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Orca (1977) Poster

(1977)

Trivia

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Richard Harris, who was 46, performed his own stunts.
The orca whale was portrayed by an animatronic whale, filmed off the coasts of Malta and Newfoundland, and stock footage taken at Marine World in Redwood City, California. The stock footage orca whales were named Yaka (a female) and Nepo (a male). They had both been captured in 1969. Nepo died in 1980 whilst Yaka died in 1997.
Animal rights activists blocked trucks delivering the animatronic whales to the set, thinking real whales were in them.
In the mid-1970s, executive producer Dino De Laurentiis considered a sequel to King Kong (1976) that may have had him go head-to-head with his own other animal monster movie of Orca (1977). The sequel, King Kong Lives (1986), did not eventuate until the mid-1980s though.
Many movie posters for the film featured a long text preamble that read: "THE KILLER WHALE! The killer whale, is one of the most intelligent creatures in the universe. Incredibly, he is the only animal other than man who kills for revenge. He has one mate, and if she is harmed by man, he will hunt down that person with a relentless, terrible vengeance - across seas, across time, across all obstacles".
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Debut theatrical feature film of actress Bo Derek.
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Richard Harris turned down the opportunity to work with Ingmar Bergman on The Serpent's Egg (1977) in order to make this film. This was a move he regretted deeply for years after.
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The word "Orca" is derived from the classic Latin language, a zoological term, "Orca orcinus" [as stated in the film], or more accurately, it is referred to as "Orcinus orca". The phrase, "Orca orcinus", according to the film, translates into the English language, as "bringer of death".
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"Orca" was also the name of Quint (Robert Shaw)'s fishing boat from Jaws (1975). The "Orca" vessel in that movie was named after the only natural enemy of the deadly white pointer shark species. The Orca (1977) major motion picture was made and released about two years after Jaws (1975).
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One of a cycle of 1980s and late 1970s movies that got made after the box-office success Jaws (1975). The films include that movie's three sequels, Jaws 2 (1978), Jaws 3-D (1983), and Jaws: The Revenge (1987), as well as Orca (1977), Piranha (1978), Tentacles (1977), Killer Fish (1979), Barracuda (1978), Tintorera: Killer Shark (1977), Blood Beach (1980), Piranha Part Two: The Spawning (1981), The Last Shark (1981), Up from the Depths (1979), Humanoids from the Deep (1980), Screamers (1979), Devil Fish (1984) and Mako: The Jaws of Death (1976).
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The movie's cast featured two sex symbols of the cinema - Bo Derek and Charlotte Rampling.
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This was the only film written by Luciano Vincenzoni.
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According to website Wikipedia, "Producer Luciano Vincenzoni was first assigned to give the film a head start after being called by [executive producer] Dino De Laurentiis in the middle of the night in 1975. Upon admitting that he had watched Jaws (1975), Vincenzoni was instructed by de Laurentiis to 'find a fish tougher and more terrible than the great white' [shark, as in Jaws (1975)]. Having had little interest in sea life beforehand, Vincenzoni was directed to killer whales by his brother Adriano, who had a personal interest in zoology. Filming took place largely in Newfoundland during the fishing season. Most filming took place in the town of Petty Harbour, about 15 kilometres south of the capital city, St. John's".
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Source novelist Arthur Herzog III was not credited for his source "Orca" novel story.
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Many film posters for the movie featured a long text preamble that read: "AN ANGRY THUNDERBOLT OF TERROR EXPLODES OUT OF THE OCEAN'S DEPTHS! Orca, the killer whale, destroys sharks, ships and men! He rules the ocean. He terrifies the earth. He is without mercy and without equal! Orca - the most powerful, the most fantastic animal in all the world.!"
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Although this was the first film released featuring Bo Derek, her real acting debut was in Fantasies (1981), which was filmed in 1973 but not released until 1981.
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The character name of the central character, Captain Nolan, played by Richard Harris', is similar to Captain Nemo from the Jules Verne classic story "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea" (1870). Orca (1977) director Michael Anderson later directed the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1997) tele-movie and also directed the classic Verne adaptation of Around the World in Eighty Days (1956) as well as one of its remakes Around the World in 80 Days (1999).
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The names of two of the sea vessels seen in the movie included "BUMPO" and "HAPPY HOUR".
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The movie was made and first released in the same year as its uncredited source novel of the same name by Arthur Herzog III was first published in 1977.
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The film's closing credits especially declare: "The Producer [Luciano Vincenzoni] wishes to acknowledge the very special photographic contribution made by J. BARRY HERRON [J. Barry Herron]".
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Although unseen near the end the whale does indeed die by swimming underneath the Arctic ice.
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Ken's (Robert Carradine) death is ironic as he is killed by the orca that saved him at the beginning from the great white shark.
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Body count: 5.
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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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