7.6/10
35,438
357 user 151 critic

Whale Rider (2002)

PG-13 | | Drama, Family | 29 August 2003 (USA)
A contemporary story of love, rejection and triumph as a young Maori girl fights to fulfill a destiny her grandfather refuses to recognize.

Director:

Writers:

, (book)

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From $9.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 33 wins & 34 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
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Nanny Flowers
...
...
Uncle Rawiri
Mana Taumaunu ...
Hemi
...
Shilo
...
Willie
Tammy Davis ...
Dog
Mabel Wharekawa ...
Maka (as Mabel Wharekawa-Burt)
Rawinia Clarke ...
Miro
Tahei Simpson ...
Miss Parata
Roi Taimana ...
Hemi's Dad (as Roimata Taimana)
Elizabeth Skeen ...
Rehua
Tyronne White ...
Jake (as Tyrone White)
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Storyline

On the east coast of New Zealand, the Whangara people believe their presence there dates back a thousand years or more to a single ancestor, Paikea, who escaped death when his canoe capsized by riding to shore on the back of a whale. From then on, Whangara chiefs, always the first-born, always male, have been considered Paikea's direct descendants. Pai, an 11-year-old girl in a patriarchal New Zealand tribe, believes she is destined to be the new chief. But her grandfather Koro is bound by tradition to pick a male leader. Pai loves Koro more than anyone in the world, but she must fight him and a thousand years of tradition to fulfill her destiny. Written by berkeley

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

In the ways of the Ancients, she found a hope for the future See more »

Genres:

Drama | Family

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for brief language and a momentary drug reference | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

29 August 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Domadora de Baleias  »

Box Office

Budget:

NZD 6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$198,471 (Australia) (2 May 2003)

Gross:

$20,772,796 (USA) (21 November 2003)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Niki Caro insisted that Rawiri Paratene stay in character throughout the shooting process. See more »

Goofs

When the girl has been crying and the grandfather is comforting her, he wipes the tears from her face. In some shots, you can see where he wiped the tear. In other shots, a tear that has tricked down to her chin. In some other shots, she has a tear that hasn't traveled so far. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Paikea: In the old days, the land felt a great emptiness. It was waiting. Waiting to be filled up. Waiting for someone to love it. Waiting for a leader.
[child birth scene]
Paikea: And he came on the back of a whale. A man to lead a new people. Our ancestor, Paikea. But now we were waiting for the firstborn of the new generation, for the descendant of the whale rider. For the boy who would be chief.
Paikea: There was no gladness when I was born. My twin brother died, and took our mother with him.
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Crazy Credits

Made by New Zealand See more »

Connections

Referenced in Awkward.: Bonfire of the Vanities (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Rejection
Music Composed By, Arranged By Lisa Gerrard
Copyright owned by 4AD LTD Under License from South Pacific Pictures LTD.
© (P) 2003 4AD LTD
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User Reviews

 
Small girl with the heart of a whale
24 July 2003 | by (Singapore) – See all my reviews

Slow pace but never boring. Small girl 'Paikea' touches your heart with her quiet strength and determination. Time and again, she faces prejudice from her grandfather whom she never gives up loving. Her grandpa loves her too, but tradition and the single-mindedness that Paikea will never be the leader of their tribe forces him to refrain from showing his true emotions towards his only granddaughter. But young Paikea never gives up; she respects grandpa's decision and masks her desire to become the whale rider of her tribe.

The remarkably beautiful and serene scenery of New Zealand complements the eventual inner peace that Paikea achieves. To save the whales their tribe loves so much, she shows remarkable calmness in guiding the whales back into sea despite death staring her straight in the face.

An inspiring and well-executed film.


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