Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Lord of the Flies (1963)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Lord of the Flies (1963, UK)

In Peter Brook's adaptation of William Golding's dark novel - a nightmarish and pessimistic story of about 30 English schoolboys (all non-professionals) stranded on a deserted tropical island following a North Pacific Ocean plane crash (seen in a montage of still photographs during the opening credits, hinting at a nuclear war threatening England and the subsequent evacuation), who became savages and murderers - [Note: also remade in color as Lord of the Flies (1990) by director Harry Hook]:

  • the early scene of the marooned castaways assembling together to elect a thoughtful, democratic leader or chief named Ralph (James Aubrey); the second in command choir leader Jack Merridew (Tom Chapin) announced to the group: "We're on an uninhabited island. We shall have to look after ourselves. But it's a good island. There's lots of fruit, water, and I'm pretty sure there aren't any dangerous animals. So things aren't so bad. None of us are hurt. There isn't any danger, and we can build shelters and be comfortable. So if we're sensible, if we do things properly, if we don't lose our head, we'll be all right"
  • afterwards, Ralph then advised them: "And another thing. We can't have everybody talking at once. We shall have to put our hands up, like we do at school. Then I'll give him the conch"; Jack agreed with Ralph - and added the ironic statement: "We've got to have rules and obey them. After all, we're not savages, we're English, and the English are best at we'll have lots of rules, and when anybody breaks them..."
  • the capture of a wild pig - its slaughter, roasting, and devouring - and the boys' repetitive chant afterwards - repeated often in the film: "Kill the pig! Slit her throat! Bash her in! Kill the pig!..."
  • the scenes of Jack's obsessed belief in a threatening, shape-shifting but imaginary "Beast" - and his creation of a sow's head on a stick (with flies swarming around) as an offering to the mythical "Beast" - their new God - and as a way to align the war-painted 'hunter' boys behind him for protection
Pig on a Stick: "The Beast"
or "Lord of the Flies"
The Firelight Dance
  • the sequence of the frenzied firelight dance around a large campfire by Jack's followers - soon followed by the accidental murder of young, innocent, blonde-haired Simon (Tom Gaman) who raced back to the camp with news of the discovery of the sow's head (the titular "Lord of the Flies"), and was mistaken for the "Beast" itself - the boy was impaled to death with sharpened spears by the others in the darkness
  • the two emerging leaders in the group: warlike and cruel Roger (Roger Elwin), along with Jack, who were only interested in hunting, feasting, dancing, and combat, and his remaining two rivals: the exiled Ralph and his friend - the pudgy, asthmatic and bespectacled Piggy (Hugh Edwards) (who had lost his glasses, and found them smashed); the boys who were allied with the barbaric Roger (now wearing body paint) stood at the top of the cliff and ignored that Piggy had the 'conch' in his hand and was speaking to them: "Let me speak. I've got the conch. Which is it better to be, a pack of painted savages like you are, or sensible like Ralph is? Which is better, to have rules and agree, or to hunt and kill?"; Piggy was answered by a large rock boulder dislodged from the cliff by Roger above that fell on him and crushed him to death
  • and the concluding scene - the island burned while the body-painted boys rushed to the beach to pursue after Ralph; a naval officer (dressed in white) was shocked to discover Ralph at his feet and crawling up to him while being hunted by the more sinister, violence-prone and savage rival Jack and his tribal followers; one of the younger boys Percival (Kent Fletcher) approached the officer to speak to him, but was unable to remember his name (a symbol of lost civilization); the rescued Ralph stared at the officers of a landing party standing on the shore, dropped his head, and silently sobbed as the film ended (with flames and smoke behind him)
The Savage Boys Discovered by Naval Officers

Jack: "We're not savages"

Roasting Wild Pig

Piggy: "I've got the conch..."

Roger Toppling Boulder

The Deadly Assault on Piggy - Crushed by the Falling Boulder

The Schoolboy Castaways - Turned into Wild, Painted and Tribal Warriors

Jack Looking Down at Piggy's Death


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