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Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd, Nathan Gamble, Kris Kristofferson, Cozi Zuehlsdorff ... see more see more... , Morgan Freeman , Austin Stowell , Frances Sternhagen , Austin Highsmith , Betsy Landin , Juliana Harkavy , Megan Lozicki , Jim Fitzpatrick , Kim Ostrenko , Michael Roark , Richard Libertini , Ray McKinnon , Ashley White , Tom Nowicki , Rus Blackwell , Marc Macaulay , Jennifer De Castroverde , Denise Durette , Vivian Ruiz , Laila Harris , Stacy Ann Rose , Kurt Yaeger , Mike Maki , Mike Pniewski , Nicholas Turner Martin , Carlos Guerrero Jr. , Paul Amadi , Charlotte Connick , Winter , Abby Stone , Cat Rust , Elaina Franklin

Dolphin Tale is inspired by the amazing true story of a brave dolphin and the compassionate strangers who banded together to save her life. Swimming free, a young dolphin is caught in a crab trap, sev... read more read more...erely damaging her tail. She is rescued and transported to the Clearwater Marine Hospital, where she is named Winter. But her fight for survival has just begun. Without a tail, Winter's prognosis is dire. It will take the expertise of a dedicated marine biologist, the ingenuity of a brilliant prosthetics doctor, and the unwavering devotion of a young boy to bring about a groundbreaking miracle-a miracle that might not only save Winter but could also help scores of people around the world. -- (C) Warner Bros

Flixster Users

81% liked it

43,744 ratings


82% liked it

106 critics

DVD Release Date: December 20, 2011

Stats: 2,721 reviews

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Flixster Reviews (2,721)

  • March 23, 2012
    At the heart of Dolphin Tale there is a wonderful story, more so if it is in fact as true as it claims. The actors were all on good form and reasonably well cast, the stereotypes and cliches were minimal and it was well directed. The real problem is the writing. There are so many... read more stupid sub-plots and pointless scenes that it really tarnishes what should have been a simple story, especially as it is nearly two hours long. The remote control helicopter scene is a prime example, it takes up 10 minutes and adds absolutely nothing to the finished film but is obviously just there due to its 3D cinema release. A good example in the argument against 3D films. The whole 'solder' storyline was a bit sickly too, not sure why every handicap has to be justified in some way but then again, it comes down to poor writing. A real shame, as it is a lovely story. Don't overlook but don't prioritise, wait for it to be on TV.
  • February 24, 2012
    Inspired by the amazing true story of Winter

    Good inspirational movie!I highly recommend this movie for any family, especially anyone with a disability. And as far as the barely believable and possibly sappy plot, sometime real life is like that and that is a good thing!

    A lon... read moreely and friendless boy finds and untangles a hurt dolphin that is caught in a crab trap. He becomes very attached to the dolphin when the tail must be taken off to save the dolphin's life. The boy believes the dolphin would be able to swim normally if it was given a prosthetic tail.
  • February 8, 2012
    This movie seemed a bit like this generations, 'Free Willy', I caught a lot of the same ideas and overall family friendly feel in it. Of course, this movie was inspired by a true story, so not sure what all was legit and what all was added drama but the overall conclusion was it ... read morewas a decent-family friend feel with a great message to be told.

    Dolphin Tale focuses on a rescued Dolphin befriended by a boy who discovers it wrapped up in a net on the beach. The boy, struggling with his own problems in life, finds solitude in his time with the Dolphin forming a bond between them that helps them both continue on and keep fighting the hardships of life thrust in their direction.

    An attempt at a bionic tale (which obviously eventually works) is the core of the movie, the message, is the struggle for those with handicaps and over-coming odds in life no matter what they are. I thought the message for children especially, those with disabilities, who can find some type of encouragement and hope through this film was amazing and that's what won me over in a family-friendly film that typically wouldn't catch my mind or time.

    It wasn't the greatest acting, wasn't the greatest movie, in fact as a movie by itself I am not sure it stands up to many others very well but the overall but the overall message and reality behind the story is what really stood out to me. It's a sloppy movie for a true movie critic, but, its inspiration and a feel good film, especially for children. So for that, it's not for all, but is for some...average on my rating scale...
  • fb100000145236770
    January 30, 2012
    Starring Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd, and Morgan Freeman, "Dolphin Tale" is exactly what you would expect. It's a movie about a boy(Nathan Gamble) who befriends an injured dolphin. The dolphin loses it's tail, and the boy then sets off to get help to get the dolphin a proste... read moretic tail. It's a cross between "Soul Surfer" and "Free Willy". Total family movie, that runs too long and is borderline boring in some parts, but overall it's decent. The performances are good, the dolphin is cool, and the effects are well done. The movie is obviously made for 3D, but I only watched it in 2D on Blu Ray, and it still looks beautiful. That being said, not a movie I will probably watch again, but still okay enough for one watch.
  • January 8, 2012
    animal films are usually terrible, but 2011 has had a short stack of very good ones and this is one of them. the heart works well, the plot moves quickly enough to engage kids and patiently enough to keep their parents interested. the story is inspiring on multiple levels. ove... read morerall a very good film.
  • December 12, 2011
    Dolphin Tale 3D is a sweet and kind film that is very hard to dislike. The story is about the true story of a young boy who becomes best friends with a dolphin in need of a tail. The plot is an inspirational film, and even though it sometimes felt cliche and they had a boring s... read moreub plot about his crippled cousin, the movie ends up being fun and worth watching. The cast is good, they didn't use Morgan Freeman enough but other than that I liked the kids and adults. The score of the film was very well done and beautiful, I liked it a lot. The 3D was not really worth it, it was nice but it is not worth the extra money, so if you can go see it in the regular version. Dolphins Tale is a wonderful film that will make you have a good heart for aquatic animals, and if you want a sweet movie I recommend going to see this.
  • November 4, 2011
    Wonderful. Heartwarming. Everything that I expected it to be...and then some.
  • October 27, 2011
    sloppy acting, but other than that I found it hard to lay a finger on the bad parts, oh wait, it tried to have comedic structures but they just fell to pieces.
  • October 5, 2011
    Heartwarming animal drama (is there any other kind?) about a young boy, Sawyer Nelson, who befriends an injured bottlenose dolphin. She loses her tail after being caught in a crab trap in the Indian River in Fort Pierce, Florida. Inspired by a true story, this uplifting tale is a... read morecceptable family viewing. It's tough to dislike a film that is so traditional and wholesome. Its heart is in the right place as it advocates a respect for animals that is admirable. You'd have to have a heart of stone to not root for the dolphin's success. There's even a territorial pelican named Rufus that hangs out at the aquarium and provides some comic relief. He's got even more personality that the titular character.

