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When the Whales Came (1989)

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 »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Fujicolor)
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Connections

Referenced in Motormouth: Episode #2.1 (1989) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Scilly islands
29 November 2005 | by jotix100See all my reviews

This charming 1989 film was shown recently on cable. Not ever having seen it, or known about it, one realizes what a shame it is not to have been show to a wider audience. "When the Whales Came" is a wonderful film that should be seen by children, as it will charm and involve them in a positive way. Director Clive Rees does a wonderful job in adapting Michael Marpago's novel, in which it's based.

The story takes place in the remote, but beautiful Scilly islands. They are inhabited by people that eke a life out of a hostile environment. Two children, Gracie and Daniel are intrigued by the mysterious man, the Birdman, who lives in a remote shack, but who sensing their curiosity, begins leaving them a few of his wood carvings. As they get to meet the man, he encourages them to follow his example. Then one day, whales beach themselves and the Birdman pleads with the children and the other folks to help him in getting these gentle giants back into the ocean where they belong.

It's a sweet story made even better by Paul Scofield, who as the Birdman makes a fabulous contribution to the film. Mr.Scofield, an actor's actor, is rarely seen on the screen and one rejoices in seeing this magnificent actor in the film. Helen Mirren is also seen as the mother of one of the children. The children, Helen Pearce and Max Rennie are delightful. Also seen in the film, David Suchet, Barbara Jefford, Jeremy Kemp and David Threlfall, among others.

An inspired film that will satisfy any audience thanks to the treatment Mr. Rees gave everything.


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