How Old Was Brooke Shields in The Blue Lagoon? A Complete Guide

Brooke Shields is a name that instantly evokes the image of the iconic romantic adventure film, The Blue Lagoon. Released in 1980, the movie caused a stir for its sensuous portrayal of two shipwrecked teenagers who grow up together on a tropical island and explores love and sexuality. But while the film became a cult classic and launched Brooke Shields to stardom, it also sparked controversy surrounding the actress’ age during the filming of the nude scenes. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the age controversy and explore Brooke Shields’ early life and career, the plot and cast of The Blue Lagoon, as well as its legacy and influence on popular culture.


Brooke Shields is a household name, known for her work as an actress and model. One of her most memorable roles was in the 1980 film, The Blue Lagoon. This romantic adventure film follows the story of two shipwrecked children who grow up on a tropical island without any adult supervision. Brooke Shields played the role of Emmeline Lestrange, one of the lead characters in the movie.

One of the most controversial aspects of the film was Brooke Shield’s age at the time of filming. Many critics claimed that the nude scenes featuring Shields were inappropriate given her young age. To this day, there is speculation surrounding her actual age during the production of The Blue Lagoon.

Despite the controversy, The Blue Lagoon remains a cult classic and is considered one of Brooke Shields’ most iconic performances. In this article, we will explore the early life and career of Brooke Shields, the plot and cast of The Blue Lagoon, and the controversy surrounding her age in the film. Additionally, we will look at the legacy of The Blue Lagoon and Brooke Shields’ influence on popular culture.

Early Life and Career of Brooke Shields

Child Star and Early Modeling Career

Child Star and Early Modeling Career

Brooke Shields was born in New York City in 1965 and began her modeling career at the age of just eleven months. Her early introduction to the world of fashion helped her gain experience in front of the camera, which would prove invaluable as her career progressed.

At the age of ten, Brooke Shields landed her first major modeling gig for Ivory Soap, which featured her in a series of print and television ads. This exposure led to more opportunities, including work for Calvin Klein, where she famously declared that “nothing” came between her and her Calvins.

In addition to her modeling work, Brooke Shields also began acting at a young age. Her first film role was in the controversial 1978 movie, Pretty Baby, in which she played a child prostitute. The movie sparked controversy due to its subject matter, but it also showcased Shields’ talent as an actress.

Throughout her early career, Brooke Shields faced criticism and scrutiny from the media due to her young age and provocative roles. However, she remained determined to pursue her passions and continued to take on challenging projects.

Overall, Brooke Shields’ early modeling and acting career laid the foundation for her future success in the entertainment industry. She proved herself to be a talented and versatile performer, able to tackle difficult and controversial roles with ease.

Film Debut and Success

Film Debut and Success

Brooke Shields made her film debut in 1978 with the controversial film, “Pretty Baby,” where she portrayed a child prostitute. However, it was her role in the romantic adventure film, “The Blue Lagoon” (1980), that solidified her status as a Hollywood star.

“The Blue Lagoon,” directed by Randal Kleiser, tells the story of two young children who are stranded on a deserted island in the South Pacific and have to fend for themselves without any adult supervision. Shields played the role of Emmeline Lestrange, while Christopher Atkins played the role of Richard Lestrange. The movie gained popularity not only for its stunning tropical setting but also for its steamy love scenes between the two lead actors, which were considered controversial at the time due to Shields’ age.

Following the success of “The Blue Lagoon,” Shields went on to star in several other movies such as “Endless Love” (1981) and “Sahara” (1983). However, she received a lot of negative feedback for her performance in “Endless Love.” In fact, she was nominated for Worst Actress at the 1982 Golden Raspberry Awards – an award given to honor the worst films and performances of the year.

Despite the criticism, Shields continued to act in films throughout the 80s and 90s, including “Brenda Starr” (1989), “Freeway” (1996), and “Freaked” (1993). She also appeared in several TV shows such as “Friends,” “That 70s Show,” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”

Overall, Brooke Shields’ film debut in “The Blue Lagoon” and subsequent success in Hollywood helped her establish herself as a prominent actress of her generation.

The Blue Lagoon: Plot and Cast

Plot Summary

The plot of “The Blue Lagoon” revolves around two shipwrecked children, Richard and Emmeline Lestrange, who find themselves stranded on a deserted tropical island. The movie is a classic coming-of-age story that follows the children as they navigate their way through adolescence, love, and survival.

As the days turn into weeks, and the weeks turn into months, Richard and Emmeline must learn to adapt to their new surroundings and fend for themselves. They build shelter, find food, and explore the island, all while trying to stay alive.

