Free Willy 3: The Rescue Movie Poster Image

Free Willy 3: The Rescue



For devoted -- and young -- Willy fans only.
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2005
  • Running Time: 86 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Whale savior Jesse pointedly steals his employer's boat ... but it's for yet another heroic mission.

Violence & scariness

Threatened whale harpoonings. One (human) barroom brawl.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drunkenness among the adults.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this third film in the series has a slower, more deliberate pace (and a shorter running time) and a bedtime-story feel to this nature-loving sequel. That's good, since the audience for this sequel to the popular original aimed this film at 5- and 6-year-olds. Most older kids will find the eco-lessons labored andsimplistic. This film touts animal rights and vegetarianism. Some kids may want to become vegetarians after watching this film. On that note, a little boy faces down his fisherman/whaler father about the morality of Dad's occupation. Parents should decide how they want to present animal-rights issues to their children before acquiring this video.


Parents say

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What's the story?

Whale poachers are at large in the second Free Willysequel, and Willy the Wonder Orca and boy hero Jesse must change the minds of harpoon-happy humans. FREE WILLY 3: THE RESCUE follows Jesse (Jason James Richter) as he helps with a whale research expedition. Jesse meets young Max (Vincent Berry), who tells him that he's learned that his dad's salmon fishing crew is really hunting killer whales. As in the other two films, Jesse sets out to save the whales and stop those who would harm them.

Is it any good?


This is the most lyrical and pretty-looking of the Willy adventures. As with the last two films in this series, there are painless rivulets of whale (and whaler) trivia streaming through the plot. Environmentalism also continues to be an issue. Free Willy 3: The Rescue is also the most brazen in pushing its animal-rights agenda on impressionable viewers. Parents should decide how they want to present animal-rights issues to their children before acquiring this video.

There is some balance, however. The marauding whaleboat crew are not demonized as kill-crazy monsters, but proud men carrying on a long heritage. Given the tone of these movies, that's as even-handed as you can get, even with the cliched finale in which Willy's good deeds raise the issue of whale sainthood. Not even fearsome spearguns and a heated saloon fight (between the whalers and Jesse's old pal Randolph) can boil a mist of niceness off the material. This softness will work better for the under 12s. Older viewers may yearn for a bit more edge.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what parents do for a living and how that interacts with their beliefs. What types of jobs encourage social change? What do kids want to do when they grow up?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:February 24, 2005
DVD/Streaming release date:January 28, 2003
Cast:August Schellenberg, Jason James Richter, Patrick Kilpatrick
Director:Sam Pillsbury
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Ocean creatures, Wild animals
Run time:86 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:thematic elements involving whale hunting, and for brief mild language

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 10 years old June 29, 2009
I love this
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 12 years old January 22, 2012

Great movie!!

Free Willy three is a must see if you enjoy the others. There is a lot of attempted whale harpooning that may be sas and startling to younger viewers and a little bit of drinking among the adults; this movie is still a great family pick!
Teen, 15 years old Written byhomealonefan123 December 19, 2011

great messages and ungreat messages. but unforgettable movie for the whole family

this movie is good. a little less entertaining than "Free Willy" 1& 2. but still a good hearted family movie. there is both good and bad messages. the good messages are about courage, respect and love. the bad messages are about whale hunting. it is spoiling the animal kingdom. the other good message is about preventing whale hunting and enjoy nature the way it is. this is a movie for all ages. perfect for the whole family.


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