what they want, but then Gilligan suggests a Christmas morning cruise. Dimitri and Ivan show up without costumes to get the memory disc. Everyone thinks they’re being robbed until the FBI arrives to arrest the two spies and take the memory disc for evidence. Although the incident is confusing, they relive their original cruise replete with another cruise, only to run into another storm. The Skipper can’t understand why the compass isn’t working until Gilligan says he cleaned it and tossed out the magnet thinking it was random debris. The storm carries them out to sea, sinking the new Minnow and leaving everyone to wade ashore to an island. No one knows where they are until Gilligan wanders off from their annoyed and angry stares. Seconds later, he returns with debris from the original Minnow. Everyone has wound up back on the island. Gilligan exclaims they are back home as a frustrated Skipper chases him around the lagoon.


  • "Home is where the heart is."


  • The actors back in costume as the characters
  • Gilligan still fouling up
  • The sight of the Coast Guard finding them
  • The return to Honolulu harbor
  • The Castaways hug each other before splitting up
  • Gilligan and the Skipper squabbling during the new Minnow retrofit


Supporting Cast[]


  • Judith Baldwin, who replaces Tina Louise as Ginger, is actually twelve years younger than Tina Louise.
  • Actress Cassandra Peterson, better known as "Elvira The Mistress of the Dark," almost beat out actress Judith Baldwin for the part of Ginger.
  • Tina Louise had flip-flopped about reprising her role as Ginger. She first decided against it, but then was open to starring in the movie for an undisclosed amount. The producers elected to recast Ginger, stating that Tina Louise wanted too much money.
  • The waterfall is missing from the The Lagoon, although it might have dried up or been re-routed by the Professor for other use.
  • Gilligan hums the "Jaws" music when he talks about his dream to the Castaways, yet, he doesn't see it until he leaves the island. He also couldn't have heard it on the radio which the Professor says hasn't worked in years. 
  • Mr. Howell now has modern metal-framed glasses with tinted lenses; during the series, he had plastic framed glasses. While it is possible he could have acquired them from detruis that washed ashore, it is unhealthy to wear unprescribed glasses. The chance both sets of eyeglasses rectified whatever eye problem Mr. Howell had are slim to none.
  • Through the history of the series, the Castaways had furniture and everything made from materials on the island. Since then, they have learned to make ropes from hemp.
  • The Castaways are washed off the island by a tsunami, the same thing Duke Williams rode off the island in Big Man on a Little Stick.
  • In the long shot of the huts on the ocean, there is no sign of Gilligan being dragged behind by the rope.
  • This is the second time the Castaways thought Gilligan was dead; the other time was in X Marks the Spot.
  • The Boy's Hut now has a look-out platform on it.
  • When Gilligan ends up in the ocean, he seems to have forgotten he knew how to swim in Slave Girl.
  • During the rescue, brief scenes of a model Coast Guard cutter are cut in with scenes of the real craft.
  • The Castaways arrival was filmed at Marina del Rey in Los Angeles, California and was joined by sail boats, fireboats and a Coast Guard cutter towing the Castaways raft into harbor. Despite the number of extras, the crowd soon swelled by curious tourists and locals joining the scene. As Russell Johnson recalled, "It felt as if we really had been rescued!"
  • None of the Castaways's relatives come to meet them at the dock.
  • Several incidents not depicted in the movie would surely have resulted after the Castaways were rescued. Gilligan, the Skipper and Mary Ann most likely would have received numerous endorsement offers - not to mention that The Skipper's excursion business would've garnered more business and attention than ever, the stocks in Howell Industries would have skyrocketed upon Mr. Howell's return, Mrs. Howell would have been invited to numerous gatherings by her (still-surviving) socialite acquaintances, Ginger would have been deluged with movie and stage offers from her sudden popularity and the Professor would have been booked on a rigid scientific speech tour describing his experiences and encounters while on the island.
  • In the movie, Mr. Howell says after he gets rescued that he's going to kiss Wall Street; Mrs. Howell says she's going to count the servants who haven't been paid in a while. Back in The Hunter, the Skipper describes "going straight to the nearest Italian restaurant and having "eight to ten pizzas, two dozen meatballs, two platters of spaghetti and then I'm going to have dinner!"
  • The Skipper's insurance company is still in business.
  • This movie reveals the Skipper is reopening his charter business, which disputes the notion in the revived theme song that it was a "three-hour tour."
  • The Skipper and Gilligan are still wearing the same attire on the mainland even though the Skipper is now wearing a darker blue shirt.
  • The studio entrance scenes to see Ginger were filmed at the iconic gates at Paramount Studios.
  • The guard at Ginger's studio must have known Gilligan and the Skipper from the news footage in order to let them through to see Ginger.
  • The Frisbee actually dates back to the Fifties, so unless he didn't have much of a childhood, the Professor should have been well aware of it.
  • During Mary Ann's wedding, there is not much room near the bridal chamber until the Skipper and Gilligan start up the tractor then find a large open area for them to snatch up Mary Ann from getting married.
  • It's never explained how Dimitri and Ivan keep up with Gilligan and the Skipper as they track down the passengers. The most plausible explanation is that they were aware of both the pending insurance claim and the passenger list from years ago.
  • In the series, it was revealed that during the big storm that landed the castaways on the Island that it was Gilligan who threw the anchor overboard without attaching it to the SS Minnow, causing the ship to wreck itself. This time around, Gilligan tampers with the compass which causes the Minnow to drift into a big storm and back to the Island. However, having worked on boats as long as he has, even this error seems beyond even Gilligan's scope.
  • The movie doesn't reveal how much time elapses between the time The Castaways are rescued by the Coast Guard and when their reunion cruise returns them to the island. It could be less than a month or as much as half a year.
  • "Rescue from Gilligan's Island" is the only "Gilligan" movie on DVD, but it is not distributed by Paramount Pictures, instead sold through independent companies such as Digiview. Copies of the movie are missing the opening sequence, the end credits and the commercial breaks are abruptly cut.
  • The U.S. Coast Guard actually received hundreds of letters from people about the loss of the S.S. Minnow. In homage to that, producer Sherwood Schwartz decided to have the castaways rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter.


  • Skipper - "If that's the question, the answer is just a matter of having a big bottom."
    Gilligan - "If that's the question, Skipper, you sure have the answer!"

  • Mr. Howell - "I should have warned you about that first step; it's a trifle damp!"

  • Mary Ann - "Ginger, do you believe in ghosts?"
    Ginger - "No, but I believe Gilligan is haunting this hut."

  • Skipper - "What's dumber than varnishing the seat of a chair?"
    Gilligan - "Sitting in a chair that's just been varnished?"

  • Director - "Ginger, are you decent?"
    Ginger - "Of course, that's why there's so much trouble."

  • Professor - "Miss Ainsworth, turn off your macho!"

  • Mr. Howell - "I'm fit as a fiddle - Stradivarius, of course."

  • Mary Ann - "He didn't mean any harm, Skipper."
    Skipper - "Neither did the iceberg that sank the Titanic."