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The Whales of August Details


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. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:October 16, 1987


Awarded by
National Board of Review Lillian Gish Best Actress 1987 Winner
Independent Spirit Awards Lillian Gish Best Actress 1987 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Ann Sothern Best Supporting Actress 1987 Nominee
Independent Spirit Awards Ann Sothern Best Supporting Actress 1987 Nominee
Independent Spirit Awards Vincent Price Best Supporting Actor 1987 Nominee


Bette Davis
as Libby Strong
Lillian Gish
as Sarah Webber
Vincent Price
as Mr. Nikolai Maranov
Ann Sothern
as Tisha Doughty
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 Doughty
Mary Steenburgen
as Young Sarah


Lindsay Anderson
Shep Gordon
Mike Kaplan
Carolyn Pfeiffer
David Berry
David Berry
Play Author
Mike Fash
Derek Wadsworth
Musical Direction/Supervision
Alan Price
Composer (Music Score)
Dixie J. Capp
Production Designer
Jocelyn Herbert
Production Designer
Bob Fox
Art Director
K.C. Fox
Art Director
Stuart M. Besser
Associate Producer
Shep Gordon
Executive Producer
Sosie Hublitz
Set Designer
Rudy Dillon
Costume Designer
Julie Weiss
Costume Designer
Donald Summer
Sound/Sound Designer
Julie Hewett
Toni Trimble