We have compiled a list of recommended viewing in regards to cetaceans, captivity, and the ocean. Most of these documentaries are available on various streaming platforms. We have also included YouTube viewing options further down the page.
Viewing Note: Your local library or school (all grades/degrees) might have access to a free streaming platform. Please inquire locally to see what options are available and which documentaries you can view.
Synopsis: This film is about Tilikum - an orca taken from the wild in 1983 off the coast of Iceland. The film dives into the concerns of captivity, mistreatment, and what led to Tilikum's agression and his involvement in the death of three people.
Viewing: Available for purchase through Amazon Prime. Depending upon your region, you might be able to watch this film streaming on fuboTV, Hoopla, Magnolia Selects, or for free with ads on Crackle and Pluto TV, and possibly through Hulu.
More information here: www.blackfishmovie.com/watch
+Streaming right now - 'Blackfish' is streaming on Kanopy. Your region may or may not have access. Please check here to see if you can stream the documentary for free: https://www.kanopy.com/en/product/11264
Dammed to Extinction
Synopsis: Insight into how four dams are causing a scarcity of Chinook salmon and pushing the critically endangered southern resident orcas toward extinction.
Viewing: 'Dammed to Extinction' is available for purchase through Amazon Prime.
More information here: https://www.dammedtoextinction.com/about-1
+Streaming right now - This documentary is streaming on Kanopy. Your region may or may not have access. Please check here to see if you can stream the documentary for free: https://www.kanopy.com/en/product/10846948
Synopsis: This documentary follows Ric O'Barry (trainer turned advocate) as he documents the dolphin hunting operations in Taiji, Japan. In the 1960s, O'Barry helped capture and train the five wild dolphins who shared the role of "Flipper" in the TV series. That show influenced the development of captive dolphin attractions at marine parks.
Viewing: 'The Cove' is available for purchase through Amazon Prime or streaming with certain subscriptions on Prime. Depending upon your region, this film might be available on the Roku Channel, Tubi, PlutoTV, Hulu.
More information here: opsociety.org/our-work/films/the-cove
Synopsis: Oceans are a sonic symphony. Sound is essential to the survival and prosperity of marine life.
But man-made ocean noise is threatening this fragile world.
Sonic Sea is about protecting life in our waters from the destructive effects of oceanic noise pollution.
Born to be Free
Synopsis: Born to be Free is a investigative film about the global trade in wild sea mammals - including the shocking treatment that whales, dolphins, and walruses are subjected to as we discover the corruption at the heart of this cruel international business.
Viewing: ‘Born to be Free’ is available for purchase through Dogwoof.
More information here: watch.dogwoof.com/film/born-to-be-free
Synopsis: The story of the world's longest-held captive orca, the changing sentiment about orcas in captivity, and the rise of sea sanctuaries.
Viewing: ‘Corky’ is available to purchase through Amazon Prime Video and Vimeo.
More information here: (In the 'About' section) www.facebook.com/CorkyDocumentary
Long Gone Wild
Synopsis: This film focuses on the plight of captive orcas with a focus on "the Blackfish effect", captivity, orcas as sentient animals, the Whale Sanctuary Project and it's model seaside sanctuary for retired orcas, and the ominous threat posed by mega-aquariums.
Viewing: ‘Long Gone Wild’ is available for purchase through Amazon Prime, Vimeo, iTunes and Google Play.
More information here: www.longgonewild.com/watch
Synopsis: A documentary about a baby orca who lost his family and tried to befriend people. Set on the rugged west coast of Vancouver Island, Luna's story has captured the hearts of people around the world.
Viewing: This film is currently available for viewing at IMAX Victoria. For updates on how to watch the documentary, please refer to the official Saving Luna website.
