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Free Willy (1993)

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When a boy learns that a beloved killer whale is to be killed by the aquarium owners, the boy risks everything to free the whale.

Director:

Simon Wincer

Writers:

Keith Walker (story) (as Keith A. Walker), Keith Walker (screenplay) (as Keith A. Walker) | 1 more credit »
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4,544 ( 56)
7 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jason James Richter ... Jesse
Lori Petty ... Rae Lindley
Jayne Atkinson ... Annie Greenwood
August Schellenberg ... Randolph Johnson
Michael Madsen ... Glen Greenwood
Michael Ironside ... Dial
Richard Riehle ... Wade
Mykelti Williamson ... Dwight Mercer
Michael Bacall ... Perry
Danielle Harris ... Gwenie
Isaiah Malone Isaiah Malone ... Vector
Betsy Toll Betsy Toll ... Passerby #1
Rob Sample Rob Sample ... Passerby #2
Merrilyn Jones Merrilyn Jones ... Passerby #3
Mickey Gaines Mickey Gaines ... Waiter
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Storyline

Fishermen separate a young orca whale (Willy) from his parents and he ends up in a fish bowl at a marina. Meanwhile, a street kid runs afoul of the law and gets caught vandalising the marina, but his social worker gets him off the hook (so to speak) provided he cleans up his mess at the marina. While there, he befriends the whale and teaches him tricks, something the trainer hasn't been able to do. But when Willy is a dud in front of the audience, the marina owner plans some bad things, and the boy and his friends must try to (*** MAJOR SPOILERS ***) free Willy. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A 12 year old street kid. A 3 ton orca whale. A friendship you could never imagine. An adventure you'll never forget. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | France

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 July 1993 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Liberen a Willy See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,868,829, 18 July 1993

Gross USA:

$77,698,625

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$153,698,625
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jason James Richter's film debut. See more »

Goofs

(at around 1h 18 mins) When Randolph and Jesse are looking at the leaking tank for the first time, Randolph says "It's part of the tank", his lips do not move. See more »

Quotes

Jesse: I love you, Willy.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Troldspejlet: Dennis Jürgensen (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

How Can You Leave Me Now
Written by Paul Frazier
Performed by Funky Poets
Courtesy of Epic Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Hats off to the Donners!
6 July 1999 | by Dan GrantSee all my reviews

If a movies greatness is measured by its cinematography and its direction and its deep characters and its thought provoking script and its revolutionary special effects, then Free Willy is not the next Citizen Kane. But if you can appreciate films that have something important to say and something that it wants people to open their eyes to, then Free Willy is just as important and gripping as anything from Gandhi to Platoon, Mississippi Burning to Boyz and the Hood and JFK to Dancing With Wolves. And that is the truth. The problem with films like this is that it is viewed in the same light as movies like Gorillas In The Mist and Instinct. And that is they are bleeding hearted fluff. They ask you to "feel" for animals. It asks you to realize that we are bad people and that we should change the system from within. The only problem with that last statement is that it is said while people are rolling their eyes and using a sarcastic tone. But if we can look at films like Schindler's List and Cry Freedom, films that examine the atrocities perpetrated towards humans, see them for the genius that they are, why can we not take a film that has something to say about the abominable treatment of animals more seriously. After all, as Shylock once said, "Does a Jew not bleed?" Does an animal?

We are so desensitized towards cruelty to animals that we are practically oblivious to their plight. When we hear of a stray dog that shows up at the humane society with internal bleeding and a missing eye, we say that it's terrible and then we turn away and forget about it until the next ones shows up. When we go to water parks and see captive whales performing tricks we laugh and cheer and go back to our freedom and think nothing of the life that was destroyed when that beautiful beast was taken from its habitat. If anything, this movie shows us that we should not imprison these or any wild animals, and it does it so well that if you have any ounce of compassion in you, it will affect you. This film is not just for 10 year olds, it is a film that should be viewed by everyone that takes their freedom for granted. Because if all of a sudden one day we were put in prison for no reason, then and only then would we truly understand what animals go through.

Perhaps you think this review is not really about a movie and all I am doing is expressing my political beliefs, and that may be true, but if someone doesn't say something about this, then what good is our right of freedom of speech.

The film itself is about a parentless boy that ends up in foster care. There he ends up working at a Sea World type place where he meets a newly captured whale. He then takes it upon himself to free the whale knowing that the whale is going to be killed for insurance purposes.

As I said though, I believe this is an important story and if you disagree, think about the film " A Time To Kill ". Matthew McConnauhey ( wrong spelling, I know ) gives his speech at the end about the heinous crimes that were committed against the little black girl. He asks the all white jury to close their eyes as he tells the story. At the end of his graphic description he tells them to imagine she was white. It won him the case. Now do the same thing in regards to stories like Free Willy. Close your eyes and picture a whale held in a cell just big enough to move in. This whale is fed every once in a while and he is taught to do tricks so that people can laugh and cheer. He is separated from his family and his friends and his natural surroundings. He can hear them crying for him to come home at night. He has done nothing wrong, committed no crime and he just wants to go home. But he is kept against his will, for our entertainment.

Now picture what I am describing to you isn't a whale. Picture "it" as being human.

I applaud Richard and Laura Donner for making this film and I certainly hope people can see this and change their thinking about things. It is a powerful film. And it is one that should be taken more seriously.


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