Free Willy (1993) Poster


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5,2??? Don't believe in this rating!!! This is the best family movie of the 90-s and the sweetest one
Juni78ukr20 April 2004
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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Underrated movie of a charming childhood adventure
Andreas_N5 November 2005
Oh, this one is underrated here. The story of Jason James Richter's character trying to escape from a life of crime and missing prospects is way beyond the average. The growing affection for Willy is not even stereotyped or clichéd. It's a genuine bond that focuses on two outcast characters who slowly but surely come to experience true friendship and the value of trust. Jason's performance really appealed to me when I saw this movie as a kid. It is a sincere depiction of friendship, of a way out, of fighting for your values against all odds and of never giving up. Right, I'm grown up now, but this is one of the movies of my childhood I'd like to watch again, and I'm sure I'd enjoy it almost as much as back then. Jason James had very few acting appearances, but the Free Willy series assured him his place in movie history. His entire performance in here is sincere and straight, he doesn't laugh nor smile if it wasn't just natural in the specific sequences. His facial expressions and body language fit into the total frame as well. The story has some profoundly human themes to it. I can't help it, I think this one is both entertaining and deep, dealing with emotions and prospects of life, with integrity and courage in the face of danger.
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Sweet, meaningful movie
hansololover31 January 2005
It might not be the Shawshank Redemption or an equally provocative and important movie. But it's touching. As a child it was my favorite movie and I'd watch it every day for a period of about 3 months. It made me cry, but it meant a lot to me. It might have it's corny moments, but kids like it, and my parents liked it too. Compared to a lot of the movies kids force their parents to watch, this one isn't so bad.

It's really sweet, and it puts out a good message. It allows you to feel and care about things that go on it the world. I dug this out today and watched it again and it was still pretty magical to me, although I'm much older now. I don't see why this is rated a 5.2. I guess I wouldn't tell every adult to go out and watch it, but if you have kids, or just love animals, then give this a shot. It's a good film.
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Hats off to the Donners!
baumer6 July 1999
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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A heart warming film that touches your soul.
luie1 October 2005
Its a real family movie with lots of love. This film is a great way for kids to learn about Whales, family and friendship. Its one not to be missed, its makes you feel all warm in side. It made me cry back when I was 5 and it still does today. This Film will always be in our hearts. If you have kids this is the one to show them, they will laugh, cry and learn to love the adorable killer Whale Willy which a lot of us have done. This film has taught us a lot about captivity and the need of freedom. There should be more films like this. If you are in need of a friend there will always be on in animals and this film has shown us so with Jesse and Willy. This film will continue to touch many hearts of the world.
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Whale-shaped place in my heart
staceyvz8 March 2008
5.2 is shameful. I loved this movie. It has all of the elements of a great film; compelling characters, plot, and an end lesson. I think that most family movies these days lack a lot of moral posturing that made films like this one so memorable. I know that I wanted to "Save the Whales" after I saw this movie. Heck, I wanted to be a whale. I don't care how many stars it got, this movie is a childhood treasure for me and I think of it every time I hear the Michael Jackson song, "Will You Be There?" I wish that my younger siblings remembered this movie or the amount of joy it brought us slightly older kids in my family. The sequel certainly left something to be desired, but not the original. Yep, it will hold a special whale-shaped place in my heart.
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Glorious Motion Picture; exciting, thrilling, and safe for the entire family!
twisterchaser33 June 2005
I absolutely adore Free Willy. It ranks well above any movie about whales or dolphins, even Flipper. Free Willy provides an exciting story about a troubled boy who befriends an orca whose situation is much like his own. And of course, we all love the star of the show, Keiko! Keiko had a life filled with traveling from one theme park to the other, and in a lot of ways he experienced much more that Willy did. Keiko played the part of the whale terrifically! James did a great job too acting as Jesse, and gave the perfect image of a young boy who has lived on the streets. Some people call it the best friendship movie since ET. This movie rocks over ET!, and shows us the true meaning of friendship. We all should learn that caring for another person or animal goes a long way.
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Very touching movie about a special friendship for all ages that will warm your heart
Catherine_Grace_Zeh20 December 2005
FREE WILLY, in my opinion, is a very touching movie about a special friendship for all ages that will warm your heart. I really loved the tricks that Willy did. If I could have, I would have helped him get to safety myself. The only problem is how I would get him to safety, since I can't drive. The score was good, the costumes were perfectly designed, everyone was cast perfectly, and the direction was flawless. In conclusion, I highly recommend this very touching movie about a special friendship for all ages to anyone who hasn't seen it. You're in for a real treat and a good time, so go to the video store, rent it or buy it, kick back with someone close to you, and watch it. I guarantee you you'll thoroughly enjoy it.
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Great story. Excellent movie.
Kim-44521 January 2006
I just love it when there is a story that has two negative forces coming together, and somehow, magically healing each other. Jesse, roughened from his abandonment and time on the streets, and Willy, kidnapped and separated from his family are the duo. It is a great story, and a wonderful film.

