DVD 105 mins IMDB 7.9 (12,952 votes)
Whale Rider
Newmarket Films (2002)
In Collection

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(2004 )
Drama, Family
New Zealand  /  English

Keisha Castle-Hughes Pai
Rawiri Paratene Koro
Vicky Haughton Nanny Flowers
Cliff Curtis Porourangi
Grant Roa Rawiri
Rawinia Clarke Miro
Roi Taimana Rewi
Mana Taumaunu Hemi
Tyronne White Jake
Taungaroa Emile Dog
Rachel House Shilo
Tammy Davis Dog
Mabel Wharekawa Maka (as Mabel Wharekawa-Burt)
Tahei Simpson Miss Parata
Elizabeth Skeen Rehua

Director Niki Caro
Producer John Barnett; Tim Sanders; Frank Hubner
Writer Sir Witi Ihimaera; Niki Caro; Witi Ihimaera
Cinematography Leon Narbey
Musician Lisa Gerrard; Jeremy Sweet
User Credit 1 David Coulson
User Credit 2 Kirsty Cameron

Based on the novel of the same name by Maori writer Witi Ihimaera, Whale Rider is a unique family drama directed Niki Caro. On the eastern coast of New Zealand, the Whangara people believe their ancestor Paikea was saved from drowning by riding home on the back of a whale. The tribal group has since granted leadership positions to the first-born males, believing them to be descendants of Paikea. This tradition is challenged when a young mother dies in childbirth along with her newborn male son. His twin sister manages to survive and the father (Cliff Curtis) runs off, overwhelmed with grief. The little girl, Pai (Keisha Castle-Hughes), is brought up by stubborn grandfather Koro (Rawiri Paratene) and gentle grandmother Nanny (Vicky Haughton). Koro, the chief of their tribe, is disappointed because Pai's twin brother was supposed to be the next leader. Trying to find the proper successor, he attempts to organize a leadership group amongst the local boys while Pai enlists the help of her has-been uncle Rawiri (Grant Roa) to teach herself the art of chiefdom. She appears to possess a natural leadership ability and adventurous spirit that draws her to the proliferation of her faltering tribe. Whale Rider premiered at the 2002 Toronto International Film Festival and won the World Cinema Audience Award. — Andrea LeVasseur

Edition Details
Barcode 043396022720
Region Region 1
Chapters 27
Release Date 10/28/2003
Packaging Keep Case
Screen Ratio Widescreen 2.35:1 Color (Anamorphic)
Subtitles English; Spanish
Audio Tracks ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 [CC]
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital Surround [CC]
Layers Single Side, Dual Layer
No. of Disks/Tapes 1

Director Commentary
Theatrical Trailer and TV Spots
Te Waka: Building the Canoe Featurette
Behind the Scenes of Whale Rider
Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary
Whale Rider: The Soundtrack Showcase
Art and Photo Gallery
Scene Selection
Personal Details
User Lookup 1 DVD Copy
User Text 1 Brief language and a momentary drug reference.
User Text 2 One young girl dared to confront the past, change the present and determine the future
Links All Movie Guide
DVD Empire
Amazon US

Trivia: At auditions for the role of Paikea, Keisha Castle-Hughes told casting directors that she could swim. However, when it came time to film the swimming scenes, she admitted she couldn't but she did it anyway. (more)

Goofs: Continuity: When the girl has been crying and the grandfather is comforting her, he wipes the tears from her face. In some shots, you can see where he wiped the tear, in other shots, you see a tear that has tricked down to her chin, and in some shots, she has a tear that hasn't traveled so far. (more)

Paikea: Why doesn't he want me?
Porourangi: He's just looking for something that doesn't exist anymore.
Paikea: A new leader? They exist.

Awards: Nominated for Oscar. Another 28 wins & 25 nominations (more)