Treasure Island

Treasure Island / Остров сокровищ

Published: April 18, 2017

Treasure Island (Остров сокровищ in Russian; Острів скарбів in Ukrainian) is, among many other things, a 1988 Russian/Ukrainian/Soviet animated full-length film. Though it was produced by the Ukrainian animated film studio Kyivnaukfilm (Київнаукфільм), it’s entirely in Russian, as was common for the Soviet Union. It actually consists of two parts, “Captain Flint’s Map (“Карта капитана Флинта”; 1986) and “Captain Flint’s Treasure” (“Сокровища капитана Флинта”; 1988).

For whatever reason, Treasure Island was extremely popular in the Soviet Union. There are not one but five Soviet and/or Russian adaptations of Stevenson’s novel, including three films/miniseries (the first from 1934) and two cartoons, one from 1988 and the other, a short film, from 1999.

The 1988 cartoon tells a modified version of the original story of Treasure Island. It’s intended more as a comedy, complete with musical numbers, and the violence is toned down. There are also live-action scenes interspersed with the narrative, some of which are filmed in black-and-white, that act as breaks from the overall story. The main plot is still all there, though—a boy named Jim and a cast of other characters are searching for some pirates’ buried treasure.

The film was directed by David Cherkassiy (Давид Черкасский), who also made The Adventures of Captain Vrungel (Приключения капитана Врунгеля)—it seems he had a soft spot for seafaring adventurers. Later on, in 1992, he collaborated with an American team on The Return to Treasure Island (Возвращение на остров сокровищ). The artistic director for the film was Radna Sakhaltuev (Радна Сахалтуев), a renowned Soviet and Ukrainian/Buryat (an ethnic group in Russia from Buryatia, just east of Lake Baikal) animator and illustrator. Sakhaltuev also worked on many other films with Cherkassiy, including Vrungel and Doctor Aybolit (Доктор Айболит), and is a Distinguished Artist of Ukraine.


Director: David Cherkassiy (Давид Черкасский)
Stars (voice and live-action): Valeriy Bessarab (Валерий Бессараб), Armen Dzhigarkhanyan (Армен Джигарханян), Viktor Andrienko (Виктор Андриенко), Evgeniy Paperniy (Евгений Паперный), Anatoliy Dyachenko (Анатолий Дяченко), Valeriy Chiglyaev (Валерий Чигляев), Vyacheslav Dubinin (Вячеслав Дубинин), Yuriy Nevgamonniy (Юрий Невгамонный), and others
Production studio: Kyivnaukfilm (Київнаукфільм)


The first episode of the film:


Treasure Island

About the author

Julie Hersh

Julie studied Russian as a Second Language in Irkutsk and before that, Bishkek, with SRAS's Home and Abroad Scholarship program, with the goal of someday having some sort of Russia/Eurasia-related career. She recently got her master’s degree from the University of Glasgow and the University of Tartu, where she studied women’s dissent in Soviet Russia. She also has a bachelor’s degree in literature from Yale. Some of her favorite Russian authors are Sorokin, Shishkin, Il’f and Petrov, and Akhmatova. In her spare time Julie cautiously practices martial arts, reads feminist websites, and taste-tests instant coffee for her blog.

Program attended: Home and Abroad Scholar

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