It is so rare, that of all the movies and books and media that I have consumed in my 25 years of life, I can only think of one other story that has this same type of magical quality (The Secret Garden). This movie is also great for environmental reasons, and as an avid watcher of Captain Planet, I fell in love with this movie when I was a child.

As an adult, I have an annual pass to Seaworld, and I love killer whales. They are so intelligent, and extremely beautiful. Willy is no exception. Free Willy!
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Save Willy
Orangeorange200321 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I wanted to see this film because of my love of Orcas. I was not disappointed. This film will make you think of what it would be like to have the bestest friend you could ever have. The film brings together Jesse,a 12 year old boy and Willy,a killer whale. Jesse having painted graffiti in the sea park where Willy is. Is told he has to clean it all off. It is doing this that he is introduced to Willy. The pair start to bond and Jesse starts to train with Willy for a show to get him a bigger tank. On night after he ran away,Jesse sees a light coming from the other side of Willy tank. He goes and has a look. The park owner wants to kill Willy. So this sets Jesse of.He wants to save his best friend,and he will do whatever he can. Well Willy............. I cant tell you that would spoil it. But if you want a feel good film,that makes you feel good inside this is it. But I will warn you,i'm 24 now and still whenever I watch it,I get teary.
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rossrobinson3 July 2004
i love free willy to bits, it is a fantastic , and to me the most touching childrens movie ever, a friendship with a 12 year old boy and a whale. The movie sets out with a 12 year old kid out with his mates and doing naughty things, the young boy named Jesse is arrested as he caused vandalism in the sea life center and putting grafiti on the glass windows where the while can be viewed from. Jesse is soon fostered by a couple who get on very well with him. Jesse gets back to his tricks and is told that he has to do a job at the sealife center as part of his punishment, he meets the whale again and becomes a friend to the whale, jesse then decides if he could teach and work with the whale, things start to get odd when the bad guys come in. As weeks go by, there is danger at the sealife centre, water is leaking from the window view and is getting less with water in the tank with the whale. Jesse starts to panic and asks Randolph (Owner of the sealife centre) and the foster parents for their help. The bad guys hear about this and goes after jesse and the whale, it all ends when the whale is free and is told to go far away as possible and be a free whale, the whale jumps over the rocks and is back with it's family. I give free willy 10 out of 10.
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Even though I'm probably too old for it now, it's still a favrioute
BurgerTrippin25 September 2002
I remember first seeing this for the first time in the cinema back in 1995 when it was first released. I thought it was a really cool film and bought it, nearly 10 years later and I still think it's a good film. It just shows us the pain and suffering animals can go through in captivity and how unhappy they can get. The story is farfetched in some places, but I really like the shots throughout the movie of both the model whales and the real whales out in the ocean. 9/10
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A Touching Movie
kalnganmarvin19 March 2018
I watched this movie before, I'm not sure if during the 90's or early 2000's. It's good. It is very touching. This movie is not just for kids but for the family as a whole. The true meaning of friendship can be seen. We must love animals because they are our friends. Today is year 2018 and I am still watching this movie.


