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Free Willy (Keepcase)

4.7 out of 5 stars 1,310 customer reviews

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(Sep 08, 2009)
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Editorial Reviews

Free Willy (DVD)

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.

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Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jason James Richter, Lori Petty, Jayne Atkinson, August Schellenberg, Michael Madsen
  • Directors: Simon Wincer
  • Writers: Keith A. Walker
  • Producers: Richard Donner, Arnon Milchan, Jennie Lew Tugend, Lauren Shuler Donner
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: September 8, 2009
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,310 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002GHHHNS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,121 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Free Willy (Keepcase)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Rebecca of Amazon HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 8, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
The reason this film is so moving is because it is about freedom. We all value freedom and the human spirit longs to be free. Animals are born to run free, on the earth or in the sea. The thought of trapping a whale in a tank just large enough for dolphins seems rather cruel. So, we cheer on, as a 12-year-old spunky street kid makes freeing this beautiful Orca whale possible.

Jesse is the star of this movie and is at first a troubled kid who keeps thinking his mother will come back to take him home. Willy is the whale who was also taken from his family, so the two find common ground. When Willy saves Jesse's life, they form a bond of friendship and Jesse is the only one who can train the whale. The owner of the Pacific Northwest Aquatic Park plots to get insurance money by destroying the tank and when Jesse hears of the plans he has to race against time to save his friend.

The scenes of the Pacific Northwest are spectacular and the whales playfully dancing in the water is a pure display of joy. These are truly on of God's most magnificent creations. Keiko, a 7,000-pound Orca is the whale star, but they also have back-up from a full-sized "animatronic" whale. I could not tell the difference between the whales, it was that good.

One of the best parts of the film is when Jesse spends his pocket money to buy the whale his favorite treat, salmon. I just thought that showed Jesse's true character. While he acts tough on the outside, he seems to be fascinated with nature and animals and that brings out his more loving side.

Throughout the movie, the theme of family is very important and I think that might be why this film is such a favorite.
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Format: DVD
Whales are a source of constant wonderment and awe for millions of people all over the world, which is what makes "Free Willy" such an awesome flick. The movie chronicles the friendship and tribulation of a boy and a 7,000-pound orca whale, instantly winning over our hearts with its family oriented entertainment. The characters are a division of the likeable and the despised, with a story that pits man against nature and proves to be a race for survival.
Jesse is a troubled preteen boy who, after caught by the police for spray-painting graffiti at a waterpark, is taken to live with Glen and Annie Greenwood, who welcome him despite his detached attitude. Forced to clean up the mess he's made, he soon finds himself fascinated by the mere presence of the park's giant orca, Willy, and the two quickly become friends. Jesse is the only one Willy will respond to, which makes the whale's greedy owner ecstatic, as well as surprising the park's owner, Randolph, and the trainer, Ray.
The owner soon makes plans to put Willy in the spotlight, which draws a large and noisy crowd, giving Willy a severe case of stage fright and causing the show to fail. Since Willy brings in no revenue, the owner capitalizes on the fact that Willy is worth $1 million in insurance money, and plots to have him killed. At this point, the movie becomes a race against time as Jesse, Randolph, Ray, Glen and Annie struggle to take Willy back to his natural habitat.
First and foremost, what makes this movie a big success is the animal character, Willy, which, with the exception of scenes in which Jesse comes into actual contact with him, is a real whale named Keiko. The whale performs some amazing stunts that are not new to anyone who's paid a visit to Sea World, but certainly have not lost their luster.
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Format: DVD
Young Jesse -- abandoned by his mother at an early age -- is a troubled kid. His antics keep his social worker and foster family worried and busy. He runs away, begs for spare change, steals food and spray paints graffiti on walls. His foster parents really love and care for him but Jesse resists them, believing that his mother will someday return.
Jesse's life takes a turn for the better when he encounters Willy, a giant orca, at a marine park nearby. Jesse's fascination with the whale leads to an emotional bond based, at least in part, on their similar circumstances. Willy misses his mother and, like Jesse, tends to 'act out' once in a while.
I saw "Free Willy" in 1993 when it was released in theatres. I remembered agreeing with the critics who praised it as great family entertainment and I'm happy to say that the film remains very effective today.
My niece (age 8) was thoroughly entertained by this movie but the younger children in the group were alienated by the somewhat advanced, dramatic themes of abandonment, responsibility and love. For what it's worth, I enjoyed the film immensely.
Over a decade since its release, "Free Willy" holds up quite well. I got "misty" and "choked up" throughout the desperate climactic rescue sequence that gives the movie its name. The opening sequence, during which Willy is captured, is also quite touching.
This is efficient storytelling offering a steady, sustained buildup to a thoroughly satisfying climax.
"Free Willy" also offers believable performances by all members of its small ensemble cast, including Michael Madsen, Michael Ironside, Lori Petty, Jason James Richter (as Jesse) and Keiko (as Willy).
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