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Free Willy (1993)

PG  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Family  |  16 July 1993 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 46,098 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


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?


August Schellenberg dubbed himself in the French Canadian version. See more »


When Rae and Jesse were in sorting fish to give to Willy, Rae says that they give Willy the good fish and not the "bad fish" (fish that were cut up and had no head). However, Jesse is seen putting some "bad fish" in the good fish pile. See more »


Jesse: [to Willy, crying] Don't forget me, okay? I won't forget you.
See more »


Referenced in Aspe: Free Willy (2006) See more »


Right Here (Human Nature Remix)
Written by Brian Alexander Morgan (as Brian Morgan), John Bettis, and Steve Porcaro
Performed by S.W.V.
Courtesy of The RCA Records Label of BMG Music
See more »

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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.

40 of 47 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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