7.3/10
3,992
56 user 29 critic

The Whales of August (1987)

Not Rated | | Drama | 19 August 1987 (France)
Two aged sisters reflect on life and the past during a late summer day in Maine.

Director:

Lindsay Anderson

Writers:

David Berry (screenplay), David Berry (play)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.3/10 X  

A mother/daughter pair of witches descend on a yuppie family's home and cause havoc, one at a time since they share one body & the other must live in a cat the rest of the time. Now it's up... See full summary »

Director: Larry Cohen
Stars: Bette Davis, Barbara Carrera, Colleen Camp
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A woman who left home 20 years ago under acrimonious circumstances finds out that she is terminally ill. She returns home and tries to rebuild her relationship with her embittered mother ... See full summary »

Director: Milton Katselas
Stars: Bette Davis, Gena Rowlands, Ford Rainey
As Summers Die (TV Movie 1986)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The plot centers around a large area of land owned by an old black lady, Elvira Backus. It had been given to her by her one time employer and secret father of her two children, a southern ... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Claude Tramont
Stars: Scott Glenn, Jamie Lee Curtis, Bette Davis
Madame Sin (1972)
Adventure | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A C.I.A. Agent is used as a pawn in an insane woman's plan to steal a Polaris submarine.

Director: David Greene
Stars: Bette Davis, Robert Wagner, Denholm Elliott
Right of Way (TV Movie 1983)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A dying woman and her husband agree to a joint-suicide pact, whether others like it or not.

Director: George Schaefer
Stars: Bette Davis, James Stewart, Melinda Dillon
White Mama (TV Movie 1980)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A poor, elderly white woman living in a tenement in a black ghetto is befriended by a neighborhood boy, and the two of them form a mutually beneficial relationship: he provides her ... See full summary »

Director: Jackie Cooper
Stars: Bette Davis, Ernest Harden Jr., Eileen Heckart
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

To share expenses unemployed Alabama move in with also unemployed Bill and Toodles. Bill is hired by a gangster's mistress and ultimately becomes the gangster's bodyguard. Alabama ... See full summary »

Director: Alfred E. Green
Stars: Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Bette Davis, Frank McHugh
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Explores the relationships shared by the residents of a seedy boarding house in London.

Director: Franklin Gollings
Stars: Bette Davis, Michael Redgrave, Alexis Kanner
The Disappearance of Aimee (TV Movie 1976)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

In 1926, famous evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson disappeared for six weeks. When she surfaced, she claimed that she had been kidnapped and held prisoner in Mexico. Others claimed that she ... See full summary »

Director: Anthony Harvey
Stars: Faye Dunaway, Bette Davis, James Sloyan
Certificate: Passed Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Jailbird is hired to lead a dimwitted candidate's campaign for governor.

Director: Alfred E. Green
Stars: Warren William, Bette Davis, Guy Kibbee
Special Agent (1935)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Newspaperman Bill Bradford becomes a special agent for the tax service trying to end the career of racketeer Alexander Carston. Julie Gardner is Carston's bookkeeper. Bradford enters ... See full summary »

Director: William Keighley
Stars: Bette Davis, George Brent, Ricardo Cortez
The Great Lie (1941)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

After a newlywed's husband apparently dies in a plane crash, she discovers that her rival for his affections is now pregnant with his child.

Director: Edmund Goulding
Stars: Bette Davis, George Brent, Mary Astor
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Bette Davis ... Libby Strong
Lillian Gish ... Sarah Webber
Vincent Price ... Mr. Maranov
Ann Sothern ... Tisha Doughty
Harry Carey Jr. ... Joshua Brackett
Frank Grimes ... Mr. Beckwith
Margaret Ladd ... Young Libby
Tisha Sterling ... Young Tisha
Mary Steenburgen ... Young Sarah
Frank Pitkin Frank Pitkin ... Old Randall
Mike Bush Mike Bush ... Young Randall
Edit

