7.6/10
34,177
346 user 149 critic

Whale Rider (2002)

PG-13 | | Drama, Family | 29 August 2003 (USA)
Trailer
2:24 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $9.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
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)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 32 wins & 32 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Family | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

10-year-old Fiona is sent to live with her grandparents in a small fishing village in Donegal, Ireland. She soon learns the local legend that an ancestor of hers married a Selkie - a seal ... See full summary »

Director: John Sayles
Stars: Jeni Courtney, Eileen Colgan, Mick Lally
Babe (1995)
Comedy | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Babe, a pig raised by sheepdogs, learns to herd sheep with a little help from Farmer Hoggett.

Director: Chris Noonan
Stars: James Cromwell, Magda Szubanski, Christine Cavanaugh
Documentary | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

When a Mongolian nomadic family's newest camel colt is rejected by its mother, a musician is needed for a ritual to change her mind.

Directors: Byambasuren Davaa, Luigi Falorni
Stars: Janchiv Ayurzana, Chimed Ohin, Amgaabazar Gonson
Drama | Family | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A young British girl born and raised in India loses her neglectful parents in an earthquake. She is returned to England to live at her uncle's estate. Her uncle is very distant due to the ... See full summary »

Director: Agnieszka Holland
Stars: Kate Maberly, Maggie Smith, Heydon Prowse
Drama | Family | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A drama that focuses on the period in Mary and Joseph's life where they journeyed to Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus.

Director: Catherine Hardwicke
Stars: Keisha Castle-Hughes, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Oscar Isaac
Drama | Family | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A young girl is relegated to servitude at a boarding school when her father goes missing and is presumed dead.

Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Stars: Liesel Matthews, Eleanor Bron, Liam Cunningham
Documentary | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A documentary portrait of a one-room school in rural France, where the students (ranging in age from 4 to 11) are educated by a single dedicated teacher.

Director: Nicolas Philibert
Stars: Georges Lopez, Alizé, Axel Thouvenin
Chicken Run (2000)
Animation | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

When a bird "flies" into a chicken farm, the fellow chickens see him as an opportunity to escape their evil owners.

Directors: Peter Lord, Nick Park
Stars: Mel Gibson, Julia Sawalha, Phil Daniels
A Charlie Brown Christmas (TV Movie 1965)
Animation | Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Repelled by the commercialism he sees around him, Charlie Brown tries to find the true meaning of Christmas.

Director: Bill Melendez
Stars: Ann Altieri, Chris Doran, Sally Dryer
Animation | Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Wallace and his loyal dog, Gromit, set out to discover the mystery behind the garden sabotage that plagues their village and threatens the annual giant vegetable growing contest.

Directors: Steve Box, Nick Park
Stars: Peter Sallis, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes
Animation | Short | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Wallace and Gromit have run out of cheese and this provides an excellent excuse for the animated duo to take their holiday on the moon, where, as everyone knows, there is ample cheese.

Director: Nick Park
Stars: Peter Sallis
Comedy | Family | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  

After winning the lottery, E, a young Maori Rapper returns home to New Zealand to find his musical and traditional roots. In the quest to find his voice he soon becomes lost as love, ... See full summary »

Director: Chris Herd
Stars: Sarah Bishop, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Danielle Hayes
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Vicky Haughton ...
Nanny Flowers
...
...
Uncle Rawiri
Mana Taumaunu ...
Hemi
Rachel House ...
Shilo
Taungaroa Emile ...
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)
Edit

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:

One young girl dared to confront the past, change the present and determine 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:

 »
Edit

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
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The cat visible in several scenes was nicknamed "Ringworm" by the crew, and instinctively walked into picture wherever the crew was filming. 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, you see a tear that has tricked down to her chin, and in some 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.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Dedicated to those who have gone before See more »

Connections

Featured in Reel Injun (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

U Want Beef
(John Chong-Nee (as I. Chongnee) / Mark Sagapolutele (as M. Sagaponutele) / Demetrius Savelio (as D. Sayello) / Daniel Maoate (as D. Maoate) / David Puniani (as D. Puniani))
Dawnraid Music Publishing
Performed by Deceptikonz
Courtesy of Dawnraid Entertainment
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A real machismo meltdown.
20 February 2004 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

A beautifully filmed and convincingly acted treat for the entire family. Adults need NOT beware since the film respects its audience and contains levels of depth suitable for all ages. Although ultimately an upbeat movie, there are some grim plot elements that may not be appropriate for very young or overly sensitive children. However, there's no actual violence or anything truly frightening or morbid.

This is the story of a 12 year old Maori girl who knows that she is born to the destiny her grandfather believes died with her stillborn twin brother. I won't spoil the ending (which is hinted at early on) with specifics, but suffice it to say that the story's ultimate lesson is that change is sometimes as necessary a component of living traditions as repetitive ceremony. And that the Maori must ride that "whale" as bravely as their mythological ancestor rode the whale from Havaiki (a satellite island of Tahiti, NOT Hawaii) to New Zealand. Not to destroy or denigrate their culture, but to ensure its vitality and continuity in the cultural matrix of the modern world.

A great lesson in true cultural diversity without preachy slogans or "politically correct" censorship. It should be shown in all the world's classrooms. Keisha Castle-Hughes is unforgettable as the heroine, and richly deserves the Oscar for which she has been nominated.


42 of 48 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Boring jkktx
was there anybody who didn't cry?? Lauwer
And I'm a grown woman... libertess66
Why are there no girls? sgsilver
Movie v. Book ejhstevens
What is the idea behind ? dusan-saiko
Discuss Whale Rider (2002) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?