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Blackfish (2013)

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A documentary following the controversial captivity of killer whales, and its dangers for both humans and whales.

Writers:

, (as Eli Despres) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 7 wins & 38 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Himself (archive footage)
John Hargrove ...
Himself - Former SeaWorld Trainer
Samantha Berg ...
Herself - Former SeaWorld Trainer
Mark Simmons ...
Himself - Former SeaWorld Trainer
...
Herself
Dean Gomersall ...
Himself - Former SeaWorld Trainer
...
Himself (archive footage)
Shamu ...
Himself (archive footage)
Carol Ray ...
Herself - Former SeaWorld Trainer
John Jett ...
Himself - Fomer SeaWorld Trainer
Dawn Brancheau ...
Herself - SeaWorld Trainer (archive footage)
Jeffrey Ventre ...
Himself - Former SeaWorld Trainer
Thomas Tobin ...
Himself
Dave Duffus ...
Himself - OSHA Expert Witness, Whale Researcher
Jim Payne ...
Himself (archive footage)
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Storyline

Notorious killer whale Tilikum is responsible for the deaths of three individuals, including a top killer whale trainer. Blackfish shows the sometimes devastating consequences of keeping such intelligent and sentient creatures in captivity. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Never capture what you can't control.

Genres:

Documentary | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements including disturbing and violent images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

18 October 2013 (Iceland)  »

Also Known As:

Blackfish - Egy kardszárnyú delfin története  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$75,962 (USA) (19 July 2013)

Gross:

$2,063,312 (USA) (11 October 2013)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

As of August 2015, Seaworld profits have dropped 84% compared to the period prior to this film's release. See more »

Quotes

Christopher Porter - Former Trainer, Sealand: When you know the animal and have a relationship with it. You know, that he's not killing, because he's a savage. He's not killing, because he's crazy or because he doesn't know what he's doing. He's killing, because he's frustrated and has aggrevation. And when he's... He has no outlet for it.
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Connections

Referenced in Tilikum Has Died (2017) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Man is the Beast
6 August 2013 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. Dogs, cats, fish, birds, hamsters, ferrets, snakes, and even pigs. We love our pets. We also love our zoos, city aquariums and SeaWorld parks. For many years, we have chosen to believe that the research and educational advances that come from these outlets outweigh any of the negatives involved with keeping wild animals in captivity. Filmmaker Gabriela Cowperthwaite shows us (by focusing on SeaWorld) that it's way past time for us to open our eyes to the cruelty involved with the capture and training of wild animals for entertainment purpose.

The points made here are not speculation. We witness numerous interviews with "former" SeaWorld trainers. It's clear these people thought they had a bond with their co-performers. Most never even mention the term "killer whale" ... the common moniker for the majestic creatures better known as Orcas. The interviews have great impact, and when combined with startling TV news clips and footage from audience members, it becomes obvious that the huge profits and entertainment offered to families, are quite frankly generated by an immoral and inexcusable business model.

Most of the story is tied together by the 2010 death of super-trainer Dawn Brancheau by Tilikum, the largest Orca in the SeaWorld group. What we soon learn is that Tilikum was captured in Iceland waters at the age of three, and has since had many incidents resulting in injuries and even three deaths. It's also stated that Tilikum is the head of the family tree for the majority of SeaWorld's performing Orcas.

Of course, no one can or should blame these incredibly intelligent and emotional and family-oriented creatures. Everything about their existence goes against their natural habitat and way of life. The real issue is ... just because we CAN capture and train these animals, does that mean we SHOULD? If the focus is profits, then the answer is apparently yes. If instead, the focus is respecting nature and valuing other species, then the answer is much different.

The Cove and Project Nim are two other documentaries that come to mind when thinking about filmmakers attempting to expose the danger in training wild animals. Watching this story had me hanging my head like the fisherman from the 1970's as he helped capture a young whale, as the family members swam nearby crying and screeching. Let's hope director Cowperthwaite's screams are heard. See this movie before deciding to visit another SeaWorld (who couldn't be bothered to comment on camera). There are better ways to teach your kids about nature and there are certainly less cruel forms of entertainment.


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