The Whales of August (1987) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Whales of August (1987)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

A once-in-a-lifetime cast of veterans performs David Berry's play about Libby Strong (Bette Davis) and Sarah Webber (Lillian Gish), widowed sisters vacationing on a Philadelphia island for their 60th consecutive summer. Libby is blind and embittered, while Sarah is healthy, supportive, and almost annoyingly chipper. Their neighbor Tisha (Ann Sothern) tries to convince Sarah to put Libby in the care of her daughter, but Sarah hasn't forgotten Libby's moral support when her own husband died, and she won't entertain such notions -- until she is swept off her feet by an aging roué (Vincent Price). When Libby spitefully sabotages this romance, an infuriated Sarah decides that gratitude has its limits. But when it actually comes down to selling their summer house and sending Libby packing, Sarah can't do it. In the film's flashback sequences, Libby is played by Margaret Ladd, Sarah by Mary Steenburgen, and Tisha by Ann Sothern's real-life daughter Tisha Sterling. Another film personality of long standing, Harry Carey Jr., is well cast as the sisters' handyman.

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Lillian Gish
as Sarah Webber
Bette Davis
as Libby Strong
Ann Sothern
as Tisha Doughty
Vincent Price
as Mr. Maranov
Harry Carey Jr.
as Joshua Brackett
Frank Grimes
as Mr. Beckwith
Frank Pitkin
as Old Randall
Mike Bush
as Young Randall
Margaret Ladd
as Young Libby
Tisha Sterling
as Young Tisha
Mary Steenburgen
as Young Sarah
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Critic Reviews for The Whales of August

All Critics (10) | Top Critics (1)

Here is a quiet film of a conventional story, a star vehicle designed to show everyone to advantage.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

A quiet, unassuming masterpiece that deserves to be cherished,

June 3, 2019 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

This is not acting, but simply ex- isting in front of a camera.

September 4, 2018 | Full Review…

This is not my cup of tea, but it is a fascinating last picture show for a likeable legendary acting troupe.

October 30, 2008 | Rating: C | Full Review…

The names of Lillian Gish, Bette Davis and Vincent Price will never be forgotten by film lovers. The Whales of August, on the other hand, surely will be.

April 23, 2004 | Rating: 60/100

A worthy film that affords the viewer a rare chance to see some fine acting by stars the like we'll not see again.

March 1, 2004 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Whales of August

This stuffy drama will interest anyone who likes movies about the elderly, but other wise, I'd say stay away from it. It's very boring, slow, and by the middle, I didn't care about the story anymore.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

The Whales of August Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

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