5.9/10
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Free Willy (1993)

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.

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(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

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Gwenie
Isaiah Malone ...
Vector
Betsy Toll ...
Passerby #1
Rob Sample ...
Passerby #2
Merrilyn Jones ...
Passerby #3
Mickey Gaines ...
Waiter
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Storyline

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

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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:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

Release Date:

16 July 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Liberen a Willy  »

Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£4,030,138 (UK) (4 March 1994)

Gross:

$77,698,625 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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. Keiko became the second oldest orca to live in captivity. See more »

Goofs

Killer whales only jump over things when they know how deep the water is on the other side. The final scene (Willy's jump over the port wall) would be impossible for a real whale. See more »

Quotes

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

Referenced in Chelsea Lately: Episode #7.40 (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

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

 
Underrated movie of a charming childhood adventure
5 November 2005 | by (Klagenfurt, Austria) – See all my reviews

Oh, this one is underrated here. The story of Jason James Richter's character trying to escape from a life of crime and missing prospects is way beyond the average. The growing affection for Willy is not even stereotyped or clichéd. It's a genuine bond that focuses on two outcast characters who slowly but surely come to experience true friendship and the value of trust. Jason's performance really appealed to me when I saw this movie as a kid. It is a sincere depiction of friendship, of a way out, of fighting for your values against all odds and of never giving up. Right, I'm grown up now, but this is one of the movies of my childhood I'd like to watch again, and I'm sure I'd enjoy it almost as much as back then. Jason James had very few acting appearances, but the Free Willy series assured him his place in movie history. His entire performance in here is sincere and straight, he doesn't laugh nor smile if it wasn't just natural in the specific sequences. His facial expressions and body language fit into the total frame as well. The story has some profoundly human themes to it. I can't help it, I think this one is both entertaining and deep, dealing with emotions and prospects of life, with integrity and courage in the face of danger.


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