Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Whale Rider

Whale Rider

4.8 39
Director: Niki Caro, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Rawiri Paratene, Vicky Haughton

Cast: Niki Caro, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Rawiri Paratene, Vicky Haughton


See All Formats & Editions

Niki Caro's beautifully photographed Whale Rider, based on an ancient Maori folk tale, struck a chord with audiences and became one of the sleeper hits of 2003. The film comes to DVD with a widescreen transfer that preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The film relies greatly on its sense of place to communicate the characters' lives, and


Niki Caro's beautifully photographed Whale Rider, based on an ancient Maori folk tale, struck a chord with audiences and became one of the sleeper hits of 2003. The film comes to DVD with a widescreen transfer that preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The film relies greatly on its sense of place to communicate the characters' lives, and the transfer has done a perfect job of capturing the beautiful natural settings that surround these occasionally emotionally brutal people. English soundtracks are rendered in both Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital Surround. English and Spanish subtitles are accessible. Supplemental materials include a commentary track recorded by Caro. Though not Maori herself, Caro was quite emotionally invested in the creation of this film and her passion comes through in both the images on the screen and in her discussion of the filmmaking process. Deleted scenes with optional commentary, a still photo gallery, a smattering of featurettes, and an advertisement for the film's soundtrack round out this solid release from Columbia/TriStar.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Donald Liebenson
Add this uplifting triumph to the shortlist of films that arrive from overseas -- in this case, New Zealand -- take audiences by surprise, and upend conventional Hollywood wisdom in the process. The recipient of standing ovations and audience awards on the film festival circuit, Whale Rider met with rapturous critical acclaim, generated glowing word-of-mouth buzz, and became the serious filmgoer’s alternative to the summer blockbusters of 2003. Based on the novel by Witi Ihimaera and inspired by an ancient Maori tribal legend, this empowering and unsentimental story stars Keisha Castle Hughes as Pai, a 12-year-old girl who will discover in the course of the story "who she is and who she is meant to be." Legend has it that her tribe's founder arrived in her fishing village on the back of a whale. Since then, the firstborn male of every generation has taken on the role of leader. Pai's twin brother would have been designated as the next chief, but he died shortly after his birth, as did the twins' mother. Pai's father, an artist, then abandoned her, after which she was raised by a distant, tradition-bound grandfather who refused to allow her to be "taught in the old ways." Suddenly, a school of beached whales offers Pai the opportunity to fulfill her destiny. Though the characters' accents and the wrenching opening scenes may be initially off-putting, this is a whale of a tale that refreshingly finds girl power in the qualities of courage, intelligence, leadership, and respect for one's culture.
All Movie Guide - Andrea LeVasseur
Beautiful underwater photography and an excellent lead performance from Keisha Castle-Hughes make Whale Rider a heartfelt drama with a spiritual core. The ancient tale of Paikea is felt throughout this well-worn story line, refreshing with images of cool blue water and nuanced with intricate tribal carvings and tattoos. Though set in present day, Hughes exudes a timeless quality with both the powers of a mystic and the devotion of a little girl. As her beloved and stern grandfather, Rawiri Paratene is effectively blinded by pride so that he can't see the answer is right in front of him. Their bond is a strong and subtle one as they each possess a strong-willed independence that yearns to be tested. Vicky Haughton holds things together emotionally as the nurturing grandmother, and Grant Roa provides the modern alternative to chiefdom as the lazy Uncle Rawiri, although he too gets a chance at redemption. The colorful costumes, makeup, and skin markings are well rendered, especially when placed in the context of the poignant scene at Pai's cultural program at school. The ethereal soundtrack by Lisa Gerrard of Dead Can Dance sets the otherworldly mood while also making the slow pace more tolerable. It's worth noting that the New Zealand dialect of English is difficult to understand at times, but the images are so powerful that some lost dialogue doesn't detract much from the story.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby Digital Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]

Special Features

Closed Caption; Director commentary; Theatrical trailer and TV spots; "Te Waka: Building the Canoe" featurette; Behind the scenes of Whale Rider; Deleted scenes with optional commentary; Whale Rider: The Soundtrack showcase; Art and photo gallery; Scene selection

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Keisha Castle-Hughes Pai
Rawiri Paratene Koro
Vicky Haughton Nanny Flowers
Cliff Curtis Porourangi
Grant Roa Uncle Rawiri
Rawinia Clarke Miro
Taungaroa Emile Dog
Tammy Davis Willie
Tahei Simpson Miss Parata
Elizabeth Skeen Rehua
Roi Taimana Rewi
Mana Taumaunu Hemi
Tyronne White Jake

Technical Credits
Niki Caro Director,Screenwriter
John Barnett Producer
Reinhard Brundig Co-producer
Kirsty Cameron Costumes/Costume Designer
David Coulson Editor
Bill Gavin Executive Producer
Lisa Gerrard Score Composer
Frank Hübner Producer
Witi Ihimaera Associate Producer
Linda Goldstein Knowlton Executive Producer
Dave Madigan Sound/Sound Designer
Grant Major Production Designer
Grace Mock Art Director
Leon Narbey Cinematographer
Diana Rowan Casting
Tim Sanders Producer
Liz Tan Asst. Director

