7.5/10
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54 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 »

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Libby Strong
... Sarah Webber
... Mr. Maranov
... Tisha Doughty
... Joshua Brackett
... Mr. Beckwith
... Young Libby
... Young Tisha
... Young Sarah
Frank Pitkin ... Old Randall
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, it which was the family's summer getaway from Philadelphia when they were younger. There are a few people who have been half-century friends or acquaintances on the island, including the outspoken Tisha Doughty who is like a bossy third sister, and Joshua Brackett, who has long done any of the handy work around the cottage. Someone relatively new at least to Sarah's social circle is Mr. Maranov, a former Russian aristocrat for who chivalry is just a way of life. His stay on the island is however threatened when his landlady, Hilda Partridge, passes away. Sarah and Libby have come to the realization that they are in the respective twilight of their lives, largely regarding issues directly ... 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:

Language:

Release Date:

19 August 1987 (France)  »

Also Known As:

As Baleias de Agosto  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,338,198
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(flashbacks)| (TVC)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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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

After Sarah neatens Libby's dress, Libby keeps her right arm resting on her left one. In the next shot her right arm is on the chair arm. See more »

Quotes

Sarah Webber: Passion and truth: that's all we need.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Stardust: The Bette Davis Story (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Roses of Picardy
(uncredited)
Music by Haydn Wood
Lyrics by Frederick Edward Weatherly
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Quiet, contemplative little drama
10 November 2002 | by See all my reviews

This is a delightful piece set on the magnificent shores of New England's Atlantic Ocean, with an absolutely unrepeatable cast. Starring not only Bette Davis and Lilian Gish, alone worth anybody's money, well advanced into the autumn of their years, but also a very welcome Vincent Price, and a magnificent Ann Sothern together with her real daughter, Tisha Sterling.

A slow sensitive story in which each one looks back on life from differing perspectives; as usual, Bette Davis is in a dominating rôle, which, despite her advanced years, carries off quite well; Lillian Gish is just superb, lending that toned-down equanimous nature of hers which pervades the whole atmosphere of the film. And as the film develops around their house and in the garden and on the cliff-tops looking out to sea in earnest attempts to see the whales making their way south, the quiet contemplativeness of the film holds you. This is a film you will cherish and savour long afterwards. Which is why it is in my video collection since 1993 and why IMDb contributors 15 years on are still commenting on this heart-warming piece, half a dozen of them only so far this year.

So as to make a contrast, I suggest that impressive classic 'Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?' (1962), with Bette Davis playing against Joan Crawford: an intense dramatic piece.

Just a few weeks after being invited to the San Sebastián Film Festival – her last public engagement – Bette Davis died, as has Lillian Gish: unrepeatable.


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