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The Whales of August (1987)

 |  Drama  |  19 August 1987 (France)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 2,898 users  
Reviews: 45 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 »

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Title: The Whales of August (1987)

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

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

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Cast

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

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Details

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Release Date:

19 August 1987 (France)  »

Also Known As:

As Baleias de Agosto  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$1,338,198 (USA)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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(TVC)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The buoy that the filmmakers used as a device to transition from scene to scene was not a real buoy, but a prop that was built specifically for the production. The buoy is now on display outside of the Casco Bay Lines Ferry Terminal in Portland, Maine. 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 »

Connections

References Crazy Mama (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

Roses of Picardy
(uncredited)
Music by Haydn Wood
Lyrics by Frederick Edward Weatherly
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Quiet, contemplative little drama
10 November 2002 | by (La Rioja, Spain) – See all my reviews

This is a delightful piece set on the magnificent shores of New England's Atlantic Ocean, with an absolutely unrepeatable cast. Starring not only Bette Davis and Lilian Gish, alone worth anybody's money, well advanced into the autumn of their years, but also a very welcome Vincent Price, and a magnificent Ann Sothern together with her real daughter, Tisha Sterling.

A slow sensitive story in which each one looks back on life from differing perspectives; as usual, Bette Davis is in a dominating rôle, which, despite her advanced years, carries off quite well; Lillian Gish is just superb, lending that toned-down equanimous nature of hers which pervades the whole atmosphere of the film. And as the film develops around their house and in the garden and on the cliff-tops looking out to sea in earnest attempts to see the whales making their way south, the quiet contemplativeness of the film holds you. This is a film you will cherish and savour long afterwards. Which is why it is in my video collection since 1993 and why IMDb contributors 15 years on are still commenting on this heart-warming piece, half a dozen of them only so far this year.

So as to make a contrast, I suggest that impressive classic 'Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?' (1962), with Bette Davis playing against Joan Crawford: an intense dramatic piece.

Just a few weeks after being invited to the San Sebastián Film Festival – her last public engagement – Bette Davis died, as has Lillian Gish: unrepeatable.


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