Parents' Guide to

Free Willy

By Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 6+

A wayward boy befriends a moody killer whale.

Movie PG 1993 112 minutes
Free Willy Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 7+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 7+

too much unnecessary raw facts of life

The main character has been abandoned by his mother. My 5-year-old did not need to know that mothers sometime abandon kids who need to live on the streets. Running from the police, breaking in, spray painting: all not behaviors that a child should see. I'm just overwhelmed by producer's stupidity in thinking: Let's show something bad and then tell them it's bad so that they can learn what is good.
age 7+

A movie with beautiful camera work

A fun film for kids and families, a simple story type of movie, a movie you could fall in love with for the rest of your life

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (5 ):
Kids say (23 ):

Free Willy's plot is predictable, none-too-original, and the title gives away the end. But FREE WILLY works swimmingly, thanks to well paced, rousing direction and a fine ensemble cast, led by the very good child actor Richter. Even with its excessive ecological propaganda, the script buoys up with surprisingly credible bonding between the alienated delinquent and a penned-up creature who, like King Kong or E.T., isn't bad; he just wants to go home. It's a cheerable, feel-good moment when the father joins his adopted son in the finale.

Longtime screen villain Michael Ironside plays the standard Hollywood-issue evil businessman, and parents should be aware of the animal-liberation indoctrination in the premise. At least the filmmakers followed their own preaching, and campaigned for the freeing of Keiko, the actual killer whale who stands in for an animatronic Willy in many scenes.

Movie Details

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