Sorry for my bad english
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I'm having a whale of a time with Free Willy. It's a semi-good family movie
ironhorse_iv11 June 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Whale! Whale! Whale! What do we have here? It's Free Willy and I love blubbering about Free Willy. It's a whale of a tail. It's one of my favorite nostalgia, early 1990s kid films. Directed by Simon Wincer, Free Willy tells the story of a delinquent boy, Jesse (Jason James Richter) who become friends with a captive killer whale, Willy (Keiko). Seeing that Willy was upset due to the absence of his family and the fact, that Willy didn't like his small living conditions; Jesse set up a plan to kidnap Willy, and tries to set him free in the wild. Can Jesse and Willy escape from the cruel owners of aquarium or will Willy end up, being fish food? Watch the movie to find out! Without spoiling the movie, too much; I found the movie to be a bit predictable. After all, the title of the movie, kinda gives it, away. It's not like the movie posters, DVD covers, and trailers, pretty much spoils the outrageous end of the movie, as well. The film's ending has been spoofed several times in popular culture, due to how over the top, it was. It was a bit unrealistic. The movie also suffers from overused clichés. I really didn't like the sub-plot of Jesse's handling of his new foster parents. It seem a bit forced and underdevelopment. I really didn't buy into the whole surviving on his own, as a runaway bit. Around thing that was hard to believe, was the chemistry between the whale and the main actor. It was too similar to previous movies of a child bonding with a wild animal like 1966's Namu. I really found the whole idea of Willy connecting with the child, a little impractical. For a creature that been left alone in a small dark tanks for hours, I would have, thought the orca would be a little more aggressed and bite Jesse's head off or try to drown him. It's seem a bit, off. After all, they are killer whales! I guess, Keiko was just that well-trained. While, the film does make a good persuasive case against keeping these creatures in captivity for the purposes of human entertainment by highlighting incidents that Willy has. The movie is a little one-sided argument about whales being in captivity. I find it a tad odd that this movie is basically condemning the very thing it is exploiting which is using captive wild animals for entertainment purposes. The movie also fails to tells how important, some aquariums are, for sick killer whales. Now, every aquarium seem a bit evil. Like the 2013's documentary, Blackfish; viewers of this movie, might not understand, that some places, like SeaWorld honestly, tries hard to keep whales, healthy, enough to return to the wild. Still, when this movie did came out, I was one of those, who really believe that the whale that play Willy should have been free. At least the filmmakers followed their own preaching, and campaigned for the freeing of Keiko, the actual killer whale who stands in for an animatronic Willy in many scenes. The plan for Keiko to return to the wild was a topic of much controversy at the time. Some critics felt that a return to the wild, was somewhat impossible, because of the years of him being in captivity. They were somewhat right, most of the attempts of him going back into the wild were mostly unsuccessful, due to the fact, that he often return, seeking contact with human beings and allowing children to ride on his back. He was so dependent on humans that he really couldn't connection with other whales. In 2003, Keiko sadly die in one last attempt in the wild at the young age of 26 due to Pneumonia. He will be miss. Despite, him, not living long in the wild, I still came out from this movie learning more than I came into the film. I love the fact that this movie help spark the Save the Whales Foundation into a success organization. I love the fact that this movie had singer Michael Jackson produced and performed "Will You Be There", as one of the theme songs for the film, which can be heard during the film's credits. The song won the MTV Movie Award for "Best Song in a Movie" in 1994. It was also included in Michael Jackson's Dangerous album. It's one of his best songs, ever. It really help the save the whales program. The main theme by Basil Poledouris was also amazing and majestic. Even the harmonica music that Jesse plays, wasn't that bad. While, the music was good. The acting, not so much. While, some of the characters strongly express of human emotion like James Jason Richter who work well, on-screen with Keiko. Others were kinda one dimensional. The worst, had to be the over the top money hungry, villain played by Michael Ironsides. He was really hammy. The movie made great use of stock footage of whales. It was really nice, seeing them, in their natural habitat. The movie was followed by three sequels 1995's Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home, 1997's Free Willy 3: The Rescue, and 2010's Free Willy: Escape from Pirate's Cove, and a short-lived animated television series. I don't recommended watching the sequels, but I do want you to check out 2010's Keiko: The Untold story. It's a documentary film about Keiko that is worth seeing. Overall: Despite its cheesy nature, Free Willy is great movie for fans of Marine life. I really enjoy this film.
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i expected something more,but young kids will probably like it
disdressed1215 November 2007
i kinda expected something else.what,i'm not sure.i mean the movie is well made and all,but i found it dangerously close to being boring at is pretty slow.the scenes with the whale(s)were nice though.and the there are some pretty touching moments.i didn't find the movie had a lot of realism to it though.the way some of the things happened just didn't ring true.but,i guess the biggest problem i had was there wasn't really much sense of adventure,and the movie isn't really fun.however,if you are looking for a movie the whole family can watch,this might be it.most kids will probably be entertained,and adults will be happy there is something their kids can watch.but for me,Free Willy is a 4/10.
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The 10th anniversary
johnng4526 August 2005
It's a good movie. I love Animals. this is a good movie bout a killer whale was caught by bad businessman and it's for sale on the show biz reluctantly.After it made friend with a boy. The boy could understand how the feeling of losing family. He rejected the new love of his adopted parents but he learnt how to accept the new love and hope from his new home and family after saving his best friend Willy the killer whale. Basil Poledouris composed the heartwarming and touching score for the movie. Robbie Greenberg shot the wonderful secenery and caught the beauty of Willy. They are very professional.I don't understand why people do not like this movie. It is a good and very underrated movie for the whole family. It certainly much better than some sex and violent movies. I love this movie very much !
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a snore-fest filled with clichés and an unlikable lead
MartinHafer16 August 2005
I really disliked this movie. No, it wasn't really because of all the animal abuse involved (the REAL Willy was not released at the end but returned to captivity--had he read the script, he wouldn't have gotten his hopes up). Instead, it was because of a fundamental flaw--I simply HATED the kid who was Willy's friend. This little sociopath was supposedly "fixed" by his tender friendship with a whale?! Gimme a break--in real-life, I would have expected the kid to poison the whale and sell it by the pound on the black market! And this kid is a big jerk throughout much of the movie BUT we are supposed to listen to HIM when he tells us he cares? I didn't want Willy to jump OVER the kid at the end of the movie, but land ON him--thus doing everyone a favor!

