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In the Heart of the Sea (2015)

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A recounting of a New England whaling ship's sinking by a giant whale in 1820, an experience that later inspired the great novel Moby-Dick.



(screenplay), (story) | 3 more credits »
1,426 ( 39)
1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Caleb Chappel
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William Bond


In the winter of 1820, the New England whaling ship Essex was assaulted by something no one could believe: a whale of mammoth size and will, and an almost human sense of vengeance. The real-life maritime disaster would inspire Herman Melville's Moby-Dick. But that told only half the story. "In the Heart of the Sea" reveals the encounter's harrowing aftermath, as the ship's surviving crew is pushed to their limits and forced to do the unthinkable to stay alive. Braving storms, starvation, panic and despair, the men will call into question their deepest beliefs, from the value of their lives to the morality of their trade, as their captain searches for direction on the open sea and his first mate still seeks to bring the great whale down.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Experience the true encounter that inspired the myth Moby Dick. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and peril, brief startling violence, and thematic material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

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Release Date:

11 December 2015 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

En el corazón del mar  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$100,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,053,366, 13 December 2015, Wide Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Both Tom Holland and Edward Ashley are both in the movie The Lost City of Z as well. See more »


Thomas Nickerson was not the last survivor of the Essex as stated in the movie. Both Owen Chase and George Pollard were alive in 1850. Owen Chase died in 1869 and George Pollard n 1870. In fact, Chase wrote Narrative of the Most Extraordinary and Distressing Shipwreck of the Whaleship Essex in 1821. This book would have been available to Herman Melville for research. See more »


[first lines]
Herman Melville: [in his letter] How does one come to know the unknowable? What faculties must a man possess? Since it was discovered that whale oil could light our cities in ways never achieved before, it created global demand. It has pushed man to venture further and further into the deep blue unknown. We know not its depths, nor the host of creatures that live there. Monsters. Are they real?
[a huge whale passes]
Herman Melville: Or do the stories exist only to make us respect the sea's dark secrets?
Title Card: NANTUCKET ...
See more »


Featured in In the Heart of the Sea: Island Montage (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

Technically Proficient But Super Flat
18 December 2015 | by See all my reviews

Heart of the Sea is a mass-produced still-life painting: technically proficient but as flat as the canvas it's on. Technically, it's fine; the cinematography is interesting, the actors hit their marks, the sound is on point. But other than a few moments of nice humor and mild sea-faring thrills, the film lacks any spark. It's like director Howard and co. weren't that interested in creating an emotional, cerebral or exciting film, but more focused on simply getting the job done. The story of 19th century whaler Owen Chase (played by an oddly-accented Hemsworth), the influence for the literary classic Moby Dick, is a story worth knowing. However, the giant scale and obsession inherent in this tale is never fully conveyed, as Howard opts for computers and green screens, in lieu of the actual sea, to tell his story. So instead of a propulsive thriller or even a thoughtful psychological study, we get a generic and forgettable action/adventure, couched in boring characters. And much like the crew of the Essex itself, we are stranded in a seemingly endless sea of lackluster storytelling It also features some of the worst cinematic framing ever. Instead of just filming Moby Dick itself or just the story of real-life Owen Chase, they opt for a messy mash-up, constantly cutting away from the Essex's voyage to a recounting of the story to Melville; like bad narration taken to the nth degree. Even some marginally compelling moments showing the survival instincts of desperate people can't save this sinking ship. Watch Jaws, All is Lost, or Master and Commander if you want to take a worthwhile trip to the heart of the sea.

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