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Free Willy (1993)


No Score Yet...

Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 1



liked it
Average Rating: 2.9/5
User Ratings: 719,105

My Rating

Movie Info

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


Drama, Action & Adventure, Kids & Family

Jun 5, 2001

Warner Bros. Pictures

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All Critics (29) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (13) | Rotten (10) | DVD (11)

A wayward boy befriends a moody killer whale.

December 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Save the whale! Still a good family film with a great Michael Jackson title song.

February 17, 2008

Good family flick

March 11, 2006


July 14, 2005
Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)

Keiko sure knows how to jump

July 8, 2005

Gooey pap that drowns in its own phoniness.

May 26, 2004
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

A good family picture that does not get too sweet; worth a look.

May 1, 2003
Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)

Free Willy focuses on the friendship between a troubled 12-year-old boy and an orca at an adventure park. It will appeal tremendously to all "friends of nature," a term coined by Albert Schweitzer.

February 6, 2003 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

...many adults will find it too blatantly manipulative, but all the same it is decent, lightweight, juvenile entertainment.

January 14, 2003
Movie Metropolis

Michael Madsen as a "good guy" foster father? Lori Petty as a whale trainer? Who cast ths movie!?).

January 11, 2003 Full Review Source:

It's like Lassie with whales. Only siller.

November 22, 2002

Inspiring environmental tale for the kiddie-set.

July 26, 2002
Tooele Transcript-Bulletin (Utah)

As plotting goes, Free Willy is strictly formula stuff.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Audience Reviews for Free Willy


The story is pretty cute and entirely inspirational but it's not that emotionally involving and a majority of its run time involves watching the orca jump. In comparison though it doesn't have enough cuteness or charm to be a memorable piece. It's worth a look. Just jump right in with lowered expectations.
April 27, 2012
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Free Willy is a decent family film. I remember liking it as a kid, but it's one of those family films that doesn't really age well. I can think of many other childhood favorites that are better than this. Everyone knows the story of Free Willy. This is one of those films that really doesn't do anything that great. I enjoyed it as a kid, but it's not one of those films that stand out among other childhood favorites. Looking back now, the film is good, but is never anything great. The acting is average for a film like this, and so is the story. The best actor in this film is Michael Ironside and the rest of the cast are really so-so. Free Willy is a decent family film, never anything great, and compared to the films from my childhood, Free Willy is my least favorite. The film isn't really memorable. As a family film, it's perfect, but one should realize that this isn't a film that will stick with you, unlike so many other family films such as Toy Story, The Sandlot and Home Alone. Free Willy is entertaining, but it feels so ordinary in terms of a family film. This isn't the type of film that can withstand multiple viewings. Free Willy might have been good as a childhood film, but it's one that hasn't stood the test of time. I'll stick with Toy Story, at least that film is timeless, and lots of fun with good acting on the actors parts. But this, this feels like it tries too hard at being a sentimental film, and it just doesn't cut it.
September 28, 2011
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

Makes me cry everytime! A childhood favourite and a classic!
June 24, 2011
Bethany Murphy

Super Reviewer

Not your ordinary kid and animal movie, it's also an activist/political movie. It's about saving the whales, obviously, and that's cool. I really liked this movie when I saw it in theatres as a kid, and I think kids today will like it too. This movie is cute and sweet, but also full of hope.
May 19, 2011

Super Reviewer

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