Generally favorable reviews - based on 14 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 33 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Captured at sea and confined in a small tank at an aquatic park, Willy (Keiko the Orca whale) is an unhappy and unpredictable attraction. No one understands Willy - except a scruffy street kid named Jesse who knows what it's like to be without a family. Together these two form a special bond -- one so strong that they're willing to risk it all to find a way home. (Warner Bros.) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14
  1. Free Willy (for some strange reason, that tiny imperative just gives me the giggles) is a family picture that stays safely within the haven of a cozy formula, yet does a whole lot of inventive work in the process.
  2. Reviewed by: Leonard Klady
    An astute, intelligent family picture, the film is a potent reminder that you can have your heart in the right place and still produce a gripping, satisfying entertainment.
  3. There's a muscular sincerity to this movie, a power and spread to its imagery that triumphs over the occasional candied purple patches or strained plot twists. [16 Jul 1993 Pg. F1]
  4. There are extremely touching moments between Jesse and mystical Randolph, who seems to understand just about everything; and, more tellingly, between Jesse and mechanic Jim.
  5. It's an irony too significant to ignore that the movie, which proselytizes against penning up whales in order to make them do cute tricks for humans, spends much of its time making Willy do cute tricks for humans.
  6. Reviewed by: Staff(not credited)
    Shamelessly manipulative and heavyhanded, it may be an endurance test for those not absolutely entranced by large aquatic mammals.
  7. It's all pretty involving and sweetly ingratiating in a Charlotte's Web-by kind of way.

See all 14 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 7
  2. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Jun 5, 2011
    The best family film ever made that you can watch again and again and it never gets old! They don't ake movies like this anymore, long live Free Willy! Expand
  2. May 31, 2011
    This is one of the greatest movies to ever watch. Simply breathtaking. Jason James Richter is an amazing actor and Keiko the whale is a true gem. This is a movie that every person in the world has to watch... Expand
  3. Jun 5, 2011
    Brilliant, just brilliant! Amazing, this is a real family favorite and can be watched by everyone, no one dislikes this film! An amazing sense of adventure that will have you on the edge of your seat and falling in love all over again and again! 10 OUT OF 10! BRILLIANT! Collapse
  4. Nov 10, 2010
    the best family movie ever made since E.T.
  5. May 20, 2014
    This movie is epic in so many ways.

    A story of a boy abandoned by his mother, struggling in the world, and the story of a whale captured
    from the sea mix together perfectly.

    There is a genuine, pure feeling in the story, and the acting is natural and quite superb. The feelings are conveyed from the screen to the viewer without obstacles, and although I'm sure this film is filled with clichés and typical characters, it still manages to hold all the important pieces together.

    The plot itself moves at a steady pace, making us wait for a bit for the eventual good stuff - the fast friendship between Jesse and Willy the whale - but it doesn't drag its feet too much.

    All in all a prefect, touching family film to be watched again and again.
  6. Jan 5, 2014
    Não grande coisa Expand
  7. Aug 27, 2011
    As bland as nineties rip-offs of E.T. could get, Free Willy copies that classic down to the smallest detail, but the bond is never felt between the boy and the whale, instead coming across as assembly mind fodder. Expand