MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 15,812 this week

The Whales of August (1987)

 -  Drama  -  19 August 1987 (France)
7.6
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.6/10 from 2,671 users  
Reviews: 43 user | 14 critic

Summer people in Maine: things are changing. Whales no longer pass close to the shore as they did during the youth of two elderly widowed sisters who have a seaside home where they've ... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(play), (screenplay)
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

Free at IMDb

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 366 titles
created 02 Feb 2012
 
a list of 42 titles
created 09 Dec 2012
 
a list of 45 titles
created 19 May 2013
 
a list of 37 titles
created 3 months ago
 
a list of 36 titles
created 3 weeks ago
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Whales of August (1987)

The Whales of August (1987) on IMDb 7.6/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Whales of August.

User Polls

Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In a Yorkshire mining town, three educated brothers return to their blue-collar home to celebrate the 40th wedding anniversary of their parents, but dark secrets come to the fore.

Director: Lindsay Anderson
Stars: Alan Bates, Brian Cox, Gabrielle Daye
Madame Sin (1972)
Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A CIA agent is used as a pawn in an insane woman's plan to steal a Polaris submarine.

Director: David Greene
Stars: Bette Davis, Robert Wagner, Denholm Elliott
Comedy | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Three sons who work in the family construction business help their overbearing mother celebrate her anniversary to her late husband.

Director: Roy Ward Baker
Stars: Bette Davis, Sheila Hancock, Jack Hedley
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

In Northern England in the early 1960s, Frank Machin is mean, tough and ambitious enough to become an immediate star in the rugby league team run by local employer Weaver. Machin lodges ... See full summary »

Director: Lindsay Anderson
Stars: Richard Harris, Rachel Roberts, Alan Badel
Drama | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Mick Travis is a reporter who is about to shoot a documentary on Britannia Hospital, an institution which mirrors the downsides of British Society. It's the day when Her Royal Highness is ... See full summary »

Director: Lindsay Anderson
Stars: Leonard Rossiter, Malcolm McDowell, Brian Pettifer
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Director: Lindsay Anderson
Stars: George Michael, Andrew Ridgeley
Bunny O'Hare (1971)
Certificate: GP Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Bunny is a penniless widow who blackmails a robber into teaching her the trade. Soon the pair starts a successful crime spree, and the cops aren't turning a blind eye.

Director: Gerd Oswald
Stars: Bette Davis, Ernest Borgnine, Jack Cassidy
The Star (1952)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A washed-up movie queen finds romance, but still desires a come-back.

Director: Stuart Heisler
Stars: Bette Davis, Sterling Hayden, Natalie Wood
Family Reunion (TV Movie 1981)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Director: Fielder Cook
Stars: Bette Davis, J. Ashley Hyman, David Huddleston
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The story deals with Gloria Vanderbilt's difficult coming-of-age when, at eleven, she was a pawn in a custody battle between her sybaritic mother and her aunt.

Director: Waris Hussein
Stars: Angela Lansbury, Christopher Plummer, Maureen Stapleton
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

An impassive young girl is taken from her suicidal London life, back to her home in North England on a bizarre bus trip. Seen through the poetic eye of the camera, this is a commentary of doomed British morbidity. In HD.

Director: Lindsay Anderson
Stars: Patricia Healey, Arthur Lowe, John Sharp
White Mama (TV Movie 1980)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A poor, elderly white woman living in a tenement in a black ghetto is befriended by a neighborhood boy, and the two of them form a mutually beneficial relationship: he provides her ... See full summary »

Director: Jackie Cooper
Stars: Bette Davis, Ernest Harden Jr., Eileen Heckart
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
Frank Grimes ...
...
Tisha Sterling ...
...
Frank Pitkin ...
Mike Bush ...
Edit

