Free Willy

MPAA Rating: PG

Entertainment: +3

Content: +1

As a pod of killer whales swims and frolics along the Pacific Northwest shoreline, three fishing boats emerge from a cove and snare one of them. They deliver the whale to the Northwest Adventure Park, a park looking for an attraction like a killer whale but not equipped to care for one. Jesse, a twelve year old runaway abandoned by his parents, flees into the park one night trying to escape the police. Caught, Jesse is placed in a foster home. Part of Jesse's rehab is to clean the graffiti he painted on the walls of the whale tank at the park. He makes friends with Willy, the killer whale, and Randolph, the park custodian. Randolph is a Native American who tells Jesse of the folklore of whales and man. Jesse can coax tricks out of Willy that the trainer Rae cannot. Jesse trains Willy to perform, pleasing the park manager, who wants a performing whale to bolster park attendance. When Willy gets spooked by the throng of people surrounding his tank, he can't perform. When the greedy manager sets up an "accidental" draining of Willy's tank, hoping to collect on a million dollar insurance policy, Jesse, Rae and Randolph must find a way to free Willy. FREE WILLY is a predictable, yet entertaining children's film.

FREE WILLY is light on objectionable material. The word "screw" is used twice by Jesse in a fit of anger about his mother abandoning him. There are two other mild exclamatory profanities. On a positive note, although Jesse is a wild, harsh thief at the beginning of the film, his crimes have realistic consequences and he is punished. As the film progresses, he develops character and regains his ability to love and be loved. Jesse's foster parents exhibit a commendable unconditional love for him despite his slow transition to life as a "normal" child. Overall, the entertaining story and uplifting themes make FREE WILLY a recommendable film for children age 8 through young teenager.

Preview Reviewer: Pete Zimowski
Warner Brothers, 4000 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91522

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Few (2) times - Moderate

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: Few (2) times - Exclamatory

Violence: None

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Boy shown smoking a cigarette but not condoned

Other: None

Running Time:
Intended Audience:

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