Robinson Crusoe on Mars is a 1964 Techniscope science fiction film retelling of the classic novel by Daniel Defoe. It was directed by Byron Haskin, produced by Aubrey Schenck and starred Paul Mantee, Victor Lundin and Adam West. It is not a bad movie given the age, but the special effects are quite lame by today's standards. Warning - spoiler alert if you keep reading the rest of this before you actually watch the movie.
Commander Christopher 'Kit' Draper (Paul Mantee) and Colonel Dan McReady (Adam West) are the crew of Mars Gravity Probe 1. When they reach the planet, they are forced to use up their fuel to avoid an imminent collision with a meteor. With the ship now stuck in orbit, they have no choice but to eject to the surface, the first men on Mars. McReady is killed in the landing. Draper is stranded, with only a monkey named Mona for company.
He finds a cave for shelter. Then, he figures out how to obtain the rest of what he needs to survive. First, he burns some coal-like rocks for warmth and accidentally discovers that heating them gives off oxygen. This allows him to refill his air tank and move around in the thin atmosphere. Draper then constructs a crude sand clock that sounds an alarm to awaken him for a needed dose of oxygen. Later, Draper notices that Mona keeps disappearing periodically and that she is uninterested in the dwindling supply of food and water. He gives her a salty biscuit, but no water; when Mona gets very thirsty, he lets her out and follows her to the underground pond she has found. As a bonus, there are also edible plant "sausages" growing in the water.
As the days grow into months, Draper slowly begins to crack from the prolonged isolation. He watches helplessly as his ship, an inaccessible "supermarket", periodically crosses the sky. Without fuel, the ship does nothing when he orders it by radio to land.
One day, while walking about with Mona, Draper notices a rock standing in an unnatural position, as if deliberately planted as a marker. He looks at the ground around it and sees bones. He brushes away at the soil to expose the skeletal remains of a hand in a black bracelet. He digs up the rest of the skeleton and determines that the creature was murdered, as the skull is charred. Frightened, he signals his ship to self destruct to remove all signs of his presence.
Just in time as it turns out, as Draper sees a ship descend and land just over the horizon. At first, he believes it to be a rescue ship from Earth. In the morning, he heads towards the landing site, only to see an advanced alien craft in the sky. Realizing his error, he approaches cautiously and sees slave labor being used for mining. One of the slaves (Victor Lundin) escapes, running into Draper. The alien ships blast the area as the two flee. The stranger has black bracelets on his wrists just like the one Draper found earlier. That night, they witness the aliens blast the mine area and depart. When they investigate, they find the dead bodies of the other slaves.
Draper names his new acquaintance Friday, after the character in Robinson Crusoe, and starts teaching him English. In return, Friday shows him "air pills" that provide oxygen. They gradually grow to trust and like each other.
After a while, the aliens return, tracking Friday by his bracelets. The aliens blast the castaways' hiding place, forcing Draper, Friday and Mona to flee through the underground Martian canals. They eventually end up at the polar icecap. Exhausted, freezing and nearly out of air pills, they build a snow shelter "just like the Eskimos." Draper finally succeeds in cutting Friday's bracelets off. A meteor crashes into the ice cap, creating a firestorm and melting the snow.
Just then, they track an approaching spaceship. At first, Draper believes it to be the enemy again, but then their radio broadcasts a human voice. Draper identifies himself, and a lander comes down to pick up Draper and his companions. The credits then roll as Mars recedes in the background.