White Squall (1996) - Rotten Tomatoes

White Squall1996

White Squall (1996)



Critic Consensus: Though it gets occasionally bogged down by touchy-feely sentiment, White Squall benefits greatly from Jeff Bridges' assured lead performance and Ridley Scott's visceral, exciting direction.

White Squall Photos

Movie Info

Based on a true incident from 1960, White Squall is the story of the tragic sinking of the Albatross, a prep school educational two-masted schooner, during a Caribbean storm. Screenwriter Todd Robinson wrote the script after meeting one of the tragedy's survivors, Chuck Gieg. In the film, Gieg (Scott Wolf) is the narrator. He and his fellow students, whose parents have paid handsomely for their schooling, which combines classroom work with real-life adventure, are introduced to their grizzled seafaring captain, Christopher Sheldon (Jeff Bridges). Gieg is initially skeptical of Sheldon's authority, but he gradually comes to see the captain as a model of manhood. The other boys aboard include Frank Beaumont (Jeremy Sisto), a self-absorbed snob; Dean Preston (Eric Michael Cole), a troublemaker and bully; Tod Johnston (Balthazar Getty), a returning student; and the naïve Tracy Lapchick (Ethan Embry). John Savage plays the pompous English teacher aboard the ship. Various incidents establish the boys' insecurities and relationships with the authorities -- and foreshadow their eventual fate. The killer squall comes up quietly but soon turns deadly, and the boys are forced to go beyond their privileged upbringings and deal with real danger. ~ Michael Betzold, Rovi

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Jeff Bridges
as Christopher Sheldon
Caroline Goodall
as Dr. Alice Sheldon
Scott Wolf
as Chuck Gieg
Jeremy Sisto
as Frank Beaumont
Balthazar Getty
as Tod Johnstone
Ethan Embry
as Tracy Lapchick
Ryan Phillippe
as Gil Martin
David Lascher
as Robert March
Eric Michael Cole
as Dean Preston
Jason Marsden
as Shay Jennings
Julio Oscar Mechoso
as Girard Pascal
David Selby
as Francis Beaumont
Jordan Clarke
as Charles Gieg
Lizbeth MacKay
as Middy Gieg
Jill Larson
as Peggy Beaumont
James Medina
as Cuban Commander
Nicole Ann Samuel
as Girl In Brothel
Becky Ann Baker
as Ms. Boyde
Nathaniel Ives
as Relief Bo'sun
Chris J. Condon
as Crew Member
Andrew Hartley
as Crew Member
Jordan Scott (II)
as Danish Schoolgirl
Nynne Christiansen
as Danish Schoolgirl
Charlotte Anderson
as Danish Schoolgirl
Lene Kristensen
as Danish Schoolgirl
Anja Clausen
as Danish Schoolgirl
Anita Weider
as Danish Schoolgirl
Emily Chittell
as Danish Schoolgirl
Mette Hocke
as Danish Schoolgirl
View All

News & Interviews for White Squall

Critic Reviews for White Squall

All Critics (36) | Top Critics (14)

The filmmakers take a rather facile, anachronistic "Oprah"-esque approach toward the boys' feelings about their families and the Skipper's role as a "tough love"-minded surrogate father.

July 25, 2008
Top Critic

This particular landlubber felt like jelly for the rest of the day, notwithstanding the hokey courtroom showdown that closes the picture.

January 26, 2006 | Full Review…

Despite great scenery, the distinctive visual ideas of Mr. Scott (Alien, Blade Runner) and the strong dramatic presence of Mr. Bridges, most of White Squall remains listless and tame.

May 20, 2003 | Rating: 2.5/5

Typically, Bridges gives a deftly understated performance uncluttered by vanity or shallow pathos. No wonder he's not a star.

May 12, 2001 | Full Review…

The 20 or so minutes we spend with the Albatross in the squall is high adventure, to be sure. Everything else is ballast.

February 13, 2001 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Although only slightly more than two hours, the film seems becalmed for days in what seems a dramatic doldrum.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for White Squall

The strongest force in nature is the will to survive.

Wahida K
Wahida K

Super Reviewer

A group of teenage boys learn discipline, courage, and what it's like to stick together as a unit as they aboard the Albatross and ride it out into the great wide open in the Caribbean. Whether they're there because their parents want them to grow up and learn responsibility, or whether they're there because they want to be, they will all learn the comraderie, the hardships, and everything else that goes along with traveling to sea. All of the good and the bad must come together when the Albatross runs into a white squall, a MAJOR storm at sea. How could anybody not love "White Squall"? There are a lot of great movies about going out to sea, and "White Squall" is up there with the best of them. It's not like "Crimson Tide", "U-571", and those; it's a spectacular coming of age film that has nothing to do with war. Scott Wolf, Ryan Phillippe, and the rest of the crew do a good job of acting, and Jeff Bridges does the best of all in portraying the sternness, yet warm-hearted character that is the Skipper. If you're a fan of coming of age movies like "Stand By Me", and if you like very entertaining movies that explore the hardships of life to a tee, get "White Squall" right NOW! It's one of the best movies you've never heard of. Example line from the movie: "I don't want it to end. I don't want to go back to what I was before I came here: anonymous." NOTE: That was my Amazon review from the year 2002.

Jason Owens
Jason Owens

Super Reviewer

One of Ridley Scott's less interesting offerings, this ocean bound adventure is typically nicely shot, but the onboard soulsearching is contrived and uninteresting. An interest in and knowledge of sailing would probably help. But I have neither.

xGary Xx
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

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