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Free Willy 3: The Rescue (1997)

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16-year-old Jesse and old friend Randolph try to foil an illegal whaler threatening Willy and his pregnant mate.

Director:

Sam Pillsbury

Writers:

Keith Walker (characters) (as Keith A. Walker), John Mattson
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2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Jason James Richter ... Jesse
August Schellenberg ... Randolph Johnson
Annie Corley ... Drew Halbert
Vincent Berry Vincent Berry ... Max Wesley
Patrick Kilpatrick ... John Wesley
Tasha Simms ... Mary Wesley
Peter LaCroix ... Sanderson (as Peter Lacroix)
Stephen E. Miller ... Dineen
Ian Tracey ... Kron
Matthew Walker ... Captain Drake
Roger Cross ... 1st Mate Stevens (as Roger R. Cross)
Rick Burgess Rick Burgess ... Smiley
Roman Danylo ... Pizza Kid
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Storyline

Willy the whale is back, this time threatened by illegal whalers making money off sushi. Jesse, now 16 years old, has taken a job on an orca-researching ship, along with old friend Randolph and a sarcastic scientist, Drew. On the whaler's ship is captain John Wesley and his 10-year-old son, Max, who isn't really pleased about his father's job, but doesn't have the gut to say so. Along the way, Willy reunites with Jesse, who helps Max realize that whales are a little more than just cheese burgers. Written by Bryan Chiu

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A new friend. A new threat. A new adventure that will capture your heart.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements involving whale hunting, and for brief mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 August 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Befri Willy 3 See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$992,651, 10 August 1997, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$3,519,178, 21 September 1997
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of two family films where Patrick Kilpstrick plays a villain. The other being 3 Ninjas Knuckle Up (1995). Coincidentally, both films are 3rd sequels. See more »

Goofs

The name of the foster father changed from Glenn (Free Willy and Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home) to Ben in this sequel. See more »

Quotes

Jesse: [Sarcastically] Thanks for all you're doing.
Captain Drake: It was nothing.
Randolph: [Sarcastically] You're not kidding.
See more »

Connections

Follows Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The best willy
27 August 2018 | by CuriosityKilledShawnSee all my reviews

This movie is quite an oddity. It's the only one in the series to not be shot in anamorphic Panavision, the only one to not have a score by Basil Poledouris, the only one to not have a Michael Jackson song (thank you!), the only one to not feature the meanest of the Reservoir Dogs, the only one to not be shot in Astoria, Oregon, the only one to make absolutely zero money at the box office, and the only one to come in at less than 90 minutes.

Oddly enough, I liked this one the best.

Jesse, now an independent adult, is working exclusively in whales now (whatever that means) and is overjoyed to find that Willy has come back again, with a now pregnant mate. But this time we actually have a real bad guy (who is given real development) in the form of Patrick Kilpatrick, he who has played the dangerous henchmen in a zillion movies from Eraser to Last Man Standing as well as being the mercenary who unwisely questioned Penn's leadership in Under Siege 2. He plays a whaler, with an adoring son and wife, who murders one of Willy's pod and sights his sights on harpooning the rest of them. "Whales were put here by God for us to hunt," he proclaims, attempting to brainwash his sceptical son.

The kid soon befriends Jesse (or is it a teenage David Hasselhoff? I can't tell) and learns what whales are really all about. Can he convince his bloodthirsty dad though? It's the best conflict in all of the movies and it has a quiet, dreamy tone that is radically different from the other two. It seems that, at this point, Warner/Regency were just letting the director do whatever he wanted, and thus Free Willy 3 feels more like a director's movie than a cash-in or something assembled by a committee.

It's mad that the first movie did such huge business, only for the better sequel to barely make back its budget, then this third entry, the best of the series, barely makes it past the impossibly low $3 million mark. I can't explain it, but this easily wins hands-down.


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