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Free Willy
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Reviews & Ratings for
Free Willy More at IMDbPro »

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Index 58 reviews in total 

85 out of 105 people found the following review useful:

5,2??? Don't believe in this rating!!! This is the best family movie of the 90-s and the sweetest one

10/10
Author: Juni78ukr (juni78ukr@yahoo.com) from Odessa, Ukraine
20 April 2004

First of all, I want to say some of my thoughts about IMDb ratings. If you look at IMDb top 250 you can hardly find any family movie . In fact, there are only three family movie (I mean live action movies not animated flicks) in this chart. They are Princess Bride on the 99 position (haven't seen yet), A Christmas Story on 142 (a movie nobody heard of besides English speaking countries) and the E.T. on the 244 (forever classic - no point denying that). And I bet you would be unable to find another one even in top 500. On the other hand you can find in this list, for example, more than eighty thrillers or more than thirty 30 war movies. Does that result means that family movies can't be good. Obviously it is not. For me the point is that many of people as well as lots of critics don't appreciate movies sweet movies without profanity, drugs, sex and violence. Cheesy movie for kids only that's not a fair grade. Well it's only my opinion but for me it's very sad when such a beautiful movie become so undeservedly underrated. Now, more directly to our movie. I watched Free Willy no less than four or five times and found it one of the best family and animal movie ever made. The bonds of friendship between man and animal are shown incredibility well here. From this point Free Willy remembered me another beautiful animal movie The Black Stallion. The unlikely friendship between twelve years old Jesse and giant whale as the main element of the story is very sweet and touching. Overall plot is well constructed (and there's no point to complain its unreality) with decent development of the main characters. Young and definitely talented Jason Jammes Richter created terrific performance of a young lonely problem boy Jesse. Also very good in the movie were August Schellenberg (as Randolph) and Michael Madsen (as Glen). As I always mentioned cinematography is pretty good, including first-rate animal action (Keiko is so cute there). The beautiful movie soundtrack written by Basil Poleuydouris a bit resembled for me terrific Carmine Coppola's score for The Black Stallion. And finally, that's maybe the most important Free Willy is a very humanistic movie, a movie that what was made with love and care about nature. Thanks to Simon Wincer for this great masterpiece. We need more movies like this, not a laughable rubbish that Hollywood studios now provide for family entertainment. I rated Free Willy 10 out of 10 as an excellent and beautiful family friendly movie. Check out also its two sequels. They are also pretty good.

Thanks for reading and sorry for my bad English.

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44 out of 55 people found the following review useful:

Underrated movie of a charming childhood adventure

10/10
Author: Andreas Niedermayer (leeds1@gmx.at) from Klagenfurt, Austria
5 November 2005

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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42 out of 55 people found the following review useful:

Hats off to the Donners!

10/10
Author: Dan Grant (dan.grant@bell.ca) from Toronto, Ontario
6 July 1999

If a movies greatness is measured by its cinematography and its direction and its deep characters and its thought provoking script and its revolutionary special effects, then Free Willy is not the next Citizen Kane. But if you can appreciate films that have something important to say and something that it wants people to open their eyes to, then Free Willy is just as important and gripping as anything from Gandhi to Platoon, Mississippi Burning to Boyz and the Hood and JFK to Dancing With Wolves. And that is the truth. The problem with films like this is that it is viewed in the same light as movies like Gorillas In The Mist and Instinct. And that is they are bleeding hearted fluff. They ask you to "feel" for animals. It asks you to realize that we are bad people and that we should change the system from within. The only problem with that last statement is that it is said while people are rolling their eyes and using a sarcastic tone. But if we can look at films like Schindler's List and Cry Freedom, films that examine the atrocities perpetrated towards humans, see them for the genius that they are, why can we not take a film that has something to say about the abominable treatment of animals more seriously. After all, as Shylock once said, "Does a Jew not bleed?" Does an animal?

We are so desensitized towards cruelty to animals that we are practically oblivious to their plight. When we hear of a stray dog that shows up at the humane society with internal bleeding and a missing eye, we say that it's terrible and then we turn away and forget about it until the next ones shows up. When we go to water parks and see captive whales performing tricks we laugh and cheer and go back to our freedom and think nothing of the life that was destroyed when that beautiful beast was taken from its habitat. If anything, this movie shows us that we should not imprison these or any wild animals, and it does it so well that if you have any ounce of compassion in you, it will affect you. This film is not just for 10 year olds, it is a film that should be viewed by everyone that takes their freedom for granted. Because if all of a sudden one day we were put in prison for no reason, then and only then would we truly understand what animals go through.

Perhaps you think this review is not really about a movie and all I am doing is expressing my political beliefs, and that may be true, but if someone doesn't say something about this, then what good is our right of freedom of speech.

The film itself is about a parentless boy that ends up in foster care. There he ends up working at a Sea World type place where he meets a newly captured whale. He then takes it upon himself to free the whale knowing that the whale is going to be killed for insurance purposes.

As I said though, I believe this is an important story and if you disagree, think about the film " A Time To Kill ". Matthew McConnauhey ( wrong spelling, I know ) gives his speech at the end about the heinous crimes that were committed against the little black girl. He asks the all white jury to close their eyes as he tells the story. At the end of his graphic description he tells them to imagine she was white. It won him the case. Now do the same thing in regards to stories like Free Willy. Close your eyes and picture a whale held in a cell just big enough to move in. This whale is fed every once in a while and he is taught to do tricks so that people can laugh and cheer. He is separated from his family and his friends and his natural surroundings. He can hear them crying for him to come home at night. He has done nothing wrong, committed no crime and he just wants to go home. But he is kept against his will, for our entertainment.

