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John Silver (Heston's Treasure Island)

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Black Dog...!
~ John Silver ranting about another pirate
Come on lads! We're going on a TREASURE HUNT!
~ John Silver rallying his men to find the treasure

John Silver is the secondary main antagonist, and later the main antagonist, of the 1990 film version of Treasure Island, directed by Frank Heston. John Silver was played by famous actor Charlton Heston in this version. This version is renowned for being faithful to the novel.


John Silver, commonly called "Long" John Silver, was quartermaster of Captain Flint's crew of pirates, and John had a similar goal to bury the stolen treasure, on the titular island, however he wanted the treasure for himself, and after an argument with Billy Bones, a rival pirate, Flint had Silver's leg blown off. Silver was therefore on a crutch for the rest of his life.


You can't miss him. Poor fella, tall man, one leg!
~ Squire Trelawney to Jim Hawkins about Silver

John Silver first appears at the Liverpool inn where Jim Hawkins, a young innkeeper, has just been attacked by pirates led by the fearsome Blind Pew, also of Flint's crew, after giving Bones the Black Spot. John Silver is recommended by Squire Trelawney as a good cook and quartermaster and Jim is told to go and fetch him. John Silver, in an odd twist, becomes something of a paternal figure to Jim, who never knew his real father. John Silver quickly bonds with Jim and he becomes his mentor during the voyage, even watching him when he is sick with sea sickness. However, John shows his villainous side when he arranges for another officer to be ambushed on deck and thrown overboard whilst drunk.

John Silver continues caring for Jim but throughout the voyage Jim sees the crew (pirates) are acting odd, sitting huddled in shady corners whispering, but breaking off when Jim approaches. He tells Trelawney of his fears of mutiny, but the squire doesn't listen. At the island, Silver openly betrays all the officers, and declares war. Jim is shocked by Silver's treachery and Silver slaughters many men and has a bloody battle in the clearing. Jim is mislaid in the battle and meets Ben Gunn, another pirate from Flint's crew who was marooned on the island, however Gunn loved the island and found the treasure.

Jim reunites with the men and Gunn says he'll take the men to the gold if they take him home with them. In the battle, Trelawney is wounded and Silver is shocked when a bomb is thrown onto his gunpowder, scaring off his men and blowing his cannon apart, disarming the pirates. John Silver attempts to negotiate pleasantries but can't because he's a pirate at heart. He sends one of his men, Israel Hands, to kill Hawkins but the lad fights him off and Hands falls off the mast and drowns. Silver plots an ambush for Hawkins and kidnaps him at night, but Hawkins tells him his ambush was foiled and Hands is dead.

John Silver views the map and finally says he knows where the treasure is, and the pirates set off on a treasure hunt. Silver has them trek over high cliffs and

John Silver's evil laugh as he triumphantly sails away with treasure

encourages Jim, strangely bonding with the lad again. Silver actually saves Jim's life when they get to the gold, by killing the pirates about to kill Jim. The officers led by Ben Gunn arrive, and Silver is shocked and amused to see Gunn there.

Silver returns to the Hispaniola with the officers and Jim, but, in true pirate fashion, breaks into the treasury and steals some dubloons and gold. He is seen rowing off on a rowboat, laughing maniacally, and its presumed he led a successful life with the jewels he stole.

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