He also meets the eccentric Daffy, who tells him of a pristine, uninhabited and restricted island in the Gulf of Thailand with a beautiful hidden beach and lagoon. Daffy explains that he and other travelers settled there in secret several years earlier, but difficulties arose and he chose to leave. Daffy commits suicide, leaving Richard a map to the island. After getting locked out of his bungalow during a thunderstorm, Richard meets two American surfers who have heard rumors of the island, including that huge amounts of cannabis supposedly growing there.
Before departing, Richard leaves them a copy of the map. After swimming to the island from a neighboring one, they find a large cannabis plantation guarded by armed Thai farmers. Avoiding detection, they make their way across the island and meet English cricket fan Keatey where they are welcomed and surprised to see a fully functioning community of travellers living on the island, totally in secret.
Sal, the community's English leader, explains that the farmers allow them to stay so long as they keep to themselves and do not allow any more travelers to come to the island but more travellers came over the years, evading the farmers and settling there. Richard lies that they have not shown the map to anyone else, which satisfies Sal. The trio become integrated into the largely self-sufficient and leisurely community.
Tensions rise between Richard and Sal's South African boyfriend Bugs; when Richard gains popularity by killing a shark, Bugs mocks him over the shark's small size but Richard mocks him back for his jealousy. While there they encounter the American surfers Richard met in Ko Samui, who are preparing to search for the island and mention Richard's map.
Richard lies to Sal that he did not give them a copy, and she coaxes him into having sex with her in exchange for keeping her secrecy about the incident.
Things return to normal until a shark attack kills one of the community's fishermen and leaves another, Christo, severely injured. Sal refuses to compromise the community's secrecy by bringing medical help, and Christo is unable to travel to the mainland. When the surfers from Ko Pha Ngan turn up on the neighboring island, Sal sees that they have a map, confronts Richard for lying about it, and orders him to camp alone to observe them until they cross over, then intercept them, send them away and destroy it.
Isolated from the group, Richard begins to lose his sanity, stalking the cannabis farmers, stealing some of their personal items while they sleep, and imagining that he is conversing with the deceased Daffy. The surfers reach the island but are discovered and killed by the farmers. The series of events propagated by Richard come to a head.
He is captured by the farmers, who know that he has been stalking them, and brought before the community. The farmers have also found the map that Richard had given the now dead surfers, furious with the community for breaking their deal to not allow anymore newcomers. The lead farmer gives Sal a gun loaded with a single bullet and orders her to make a choice: Sal pulls the trigger, but the chamber is empty.
Shocked by her willingness to commit murder, the community abandons Sal, leaving the island and going their separate ways. Leonardo DiCaprio as Richard, a freelance traveler who is the film's main character.
Tilda Swinton as Sal, the leader of the beach community. Robert Carlyle as Daffy, the eccentric former member of the beach community.
Paterson Joseph as Keaty, a member of the beach community who loves cricket. Lars Arentz-Hansen as Bugs, Sal's boyfriend and the beach community's carpenter. Daniel Caltagirone as Unhygienix, the beach community's chef who often uses soap to wash off the fish smell whenever he cooks the fish. Victoria Smurfit as Weathergirl, a member of the beach community who can predict rain when her pelvis tightens.
Samuel Gough as Guitarman, the beach community's residential guitarist who is not a good singer. Peter Gevisser as Gregorio, an Italian member of the beach community whose bad tooth was forcefully removed by Bugs' pliers. Abhijati 'Meuk' Jusakul as the leader of the cannabis farmers. It was speculated that Boyle was offered additional funding under the condition that DiCaprio be cast and his character made American.
It was reported that the incident involved both Boyle and DiCaprio. No one was injured. There is a gap between mountains on the actual beach in Thailand.
The special effects crew digitally added some of the surrounding mountains during the post-production phase. The actual beach was also transformed from its natural look. It is reported that crew members flattened the beach with a tractor, much to the locals' dismay. The tsunami of , however, has reshaped the beach to its natural look. The map in the film was illustrated by the author of the book that The Beach was based upon, Alex Garland.
He received credit for this as the cartographer. Controversies[ edit ] Damage to filming location[ edit ] Controversy arose during the making of the film due to 20th Century Fox's bulldozing and landscaping of the natural beach setting of Ko Phi Phi Leh to make it more "paradise-like". The production altered some sand dunes and cleared some coconut trees and grass to widen the beach. Fox set aside a fund to reconstruct and return the beach to its natural state; however, lawsuits were filed by environmentalists who believed the damage to the ecosystem was permanent and restoration attempts had failed.
The lawsuits dragged on for years. In , Thailand's Supreme Court upheld an appellate court ruling that the filming had harmed the environment and ordered that damage assessments be made. Defendants in the case included 20th Century Fox and some Thai government officials. The depiction of the drug culture was said to give Thailand a bad image and having a statue of Buddha in a bar was cited as " blasphemous ".