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The Whale (2013)

A whaling ship called called the Essex becomes shipwrecked and those on board struggle for survival.


Alrick Riley


Terry Cafolla


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Credited cast:
Charles Furness Charles Furness ... Young Tom Nickerson
Jolyon Coy Jolyon Coy ... Lawrence
Jassa Ahluwalia ... Owen Coffin
David Gyasi ... Peterson
John Boyega ... Bond
Ferdinand Kingsley ... Hendricks
Paul Kaye ... Joy
Chris Starkie Chris Starkie ... Watson
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
André Agius André Agius ... Essex Crew (as Andre Agius)
Jonas Armstrong ... Owen Chase
Joe Azzopardi ... Essex Crew
Macram Borg Macram Borg ... Essex Crew
Stephen Buhagiar Stephen Buhagiar ... Essex Crew
Jimi Busuttil Jimi Busuttil ... Essex Crew
Graham Charles Graham Charles ... Essex Crew


Elderly Tom Nickerson recalls how, in 1819, he went to sea as cabin boy on the whaler 'The Essex', leaving Nantucket. Its recently promoted captain George Pollard is a kindly man, unlike first mate Owen Chase and Tom notes their mutual animosity though, inspired by tales from his grandfather, envisages life at sea as romantic. A storm and a food shortage puncture his illusions but spirits are raised when a whale is sighted and caught. However some two months later another whale attacks and sinks the ship - in what Tom believes to be an act of revenge - and the crew take to the long-boats. Chase overrules Pollard in deciding that, rather than risk cannibals on the nearby Society Islands, they make the gruelling 2,000 mile journey to Peru. Ninety days later only five of the crew are rescued, the others either dead or never found. An end-title relates what happened to Tom, Pollard and Chase in later life. Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

boy | wager | hazing | rescue | fall | See All (9) »


Adventure | Drama







Release Date:

26 November 2014 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Whale: Revenge from the Deep See more »

Filming Locations:

Malta See more »


Box Office


£2,213,684 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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Did You Know?


The crew are adrift for 89 days yet nobody's hair or beards grow. See more »


Version of In the Heart of the Sea (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

Predictable, family-friendly BBC fare
2 March 2015 | by Leofwine_dracaSee all my reviews

THE WHALE is a mid-range budget BBC film detailing the sinking of the Essex by a vengeful whale, a story that was memorably made into a novel, MOBY DICK, by Herman Melville. A new big-budget Hollywood production starring Chris Hemsworth is being made of the story, and I hope they do a better job than they did here. It's not that THE WHALE is bad per se, it's just very ordinary, very indifferent, and very predictable.

The problem is that this is strictly family fare and it can't hold a match to bigger, better, shipwreck productions like LIFE OF PI. The storyline is tells is rather predictable and the scriptwriter fails to bring much in the way or gravitas or drama to the situation. Too much of the arguing between the captain and the first mate is simply repetitive.

In a bid to draw in viewers, the BBC have assembled a mildly impressive cast, headlined by Martin Sheen who narrates the story in his dotage. Unfortunately the leads Charles Furness and Adam Rayner simply don't have the acting chops for this material, while Robin Hood himself, Jonas Armstrong, is one-dimensional. John Boyega and Paul Kaye are much better, but hidden way down the cast list. Add in some very lackluste CGI whale effects and you have a middling TV movie at best.

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