Storyline

Summer people in Maine: things are changing. Whales no longer pass close to the shore as they did during the youth of two elderly widowed sisters who have a seaside home where they've summered for 50 years. Libby is blind, contrary, and seemingly getting ready to die. Sarah is attentive to her sister, worried about continuing to care for her, and half interested in an old Russian aristocrat who fishes from their shore. It's the eve of Sarah's 46th wedding anniversary. The Russian offers some fish he's caught, Sarah invites him to dinner, and Libby gets her back up. Sarah wonders if it isn't time to sell the place and find a home for Libby. What alternatives do old people have? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Screen's Immortals... A movie you'll never forget.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 August 1987 (France)  »

Also Known As:

As Baleias de Agosto  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$1,338,198 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(TVC)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

In one scene, Lillian Gish and Ann Sothern are seen overlooking the ocean. Sothern's character remarks that whales have scarcely been seen since the war due to submarines. In real life, Ann Sothern's paternal grandfather, Simon Lake, was the inventor of the modern submarine. See more »

Goofs

After Sarah neatens Libby's dress, Libby keeps her right arm resting on her left one. In the next shot her right arm is on the chair arm. See more »

Quotes

Libby Strong: Busy, Busy, busy, always busy.
See more »


Soundtracks

Roses of Picardy
(uncredited)
Music by Haydn Wood
Lyrics by Frederick Edward Weatherly
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Timeless grace and beauty
10 May 2004 | by (Vancouver, B.C.) – See all my reviews

Lindsay Anderson's The Whales of August stars silent film legend Lillian Gish, in her 95th year, and Bette Davis, 79, as widowed sisters, one warm and supportive, the other cold and cantankerous, who have been coming to a small cottage on the Maine seacoast for sixty years. Every August, they watch the journey of the whales passing in the nearby waters together but the sense is that this may be their last summer together. Knowing that their time is limited, the siblings attempt to resolve long-standing differences but face many obstacles. The Whales of August takes place during the course of a single day and the camera stays mostly inside the house except to follow the sisters on occasional walks to the ocean. It all sounds static but there is a great deal of emotion churning beneath the surface.

Libby (Davis) is nearly blind and very difficult to live with, always talking about how her life is over. Her sister Sarah (Gish) on the other hand is the polar opposite. She is sweet in her sisterly devotion to taking care of Libby and avoiding getting drawn into her moods (she always calls her dear). She brushes her hair, fixes breakfast for her, gets her clothes together and tends to the garden. "Busy, busy, busy" is how Libby talks about her and irritatingly calls her Say-rah throughout the film. Ms. Davis looks gaunt but her face shows a strength that is as craggy as the seacoast rocks. The film also features Vincent Price as Mr. Maranov, a down on his luck but charming Russian refugee whom Libby suspects is trying to worm his way in with them, and Haray Caray, Jr. as Joshua Brackett, a handyman who is forever making a racket in the house.

Also featured is Ann Sothern as Trish, a friend and neighbor who is close to convincing Sarah to leave Libby's care to her daughter until she remembers how Libby supported her when her own husband died. Sarah draws every ounce of emotion from a lovely scene in which she celebrates her 46th wedding anniversary by having an imaginary conversation with Philip, her long deceased husband. "Forty-six years, Phillip", she tells him. "Forty-six red roses; forty-six white. White for truth--red for passion. That's what you always said - passion and truth; that's all we need. I wish you were here, Phillip." Another moving sequence is when Libby brushes her face with a lock of her husband's hair while sitting alone in her bedroom.

I had heard that The Whales of August was little more than a vehicle for two aging stars to sing their swan song; however, I found the screenplay by David Berry to gracefully complement the performances with an emotional honesty that captures the truth of the characters. Not a great deal happens in The Whales of August but that is often true of life. It is a gentle and civilized character study that lets us know it is never too late to bury long-standing grievances and open a picture window to possibility. It may be elegant and old fashioned in its style but it has a grace and beauty that is timeless.


32 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
A beautiful film Welch57
stage cast thomas-bennett
I Enjoyed Bette Davis's Maggie Smith Impersonation lovethathat
Discuss The Whales of August (1987) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page