Free WillyDirector: Simon Wincer
The touching story of a boy and his killer whale made this family drama a surprise box office hit. Jesse (Jason James Richter) is a kid without parents who has bounced from one foster home to another and is living on the streets. One night, he's caught spraying graffiti with his friend Perry (Michael Bacall) in a theme park. Jesse and Perry are caught red handed by Dwight (Mykel T. Williamson), a policeman who thinks that Jesse needs a more stable and disciplined environment. Dwight arranges for Jesse to stay with a new foster family, Glen and Annie Greenwood (Michael Madsen and Jayne Atkinson), with whom Jesse has an initially stormy relationship. Part of Jesse's punishment involves cleaning up the damage he caused at the park, where the new attraction is Willy, a killer whale who is being trained to do tricks. However, Willy was traumatized when he was stolen from his family by mercenary fisherman and does not respond well to the genuine concern of his trainers, Rae (Lori Petty) and Randolph (August Schellenberg). Jesse and Willy, both stranded without families in a place where they don't fit in, develop a close emotional bond, and with Jesse's help, Willy begins to display aptitude as a performer. Thanks to his friendship with Willy, Jesse develops a new sense of responsibility and a healthier relationship with the Greenwoods. However, Dial (Michael Ironside), the owner of the park, doesn't much care for animals and isn't happy with the slower-than-expected progress of Willy's training; having insured the whale for $1 million dollars, he figures that Willy is worth more dead than alive, and Jesse, Rae, and Randolph have to rescue their aquatic friend and return him to the ocean when Dial seems ready to live up to his threats. Free Willy, which featured a star performance by a killer whale named Keiko (who is doubled in some scenes by animatronic models) included the theme song "Will You Be There," a top-ten hit for Michael Jackson, and spawned two sequels.
- Release Date:
- Original Release:
- Warner Home Video
Cast & Crew
|Jason James Richter||Jesse|
|Jayne Atkinson||Annie Greenwood|
|Lori Petty||Rae Lindley|
|August Schellenberg||Randolph Johnson|
|Michael Madsen||Glen Greenwood|
|Mykelti Williamson||Dwight Mercer|
|Keiko the Killer Whale||Willy|
|Betsy Toll||Passerby 1|
|O. Nicholas Brown||Editor|
|Charles Butcher||Art Director|
|Mark Cotone||Asst. Director|
|Richard Donner||Executive Producer|
|April Ferry||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|Penelope L. Foster||Co-producer|
|Harold L. Fuhrman||Set Decoration/Design|
|Doug Merrifield||Associate Producer|
|Arnon Milchan||Executive Producer|
|Basil Poledouris||Score Composer|
|Charles Rosen||Production Designer|
|Charles Skouras||Production Designer|
|Jennie Lew Tugend||Producer|
|Jim Van Wyck||Asst. Director,Co-producer|
|Keith A. Walker||Original Story,Screenwriter|
|Tom Ward||Special Effects|
|Diane Yates||Art Director|
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Free Willy(1993) I think this is a great movie for young adults and children. Jason James Richer played a 12 year old named Jesse. Simon Wincer, the director, did a great job putting together Free Willy. The plot of this movie is about a boy learns that a beloved killer whale is to be killed by the aquarium owners. The boy risks everything is an effort to try to free the whale. The moral of this movie was so that we all need to help kids that struggle with learning and struggle with their home life. Like Jesse everyone needs to know how to make friends and be loved by things other than humans. Free Willy was rated PG, and first appeared in theaters in 1993. This movie has made a difference in my life as a little girl growing up. I didn't like people a lot and now it’s easy for me to make friends.
Jesse is a young boy orpahned by his mother at a young age. He constantly runs away from the foster homes. He has high hopes of finding his mom. Willy is a killer whale separated from his family by a commercial enterprise interested in using him as a tourist attraction. When Jesse is made to clean up a grafffiti mess he made, he and Willy meet. Both have something in common; they are away from their true families. This fact brings these two together in a thrilling story of how a boy can find good companionship in a whale. I found this movie to be both exhilarating and heart warming.
I am a sensitive man and I wear my heart on my sleeve and I have no problem admitting to the world that this movie made me cry for two weeks straight. I couldn't go to work, I couldn't eat, I could barely drink. I cannot watch the second in fear that I will cry again.
This film was so touching about a boy and a whale, who are both motherless, and it really lifts my spirits and moves me when Jesse (the boy) trains Willy and later frees him into the waters of the Pacific. Very delightful, charming, and heartfelt!