free willy movie review - Aussieboyreviews


Free Willy is heartwarming and touching film for families about a boy befriending a killer whale, but it isn’t completely innocent. Expect mild themes throughout this original story with a watchable execution.


A street kid named Jesse befriends a killer whale named Willy when he is forced to remove his graffiti from the aquarium. With help, the boy then risks everything to free the large creature when the evil owners try to kill it.

Movie Images

Movie details

Director: Simon Wincer
Cast: Jason James Richter, Lori Petty, Michael Madsen, Jayne Atkinson, August Schellenberg, Mykelti Williamson
Writer: Keith A. Walker, Corey Blechman
Release Date (Australia): 26 December 1993
Runtime: 112 minutes/1h 52m
Genre: Drama, Family, Adventure
Country: USA
Language: English


Themes (PG)

The film centres on thematic content including an abandoned child committing vandalism before being arrested and put in a foster home.

Violence (G)

The film contains a very brief depiction of a man punching another man in the face.

Coarse Language (PG)

The film includes infrequent coarse language, including a single use of the word “crap”.

mpaa rating

PG (for some mild language)

Aussie boy's thoughts

Free Willy may be a heartwarming and touching boy-befriends-whale tale, but the film’s clichés, the killer whale’s moodiness and the unlikeable past of the lead character each play a big part as well. To begin with summing it all up, Simon Wincer’s charming 90s adventure does and likely always will deserve its labelling as a family classic, simply because it’s charming and loveable, but also because it’s original and thematic.

The film centres on a young boy whose mother verbally implicitly abandoned him. He’s a street kid, and he’s arrested and placed into a loving foster home after vandalising a theme park. The first thing you can with all reasons say is this is our main character, who starts off in a portrayal that only makes him unlikeable. Although his and the other cast’s performances are undeniably solid, it’s difficult to have to attach to what most would call a pest.

As the plot progresses, it’s still hard to completely love and relate to the main character, but his unforeseen connection to the whale (foreseeable from the audience perspective) compels you into the story again. The whale can also unfortunately be quite moody, difficult and sort of irritating at times. This is definitely a watchable film that the younger kids will really appreciate without thinking too hard.

Another perfectly reasonable why Free Willy might not be doing to well with the critics or other high anticipators is because it’s mainly a clichéd story about a sweet relationship between a human and a creature, not living up to the title’s suggestion at all. There’s lots of dramas packed throughout the whole film, but the actual threat and the need to rescue the whale doesn’t occur until the last half hour.

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