Taglines: He’s a scoundrel… A hero… A lover of danger and the last of the adventurers…
The film tells the story of missionary Nathaniel “Nate” Williamson, taken to an island mission with his fiancee Sophie. Their ship, the Rona, is captained by the roguish William “Bully” Hayes, who also takes a liking to Sophie. When Sophie is kidnapped by slave trader Ben Pease, “Nate” teams with Hayes in order to find her.
The plot is essentially a set-up for a rousing series of Indiana Jones style action set pieces, including a sequence on a suspension bridge which greatly resembles the climax of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, though notably Nate and Hayes was released a year earlier.
Nate and Hayes, also known as Savage Islands (UK title), is a 1983 swashbuckling adventure film set in the South Pacific in the late 19th century. Directed by Ferdinand Fairfax and filmed on location in Fiji and New Zealand, it starred Tommy Lee Jones, Michael O’Keefe and Jenny Seagrove.
This was one of many early 1980s films designed to capitalize on the popularity of Lucas and Spielberg’s hero, Indiana Jones, but Nate and Hayes was a flop at the box office. This contributed to the long held belief in Hollywood that pirate swashbucklers were box office poison, a belief not laid to rest until the 2003 release of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Sir Richard Taylor of Weta Workshop said Savage Islands kick-started the New Zealand filmmaking boom of the 1980s.
Nate and Hayes (1983)
Directed by: Ferdinand Fairfax
Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Michael O’Keefe, Max Phipps, Jenny Seagrove, Grant Tilly, Peter Rowley, William Johnson, Kate Harcourt
Screenplay by: John Hughes, David Odell
Production Design by: Maurice Cain
Cinematography by: Tony Imi
Film Editing by: John Shirley
Costume Design by: Norma Moriceau
Art Direction by: Dan Hennah, Rick Kofoed
Music by: Trevor Jones
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: November 18, 1983