    Unfortunately the script has a tendency to overdose on the schmaltz. The tender moments between the juvenile and the dolphin are affecting enough. But why did the filmmakers have to slather on the melodrama? Sawyer is a directionless kid living in Clearwater, Florida with his single mother. His older cousin is a promising athletic swimmer who is leaving to serve oversees in the military. There's even an impending hurricane on the horizon. Rough seas ahead. No pun intended. Young children will certainly find much to love here. After all, a passion for sea creatures is practically instinctive in children. It has some tender swimming scenes where the boy bonds with his aquatic friend. But this wildlife saga is as predictable as they come. The plot isn't interesting in any meaningful way. No surprises or twists in the entire 112 minutes. Still give the film credit for being so decent and sweet. Thankfully it lacks hip pop culture references as well. If you're looking for a pleasant live action film for the whole family, this should fit the bill rather nicely.
  • fb733768972
    September 24, 2011
    This film definitely caught me by surprise by placing me in an emotionally driven, family friendly story. As a boy discovers a dolphin stranded on the shore, he cuts her loose. Unable to swim away, the aquatic hospital bring her in for care. As the boy befriends the doctors, he m... read moreakes new friends and miracles begin to happen. This film really shows true emotions towards physically disabled animals and people. It is filled with inspiriation, heart, happiness, heart-warming dialogue and character driven scenes, but what it is a little hurt by is the 3D which is done quite poorly and will distract any moviegoer as the cheesy 3D sequences take over a few happy moments. I must also add that these kids are extremely mature for their age and definitely have a strong career ahead of them. This film brought tears to my eyes in many more ways than one. This is one of the best family films of the past decade, and maybe even the best this year. I love Dolphin Tale!

Critic Reviews

Derek Adams
October 11, 2011
Derek Adams, Time Out

As much as it grates, it still manages to warm the cockles. Full Review

Lisa Kennedy
September 23, 2011
Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post

Plenty of ambition. But the dialogue can be tin-eared, and the comedy has a cater- to-kids quality that sells youngsters short. Full Review

Joe Williams
September 23, 2011
Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Instead of steering toward deep and troubled waters, "Dolphin Tale" jumps through hoops to engage a young audience. Full Review

Stephen Whitty
September 23, 2011
Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger

That it manages to be not insufferable while still being so predictable is a small tribute to its cast and crew. Full Review

Liam Lacey
September 23, 2011
Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail

A potentially appealing story about a rescued disabled dolphin gets smothered with inspirational family values guff. Full Review

Elizabeth Weitzman
September 23, 2011
Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News

Most of the family films churned out today are so junky it's almost a shock to find one in which the animals never spout sassy one-liners, or show off their hilarious hip-hop moves. Full Review

Kyle Smith
September 23, 2011
Kyle Smith, New York Post

Effective as the movie is, it nevertheless left me slightly put off. Full Review

Sean O'Connell
September 23, 2011
Sean O'Connell, Washington Post

A heartwarmingly hokey and accessible production. Full Review

Bruce Demara
September 23, 2011
Bruce Demara, Toronto Star

Dolphin Tale is a reasonably well-made and likable story about the courageous efforts of a small, determined band of people who come to the rescue of a badly injured sea creature. Full Review

Claudia Puig
September 22, 2011
Claudia Puig, USA Today

This is not only kid-friendly fare, but a lovely family movie. Full Review

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    • Dr. Cameron McCarthy: Just because you're hurt doesn't mean you're broken.
    • Hazel Haskett: What does your dad do?
    • Sawyer Nelson: I don't know. He left like five years ago. We don't know where he is. He never calls, never writes.
    • Hazel Haskett: Oh.
    • Sawyer Nelson: So what does your mom do?
    • Hazel Haskett: She died when I was seven. Never calls, never writes.
    • Hazel Haskett: (smiles)
    • Dr. Cameron McCarthy: [talking to Kyle Connellan when he says he can't swim anymore because he's 'broken'. Dr. McCarthy walks over to table, picks up and glass, drops it and it shatters on the ground] Now, THAT'S broken.
    • Sawyer Nelson: But Winter needs me.
    • Sawyer Nelson: But... I wanted to show him some stuff.... and invite him to meet Winter.
    • Dr. Cameron McCarthy: No one in his right mind would try to put a tail on a fish.

Dolphin Tale : Watch Free on TV

Dolphin Tale Trivia

  • What movie has this saying quoting"Sabastion The Whale Washing Dolphin.  Answer »
  • Which actor provided the voice for a shark pretending to be a dolphin in the animated film Shark Tale?  Answer »
  • In what movie did Jack Black do the voice for a dolphin?  Answer »
  • In the animated movie Shark Tale, whose character pretended to be a dolphin?  Answer »

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