Free Willy

Free Willy is a 1993 American family drama film, directed by Simon Wincer, produced by Lauren Shuler Donner and Jennie Lew Tugend, written by Keith A. Walker and Corey Blechman from a story by Walker and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures under their Family Entertainment imprint. The film stars Jason James Richter in his first feature film debut, Lori Petty, Jayne Atkinson, August Schellenberg, and Michael Madsen with the eponymous character, Willy, played by Keiko. The film tells the story of an orphaned boy who befriended a captive orca named at an ailing amusement park where he was ordered to clean up graffiti as part of his probation after vandalizing the observation area until a dark secret reveals the greedy owner's plan to kill the whale for money.

Free Willy
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySimon Wincer
Screenplay by
Story byKeith A. Walker
Produced by
CinematographyRobbie Greenberg
Edited byO. Nicholas Brown
Music byBasil Poledouris
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
  • July 16, 1993 (1993-07-16)
Running time
112 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$20 million
Box office$153.7 million

Released on July 16, 1993, the film received positive attention from critics and was a commercial success, grossing $153.7 million from a $20 million budget.

It grew into a small franchise, including a television series, two sequels and a direct-to-video reboot in addition to inspiring the rehabilitation and release of Keiko.

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