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Free Willy (1993)

PG  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Family  |  16 July 1993 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 46,201 users   Metascore: 79/100
Reviews: 56 user | 30 critic | 14 from

When a boy learns that a beloved killer whale is to be killed by the aquarium owners, the boy risks everything to free the whale.



(story) (as Keith A. Walker) , (screenplay) (as Keith A. Walker) , 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Isaiah Malone ...
Betsy Toll ...
Passerby #1
Rob Sample ...
Passerby #2
Merrilyn Jones ...
Passerby #3
Mickey Gaines ...


Fishermen separate a young orca whale (Willy) from his parents and he ends up in a fish bowl at a marina. Meanwhile, a street kid runs afoul of the law and gets caught vandalising the marina, but his social worker gets him off the hook (so to speak) provided he cleans up his mess at the marina. While there, he befriends the whale and teaches him tricks, something the trainer hasn't been able to do. But when Willy is a dud in front of the audience, the marina owner plans some bad things, and the boy and his friends must try to (*** MAJOR SPOILERS ***) free Willy. Written by Ed Sutton <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


How far would you go for a friend? See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

16 July 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Liberen a Willy  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£4,030,138 (UK) (4 March 1994)


£5,343,231 (UK) (15 April 1994)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


After the movie was released, it brought the living conditions of the star orca, Keiko (Willy) to the world's attention. His tank was too small, with too-warm chlorinated artificial salt water. Keiko suffered from a weakened immune system and a skin condition around his pectoral fins. There was a monumental effort to release Keiko. A custom tank was built in the Oregon Coast Aquarium and in 1996, the whale was flown from Mexico to Oregon. He recovered well, and was moved to a sea pen in 1998. In 2002, Keiko was released into the wild after spending 22 years in captivity. See more »


(at around 1h 18 mins) When Randolph and Jesse are looking at the leaking tank for the first time, Randolph says "It's part of the tank", his lips do not move. See more »


Rae: [Anxious about Willy's clearing the rocks in the marina] You ever see him jump that high?
Randolph: Things can happen.
See more »


Referenced in Gravity Falls: The Deep End (2012) See more »


Keep on Smilin'
Written by Narada Michael Walden, Sylvester Jackson, and Sally Jo Dakota
Performed by New Kids on the Block (as NKOTB)
Courtesy of Columbia Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Very touching movie about a special friendship for all ages that will warm your heart
20 December 2005 | by (Chantilly, Virginia, USA) – See all my reviews

FREE WILLY, in my opinion, is a very touching movie about a special friendship for all ages that will warm your heart. I really loved the tricks that Willy did. If I could have, I would have helped him get to safety myself. The only problem is how I would get him to safety, since I can't drive. The score was good, the costumes were perfectly designed, everyone was cast perfectly, and the direction was flawless. In conclusion, I highly recommend this very touching movie about a special friendship for all ages to anyone who hasn't seen it. You're in for a real treat and a good time, so go to the video store, rent it or buy it, kick back with someone close to you, and watch it. I guarantee you you'll thoroughly enjoy it.

19 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Willy is freed... gooachooyumyum
Best song ever !! Girliest_6444
why, guys? Cocteau_Suffragette
not being immature but... whocaresaboutit
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Lovely Lori Petty Lorifan
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