As time goes on, the children begin to experience puberty and sexual awakening, which creates tension and confusion between them. Eventually, they fall in love and start a romantic relationship.

However, their idyllic life on the island comes to an end when they are discovered by a group of sailors. The children are forced to leave their paradise behind and return to civilization, where they struggle to adjust to their old lives.

Overall, “The Blue Lagoon” is a beautiful and poignant film that explores themes of love, loss, and human nature. It’s a timeless classic that has captivated audiences for generations and will continue to do so for years to come.

Cast Members

Cast Members

The cast of “The Blue Lagoon” was led by Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins, two young actors who were relatively unknown at the time. Shields played the role of Emmeline Lestrange, a shipwrecked girl who grows up on a tropical island, while Atkins portrayed Richard, her male counterpart.

Brooke Shields was just 14 years old when she filmed “The Blue Lagoon,” which would go on to become one of her most iconic roles. Prior to filming, Shields had already made a name for herself as a child star and model, having appeared in controversial films such as “Pretty Baby.” However, it was her performance in “The Blue Lagoon” that cemented her status as a sex symbol and cultural icon.

Christopher Atkins, on the other hand, was a newcomer to the film industry. He landed the role of Richard after auditioning for the part, beating out thousands of other hopefuls. Atkins’ performance in “The Blue Lagoon” earned him critical acclaim and catapulted him into the spotlight.

In addition to Shields and Atkins, “The Blue Lagoon” also featured Leo McKern in a supporting role. McKern played Paddy Button, a sailor who becomes stranded on the same island as Emmeline and Richard. McKern was a veteran actor with a long list of credits to his name, having appeared in films such as “A Man for All Seasons” and “The Omen.”

Together, Shields, Atkins, and McKern brought their respective talents to “The Blue Lagoon,” creating an unforgettable cinematic experience that has stood the test of time. Their performances helped make the film a box office success and a cult classic, inspiring countless remakes and adaptations over the years.

Controversy Surrounding Brooke Shield’s Age in The Blue Lagoon

Age Controversy Explained

The age controversy surrounding Brooke Shields in The Blue Lagoon is a topic that has sparked heated debates and discussions among film enthusiasts for decades. In this section, we will take a closer look at the filming timeline, legal issues, and Brooke Shield’s actual age to provide a clear understanding of the situation.

Filming Timeline:
The Blue Lagoon was filmed in 1979 and released in 1980 in the United States. However, the filming timeline was far from straightforward. According to reports, the initial script called for nude scenes with the two young actors, Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins. To avoid legal issues, the producers decided to wait until Brooke Shields turned 16 before filming those scenes. However, the production was delayed, and by the time filming resumed, Brooke Shields had already turned 16.

Legal Issues:
Despite the decision to wait until Brooke Shields turned 16, the film still faced legal issues. After its release, several groups accused the movie of being child pornography due to the inclusion of nude scenes involving underage actors. The backlash forced the filmmakers to defend themselves in court, and the case was eventually dismissed.

Brooke Shield’s Actual Age:
One of the main reasons for the controversy was confusion surrounding Brooke Shield’s actual age during filming. Many people believed that she was only 14 years old when the movie was shot, leading to accusations of exploitation and sexualization of minors. However, public records and interviews with Shields herself confirmed that she was indeed 16 years old during filming.

In conclusion, while there were certainly legal issues surrounding the inclusion of nude scenes in The Blue Lagoon, the controversy over Brooke Shield’s age appears to have been largely based on misinformation and misunderstanding. While it is true that many people believed she was younger than 16, Shield’s actual age was verified through official records and interviews with Shields.

Impact on Brooke Shield’s Career

The controversy surrounding Brooke Shields’ age in The Blue Lagoon had a significant impact on her career. While the film was a box office success, it also generated a lot of negative press due to the nudity and sexual content involving a minor. Shields’ controversial image became a defining factor in public perception of her, overshadowing her talent as an actress.

Many criticized Shields’ mother for allowing her daughter to participate in such a film, while others accused director Randal Kleiser of exploiting a young girl for his own gain. Shields herself has spoken out about the experience, admitting that she felt uncomfortable during the filming of certain scenes but was too young and inexperienced to know how to speak up.

The backlash from The Blue Lagoon impacted Shields’ ability to secure future film roles. Many producers and directors were hesitant to work with her due to her controversial image, which they believed would hurt their project’s marketability. Shields struggled to break free from the “sex symbol” label that had been placed on her and instead sought out more serious acting roles in an effort to prove her talent.

Despite these challenges, Shields continued to work in the entertainment industry and had some notable successes. She starred in the 1983 film Sahara, which received positive reviews for her performance, and later landed roles in popular TV shows like Friends and Suddenly Susan.

