Movies about dolphins (our favorites)

Elijah Wood in 'Flipper'


There is something special about dolphins - they're friendly, intelligent, and playful. Humans are captivated by them, in part because they are so humanlike in many ways (just without all the bad stuff). So it's no surprise that there are lots of movies about dolphins out there, and although some of them are really really bad (trust us), there are lots of great ones. We wanted to round up our favorites, including documentaries about dolphins, animated movies, and more. Keep in mind that not all of these are 'feel-good', especially some of the documentaries Let's get into the list:

The Cove (2009)

The Cove is one of the most powerful documentaries I've ever seen. You will almost certainly find this difficult to watch, and you will likely cry, but I have no doubt that it will stir something inside of you and make you care about an issue you perhaps didn't even know about before viewing the film. It follows a group of activists to a cove near Taijii, Japan, where they witness the horrifying acts against wild dolphins. Be warned, this is a graphic film but as I said, I think it's important viewing.

Dolphin Reef (2018)

Ok, this is another documentary but is much more positive. Plus, it's more suitable for younger audiences. The film is narrated by Natalie Portman and tells the story of Echo, a young, playful dolphin who doesn't want to grow up. The film not only allows younger viewers to learn about dolphins, but it also has great life lessons as all good stories do. We love this film and recommend it highly.

Flipper (1996)

No list about dolphin movies would be complete without Flipper! The 1996 movie is held in high regard by many and features some familiar faces (including Elijah Wood of Lord of the Rings). It's the ultimate feel-good film and the relationship that the boy has with the dolphin is heartwarming.

Bernie The Dolphin (2018)

This movie is about a young brother and sister who find a sunburned dolphin and become friends with him. The film is of course fictional, but we think the film is really sweet and would be a great watch for any kids who want to learn more about the way in which human activities impact dolphins and other sea mammals living in our oceans. Currently, you can find this movie streaming via Hoopla.

Dolphin Tale (2011)

Despite the vast number of movies about dolphins befriending children, many of them are not worth watching. Dolphin Tale is an exception in this genre and received praise from critics for its heart-warming story and good performances. This is not surprising given the people attached to this movie - Morgan Freeman, Kris Kristofferson, and Ashley Judd all pop up in the film, plus it was directed by Charles Martin Smith who has previously worked on movies such as American Graffiti. The sequel (titled Dolphin Tale 2) is also worth a watch if you have kids who love dolphin movies. You can stream Dolphin Tale via HBO Max right now.

Dolphin Kick (2019)

What makes Dolphin Tale a slightly more interesting inclusion in this list is that the movie is partly based on a true story - the film depicts a young swimmer who regains his love of the water after the loss of his mother by befriending a dolphin, and incredibly this is somewhat based on the real experiences of the director. The movie isn't as popular as some of the other entries in this list, but we'd love more people to give it a watch, plus you can easily watch this movie for free via IMDBtv on Prime Video.

So how does that list look? Are there are dolphin movies we have forgotten to include? Let us know! If you're looking for more movies related to the sea, check out our list of the best surfing documentaries.