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Big Miracle

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Ken Kwapis

30 million USD




Biography, Drama, Romance

Adapted from
Freeing the Whales

United States United Kingdom

Big Miracle movie poster

Release date
February 3, 2012 (2012-02-03)

Based on
Freeing the Whales  by Tom Rose

Jack Amiel (screenplay), Michael Begler (screenplay), Thomas Rose (book)

Initial release
February 2, 2012 (Kazakhstan)

Drew Barrymore
(Rachel Kramer),
John Krasinski
(Adam Carlson),
Kristen Bell
(Jill Jerard),
Vinessa Shaw
(Kelly Meyers),
Dermot Mulroney
(Colonel Scott Boyer),
Ted Danson
(J. W. McGraw)

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A family of whales trapped beneath the ice. One unforgettable rescue.

Big miracle trailer 2012 official hd

Big Miracle is a 2012 British-American drama film directed by Ken Kwapis, and stars Drew Barrymore and John Krasinski. The film is based on Tom Rose's 1989 book Freeing the Whales, which covers Operation Breakthrough, the 1988 international effort to rescue gray whales trapped in ice near Point Barrow, Alaska.


Big Miracle movie scenes

Big miracle 2011 trailer drew barrymore john krasinki kristen bell


Big Miracle movie scenes

In small town Alaska, Adam Carlson a news reporter recruits his ex-girlfriend Rachel – a Greenpeace volunteer – on a campaign to save a family of gray whales trapped by rapidly forming ice in the Arctic Circle. Adam names the adult whales Fred and Wilma, and the infant Bamm-Bamm.

Big Miracle movie scenes

Drawn into the collaborative rescue work are several normally hostile factions: Inupiat whale hunters, a Greenpeace environmental activist, an oil executive, ambitious news reporters, the National Guard, the American president and politicians on the state, national and international levels. Also joining in the effort are two entrepreneurs from Minnesota, who provide de-icing machines to help keep the hole open.

Big Miracle movie scenes

Finally an enormous Soviet ice-breaker ship arrives to remove the last barrier before the whales die. The ship's first attempt doesn't work and leaves only a dent. The ice is finally broken and the adult whales Fred and Wilma escape the ice. Sadly, the infant whale Bamm-Bamm dies from injuries and does not surface again.

Big Miracle movie scenes

In the epilogue narrated by Nathan reveals that McGraw used his new reputation to uphold a contract to clean up the Exxon Valdez oil spill, Karl and Dean's de-icers made them local celebrities, Scott and Kelly were married, Jill worked her way up to a national news network, Greenpeace membership became more prominent, Adam confesses his love for Rachel and she returns his affections and they share a kiss, Adam got to stay being a news anchor, and both Nathan and Malik became closer to one another, and Nathan recalls about the hole in which the whales were first found and quotes "It kept getting bigger and bigger, until it let the whole world in."

In a post-credits scene Fred and Wilma swim away free in the ocean.


  • John Krasinski as Adam Carlson
  • Drew Barrymore as Rachel Kramer, based on Greenpeace activist Cindy Lowry
  • Ahmaogak Sweeney as Inupiat grandson Nathan to Malik
  • John Pingayak as Inupiat whaler Malik
  • Kristen Bell as Jill Gerard, a news reporter
  • Vinessa Shaw as Kelly Meyers
  • Stephen Root as Gov. Haskell
  • Ted Danson as J.W. McGraw
  • Kathy Baker as Ruth McGraw
  • Dermot Mulroney as Colonel Scott Boyer
  • Rob Riggle as Dean Glowacki
  • Michael Gaston as Porter Beckford
  • Ken Smith as Stu
  • Megan Angela Smith as Sheena
  • Tim Blake Nelson as Pat Lafayette
  • James LeGros as Karl Hootkin
  • Mark Ivanir as Dimitri
  • Stefan Kapicic as Yuri
  • Andrew Daly as Don Davis
  • Jonathan Slavin as Roger Notch
  • Gregory Jbara as General Stanton
  • John Michael Higgins as Wes Handrick
  • Sarah Palin as herself (archive footage, as Sarah Heath, in her brief sportscasting career)
  • Production

    Warner Bros. bought the screenplay by Jack Amiel and Michael Begler in April 2009, and in the following June, Kwapis was attached to direct. In September 2010, with Drew Barrymore and John Krasinski cast in the starring roles, filming began in Seward. It had a production budget of $30 or 40 million. The crew constructed sets in Anchorage to resemble places in Barrow during the whale rescue. Filming lasted for 10 weeks. The film's working title was Everybody Loves Whales, which is a line still heard in the film. Visual effects on Big Miracle were created by Rhythm and Hues Studios and Modus FX. Burger King promoted the movie with toys. The MPAA has rated this film PG for language.

    The red-and-black Soviet icebreaker in the movie is modeled after real world Arktika-class nuclear-powered icebreaker which is considerably larger than the diesel-electric icebreaker used in the actual rescue effort, the 1975-built Admiral Makarov. In shots which include live footage of the 2007-built 50 Let Pobedy, the blue-and-white polar bear logo of the former operator of the Russian nuclear icebreaker fleet, Murmansk Shipping Company, is clearly visible but the atom symbol on the hull as well as the name of the vessel has been airbrushed out.


    On the aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a rating of 74% positive reviews from 95 critics. The site's consensus was: "Big Miracle uses real-life events as the basis for a surprisingly satisfying family drama." Metacritic currently holds a score of 61 based on 28 reviews. The film opened with $2,267,385 on its opening day, ranking at No. 4 behind Chronicle, The Woman in Black, and The Grey at the box office. The film grossed $7,760,205 on its opening weekend and remained at the same spot. On its second weekend the film dropped to #8, with $3,946,050. The film closed its run on April 5, 2012, with $24,719,215 worldwide.


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