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Main Title/Paikea [3:32]
2. Rehua's Death [3:48]
3. Biking Home [3:09]
4. The Concert/Porourangi Returns [4:37]
5. Te Waka [1:16]
6. Our Ancestors [3:12]
7. Privileges and Obligations [4:43]
8. A Leader, A Prophet [3:38]
9. The Journey Away [6:12]
10. Sacred School of Learning [7:01]
11. Koro's Rules [3:28]
12. Rawiri and the Taiaha [4:51]
13. Fathers and Sons [2:32]
14. Apologies [3:12]
15. One Final Test [4:26]
16. It's Not for Long [1:51]
17. Pai Calls the Whales [2:19]
18. Paka's Reiputa [2:50]
19. Guest of Honor [1:10]
20. Speech of Love and Respect [1:51]
21. Empty Water [6:05]
22. Paikea's Whale [3:28]
23. Reason to Live [2:28]
24. Whale Rider [2:56]
25. The Wise Leader [7:28]
26. Going Forward...All Together [2:20]
27. End Credits [3:33]


Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Whale Rider 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent movie with a wonderful plot and great musical score. Pai, played by Keisha Castle Hughes, is perfectly cast as the main character. She draws you into this film and sometimes breaks your heart. 'Whale Rider' has a real story to tell, without resorting to typical Hollywood staples like violence and sex. This is not a 'kid' movie as the title and plot might suggest-it's a must see for everyone!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was one of the best movies I have ever seen. My husband and I were excited to see the movie anyways as we were going to New Zealand for our honeymoon. It is a beautiful country and we can understand the importance of the Maori culture. A must see!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you love movies about real people in real life, stories that make you laugh and cry, feel the pains, disappointments, and trials of life, and celebrate the power and resilience of the human spirit, this movie is for you! Pai and her oh-so-familiar and disfunctional family made me do all of this many times over in the course of this beautifully raw film. More so than I've ever done before, outside my own personal life experience. What else can I say, but GO SEE IT!
AlchemystAZ More than 1 year ago
Mesmerizing. A Star Turn for the little girl. Loved it and showed it to several other people who also said they loved it.
Magufo More than 1 year ago
This is a beautiful movie with a message of love, acceptance and triumphing when the odds are against you. Never underestimate the power you hold within, for everyone has an untapped source deep within their soul.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In this remarkable story, the strong will and love of a young girl transforms her staunchly traditionalist grandfather into opening his mind and heart. And that's not all...the incredible acting and the interweaving of New Zealand culture will keep you riveted to the screen. An unforgettable film.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw this in the theaters and am going to pick up the DVD. I enjoyed the movie very much and can't wait to watch it again. If you like feel good movies, this is one of them.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the most amazing films I have ever seen. It grabs hold of your emotions and never lets go! I can see this movie topping my list of favorites for decades. You must see this film, and once you see it you will want to own it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm a guy who likes Arnold and Bruce and Jet Li and Vin Diesel action movies. Whale Rider took me to another dimension, tears in my eyes and all! I hope the American viewing audience recognizes this movie as something special and rewards it accordingly.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is the best film i have ever seen. it was very moving and i recommend it to everyone i talk to.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was one of the better ones i've seen this year. It was very interesting to learn about the beliefs of those new zealanders. It was kind of odd but still interesting all the same.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie involved awe inspiring cinematography, and unwavering performances from the cast members, both young and old. It was a truly touching story, based on very old traditions. A production that is a must see for both men and women.
Guest More than 1 year ago
From the beginning, this film resonated on many levels-- from the mysterious whale mythology to familial intergeneration relationships to the role of women in society. The daily struggles that Pai had to endure alternately brought tears to my eyes or had me sobbing. But the joy for living that she exhibited and the tremendous strength of her character made me cheer. I hold this story close to my heart as a tribute to all women who succeed in teaching others how to love.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this film, i am 16 years old and i was on the verge of tears and laughing histerically throughout the movie. this is an excellent movie which has made it to my top ten movie favorites, this move was genious, pure genious.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A truly amazing and unique movie. This and Finding Nemo are the best movies this year. Young Ms. Hughes is a great actor. Just bought the soundtrack too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Whale Rider is empowering, moving and all-around wonderful. Enjoyable for all adult audiences. One of the best movies I've ever seen. I HIGHLY recommend this movie. If you don't see it you'll be missing out BIG TIME.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i absolutly loved this movie. it was shown to me in social studies class, and i fell in love with it. i reccomend it for anyone!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The story of a young girl who is to become a tribal leader in a male oriented society. Beautifully photographed in New Zealand. Pai is the surviving female twin of an ancient tribe that is waiting for a new leader. Her grandfather, a tribal elder, is still held by the belief that the new leader must be a male. Pai has ''the gift'' but her grandfather cannot see her abilities. This is the story of Pai's growth as she learns to understand her culture, her gift and remain true to her grandfather. Truely a beautiful story. As a teacher, I suggest you read the book to your class before seeing the movie. (grades 5+)
Guest More than 1 year ago
A GREAT (!!!) movie about a young person's struggle for recognition that most anyone can appreciate--but I believe most powerful for girls of 12-16. If Pia's speach near the end of the movie doesn't move you, you are likely unmovable. I recommend this movie to everyone I know. Just plain superb!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a movie for every girl, women and human being.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have recommended this film to all of my friends and family. Unfortunately, it was not in wide release in most cities, and here in Hawaii. Unless you seeked it out, you would have missed it. How sad that in our society films of this nature are not seen more than some of the rubbish that is produced in Hollywood today! I hope that more people will buy the DVD or video upon its release this month. It would make a great gift for any age group.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was more than I expected. 'Pai' is an excellent actress with great potentials.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I first watched this movie I did not want to take my eyes off the screen. I would recommend it for anyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Truly enjoyed this one. If you like movies that show other cultures and their myths being incorporated into the modern world then please treat yourself to this movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was absolutly wonderful! As a 16 year old I dont always like movies my parents like, but it was actually me who showed it to them, and they fell in love with it too!