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Big Miracle (2012)

PG  |   |  Biography, Drama, Romance  |  3 February 2012 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 14,647 users   Metascore: 61/100
Reviews: 64 user | 124 critic | 28 from Metacritic.com

In small town Alaska, a news reporter recruits his ex-girlfriend - a Greenpeace volunteer - on a campaign to save a family of gray whales trapped by rapidly forming ice in the Arctic Circle.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
John Pingayak ...
John Chase ...
Ishmael Angalook Hope ...
Othniel 'Anaqulutuq' Oomittuk Jr. ...
Thomas R. Daly ...
Maliaq Kairaiuak ...
Jeffrey Evan ...
Randy Eledge ...


An animal-loving volunteer and a small-town news reporter are joined by a native Alaskan boy to rally an entire community - and eventually rival world superpowers - to save a family of majestic gray whales trapped by rapidly forming ice in the Arctic Circle. Written by Universal Pictures

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

3 February 2012 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Everybody Loves Whales  »

Box Office


$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$7,760,205 (USA) (3 February 2012)


$20,113,965 (USA) (30 March 2012)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The character Governor Haskell was named Steve Cowper in real life. Kelly Meyers was really Bonnie Mersinger. See more »


Ice does not form vertical underwater walls. Ice floats. See more »


Adam Carlson: [Adam sits down across from Jill at a restaurant; looks at the menu] I usually get the breakfast burrito, which is fantastic... but the pile o' pancakes with a side of ham steak is tempting. What do you think I should get?
Jill Jerard: The name of a good cardiologist?
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the credits, on the left side are scenes from the movie characters and on the right side, archive footage of the real people. See more »


Featured in Chelsea Lately: Episode #6.20 (2012) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Strange Alliances
5 June 2012 | by (Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

It's amazing how much good can be accomplished when a group of largely self-interested people whose primary interest is self-promotion come together for a common cause. In a way, that's really the "big miracle" of this movie. The story revolves around a family of grey whales who are trapped by thick ice in Alaska and have no way to get to the open ocean. With temperatures plummeting, the only breathing hole they have is rapidly freezing over and the whales are in danger of drowning. When a local reporter makes the situation known to the outside world, saving the whales becomes a cause celebre, and brings together a very diverse group of people.

Into the mix steps a Greenpeace organizer (Drew Barrymore) - undoubtedly committed to the whales, but also aware that the issue will get a lot of good publicity for the organization, an oil executive (Ted Danson) who wants permission to drill in a wildlife reserve and figures that saving the whales will get him a lot of good publicity, the native community of Barrow, Alaska, who would really prefer to kill the whales for food, various townsfolk who use the situation to their advantage and make lots of money with ridiculously jacked up prices as outsiders fill the town, politicians (including the Governor of Alaska and President Reagan) who know there's votes in the issue, various reporters who know there's ratings in the issue, a couple of guys from Minnesota who seize the opportunity to make their new de-icing machine known and even a Soviet ice breaker called in to help who take the opportunity to soften American attitudes toward their country.

The whales (nicknamed Fred, Wilma and Bam-Bam) become the backdrop for the story of uneasy co-operation taking place around them, but they are the real lure for the viewer, even if the most interesting part of the movie is the strange alliances being formed. There's no doubt that the viewer gets drawn into the whales' plight and you root for them all the way through.

This is based on a true story that occurred in 1988. Like most "based on a true story" movies, this one takes license with the actual events. The ending of the movie is happier than what happened in real life, which is actually a mystery, as no one knows whether the two adult whales escaped after the baby died. What I really appreciated about this was that it was a marvellous family movie - enough "meat" to keep adults interested all the way through, and an animal story that will appeal to the kids and really very little anywhere that you wouldn't want your kids to watch. I thought it was very well done, and deserving of a much higher rating than it currently has, which is 5.9. (8/10)

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