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Free Willy (1993)

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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 »
3,658 ( 93)
7 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »


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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 <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A 12 year old street kid. A 3 ton orca whale. A friendship you could never imagine. An adventure you'll never forget. 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  »


Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,868,829, 18 July 1993

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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Did You Know?


At the film's opening, one of the whaling vessels bears the name 'Pequod', a nod to the whaling ship in 'Moby Dick'. 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 »


Randolph: Dial is trying to collect the insurance money. Willy's worth a million dollars.
Jesse: A million dollars? Randolph, let's free him.
Randolph: What?
Jesse: Let's free Willy. We can take him by the bay, and put him back in the water.
Randolph: I don't like this job anyways.
See more »


Referenced in Class of 3000: Funky Monkey (2006) See more »


Didn't Mean to Hurt You
Written by Taj Jackson, Taryll Jackson, and T.J. Jackson
Performed by 3T
Courtesy of Epic Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Whale-shaped place in my heart
8 March 2008 | by See all my reviews

5.2 is shameful. I loved this movie. It has all of the elements of a great film; compelling characters, plot, and an end lesson. I think that most family movies these days lack a lot of moral posturing that made films like this one so memorable. I know that I wanted to "Save the Whales" after I saw this movie. Heck, I wanted to be a whale. I don't care how many stars it got, this movie is a childhood treasure for me and I think of it every time I hear the Michael Jackson song, "Will You Be There?" I wish that my younger siblings remembered this movie or the amount of joy it brought us slightly older kids in my family. The sequel certainly left something to be desired, but not the original. Yep, it will hold a special whale-shaped place in my heart.

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