The bottom line is that the film is very predictable, difficult to believe and has contempt for the intelligence of the audience. For a MUCH better kids' movie about Orcas, see the New Zealand film, WHALE RIDER.
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Impossible, but very good
lord24807 September 2004
First, of all it is impossible for a 12-year old kid to have a friendship with a killer whale. However, it is pure magic. A 12-year street kid Jesse(Jason James Richter) ends up getting arrested for spraying graffiti all over a northwest aquatic park. He ends up having the responsibility to clean up. Meanwhile, he lives with a foster care family, the Greenwoods(Micheal Madsen and Jayne Atkinson) until Dwight(Mykelti T. Williamson)can find his mother. But, he ends meet a pal by the name of Willy. He's a killer whale. He's a beautiful animal and well tamed, but he is very, very sick, needs his family and wants to go back out into the ocean. The emotion in this movie is touching.

Being a 24 year old, I had a ball.
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A successful family movie from the early 90's, but one which has left me cold
Electrified_Voltage27 June 2009
This renowned PG-rated family flick was released when I was around seven years old. I didn't see it in the theatre, but I don't think it was too long afterwards when I saw some of it in the VHS format. I don't recall ever seeing the whole thing during my childhood, though I did see the first of the two sequels, "Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home", from start to finish one time. When I rented the original "Free Willy" just yesterday, I could only remember a little bit of it from what I saw back in the 90's. After all these years, I've finally seen the entire film. However, as much as a fair number of other people seem to like it, I definitely didn't find it as entertaining and touching as many have made it out to be, which didn't surprise me after seeing its mediocre rating here first.

Jesse is a troubled 12 year old boy who was abandoned by his mother years ago. One night, while getting into mischief with a group of friends, he is caught by the police after vandalizing an aquatic park. His social worker, Dwight Mercer, manages to get him off the hook, provided he cleans up the mess he has made at the park. As Jesse works at the park, he looks in the tank and sees an orca whale named Willy, who was sadly separated from his family in the ocean recently and brought here. The 12 year old boy befriends this whale, and manages to teach him tricks, which nobody else has succeeded in doing. However, it turns out that Willy won't do these tricks in front of a big audience, with kids banging on the tank windows. Dial, the park owner, has an evil plan, and the homesick orca whale's life is in danger!

The beginning of the film, showing whales in the ocean, may not be that bad at first, but it's a little too long. After the capture, we are introduced to Jesse, played by Jason James Richter, and it doesn't exactly improve here, which leads me to another slight problem I have with this movie. This problem is the characters. This includes the main kid. At the beginning, he's one rotten little brat, but I guess that can easily happen with the kind of childhood he's had. Yes, much of the film is supposed to be extremely touching, and clearly is to some people, but to me, it just seemed a little too phony. The story may have some occasional mildly touching moments, but they are very brief. There may be a bit of excitement as well, but in the end, despite the fact that I wasn't completely bored throughout, I was still left with indifference. Nothing too overwhelming.

I know this is a film about saving whales, and I assure you, I do not approve of the captivity of marine animals. They're meant to live in the ocean, not chlorinated tanks. Still, this movie just didn't quite do it for me. I also know I'm writing this just a couple days after the death of Michael Jackson, who sang the closing theme, "Will You Be There", for this movie, but that is of mere coincidence. I didn't know he sang the theme song, nor did I even know what this movie's theme song was, before I rented it yesterday! If I had seen the entire film from start to finish during my childhood, it just might have been a more entertaining and memorable experience than it was for me watching it after growing up. "Free Willy" should be a nice, moving family drama, but somehow, it fails. Many kids might like it, and adults as well, but in my opinion, it's far from the perfect, heartwarming family film it seems to have often been considered.
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Obnoxious Kid Ruins Film
ccthemovieman-11 December 2007
The best things about this Disney "Save The Whales" movie of 1993 were the opening and closing credits. They were beautiful shots, just awesome. Sadly, most of the stuff in the middle wasn't all that good. Oh, everyone likes a nice feel-good story about saving some animal or whale (how about humans?) but what ruined the movie for me was the main character "Jesse."

