Project Description

Cover for the film, The Cove. Features an underwater scene with a diver and several sharks.

The Cove

2009 · PG-13 · 1h 32m


Academy Award Winner for Best Documentary of 2009, The Cove follows an elite team of activists, filmmakers, and freedivers as they embark on a covert mission to penetrate a remote and hidden cove in Taiji, Japan, shining a light on a dark and deadly secret. Utilizing state-of-the-art techniques, including hidden microphones and cameras in fake rocks, the team uncovers how this small seaside village serves as a horrifying microcosm of massive ecological crimes happening worldwide. The result is a provocative mix of investigative journalism, eco-adventure, and arresting imagery, adding up to an unforgettable story that has inspired audiences worldwide to action.

About the Filmmakers

The Cove was produced by Lions Gate and directed by Louie Pshioyos. Find out more about the film at


“There are many documentaries angry about the human destruction of the planetary peace. This is one of the very best — a certain Oscar nominee. It includes a great many facts about the craven International Whaling Commission and many insights into the mistreatment of dolphins; Simon Hutchins, who has specialized in the subject for the London Telegraph, is especially helpful.” – Roger Ebert. “The Cove Movie Review.” 5 Aug 2009

“Winner of the 2009 Oscar for Best Documentary, this film will probably turn away many viewers with the promise of gruesome footage of slaughtered dolphins. But The Cove is such a powerful, informative, and inspirational movie that all of the footage somehow meshes as part of the same experience. It’s amazing how the film balances its many storylines in a compact 90 minutes. We learn about the life and career of former dolphin trainer Ric O’Barry, the efforts of the Japanese government to legally continue their practices, the intelligence and/or awareness of dolphins, the effects of mercury in dolphin meat, and many other facts and opinions. The main drive of the movie — O’Barry and his team’s efforts to set up their cameras to film proof of the dolphin slaughter — is as suspenseful as a spy film, and the end result is a combination of elating and devastating.” – Jeffrey M. Anderson. “The Cove Movie Review.” Common Sense Media. 

“It’s impossible to watch the footage of the ocean running red with dolphin blood and not be a little shaken, especially when Psihoyos surrounds the gory bits with hard data about how our over-fished seas are leaving parts of the world on the brink of environmental catastrophe, and how larger ocean-dwellers often contain toxic levels of mercury that make their meat largely unsafe for consumption. It’s enough to make anyone sympathetic to a line spoken by one of Psihoyos’ interviewees: “If you’re not an activist, you’re an inactivist.”” – Noel Murray. “The Cove – Film Review.” A.V. Club. 20 Jul 2009

The Cove can only be described in one way – riveting. It tells the story of a secret slaughter of innocent dolphins in a small town in Japan. The trainer who worked with the original Flipper, Ric O’Barry, is now firmly against the captivity of any marine life, and the documentary shows his efforts to document the silent slaughter of thousands of dolphins each year in a small lagoon called ‘the cove’. He and his crew meet resistance on many fronts, and to their credit, they persevere so the world sees the atrocity that is occurring there.” – Frank Urbano, Amazon

“I felt a little stupid thinking I was aware of most of the issues concerning animals in captivity and their journey from the wild to the cages but this film taught me a great deal more.” – Rodney Varfley, Amazon

“Horrifying, but outstanding! I am not an activist for animals but the imagery in this documentary is absolutely horrifying. It is truly unfathomable that in this day and age, countries and special interests, are allowed to brutally kill tens of thousands of animals all in the name of money. Almost as disturbing as the dolphin kill footage, is the smug and abhorrent manner that the Japanese delegation displays during the international meetings. It can’t be more obvious how many millions of dollars trades hands annually to allow the Japanese ‘fishermen’ to continue this practice. Much praise and respect go to Mr. O’Barry for his courage in taking on the world, especially Japan, to at least try and this barbaric annual slaughter.” – MC Albano, Amazon

“Will make you cry and feel empowered to be the change we need.” – Kyra Lee, Amazon

Related Reading at Your Daily Vegan

“The mayor of Taiji, in Japan, feels obligated to defend dolphin slaughter, after The Cove wins the Oscar by using a popular justification.”

Continue to the full article >> Mayor of Fishing Village Portrayed in The Cove Defends Killing


Cover for the film, The Cove. Features an underwater scene with a diver and several sharks.

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