7.5/10
3,744
53 user 25 critic

The Whales of August (1987)

Not Rated | | Drama | 19 August 1987 (France)
It's August. Like they have most summers, elderly widowed sisters Libby Strong and Sarah Webber, who live in Philadelphia, are staying together in the family's summer cottage on an island ... See full summary »

Director:

Lindsay Anderson

Writers:

David Berry (screenplay), David Berry (play)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Bette Davis ... Libby Strong
Lillian Gish ... Sarah Webber
Vincent Price ... Mr. Maranov
Ann Sothern ... Tisha Doughty
Harry Carey Jr. ... Joshua Brackett
Frank Grimes ... Mr. Beckwith
Margaret Ladd ... Young Libby
Tisha Sterling ... Young Tisha
Mary Steenburgen ... Young Sarah
Frank Pitkin Frank Pitkin ... Old Randall
Mike Bush Mike Bush ... Young Randall
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Storyline

It's August. Like they have most summers, elderly widowed sisters Libby Strong and Sarah Webber, who live in Philadelphia, are staying together in the family's summer cottage on an island off the coast of Maine. The cottage, which now belongs to Sarah, has been in their family most of their lives, was the family's summer getaway from Philadelphia when they were younger. There are a few people who have been friends or acquaintances on the island, including the outspoken Tisha Dought, and Joshua Brackett. Someone new at least to Sarah's social circle is Mr. Maranov, a former Russian aristocrat. His stay on the island is threatened when his landlady, Hilda Partridge, passes away. Sarah and Libby have come to the realization they are in the respective twilight of their lives, Sarah, who still keeps busy and wants to savor life's pleasures, acts as now sightless, cantankerous and bitter Libby's caregiver. Sarah knows she can no longer take care of Libby. As such, Sarah has to make ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Screen's Immortals... A movie you'll never forget. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 August 1987 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

As Baleias de Agosto See more »

Filming Locations:

Maine, USA See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,338,198
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Nelson Entertainment See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Black and White (flashbacks)| Color (TVC)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Producer Mike Kaplan once said of this film: "I thought the success of On Golden Pond (1981) would have made it easier to raise the money for The Whales of August (1987)". See more »

Goofs

When Sarah and Mr. Maranov go onto the porch to look at the moon, there is a yellow, moon-like orb in the sky behind him, although the moon, judging from the light, is in front of them. Moreover, the sky behind Mr. Maranov is pitch black while the sky off the ocean is light. See more »

Quotes

Libby Strong: What are you doing?
Sarah Webber: I'm dusting.
Libby Strong: Busy, busy, busy. Always busy. I wish we were in my house in Philadelphia.
Sarah Webber: Oh, but it's so hot in Philadelphia now.
Libby Strong: I like the heat. It keeps you from being so busy.
Sarah Webber: Well, dear, this is Maine... and this is my house... and somebody has to keep it tidy.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 60th Annual Academy Awards (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Roses of Picardy
(uncredited)
Music by Haydn Wood
Lyrics by Frederick Edward Weatherly
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Wonderful film that will stand the test of time
6 November 2002 | by funkyfrySee all my reviews

Elegantly tasteful inter-personal story about 2 elderly sisters -- played by Gish and Davis, the all-time queens of the screen -- who are haunted by the past and unsure of the future. One sister, the elder (Davis) is literally blind -- an attribute she claims is intentional: "I'm working on my ears, now." Gish suffers her changing emotions and bitter appraisal of life only so far -- she wants to have a future, even if it is a frightening, uncertain one. Price is also excellent as a Russian nobleman: "a race extinct." They're all "Whales of August", sometimes as if already dead, always living on hope.

Beautiful movie.


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