Box art for The Cove

The Cove

documentary, thrillers

An amazing true story that is one part action-adventure thriller, one part documentary and a completely heart-pounding call for help from the world's oceans.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score



Fisher Stevens, Paula Pesmen

directed by

Louie Psihoyos


Mark Monroe



common sense

ON for kids age 14
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
0 out of 5
2 out of 5
Positive messages
4 out of 5
Positive role models
4 out of 5
0 out of 5
3 out of 5

Gruesome, powerful, and inspiring dolphin documentary.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie is the 2009 Oscar winner for Best Documentary. It contains brief, but disturbing and gruesome imagery around the slaughter of dolphins in Taiji, Japan. Though the movie contains a plethora of information about dolphins, the arc of the story focuses on the dangerous attempts to gather proof of the dolphin slaughters. The movie is informative, interesting, and inspiring, but contains shocking pictures: blood-red water, fishermen striking blows, and dolphins struggling and dying. Also, there's an almost constant tension in the film, an ever-present threat of violence. The goal of the movie is to inspire audiences that something can be done, but sensitive and younger viewers might wish to avoid it.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the disturbing and violent images in the film. Was it necessary to show them?
  • Are Ric O'Barry's methods to save the dolphins drastic, or are they appropriate? What else could people do to help?
  • If the dolphins are smarter than humans, what types of things might they teach us?
  • What other atrocities are happening in the world in the name of greed and profit? What are some of the other ways we can stop them?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 28
    see all The Cove reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: Beyond the high-stakes game of cat and mouse, the film explores the mysterious relationship between humans and dolphins and the unexplainable connection between our two species.

- Adam Graham, Detroit News, Friday, August 7, 2009

Fresh: Psihoyos and his team got the footage they were after -- thanks to meticulous planning, lots of furtive sneaking around and the judicious placement of underwater microphones and cameras disguised as rocks.

- Amy Biancolli, San Francisco Chronicle, Friday, August 7, 2009

Fresh: Directed by Louie Psihoyos, this well-intentioned documentary exposes the harvesting of dolphins by Japanese fishermen, yet its theatrics suggest a cross between reality TV and Mission: Impossible.

- Andrea Gronvall, Chicago Reader, Friday, August 7, 2009

Audience Reviews

3 stars

Another Documentary this one about the killing and capture of dolphins in Japan. The export to Dolphin shows all over the world. This film shows a group of people trying to put an end to this. Movie wise it shows you what National Geographic will not show you. Do I go to dolphin and sea lion shows anywhere I am at, you bet. Do I support the capture no, but that will not keep me from watching a animal show and paying close attention to weather they are well kept. 3 1/2 stars

- bbcfloridabound, Sunday, August 29, 2010

4 stars

Both thrilling and devastating, this daring documentary exposes the revolting covert massacre of dolphins in Japan, urging us to act against the horrors that men do to animals all over the world. Some may feel that the filmmakers' arguments are not very consistent, but no one can deny there is a vast material here for discussion.

- blacksheepboy, Sunday, May 30, 2010

4 stars

Shocking is the word that this documentary is trying to get out. This movie kept me glued to the very end and you will see some unbelievable scenes that will shock you and disgust you. I don?t want to give anything away because if you don?t know too much about this then the shock value is a 10+!! I urge anyone that if you watch only one documentary this year then this as to be the one!

- briandeguelle, Wednesday, April 21, 2010