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Free Willy (1993)

PG  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Family  |  16 July 1993 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 47,040 users   Metascore: 79/100
Reviews: 56 user | 30 critic | 14 from Metacritic.com

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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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  »

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?


Jason James Richter's film debut. See more »


When Jesse is riding Willy, first he is completely wet and then suddenly his hair is dry while the rest of him is wet. See more »


Glenn: It's pretty late, I think you should go up to bed, Son.
Jesse: I'm not your son.
Glenn: Yeah I know that.
See more »


Referenced in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #22.15 (2013) 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
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