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Movies about the Ocean and Sea Creatures

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Kids love the vast ocean and the variety of sea creatures that inhabit it. Some of these ocean themed movies will take them under the sea for an aquatic adventure, while others focus on sea creatures like whales and dolphins. Movies about the ocean and ocean animals can be entertaining and educational. These movies are listed in order of age recommendation from youngest to oldest.

1. The Little Mermaid

Little Mermaid
© Disney. All Rights Reserved.
The iconic under the sea movie, The Little Mermaid is a musical adventure featuring animated sea creatures of all kinds. The beauty, magnificence and peril of life under the sea are portrayed in a classic story fit for a princess, or prince. The Little Mermaid also has a couple of sequel movies, The Little Mermaid II: Under the Sea and The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning. (Rated G)
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2. Ponyo

Ponyo
Photo © WDSHE. All Rights Reserved.
The intensely beautiful and unique imagery of Hayao Miyazaki surges to life in this imaginative story inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale "The Little Mermaid." A musical panorama of underwater sea life introduces us to a little fish-like creature who doesn't seem to want to stay in the water. Sosuke, a young boy on the beach, finds and rescues the unusual little fish, and he names her "Ponyo." The boy and his fish form a wonderful bond, and then Ponyo is turned into a little girl. Sosuke and Ponyo have a grand adventure together, but their fate lies in the hands of something more powerful than themselves. (Rated G)

3. Finding Nemo

Finding Nemo
Photo © Disney/Pixar
Another fabulous animated under the sea movie, Finding Nemo tells the story of a young clown fish who becomes separated from his father. Featuring all kinds of sea creatures from sharks, to turtles, to jelly fish and many more, Finding Nemo presents an under water adventure that can be a real nail-biter for young kids. Nemo's frantic father searches the sea for his son, but Nemo is in a fish tank in a dentist's office in Sydney. Thankfully, Nemo finds his way back to his ocean home, but young children may be frightened or unsettled during some scenes in the movie. (Rated G)
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4. Shark Tale

Shark Tale
Photo © DreamWorks Animation
In this funny fish tale, a small fish named Oscar (voiced by Will Smith) takes the credit for walloping a shark. But, Oscar's lie soon gets him caught in a heap of trouble as he tries to maintain his celebrity status, get the right girl and avoid being eaten by an angry great white (Robert De Niro). Shark Tale is rated PG, for some mild language and crude humor, and the language and innuendo make the movie less suited for young children, despite the colorful animation and comedic characters.
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5. Free Willy: Escape from Pirate's Cove

Free Willy: Escape from Pirate's Cove
Photo © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All rights reserved.
Eleven-year-old Kirra (Bindi Irwin) adores animals. When her father is injured in a fall and must be hospitalized, Kirra is sent to stay with her grandfather, Gus (Beau Bridges), in South Africa. Kirra is not excited about leaving her father, and when she sees the junky old theme park her grandfather owns, her excitement diminishes even more. However, Kirra and her grandfather get a big surprise when a storm leaves a baby orca trapped in the lagoon. Kirra names the Orca Willy and begins to focus all of her energy on saving it and returning it to it's pod. The grownups in her life have other ideas, however. (PG, for mild thematic elements) This movie is a new version of sorts to the original Free Willy movies that also features a beautiful Orcas and other sea animals.

6. Dolphin Tale

Dolphin Tale
Photo © Warner Bros.
Based on a true story, Dolphin Tale follows the progress of a dolphin named Winter who lost her tail but survived against the odds. In the movie, a boy named Sawyer finds the dolphin all tangled up in a fishing net. After the people from the Clearwater Marine Hospital take the dolphin to their facility, Sawyer faithfully visits Winter and becomes friends with a girl named Hazel and her family. Winter the dolphin inspires us all with her story of overcoming obstacles and becoming a source of hope for many. (Rated PG, for mild thematic elements)

7. Oceans

Oceans
Photo © Disneynature
From Disneynature, Oceans is a documentary that is geared toward families. Disneynature films attempt to give all the information and footage of a documentary, while still allowing the film to capture the imagination and attention of audiences of all ages. The film is directed by Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud, and Pierce Brosnan narrates the oceanic adventure. (Rated G)

8. IMAX: Under the Sea

Under the Sea
Photo © Warner Bros.
Under the Sea transports moviegoers to some of the most exotic and isolated undersea locations on Earth, including Southern Australia, New Guinea and others in the Indo-Pacific region, allowing them to experience face-to-face encounters with some of the most mysterious and stunning creatures of the sea. This up-close-and-personal documentary on life in the ocean brings viewers priceless footage of animals both beautiful and strange. Kids and parents alike will enjoy this colorful encounter narrated by Jim Carrey.

9. IMAX: Deep Sea

Deep Sea IMAX
© Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Narrated by the soothing voices of Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet, Deep Sea takes viewers deep underwater, introducing them to a few of the ocean's most exotic creatures. Without films like these, most of us would otherwise never see, or even conceive of the wonders that exist far beneath the ocean's surface. The film focuses on the fascinating ways in which the creatures of the deep are dependent on each other, and how our destiny is inevitably tied to theirs. (Rated G)
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10. Big Miracle

Big Miracle
Photo © Universal Pictures
In theaters February 3, 2012, Big Miracle is based on a true story and relates the events of Operation Breakthrough. In 1988, three gray whales were trapped off the coast of Barrow, Alaska. Many people from different walks of life came together to watch and help. The Americans were even able to call upon a Soviet ship for help. The movie provides and entertaining, educational and inspiring look at a little piece of history. (Rated PG)
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