More information here: https://www.savingluna.com/index.html
Last of the Right Whales
Synopsis: With unprecedented access to film the whale migration, Last of the Right Whales brings a message of hope about the most at risk great whale on the planet. North Atlantic right whales are dying faster than they can reproduce. With less than 350 remaining, these great whales rarely die of natural causes. Instead they are run over by ships or suffer lethal injuries from fishing gear. If we don’t stop killing them, in 20 years they could be extinct.
Canada Viewing: Please note that this film is available for streaming online specifically within Canada and is not currently worldwide. For streaming info (broadcasts) and screenings of this film please check here: https://lastoftherightwhales.com/screenings
The Whale Hunters - Stacey Dooley Investigates
Synopsis: Via BBC: Stacey Dooley investigates the controversial world of whale hunting. This contentious practice has hit the headlines around the world as whaling countries defy international pressure to ban the practice. Whalers argue it is just food, like any other meat. Campaigners call it barbaric and outdated. With rare access to a Norwegian commercial hunting vessel, Stacey witnesses the killing of a Minke whale. And on the remote Faroe islands, modern-day hunters defend their tradition of whale slaughter for food, while activists from around the world say they will keep coming to the island until they stop.
UK Viewing: This film is currently only accessible via BBC iPlayer - which is specific to the UK.
More information here: www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p07zt8qv/stacey-dooley-investigates-the-whale-hunters
What Killed the Whale?
Synopsis: Biologist Ella Al-Shamahi investigates the rise in whale strandings along the UK coastline, joining the team performing an autopsy on a 40-foot sei whale washed up near Edinburgh. Throughout the post-mortem, the team reveal clues about what killed the creature, in an attempt to uncover why whales have been dying in such record numbers and find pioneering solutions that could still save them.
Viewing: This film is accessible via Channel 4 - link below.
More information here: https://www.channel4.com/programmes/what-killed-the-whale
Synopsis: Passionate about ocean life, a filmmaker sets out to document the harm that humans do to marine species - and uncovers alarming global corruption.
Viewing: ‘Seaspiracy' is currently available to watch on Netflix.
More information here: www.seaspiracy.org
Documentaries available on YouTube (Free)
Tails of Confinement
Synopsis: This is a short documentary that follows the personal journey of someone, who as child was taken to marine parks to see captive whales and dolphins, to a young woman who grew up to realise the dark truth about the captive cetacean industry.
Inside The Tanks
Synopsis: This film aims to enrich the discussion surrounding marine mammal captivity. The documentary includes in-depth interviews from 'The Born Free Foundation', Marine Biologist Ingrid Visser, former supervisor/trainer John Hargrove, plus a world exclusive interview with the Zoological Director of 'Marineland' (in Antibes) Jon Kershaw.
Eating Our Way
Synopsis: Starring globally renowned figures and the world's leading scientists - this documentary discusses the impact our food choices are having on our planet, including the creation of hundreds of "dead zones" in our oceans. [Dr Sylvia Earle discusses the ocean 'dead zones' - beginning approx 20 minutes into the film]
Lolita Slave to Entertainment
Synopsis: In the summer of 1970, a barbaric hunt in the Puget Sound (Salish Sea) killed five orcas and destroyed the lives of countless others. Six young orcas were ripped away from their family, sold to marine parks, and shipped across the world to enter into a life of slavery. 52+ years later only one survives; Tokitae ("Lolita").
Free the Snake
Synopsis: Snake River Salmon have been relocated and diverted - in the hope that enough would swim beyond four dams to reach their historic habitat in numbers that would assure their future. It's not working. It’s time to breach the dams and reconnect wild salmon to this important watershed.
Synopsis: This film explores the evolution of our national attitude from pride in big dams as engineering wonders to the growing awareness that our own future is bound to the life and health of wild rivers.
Synopsis: "Artifishal" is a film about people, rivers, and the fight for the future of wild fish and the environment that supports them. This documentary by Patagonia explores the wild salmon that are approaching extinction, threats posed by fish hatcheries and fish farms, and the environmental impacts.
Additional documentaries to consider:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead