What to know

critics consensus

Free Willy tugs at the heartstrings skillfully enough to leap above the rising tide of sentimentality that threatens to drown its formulaic family-friendly story. Read critic reviews

You might also like

Where to watch

Show all services

Rate And Review

User image

Verified

  • User image

    Super Reviewer

    Rate this movie

    Oof, that was Rotten.

    Meh, it passed the time.

    It’s good – I’d recommend it.

    Awesome!

    So Fresh: Absolute Must See!

    What did you think of the movie? (optional)



  • You're almost there! Just confirm how you got your ticket.

  • User image

    Super Reviewer

    Step 2 of 2

    How did you buy your ticket?

    Let's get your review verified.

    • Fandango

    • AMCTheatres.com or AMC AppNew

    • Cinemark Coming Soon

      We won’t be able to verify your ticket today, but it’s great to know for the future.

    • Regal Coming Soon

      We won’t be able to verify your ticket today, but it’s great to know for the future.

    • Theater box office or somewhere else

    You're almost there! Just confirm how you got your ticket.

  • User image

    Super Reviewer

    Rate this movie

    Oof, that was Rotten.

    Meh, it passed the time.

    It’s good – I’d recommend it.

    Awesome!

    So Fresh: Absolute Must See!

    What did you think of the movie? (optional)

  • How did you buy your ticket?

    • Fandango

    • AMCTheatres.com or AMC AppNew

    • Cinemark Coming Soon

      We won’t be able to verify your ticket today, but it’s great to know for the future.

    • Regal Coming Soon

      We won’t be able to verify your ticket today, but it’s great to know for the future.

    • Theater box office or somewhere else

Free Willy Photos

Movie Info

When maladjusted orphan Jesse (Jason James Richter) vandalizes a theme park, he is placed with foster parents and must work at the park to make amends. There he meets Willy, a young Orca whale who has been separated from his family. Sensing kinship, they form a bond and, with the help of kindly whale trainer Rae Lindley (Lori Petty), develop a routine of tricks. However, greedy park owner Dial (Michael Ironside) soon catches wind of the duo and makes plans to profit from them.

Cast & Crew

News & Interviews for Free Willy

Critic Reviews for Free Willy

All Critics (30) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (21) | Rotten (9)

Audience Reviews for Free Willy

  • Nov 22, 2012
    "Free Willy" holds up as a quaint family film about a delinquent orphan who befriends a killer whale and not only trains him but eventually sets him free. Although there's no stellar performances to speak of, everyone plays their part well enough to keep this enjoyable. The iconic end sequence is still an amazing, cinematic moment that will hopefully keep this film alive in the decades to come.
    Christopher H Super Reviewer
  • Dec 28, 2011
    [img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon13.gif[/img] 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.
    Directors C Super Reviewer
  • Sep 28, 2011
    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.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Jun 24, 2011
    Makes me cry everytime! A childhood favourite and a classic!
    Bethany M Super Reviewer

Free Willy Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Movie & TV guides