White Squall

1996, Drama, 2h 7m

36 Reviews 10,000+ Ratings

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critics consensus

Though it gets occasionally bogged down by touchy-feely sentiment, White Squall benefits greatly from Jeff Bridges' assured lead performance and Ridley Scott's visceral, exciting direction. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

In 1960, a hardy group of prep school students boards an old-fashioned sailing ship. With Capt. Christopher Sheldon (Jeff Bridges) at the helm, the oceangoing voyage is intended to teach the boys fortitude and discipline. But the youthful crew -- among them confident Chuck Gieg (Scott Wolf), timid Gil Martin (Ryan Phillippe) and self-satisfied Frank Beaumont (Jeremy Sisto) -- are about to get some unexpected instruction in survival when they get caught in the clutches of a white squall storm.

Cast & Crew

Jeff Bridges
Captain Christopher `'Skipper'` Sheldon
Caroline Goodall
Dr. Alice Sheldon
Scott Wolf
Charles `'Chuck'` Gieg, Narrator
Jeremy Sisto
Frank Beaumont
David Lascher
Robert March
Todd Robinson
Screenwriter
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News & Interviews for White Squall

Critic Reviews for White Squall

All Critics (36) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (21) | Rotten (15)

  • The filmmakers take a rather facile, anachronistic "Oprah"-esque approach toward the boys' feelings about their families and the Skipper's role as a "tough love"-minded surrogate father.

    July 25, 2008
  • This particular landlubber felt like jelly for the rest of the day, notwithstanding the hokey courtroom showdown that closes the picture.

    January 26, 2006 | Full Review…
  • Despite great scenery, the distinctive visual ideas of Mr. Scott (Alien, Blade Runner) and the strong dramatic presence of Mr. Bridges, most of White Squall remains listless and tame.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 2.5/5
  • Typically, Bridges gives a deftly understated performance uncluttered by vanity or shallow pathos. No wonder he's not a star.

    May 12, 2001 | Full Review…
  • The 20 or so minutes we spend with the Albatross in the squall is high adventure, to be sure. Everything else is ballast.

    February 13, 2001 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • The movie's a shipload of coming-of-age blather, supplemented with enough rolling-sea footage to make the audience yearn for both Dramamine and a decent drowning scene.

    January 1, 2000 | Full Review…
  • The filmmakers take a rather facile, anachronistic "Oprah"-esque approach toward the boys' feelings about their families and the Skipper's role as a "tough love"-minded surrogate father.

    July 25, 2008
  • This particular landlubber felt like jelly for the rest of the day, notwithstanding the hokey courtroom showdown that closes the picture.

    January 26, 2006 | Full Review…
  • Despite great scenery, the distinctive visual ideas of Mr. Scott (Alien, Blade Runner) and the strong dramatic presence of Mr. Bridges, most of White Squall remains listless and tame.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 2.5/5
  • Typically, Bridges gives a deftly understated performance uncluttered by vanity or shallow pathos. No wonder he's not a star.

    May 12, 2001 | Full Review…
  • Bridges does his best to command the emotional resonance we assume motivated Sheldon, but scant characterization marks him merely as a cipher for brawny, brain-washed ideations of what masculinity's supposed to look like.

    August 10, 2020 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Though lavishly produced and based on a true story, it still fails to satisfy.

    June 27, 2016 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for White Squall

  • Dec 16, 2009
    The strongest force in nature is the will to survive.
    Wahida K Super Reviewer
  • Nov 27, 2009
    Decent-ish coming of age drama with a mighty fine cast of young male actors (nomnomnom ;)
    alex m Super Reviewer
  • Sep 14, 2009
    A group of teenage boys learn discipline, courage, and what it's like to stick together as a unit as they aboard the Albatross and ride it out into the great wide open in the Caribbean. Whether they're there because their parents want them to grow up and learn responsibility, or whether they're there because they want to be, they will all learn the comraderie, the hardships, and everything else that goes along with traveling to sea. All of the good and the bad must come together when the Albatross runs into a white squall, a MAJOR storm at sea. How could anybody not love "White Squall"? There are a lot of great movies about going out to sea, and "White Squall" is up there with the best of them. It's not like "Crimson Tide", "U-571", and those; it's a spectacular coming of age film that has nothing to do with war. Scott Wolf, Ryan Phillippe, and the rest of the crew do a good job of acting, and Jeff Bridges does the best of all in portraying the sternness, yet warm-hearted character that is the Skipper. If you're a fan of coming of age movies like "Stand By Me", and if you like very entertaining movies that explore the hardships of life to a tee, get "White Squall" right NOW! It's one of the best movies you've never heard of. Example line from the movie: "I don't want it to end. I don't want to go back to what I was before I came here: anonymous." NOTE: That was my Amazon review from the year 2002.
    Jason O Super Reviewer
  • Apr 03, 2009
    Too much melodrama, not enough squall
    Marcus W Super Reviewer

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