The close relationship between dolphins and humans continues from the seas to the screen in these Dolphin Movies.
Though dogs are described as “man’s best friend,” it appears dolphins are becoming quite friendly with humans too.
Among all the creatures in the waters, dolphins are the closest animals to humans and they are a constant source of joy and inspiration. Just watching dolphins play after a hard day’s work is enough to reduce stress in many people.
Their incredible intelligence and pleasant personality makes them ideal candidates for the big screen as seen in the many dolphin movies produced over the years.
From adventure, to comedy, to drama the following is our compilation of the most popular dolphin movies ever made with a brief hint on what each flick is about.
10 Of The Most Popular Dolphin Movies Of All Time
10) Dolphin Tale
Year Released: 2011
Summary: Based on a true story about a bottlenose dolphin named Winter. In the movie, a dolphin loses its tail after getting caught in a rope attached to a crab trap. Later, the tail is amputated and the dolphin is fitted with a prosthetic tail.
The movie is about the interaction between the dolphin and the new tail and eventually adapting to new challenges in life.
9) The Cove
Year Released: 2009
Summary: This is a very powerful documentary about dolphin hunting in Japan.
It calls for an end to brutal mass dolphin kills and harmful Japanese fishing practices. The producers went to a region of Japan and were able to get footage of dolphins being trapped and taken alive to be sold later to zoos, and marine parks. The ones that are not sold into captivity are sold as flesh to be eaten by humans.
The Cove won the 2010 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
8) Eye Of The Dolphin
Year Released: 2007
Summary: After the death of her mother, fourteen year old Alyssa is forced to live with her grandmother. She is a troubled teenager and gets caught while smoking in high school. Thereafter, she is taken to the Bahamas to live with her father whom she never met before.
This is very inconvenient for both of them as he is a dolphin researcher and is always busy. At first, they do not get along at all. However, their shared passion for understanding dolphins eventually brings them closer through a dolphin that her father can’t stand.
7) Free Willy
Year Released: 1993
Summary: A family drama about an unlikely friendship between a troubled 12-year old boy, Jesse, and an orca (or killer whale). Jesse is a troubled kid, abandoned by his mom, and he gets into trouble with the police. While on probation, he meets a captive Orca named Willy at a marine theme park.
Willy has issues of his own and is very uncooperative with the staff of the theme park but he saves Jesse from drowning. The rest of the movie focuses on Jesse’s attempts to get Willy back into the wild.
Free Willy was a commercial success earning $153.6 million after a budget of $20 million. The movie also has three sequels and a video game.
6) The Big Blue (Le Grand Bleu)
Year Released: 1988
Summary: Released under the French title Le Grand Bleu in some countries, this Cinema du Look visual style film focuses on friendship and sports rivalry.
The movie is a heavily fictionalized story about two rivals and extremely competitive free divers loosely based on the true story of two men: Jacques Mayol and Enzo Maiorca.
The story follows their early years in Greece till their tragic deaths in a diving competition in Sicily. The Big Blue is a cult classic among divers and is one of the most successful French productions ever.
5) Zeus and Roxanne
Year Released: 1997
Summary: This 1997 family comedy/adventure movie is about a dolphin and a dog that become best friends.
The dog is named Zeus and is owned by Terry an aspiring musician. One day, as Zeus is walking down the pier he sees a dolphin: Roxanne. Zeus is entranced by the dolphin’s movements. Eventually, Zeus destroys the garden of a neighbor, Mary, a marine biologist that happens to be working with Roxanne, the same dolphin.
Both animals become friends and their friendship creates a parallel love story between Mary and Terry.
4) Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
Year Released: 1994
Summary: This hilarious pop culture comedy is about a pet detective and stars Jim Carrey as Ace Ventura. He is hired to find the Miami Dolphins Mascot after it is kidnapped.
Throughout the investigation, Ace Ventura (The detective) ends up being more useful than the Miami-Dade Police department. Despite his antics, he eventually rescues the dolphin and discovers that it was an inside job.
Though it received a lot of mixed reviews, this movie was a box office success: earning $107 million worldwide from a budget of $15 million.
3) The Day Of The Dolphin
Year Released: 1973
Summary: This movie is an action thriller/science fiction picture. The storyline follows a marine biologist couple (a husband and his beautiful wife), who train dolphins to communicate in English with humans.
After they succeed, these dolphins are kidnapped with a plan to train them further to assassinate the President of the United States.
Year Released: 2013
Summary: Another documentary based on the controversial treatment and training of large marine animals including dolphins in aquariums and marine parks.
The main plot revolves around the true story of a captive bull orca, Tilikum. Tilikum (now late) was held at SeaWorld for decades performing in many marine shows.
Blackfish is easily one of the most controversial dolphin movies ever. In fact this movie generated a lot of interest in the issue of the welfare of captive cetaceans.
This documentary was a success and forced aquariums worldwide to have a serious rethink about their policies.
Year Released: 1996
Summary: Flipper is by far the most popular of all dolphin movies ever. It’s a remake of a 1963 adventure film with the same title.
Sandy is a boy who has to spend summer break with his uncle on the Gold Coast, Florida. He dreads a boring summer but instead he meets and befriends a dolphin. He helps the dolphin recover from a deadly spear injury and names the creature Flipper.
The dolphin, Flipper, and Sandy become inseparable to the annoyance of the local bad guy, Dirk Moran.
The movie follows the subsequent adventures of boy and dolphin.