"Jesse" (Jason James Richter) is another Hollywood film brat, the typical snotty, smart-mouth kid film idiots like to present us, not like your kids.

There are some implausible scenes, such as no adults present when kid is tapping on the glass at the aquarium, but every movie has those, so I'm not going to trash the film for that.

Suffice to say the kid, and the overly PC- Disney folks (i.e. their typical Native American good-guy as the boy's whale-mentor), turned me off, only because there are so many Disney clichés and stereotypes in here it is ludicrous.

Why is it always some rebel kid, some punk who deserves a good spanking, who saves the day, who is shown smarter than most adults? Disney and Spielberg, love that crap.

Michael Jackson sings the movie song's finale. 'Nuff said.
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It was just an ok movie
OriginalMovieBuff2121 April 2004
Well I like to say that this movie is just DECENT. Some people say this movie is a classic and others say it was kind of bad. I kind of liked it and I usually felt sorry for that whale. Jessie was kind of an annoying character and that Indian dude was a little to weird. I used to love this movie actually when I was a teenager but now when I watch it I'm just like saying it's ok and all. The story was pretty good and I liked the music which was pretty good for the movie also. I really liked the whale but I dont think they should bad guys in the film It's just kind of stupid. The film had its moments though and it was the best out of the Free Willy trilogy.

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Your basic "Kid Saves the Day!" movie
Smells_Like_Cheese7 September 2004
Man, do I remember the craze that was "Free Willy". I recently watched on VH1's "I love the 90's", and they brought it up. I remembered how when I was a kid, like the interviewee's said, I thought at the end Willy was going to fall on the kid. I was kind of sick in the head. :D Just kidding. The movie isn't really something I could get into. And the plot was kind of lame. In some ways, the kid being the hero thing is just getting too old. But for other kids, I can see where they might like this. So, I'll give it credit for that.

RIP Keiko!

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Free Willy
jboothmillard14 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I always remembered seeing this film somewhere in the middle, and when I finally watched it from the very beginning, I could see the big deal with it, i.e. the strong friendship with a boy and a whale. It starts with the capture of an innocent young killer whale who is taken away from his family, and he ends up in a tank in a marina. Meanwhile, 12-year-old Jesse (Jason James Richter) is the street kid who has caused trouble for ages, and he is caught vandalising the marina, so he is forced to clean up the mess. As Jesse continues his work, he starts to notice and befriends the killer whale, named Willy (played by Keiko the killer whale), the whale even saves his life. But what is even better is that the staff, including Lori Petty (Rae Lindley) and Randolph Johnson (August Schellenberg) start to notice that Jesse can teach Willy tricks. So they decide to open The Willy Show, with the help of marina owner Dial (Michael Ironside) and Willy's capturers and carers. But unfortunately, it does not go well because of Willy's tank having viewers banging on the glass of the tank, mixed with his missing of his family. So with some help from Lori, Randolph and his carers, Glen (Michael Madsen) and Annie Greenwood (Jayne Atkinson), Jesse and Willy set off towards the ocean to free him. The moment where Willy leaps over the rock wall is obviously the pinnacle of the film, and the end credits feature the great Michael Jackson song, "Will You Be There". Sadly the beloved Keiko died in 2003 of pneumonia, he will be missed by children and adults alike. It was number 74 on The 100 Greatest Family Films. Worth watching!
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Free Willy the King of the water
voorzitterfront26 April 2018
What an amazing movie! In the Netherlands, we have King Willem Alexander. But in the ocean, you have King Willy. The contours of this whale are perfect. His black and white dots are such an amazing appearance. The story, where some bad guys want to kill this beautiful animal are disgusting. Then we have Jesse, also a great guy. One day, he also will be king and the leader of all orcas. The story says that Jesse is disappeared right after the recordings of the movies and he lives under the water with his orca family now. I have no more words to say, Free Willy! Free the King!
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Not aged too well
bennnardone-8821025 December 2019
I loved this film as a child and absolutely love Orcas but I found this film harder to watch in 2019 than when I was young. Knowing the fate of Keiko the whale and knowing more about the intelligence of this marvellous species as well as the controversy around keeping them in capativity (Blackfish) made this much harder to watch.
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