Whale Rider

Whale Rider - 2002

South Pacific Pictures - 101 min.

DVD UPC/EAN # 043396022720; 9398525169038; 7321900958585; 4006680030821; 043396022744; 065935200581; 8713045204631; 5051429100296
Blu-ray UPC/EAN # 9398580146074(AU/NZ); 4042564143577 (DE); 826663178630(US)

Cast: Keisha Castle-Hughes, Rawiri Paratene, Vicky Haughton, Cliff Curtis, Grant Roa, Mana Taumaunu, Rachel House, Taungaroa Emile. Screenplay: Niki Caro from a novel by Witi Ihimaera; Director of Photography: Leon Narbey; Music: Lisa Gerrard; Editing: David Coulson; Costume Design: Kirsty Cameron; Production Design: Grant Major; Producer: John Barnett, Bill Gavin; Director: Niki Caro.

The people of Whangara believe that their first ancester, Paikea, arrived on the back of a whale. In the centuries that followed, a line of first born boys have descended from him to become chiefs - until today. Today, the tradition would fall to a girl named Pai, but her grandfather chief refuses to acknowledge her claim. Although there are a number of fine performances, it is Castle-Hughes that stands out with her determined claim. This beautifully photographed modern tale, based upon Maori tradition, should be on everyones "must see" list. Highly Recommeded.

Censor Rating: PG - Review rating: B+

Whale Rider
Official MP4 Trailer


It is presented 2.32 widescreen, enhanced for 16x9 and is in dolby 5.1 or 2.0 surround English with english subtitles. R1 NTSC DVDs are available from various North American sources for about $10us. The DVD also includes extras of a directors commentary, deleted scenes(5:50), a "Behind the Scenes" featurette(27 min.), another featurette - "Te Waka: Building the Canoe"(11.14), 5 - TV spots (2:40), Trailer (2:24), 5 audio clips from the soundtrack CD (11:47), an art and photo gallery. R2 versions are available in the UK for about 10# or in Germany for 12eur. R4 DVDs are available from various resellers for about $15nz or $10au. A special R4 two-disc set is available in Australia for $30au, which in addition to the above, includes the short film 'Cracker Bag'.

An All-Regions 1080p 2.35:1 Blu-ray Edition is available from resellers in Australia and New Zealand starting 24 April 2013 and selling for about $20. It has a DTS-HD 5.1 spoken English soundtrack with an English subtitle option. The extras include a director's commentary track, deleted scenes with commentary, the featurette "Te Waka: Building the Canoe", another featurette "Behind the Scenes', Auditions and trailers.

Starting 05 December 2014, a Region B 1080p 2.35:1 Blu-ray offering is available from German resellers for about 15eur. It has both spoken English and German DTS-HD 5.1 soundtracks and a German subtitle option. It's extras are the same as those contained in the afore mentioned AU/NZ Blu-ray.

Starting 22 August 2017, a Region A Blu-ray($19-23) and a Region 1 DVD($14-15) will be offered in the US and Canada. It will have its original spoken English track and an optional English subtitles. Extras will be the same as those in previous releases: directors commentary, deleted scenes(5:50), a "Behind the Scenes" featurette(27 min.), another featurette - "Te Waka: Building the Canoe"(11.14), plus poster art and photo gallery. The package will also include a digital copy of the feature.

Aro Video - Recommended New Zealand reseller

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Christopher Zabel Review of US/CA 15th Anniversary Blu-ray Release at doblu.com

Dr. Stephen Larson Review of US/CA 15th Anniversary Blu-ray Release

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Dennis Schwartz Review

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Cineaste, v.29no.1(winter 2003), p.18
Creative screenwriting, v.11no.1(Jan.2004), p.77
Entertainment weekly, 714(June 13 2003), p.73
Investigate, no.28(Feb.2003), p.92
Listener, v.187no.3272(Jan.25 2003), p.60
Metro, issue 260(Feb.2002), p.107
Metro (Melbourne), no.143(2004), p.173
Nexus, 2003, issue 03(17 Mar.), p.44
North and south, issue 166(Feb.2003), p.101
Sight and sound, v.13, issue 8(Aug.2003), p.63
Sunday star-times, Feb.2, 2003, p.F3
Waikato times, Feb.4, 2003, p.19


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Complete Script at Script-O-Rama.

Information at IMDB

Behind the Scenes - an excerpt from the documentary

Official Whale Rider NZ Website

Official Whale Rider German Website with trailers and still photos

Internet Movie Poster Awards


2002 - Toronto International Film Festival - People's Choice Award.
2003 - Cinemanila International Film Festival - Special Jury Prize
2003 - Humanitas Prize - Niki Caro
2003 - Rotterdam International Film Festival - Audience Award
2003 - San Francisco International Film Festival - Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature
2003 - Seattle International Film Festival - Golden Space Needle Award for Best Director and Best Film
2003 - Sundance Film Festival - Audience Award in World Cinema
2003 - Heartland Film Festival - The Truly Moving Picture Award
2003 - Winner: Best Breakthrough Performance South Eastern Film Critics' Association (USA)
2003 - Online Film Critics' Society (USA) - Winner: Best Breakthrough Filmmaker; Best Breakthrough Performance
2003 - Washington DC Area Film Critics Winner: Best Actress
2003 - Winner British Academy Children's Film and Television Awards, Best Feature Film
2003 - Winner Environmental Media Awards, Best Feature Film
2003 - Winner Sao Paulo International Film Festival Jury Prize
2003 Winner Lake Placid Film Festival Audience Award
2003 - Winner Maui International Film Festival Audience Award Best Dramatic Feature
2003 - APRA-AGSC Screen Music Award for Best Original Song
2003 - New Zealand Film Awards - Best Costume Design, Best Screenplay, Best Original Music, Best Juvenile Performer-Mana Taumauna, Best Supporting Actress-Vicky Haughton, Best Supporting Actor-Cliff Curtis, Best Actress-Keisha Castle-Hughes, Best Director, Best Film
2004 - Winner German Video Award For Young People and Children
2004 - Independent Spirit Awards - Winner, Best Foreign Film
2004 - Chicago Film Critics Awards - Winner: Most Promising Performer
2004 - Critics' Choice Awards, Winner: Best Young Actress; Best Family Film, American Broadcast Critics' Association
2005 - Wairoa Maori Film Festival - Winner Audience Award

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