Now picture what I am describing to you isn't a whale. Picture "it" as being human.

I applaud Richard and Laura Donner for making this film and I certainly hope people can see this and change their thinking about things. It is a powerful film. And it is one that should be taken more seriously.

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32 out of 39 people found the following review useful:

Sweet, meaningful movie

9/10
Author: hansololover (dudewerzmycheese@hotmail.com) from NY
31 January 2005

It might not be the Shawshank Redemption or an equally provocative and important movie. But it's touching. As a child it was my favorite movie and I'd watch it every day for a period of about 3 months. It made me cry, but it meant a lot to me. It might have it's corny moments, but kids like it, and my parents liked it too. Compared to a lot of the movies kids force their parents to watch, this one isn't so bad.

It's really sweet, and it puts out a good message. It allows you to feel and care about things that go on it the world. I dug this out today and watched it again and it was still pretty magical to me, although I'm much older now. I don't see why this is rated a 5.2. I guess I wouldn't tell every adult to go out and watch it, but if you have kids, or just love animals, then give this a shot. It's a good film.

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28 out of 37 people found the following review useful:

A heart warming film that touches your soul.

10/10
Author: luie from United Kingdom
1 October 2005

Its a real family movie with lots of love. This film is a great way for kids to learn about Whales, family and friendship. Its one not to be missed, its makes you feel all warm in side. It made me cry back when I was 5 and it still does today. This Film will always be in our hearts. If you have kids this is the one to show them, they will laugh, cry and learn to love the adorable killer Whale Willy which a lot of us have done. This film has taught us a lot about captivity and the need of freedom. There should be more films like this. If you are in need of a friend there will always be on in animals and this film has shown us so with Jesse and Willy. This film will continue to touch many hearts of the world.

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14 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Glorious Motion Picture; exciting, thrilling, and safe for the entire family!

10/10
Author: twisterchaser3
3 June 2005

I absolutely adore Free Willy. It ranks well above any movie about whales or dolphins, even Flipper. Free Willy provides an exciting story about a troubled boy who befriends an orca whose situation is much like his own. And of course, we all love the star of the show, Keiko! Keiko had a life filled with traveling from one theme park to the other, and in a lot of ways he experienced much more that Willy did. Keiko played the part of the whale terrifically! James did a great job too acting as Jesse, and gave the perfect image of a young boy who has lived on the streets. Some people call it the best friendship movie since ET. This movie rocks over ET!, and shows us the true meaning of friendship. We all should learn that caring for another person or animal goes a long way.

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19 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

Very touching movie about a special friendship for all ages that will warm your heart

10/10
Author: Catherine_Grace_Zeh from Fairfax, Virginia, USA
20 December 2005

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.

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20 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

Great story. Excellent movie.

10/10
Author: Kim Awesome (Kim@amyrlin.com) from Southern California
21 January 2006

I just love it when there is a story that has two negative forces coming together, and somehow, magically healing each other. Jesse, roughened from his abandonment and time on the streets, and Willy, kidnapped and separated from his family are the duo. It is a great story, and a wonderful film.

It is so rare, that of all the movies and books and media that I have consumed in my 25 years of life, I can only think of one other story that has this same type of magical quality (The Secret Garden). This movie is also great for environmental reasons, and as an avid watcher of Captain Planet, I fell in love with this movie when I was a child.

As an adult, I have an annual pass to Seaworld, and I love killer whales. They are so intelligent, and extremely beautiful. Willy is no exception. Free Willy!

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20 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

fantastic

10/10
Author: ross robinson from england
3 July 2004

i love free willy to bits, it is a fantastic , and to me the most touching childrens movie ever, a friendship with a 12 year old boy and a whale. The movie sets out with a 12 year old kid out with his mates and doing naughty things, the young boy named Jesse is arrested as he caused vandalism in the sea life center and putting grafiti on the glass windows where the while can be viewed from. Jesse is soon fostered by a couple who get on very well with him. Jesse gets back to his tricks and is told that he has to do a job at the sealife center as part of his punishment, he meets the whale again and becomes a friend to the whale, jesse then decides if he could teach and work with the whale, things start to get odd when the bad guys come in. As weeks go by, there is danger at the sealife centre, water is leaking from the window view and is getting less with water in the tank with the whale. Jesse starts to panic and asks Randolph (Owner of the sealife centre) and the foster parents for their help. The bad guys hear about this and goes after jesse and the whale, it all ends when the whale is free and is told to go far away as possible and be a free whale, the whale jumps over the rocks and is back with it's family. I give free willy 10 out of 10.

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12 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Save Willy

10/10
Author: Vicky Hayes (Orangeorange2003) from Southampton, England
21 February 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I wanted to see this film because of my love of Orcas. I was not disappointed. This film will make you think of what it would be like to have the bestest friend you could ever have. The film brings together Jesse,a 12 year old boy and Willy,a killer whale. Jesse having painted graffiti in the sea park where Willy is. Is told he has to clean it all off. It is doing this that he is introduced to Willy. The pair start to bond and Jesse starts to train with Willy for a show to get him a bigger tank. On night after he ran away,Jesse sees a light coming from the other side of Willy tank. He goes and has a look. The park owner wants to kill Willy. So this sets Jesse of.He wants to save his best friend,and he will do whatever he can. Well Willy............. I cant tell you that would spoil it. But if you want a feel good film,that makes you feel good inside this is it. But I will warn you,i'm 24 now and still whenever I watch it,I get teary.

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