Storyline

It's August. Like they have most summers, elderly widowed sisters Libby Strong and Sarah Webber, who live in Philadelphia, are staying together in the family's summer cottage on an island off the coast of Maine. The cottage, which now belongs to Sarah, has been in their family most of their lives, was the family's summer getaway from Philadelphia when they were younger. There are a few people who have been friends or acquaintances on the island, including the outspoken Tisha Dought, and Joshua Brackett. Someone new at least to Sarah's social circle is Mr. Maranov, a former Russian aristocrat. His stay on the island is threatened when his landlady, Hilda Partridge, passes away. Sarah and Libby have come to the realization they are in the respective twilight of their lives, Sarah, who still keeps busy and wants to savor life's pleasures, acts as now sightless, cantankerous and bitter Libby's caregiver. Sarah knows she can no longer take care of Libby. As such, Sarah has to make ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

You're never too old to see things anew. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 August 1987 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

As Baleias de Agosto See more »

Filming Locations:

Maine, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,338,198

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,338,198
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Nelson Entertainment See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Black and White (flashbacks)| Color (TVC)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Producer Mike Kaplan once said of this film: "I thought the success of On Golden Pond (1981) would have made it easier to raise the money for The Whales of August (1987)". See more »

Goofs

When Joshua passes by Libby to enter in the house, Libby is sitting with a window behind on her right-hand side. In the shot from inside, Libby appears with the window in her back, a little more to her left side. Later, when Sarah and Tisha come back from the sea side, there is no window behind Libby at all. See more »

Quotes

Mr. Maranov: Your sister is a remarkable woman. She does not make small talk.
Sarah Webber: She's unforgivable.
Mr. Maranov: No, I should not have intruded on you this morning.
Sarah Webber: Nonsense.
Mr. Maranov: No, truth. Huh huh. No, I was following an instinct of many years and your very astute sister recognized it. I have once again been set adrift.
Sarah Webber: Oh, I'm sorry Mr. Maranov.
Mr. Maranov: Oh, you needn't be my dear. I have often been adrift, but I have always stayed afloat.
Sarah Webber: But, all these years, what have you done?
Mr. Maranov: [pauses to contemplate] I have spent my life... ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in 500 Questions: Episode #2.5 (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Roses of Picardy
(uncredited)
Music by Haydn Wood
Lyrics by Frederick Edward Weatherly
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Legends and grace!
28 August 2003 | by rosscinemaSee all my reviews

This was the last film of Lillian Gish and it has to be the most graceful exit an actor or actress has ever had. All screen legends should have the dignity of their last film being this touching. This story is about two elderly sisters who are staying in their family cottage on the coast of Maine. Lillian Gish plays Sarah Webber the oldest of the two and she is caring for her sister Libby Strong (Bette Davis) who is blind and maybe in the early stages of senility. They have a neighbor and life long friend in Tisha (Ann Sothern) who suggests to Sarah that she might want to think of selling the old cottage. An acquantance named Mr. Maranov (Vincent Price) asks to fish on their shore but he really is fishing around for a place to live. He is of European nobility and full of stories but he has no money and seems to exist on the kindness of others. Both Sarah and Libby are widows and frequently relate events of the past to each other. The film is directed by Lindsay Anderson who usually makes satirical English films and this was his first American feature. He does an adequate job but he has the sense of just allowing the camera to catch every emotion these actors convey. This is not a great film but it is a very special one. Its a very simple story but thats just fine, something extra special doesn't have to be happening for this film to work. Gish was an amazing 93 when she made this and even at that age she showed she could carry a film and display an incredible amount of energy. She still had that girlish nature about her and her performance is a revelation. Davis was also incredibly strong but she suffered from having to recite some unbelievable dialogue. I didn't quite buy the scene where she comes out of her bedroom saying she had a dream about her and Sarah. But her best moments come in the quieter scenes. When Davis is gazing at nothing and thinking about her future you can only guess what is going on in her head. I thought she was at her best when the camera would just focus in on her face and she didn't speak. These two actress's were very different in their personalities and Davis was very difficult to work with later in her career. But I read a wonderful thing about the wrapping of this film. When the shooting was done Bette walked over to Lillian Gish and gave her a hug of mutual respect. It was high praise to have a cantankerous Bette Davis show that type of respect. Of course, Gish could charm anyone. She spent her career doing it. For you trivia buffs, Ann Sotherns real life daughter Tisha Sterling (Valley of the Giants) plays her as a young woman and Mary Steenburgen plays a young Sarah. This film is a must for all film buffs.


30 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 56 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed