6.4/10
289
7 user 5 critic

When the Whales Came (1989)

PG | | Drama | 20 October 1989 (USA)
A pair of children befriend an accentric old man, who lives isolated on the far shore of their island home. But it turns out that the old man knows a terrible secret about the island and ... See full summary »

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(novel), (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
The Birdman
...
Jack Jenkins
...
Clemmie Jenkins
Helen Pearce ...
Gracie Jenkins
Max Rennie ...
Daniel Pender
...
Mr. Wellbeloved
...
Treve Pender
Barbara Ewing ...
Mary Pender
...
Big Tim
...
Vicar
Joanna Bartholemew ...
Miss Tregarthen
...
Auntie Mildred
Irene Wilson ...
Molly Woodcock
Fergus Rees ...
The Birdman as a Boy
Kerra Spowart ...
Margaret Pender
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Storyline

A pair of children befriend an accentric old man, who lives isolated on the far shore of their island home. But it turns out that the old man knows a terrible secret about the island and the narwhales who sometimes come. Meanwhile WWI is making life hard in the village. Written by Kathy Li

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Plot Keywords:

island | girl | boy | redemption | curse | See All (18) »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

20 October 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cuando vuelvan las ballenas  »

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(Fujicolor)
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User Reviews

 
A glorious fairy tale
21 September 2005 | by See all my reviews

This is a superb film, designed for the entire family. A fascinating script, first-rate acting, glorious scenery (shot on location in remote islands off of England), and memorable music help make this film a classic. It is set in 1914, and World War One plays a role in the story. But the time is basically irrelevant; the place is not. The story is about a legendary curse, a man who survived it, and an opportunity to lift it, focusing on the destruction and preservation of an extremely rare form of whale.

At its conclusion, I asked my wife, "How could a film like this be made today?" I still don't know. But let us give thanks that we still have enough imagination and basic decency to film a fairy tale with messages that are eternal. It remains an incredible artistic scandal that a movie of this quality has not appeared on DVD.


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