5.9/10
64,935
73 user 26 critic

Free Willy (1993)

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0:17 | Trailer
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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Popularity
1,154 ( 421)
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:

How far would you go for a friend? 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 | Mexico

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 July 1993 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Free 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

This is the only Free Willy film in which Willy is played by Keiko. An animatronic killer whale plays Willy in the sequels. See more »

Goofs

When Jesse first feeds Willy, he throws a headless fish into his tank. When Willy brings it back to him, it has a head. See more »

Quotes

Jesse: [to Willy, crying] Don't forget me, okay? I won't forget you.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The 1993 VHS release shows the variant of the Warner Bros. Family Entertainment logo where Bugs Bunny spins the banner around the WB shield before stepping to the left from under the shield for his pose while other pre-2015 printings show the variant that just shows Bugs stepping to the left for his pose starts after the WB shield is posed against the sky. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Bones: The Beaver in the Otter (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Keep on Smilin'
Written by Narada Michael Walden, Sylvester Jackson, and Sally Jo Dakota
Performed by New Kids on the Block (as NKOTB)
Courtesy of Columbia Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
5,2??? Don't believe in this rating!!! This is the best family movie of the 90-s and the sweetest one
20 April 2004 | by Juni78ukrSee all my reviews

First of all, I want to say some of my thoughts about IMDb ratings. If you look at IMDb top 250 you can hardly find any family movie . In fact, there are only three family movie (I mean live action movies not animated flicks) in this chart. They are Princess Bride on the 99 position (haven't seen yet), A Christmas Story on 142 (a movie nobody heard of besides English speaking countries) and the E.T. on the 244 (forever classic - no point denying that). And I bet you would be unable to find another one even in top 500. On the other hand you can find in this list, for example, more than eighty thrillers or more than thirty 30 war movies. Does that result means that family movies can't be good. Obviously it is not. For me the point is that many of people as well as lots of critics don't appreciate movies sweet movies without profanity, drugs, sex and violence. Cheesy movie for kids only that's not a fair grade. Well it's only my opinion but for me it's very sad when such a beautiful movie become so undeservedly underrated. Now, more directly to our movie. I watched Free Willy no less than four or five times and found it one of the best family and animal movie ever made. The bonds of friendship between man and animal are shown incredibility well here. From this point Free Willy remembered me another beautiful animal movie The Black Stallion. The unlikely friendship between twelve years old Jesse and giant whale as the main element of the story is very sweet and touching. Overall plot is well constructed (and there's no point to complain its unreality) with decent development of the main characters. Young and definitely talented Jason Jammes Richter created terrific performance of a young lonely problem boy Jesse. Also very good in the movie were August Schellenberg (as Randolph) and Michael Madsen (as Glen). As I always mentioned cinematography is pretty good, including first-rate animal action (Keiko is so cute there). The beautiful movie soundtrack written by Basil Poleuydouris a bit resembled for me terrific Carmine Coppola's score for The Black Stallion. And finally, that's maybe the most important Free Willy is a very humanistic movie, a movie that what was made with love and care about nature. Thanks to Simon Wincer for this great masterpiece. We need more movies like this, not a laughable rubbish that Hollywood studios now provide for family entertainment. I rated Free Willy 10 out of 10 as an excellent and beautiful family friendly movie. Check out also its two sequels. They are also pretty good.

Thanks for reading and sorry for my bad English.


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