In conclusion, the controversy surrounding Brooke Shields’ age in The Blue Lagoon had a lasting impact on her career. While the film helped launch her into stardom, it also created a negative perception of her among audiences and made it difficult for her to secure future film roles. However, Shields persevered and continued to work in the entertainment industry, proving her talent as an actress and cementing her place in pop culture history.

Legacy of The Blue Lagoon and Brooke Shields

Cult Classic Status

Cult Classic Status

The Blue Lagoon has become a cult classic among film enthusiasts and casual viewers alike. From its box office success to its enduring popularity on home video sales, the movie continues to capture the hearts of audiences all over the world.

One of the reasons for the film’s enduring appeal is the sense of nostalgia it evokes. For many viewers, The Blue Lagoon represents a simpler time in their lives, and watching it again brings back fond memories of their youth. The lush tropical scenery, the innocent romance, and the timeless coming-of-age story make it a film that never seems to go out of style.

Despite mixed reviews from critics at the time of its release, The Blue Lagoon was a commercial success, grossing over $58 million worldwide. It was one of the highest-grossing films of 1980, and its popularity only continued to grow in the years that followed.

In addition to its success at the box office, The Blue Lagoon has also been a hit on home video sales. It has been released on VHS, DVD, and Blu-ray multiple times, and continues to sell well to this day. Its availability on streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video has only increased its exposure to new generations of viewers.

Overall, the cult classic status of The Blue Lagoon can be attributed to a combination of factors: its box office success, its enduring popularity on home video sales, and the sense of nostalgia it evokes in audiences. Whether you’re a long-time fan or discovering it for the first time, this classic romantic adventure film is a must-see for anyone who loves a good coming-of-age story.

Remake and Adaptations

Remake and Adaptations

Aside from the original film itself, The Blue Lagoon has also been remade and adapted into different forms of media. One such adaptation is the 1991 film Return to the Blue Lagoon, which serves as a sequel to the original movie.

In this sequel, Milla Jovovich and Brian Krause portray two children stranded on the same deserted island where Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins’ characters once lived. Despite receiving negative reviews from critics, the film still managed to perform decently at the box office.

Aside from the film adaptations, The Blue Lagoon was also made into a TV movie in 2012. Starring Indiana Evans and Brenton Thwaites, the plot follows the same general storyline while incorporating some modern twists.

Moreover, there was also a novelization of the film, which was written by Henry De Vere Stacpoole in 1908. This book has since been republished several times, including a special edition released in conjunction with the release of the 1980 movie.

Although these adaptations have not achieved the same level of success as the original movie, they still showcase the timeless appeal of the story’s themes and characters. The allure of a tropical paradise and forbidden romance continues to captivate audiences even after all these years.

Brooke Shield’s Influence on Pop Culture

Brooke Shields’ influence on popular culture extends beyond her acting career and controversial film roles. She has also made a significant impact on the fashion industry, becoming a style icon in the 1980s and inspiring countless fashion trends.

Shields’ tall and slender figure made her the perfect model for designers like Calvin Klein, who famously featured her in his provocative ads for jeans and underwear. Her youthful looks and fresh-faced beauty captured the imagination of fashion photographers and magazine editors alike, leading to numerous high-profile editorial shoots and covers.

In addition to her modeling work, Shields’ status as a sex symbol in the 1980s helped to redefine traditional standards of female beauty and sexuality. Her confident and assertive persona challenged the idea that women had to be demure and submissive to be attractive, paving the way for other female celebrities to embrace their sexuality and assertiveness on their own terms.

Despite her early image as a sex symbol, Shields also became a feminist icon later in her career, speaking out about issues such as body shaming and the objectification of women in Hollywood. In interviews and public appearances, she has advocated for greater diversity and representation in media, and has pushed back against the industry’s narrow definitions of beauty and femininity.

Today, Shields continues to inspire new generations of fans with her eclectic career and unique personal style. Whether she’s walking the red carpet at an awards show or appearing on a talk show to discuss her latest project, she remains a trailblazer who has left an indelible mark on popular culture.
After exploring the controversy surrounding Brooke Shields’ age in The Blue Lagoon, it is clear that this issue had a significant impact on her career and public image. Despite the legal and moral debates surrounding her nude scenes as a minor, Shields went on to become a cultural icon and feminist role model. The film itself remains a beloved cult classic, inspiring countless adaptations and influencing popular culture for decades. Ultimately, Brooke Shields’ portrayal of Emmeline Lestrange will continue to be remembered as a defining moment in her career and a reflection of the complex relationship between art, ethics, and growing up in the limelight.

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