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In the Heart of the Sea (2015)

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A recounting of a New England whaling ship's sinking by a giant whale in 1820, an experience that later inspired the great novel Moby-Dick.


Ron Howard


Charles Leavitt (screenplay), Charles Leavitt (story) | 3 more credits »
1,730 ( 266)
1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Chris Hemsworth ... Owen Chase
Benjamin Walker ... George Pollard
Cillian Murphy ... Matthew Joy
Brendan Gleeson ... Tom Nickerson
Ben Whishaw ... Herman Melville
Michelle Fairley ... Mrs. Nickerson
Tom Holland ... Thomas Nickerson
Paul Anderson ... Caleb Chappel
Frank Dillane ... Henry Coffin
Joseph Mawle ... Benjamin Lawrence
Edward Ashley ... Barzillai Ray
Sam Keeley ... Ramsdell
Osy Ikhile ... Richard Peterson
Gary Beadle ... William Bond
Jamie Sives ... Cole


In the winter of 1820, the New England whaling ship Essex was assaulted by something no one could believe: a whale of mammoth size and will, and an almost human sense of vengeance. The real-life maritime disaster would inspire Herman Melville's Moby-Dick. But that told only half the story. "In the Heart of the Sea" reveals the encounter's harrowing aftermath, as the ship's surviving crew is pushed to their limits and forced to do the unthinkable to stay alive. Braving storms, starvation, panic and despair, the men will call into question their deepest beliefs, from the value of their lives to the morality of their trade, as their captain searches for direction on the open sea and his first mate still seeks to bring the great whale down.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


From the director of Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of action and peril, brief startling violence, and thematic material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »


USA | Australia | Spain



Release Date:

11 December 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

En el corazón del mar See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK See more »


Box Office


$100,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,053,366, 13 December 2015, Wide Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The young Coffin was a member of one of Nantucket's founding families, and a cousin to George Pollard. See more »


While the film depicts Owen Chase as older and more experienced than Captain George Pollard, Pollard was in fact older, being 29 when Essex sailed to Chase's 23. While Essex was Pollard's first captaincy, he had actually been serving as an officer aboard her for eight years of highly successful and lucrative whaling voyages. The tension between the two men was significantly played up for the film. See more »


[first lines]
Herman Melville: [in his letter] How does one come to know the unknowable? What faculties must a man possess? Since it was discovered that whale oil could light our cities in ways never achieved before, it created global demand. It has pushed man to venture further and further into the deep blue unknown. We know not its depths, nor the host of creatures that live there. Monsters. Are they real?
[a huge whale passes]
Herman Melville: Or do the stories exist only to make us respect the sea's dark secrets?
Title Card: NANTUCKET ...
See more »


Featured in Ron Howard: Captain's Log (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

A perfect blend of drama & adventure.
14 December 2015 | by Anurag-ShettySee all my reviews

In the Heart of the Sea tells the true story of the Essex, a whaling ship. In 1820, while first mate Owen Chase(Chris Hemsworth), captain George Pollard(Benjamin Walker) & the rest of the crew were searching for whales in the middle of the ocean, they encounter a gigantic sperm whale. This gigantic whale causes the Essex to sink. Now, it is up to Owen Chase & the rest of his crew to somehow survive the harsh conditions at sea. They will also have to be alert for the return of the whale. The true story of this movie, inspired Herman Melville's(Ben Whishaw) famous novel, Moby Dick.

In the Heart of the Sea is a spectacular film. The CGI is perfect & the whales in the movie look extremely realistic & intimidating. The 3D works really well in all the scenes involving the whales & the chaos & destruction set pieces. However, it is unnecessary for the emotional scenes of the movie. Director Ron Howard perfectly captures the suffering of all the crew members of the Essex. He makes sure that the movie is not just about the special effects & adventure but, also adds dramatic set pieces. One flaw of the movie is the lack of character development. Despite everything they go through, you don't genuinely care about the fate of all the characters in the movie. You only care about, Chris Hemsworth's character, Tom Holland's character, Cillian Murphy's character & to a certain extent, Benjamin Walker's character. At the end of the day, this is not a major flaw because, you can't give each & every character a detailed back-story. This would have unnecessarily elongated the duration of the movie. Chris Hemsworth has given the best performance of his career, as Owen Chase. Hemsworth's dramatic weight loss for the film, shows the dedication & hard work he has put in for his role. Benjamin Walker is great as George Pollard. Cillian Murphy is brilliant as Matthew Joy. Brendan Gleeson is good as Tom Nickerson. Ben Whishaw is wonderful as Herman Melville. Tom Holland is outstanding as Thomas Nickerson. Frank Dillane is superb as Owen Coffin. The supporting characters are impressive too. In the Heart of the Sea is a must watch. Go for it!

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