7.3/10
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56 user 29 critic

The Whales of August (1987)

Not Rated | | Drama | 19 August 1987 (France)
Two aged sisters reflect on life and the past during a late summer day in Maine.

Director:

Lindsay Anderson

Writers:

David Berry (screenplay), David Berry (play)
Reviews

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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 »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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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

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$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

This motion picture apparently ran in the cinema for about a whole year in Tokyo, Japan during its original theatrical run. See more »

Goofs

When Joshua passes by Libby to enter in the house, Libby is sitting with a window behind on her right-hand side. In the shot from inside, Libby appears with the window in her back, a little more to her left side. Later, when Sarah and Tisha come back from the sea side, there is no window behind Libby at all. See more »

Quotes

Sarah Webber: It must take great courage to go on alone.
Mr. Maranov: No, not courage, my dear, nothing so heroic as that. Merely a considerable investment of will.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Is That All There Is? (1992) 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

Small and quiet
27 November 2000 | by Boyo-2See all my reviews

This movie is very slight and quiet and beautiful. There is some of the best cinematography you've ever seen, as the Maine coastline is used to full advantage and you can smell the sea breezes. In a movie like this, you appreciate it even more, because the characters keep talking about what a beautiful day it is, and you get to see what they mean.

As a previous comment mentions, the actors in this movie have hundreds of years of screen time between them, so you know you are in good hands. Lillian Gish is still one of the great beauties of the movies; even at this late age, she was still glowing. Bette Davis had already suffered a stroke so she looks very frail and thin. Last time she had an on-screen sister, Joan Crawford in "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane"?, they quarreled also, though obviously in a different way. Lillian and Bette get on each others nerves the way family members tend to do without even trying very hard.

Ann Sothern and Vincent Price make impressions in smaller parts and Sothern deserved her nomination, though Gish should have gotten one, too, and that would have been a fitting tribute to one of the pioneers of cinema.


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