6.2/10
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13 user 5 critic

When the Whales Came (1989)

PG | | Drama | 20 October 1989 (USA)
A pair of children befriend an accentric old man, who lives isolated on the far shore of their island home. But it turns out that the old man knows a terrible secret about the island and ... See full summary »

Director:

Clive Rees

Writers:

Michael Morpurgo (novel), Michael Morpurgo (screenplay)
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3 wins. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Scofield ... The Birdman
David Threlfall ... Jack Jenkins
Helen Mirren ... Clemmie Jenkins
Helen Pearce Helen Pearce ... Gracie Jenkins
Max Rennie Max Rennie ... Daniel Pender
Jeremy Kemp ... Mr. Wellbeloved
John Hallam ... Treve Pender
Barbara Ewing Barbara Ewing ... Mary Pender
Dexter Fletcher ... Big Tim
Nicholas Jones ... Vicar
Joanna Bartholemew Joanna Bartholemew ... Miss Tregarthen
Barbara Jefford ... Auntie Mildred
Irene Wilson Irene Wilson ... Molly Woodcock
Fergus Rees Fergus Rees ... The Birdman as a Boy
Kerra Spowart Kerra Spowart ... Margaret Pender
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Storyline

A pair of children befriend an accentric old man, who lives isolated on the far shore of their island home. But it turns out that the old man knows a terrible secret about the island and the narwhales who sometimes come. Meanwhile WWI is making life hard in the village. Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

island | girl | boy | redemption | curse | See All (18) »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 October 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cuando vuelvan las ballenas See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$37,030, 22 October 1989

Gross USA:

$73,131

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$73,131
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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User Reviews

 
A Thoughtful Film About Social and Moral Conscience
19 January 2019 | by lom83See all my reviews

I found this film a decent watch. The pace is a little slow in parts and towards the end, it has a darker tone to it and becomes somewhat thought provoking, due to what comes to light. It made me think about the consequences of things that people end up involved in - there's definitely a strong element of social morality and conscience. There's an allegorical side to it, with the film set on a seemingly somewhat idyllic island, when there are some less than lovely things going on. Nothing awful - just a bit grim and we learn about peoples recollections of history and the like. I liked that it had, ultimately, a sense of optimism - something we could do with more of, frankly.

From a film perspective, I enjoyed seeing Helen Mirren in a film from the late 80s (which this is). I hadn't seen her in many roles from over 2 decades ago - thats why I decided to watch this film. The music isn't too 'in your face' I'd say, its perhaps a little over sentimentalised maybe, but only just - it certainly didn't put me off the film to any large extent. It also pushes home the optimistic elements of the story, which was nice. Overall I'd say its worth a watch.


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