Rent Whale Rider (2002)

3.8 of 5 from 152 ratings
1h 37min
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In a culture steeped in tradition, one young girl challenged the past and found hope for the future. The Maori living in a small village on the coast of New Zealand claim their descent from Paikea, the Whale Rider. In every generation, a male heir has succeeded as chief. That time is now. When twins are born and the boy twin dies, Koro the chief is unwilling to accept his grand-daughter, Pai, as a future leader. As Pai matures, KIoro remains convinced that the tribe's misfortunes began at her birth and calls for his people to bring their sons to him, in the hope that the new leader is among them.
Pai loves Koro more than anyone in the world, but she must stand up to him and a thousand years of tradition to reveal the true way forward.
, , , , , Mana Taumaunu, , , , , Rawinia Clarke, , , , Tyronne White, Taupua Whakataka-Brightwell, Tenia McClutchie-Mita, Peter Patuwai, Rutene Spooner, Riccardo Davis
Niki Caro, Witi Ihimaera
Children & Family, Drama
New Zealand

2003 Sundance Film Festival World Cinema Audience Award Dramatic

Release Date:
Run Time:
97 minutes
English, English Hard of Hearing
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.78:1 / 16:9
  • Audio Commentary by Director, Niki Caro
  • Behind the Scenes Featurette
  • Te Waka Featurette
  • 8 Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary
  • Keisha Castle-Huges Audition Clips
  • Trailers
  • TV and Radio Spots

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Reviews (5) of Whale Rider

Girl power - Whale Rider review by JD

Spoiler Alert

2 previous reviewers saw this as a coming of age. I saw it as the rise of feminism against a background of entrenched chauvinism. The grandfather has blighted his entire family with his great desire to see a hero rise from one of the male members. He never considers the possibility of a heroine. In this regard the ending is fairly clear from a few minutes in. What carries the film is some exquisite dynamic within the rest of the family and some amazing New Zealand scenery.

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

Are there any other mvoies like this? - Whale Rider review by CP Customer

Spoiler Alert

if so, I would like to see some more!

The only 5 star movie so far for me.

It's a coming of age drama with a great performance from the young female lead.

Beautiful NZ scenery, strong storyline, moving and memorable. Watched it a second time before returning the DVD.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Superb - far more than a children's film - Whale Rider review by RP

Spoiler Alert

A coming of age film with a difference - a tremendous difference, since this is set in a small Maori costal settlement in present day New Zealand, and not (as almost all others are) in smalltown USA.

Beautifully photographed, it tells the tale of the chief Koro who has no first-born grandson to lead the tribe. Sadly, his grandson died at birth - but his twin sister Paikea survived. Koro has no time for girls - but Paikea is strong willed and the stuff of which leaders are made...

Young Keisha Castle-Hughes plays the role of Paikea to perfection and was Oscar nominated. Only 11 years old when the film was made, her performance is quite astonishing.

The film won the 2003 BAFTA Children's Best Feature Film Award - but it's far more than a children's film.

Superb stuff - 5/5 stars.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.