Posted in Wednesday Warriors

Chuck Noland

If there ever was a time when being stranded on a desert island was a good thing, this was not one of those times. After lightning blows one of its engines, a FedEx cargo plane plummets into the South Pacific brightening the night sky with flames. The lone survivor manages to inflate one of the sinking plane’s rubber rafts to save him. He doesn’t know it, but his life has changed forever.

Tom Hanks as Chuck Noland
Tom Hanks as Chuck Noland

Cast Away‘s Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks), an employee on the clock, loses his sense of time in today’s Wednesday Warriors highlight.

When Chuck awakens the next morning, he drags his stomach along the white sandy beach to lie in peace while the sound of the waves entertains his ears. The sweater he wore on his ill-fated flight suddenly becomes much too hot to bear. He sheds whatever semblance he held of his former life and begins a journey into self-discovery.

The first thing on Chuck’s agenda is realizing he doesn’t have an agenda. The pocket watch, given to him by his wife, no longer works. He will never surrender it though. It contains a photo of his beloved, the only thing that reminds him of how things used to be.

There is no electricity. There is no civilization. Chuck quickly learns he’s alone on the island. His steady diet of coconuts and fish provides for a fraction of the nutrients he needs to survive, but not enough to prevent losing a tooth along the way.

An unlikely friend
An unlikely friend

Having trekked through the island multiple times, he comes to know his surroundings, the borders and his own limitations. He understands he can’t go beyond the tide without an adequate floatation device. His understanding also grows regarding time. In his former life, time is what made Chuck’s life complete. Without time, it’s a disorganized life. He keeps time in a cave by etching notches on a wall, presumably trying to make sense of it all.

As part of his survival, he learns how to build a fire, make shoes and work on a plan of action to get off the island.

Chuck’s biggest enemy, however, is much more than he could have ever imagined. His enemy is his loneliness. To be the only living and breathing person stuck hundreds, maybe even thousands, of miles in the middle of nowhere, makes him desire companionship with the least likely of objects.

He calls it Wilson.

And as Wilson soon becomes Chuck most treasured friend, his outlook changes to a more positive direction.

If anything is true about Chuck it’s that, he’s a survivor. He could sling a noose around his neck and end his turmoil, but he doesn’t. He overcomes all obstacles and lives each day with the hope the next will bring him the freedom he desires.

Not all things are easy for those willing to endure until the end.


Have you seen Cast Away? If so, what do you think of the movie? What do you think of Chuck Nolan?


Jack Flacco is an author and the founder of Looking to God Ministries, an organization dedicated to spreading the Word of God through outreach programs, literature and preaching.

12 thoughts on “Chuck Noland

  1. Castaway is an incredible movie. It would only work with an Everyman like Hanks. His transformation is unbelievable. It’s also testament to his performance and the writing/direction that a volleyball can be legitimate character with his own suitable ending.

  2. Haven’t seen the film, but I’ve seen enough documentaries with Ray Mears to make being stranded in a wilderness quite an attractive test. Once you’ve got your fire going and a clean source of water set up, what’s not to like. I think I’d welcome the solitude.

  3. well actually he thought about killing himself but was at least smart enough to test the noose and the branch broke… but after that he did keep on keeping on… but one thing to take away is never avoid the dentist… because you may end up on a desert island and have to cut a tooth out using and an ice skating shoe…

  4. I like his reaction to seeing ice again. I had smaller versions coming back from military deployments. (Carpeting…for example). My oldest daughter cannot watch this movie again, some deep rooted fear of being alone must have struck a nerve with her. As I survive the daily masses, I think I may enjoy some alone time. Aside from the whole scraping out food and fire angle.

  5. Castaway is one of my favorites. Tom Hanks did an outstanding job. Not many actors could pull off talking to a soccer ball, or carry most of a movie without interaction with other characters. (Except Wilson)

  6. I remember watching it in the theater and thought to myself that it was the only time I can think of where the collective group (all in attendance) cried over a volleyball. Not even the big biker guys behind me survived that.

  7. I MAY have misunderstood part of the plot of the movie, but it seems like getting back into society is harder than living on the island for him. I’ve only seen it once.

    1. well you only see it briefly… but I thought was stupid was he’s been stuck on an island and when he gets back they throw a party serving seafood… but the fact is life has moved on and going back nothing is as it was… but it seems like even so he still goes and tries to find a place for a new start… at least that’s what I took from him searching out that artist…

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