Orca

Tagline : Terror just beneath the surface.

Runtime : 95 mins

Genre : Adventure Horror Thriller

Vote Rating : 6.2/10

Budget : 17.5 million $ USD

Revenue : 14.7 million $ USD

Plot : After witnessing the killing of his mate and offspring at the hands of a reckless Irish captain, a vengeful killer whale rampages through the fisherman's Newfoundland harbor. Under pressure from the villagers, the captain, a female marine biologist and an Indigenous tribalist venture after the great beast, who will meet them on its own turf.

Cast Members

Reviews

Not great like “Jaws,” but a moving maritime tragedy and, in ways, magnificent RELEASED IN 1977 and directed by Michael Anderson, "Orca" stars Richard Harris as a Newfoundland fisherman trying to make some big money by capturing a killer whale for a marine park. Unfortunately he ends up horribly botching the job, which incurs the vengeful wrath of the father killer whale. Coming out two years after the blockbuster “Jaws,” this is sort of a knockoff, but it’s too different in story/tone to be cheap imitation, although there are obvious similarities: The last third of the film involves a boat crew sailing out to sea to take on the oceanic antagonist; and another scene where an individual slides down a leaning platform toward the marine creature. In any case, “Orca” may not be technically as good as "Jaws" but it certainly has its unique attractions. The story is a maritime tragedy and utterly serious in tone with no lightness to be seen, like in “Piranha” (1978). The melodramatic plot basically inverts Melville’s “Moby Dick” wherein in the whale takes the place of bitter Ahab. The score by Ennio Morricone (e.g. "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly") is equal-parts beautiful, touching and haunting. Also, the casting is great: Harris is perfect as the aging sea salt, Charlotte Rampling is super sharp & intellectual as the cetacean biologist, Will Sampson ("One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest") is great (and clichéd) as the Indian sage with his wise, foreboding words and Bo Derek is, well, you know. In addition, the Newfoundland locations are fabulous and, at about an hour and a half, the film is short and sweet; so there's not much filler. That said, people suffering ADHD might complain that the pace is a little slow at times. A couple of notable scenes come to mind: The unsettling sequence where Orca's mate aborts her calf while strung up on the vessel; and the one where Orca causes mass destruction in the village at night whereupon Nolan (Harris) gazes at the havoc while the whale jumps in and out of the water in elation. Let me close by emphasizing that “Orca” is NOT a Grade B creature-on-the-loose flick (e.g. 2000’s "Crocodile"); it's a serious and moving tragedy. THE FILM RUNS 92 minutes. WRITERS: Luciano Vincenzoni, Sergio Donati and Robert Towne, based on Arthur Herzog’s novel. GRADE: B+

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