The Cove
For preview only. Get it on  #ad.

The Cove

2009, Nature  -   311 Comments
Ratings: 8.57/10 from 1469 users.

The Cove begins in Taiji, Japan, where former dolphin trainer Ric O’Barry has come to set things right after a long search for redemption. In the 1960s, it was O'Barry who captured and trained the 5 dolphins who played the title character in the international television sensation Flipper.

But his close relationship with those dolphins – the very dolphins who sparked a global fascination with trained sea mammals that continues to this day - led O’Barry to a radical change of heart. One fateful day, a heartbroken Barry came to realize that these deeply sensitive, highly intelligent and self-aware creatures so beautifully adapted to life in the open ocean must never be subjected to human captivity again. This mission has brought him to Taiji, a town that appears to be devoted to the wonders and mysteries of the sleek, playful dolphins and whales that swim off their coast.

But in a remote, glistening cove, surrounded by barbed wire and “Keep Out” signs, lies a dark reality. It is here, under cover of night, that the fishermen of Taiji, driven by a multi-billion dollar dolphin entertainment industry and an underhanded market for mercury-tainted dolphin meat, engage in an unseen hunt. The nature of what they do is so chilling - and the consequences are so dangerous to human health - they will go to great lengths to halt anyone from seeing it.

The Cove is directed by Louie Psihoyos and produced by Paula DuPre Pesman and Fisher Stevens. The film is written by Mark Monroe. The executive producer is Jim Clark and the co-producer is Olivia Ahnemann.

More great documentaries

Notify of

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
6 years ago

The documentary has proven to be full of lies and canned scenes.
The scene of the couple watching a dolphin never happened.
They break in local's houses and then film them cursing at them being irate.
The 1 scientific source they cite in the whole movie sued the local distributor for editing his statements.
The claim at the end that Moronuki was fired is a complete fabrication and the director had to do a mighty spin job when asked about that on Japanese tv.
They deliberately choose not to translate anytime an Asian is speaking, and instead accompany every instance of locals with ominous music while giving us canned heroically recounted versions of the Caucasians. Then balk when their overt racism is questioned. You don't make those kind of editing choices by mistake.

Fact is, the Tuna Fish in your grocery store has just as high Hg content. You probably shouldn't eat that either - but I've yet to see a protest at my local grocery store about it. It's much easier to point the finger at "The Other" and foment hate rhetoric about people who live a different - but perfectly valid - lifestyle. It gives you the excuse to think you're a better person, when in reality it turns out you're just a bigot.

So what if they kill an abundant species of animal in the Ocean for food? How is it different from Americans hunting deer or fishing? Scientists worldwide agree that the species hunted are under no threat whatsoever from these actions.

6 years ago

Everyone who's ideas is to help the wildlife . I am so great that you made this documentation. It open the minds of the students like me and wanting to help also those animals who needs our help.

7 years ago

whats the other film that was created after THE COVE by the same team? I cant seem to remember.... Now I see RACING EXTINCTION is now available... but theres a film in between the cove and this latest one... thanks

7 years ago

im misantropist. and u think about my emotions

I'm Japanese
8 years ago

Please, do not judge the things by seeing/hearing the people's opinion from only one side. If you are interested in this issue, had any kind of idea or opinion, please watch the documentary "Behind the cove" as well. You will see what Japanese people are really doing, what we are aiming and saying. You may also see how sea shepherd are giving such a hard time to the people in Taiji, Japan. And you must google sea shepherd.
Thanks for reading.

Teddy T
8 years ago

I'm a 21 year old man and this documentary made me cry like a little bitch. I wish myself the strength to actually help the world around me rather than seek a role of self righteousness and self promotion.

Michaela S.
8 years ago

This documentary is the best I have ever watched. It was beyond interesting and not the least bit boring at any part in the video. Besides the entertainment factor, the documentary provided crucial information that has not been made aware to me before. Terrible killings of tens of thousands of dolphins are occurring each year in just one tiny spot. The worst part is that these killings would not be accepted if people in Japan were aware of them, so the slaughterings are kept a secret. This video makes it very evident how big of a problem dolphin killing is, and it will make you want to help the issue.

8 years ago

You cannot have a say in this documentary, until you are seriously analyzing the problem from an object viewpoint.
Vegetarians and vegans will, of course, have a heavy bias in favor of the slaughtered dolphins; while non-veggie's will argue that marine meat has become part of the global world's meal plan.
Instead of ripping the branches, we all need to look at the direct root of evil here. That evil is the one that has to deal with the WAY and RATE in which these animals are being slaughtered, and how this needs to change. We also need to consider the fact that many of these fishermen do not believe they are doing anything wrong, because they have been doing it for so many years. To simply knock on their doorsteps and DEMAND they stop, is a joke.
Fishermen must be educated and taught why this method is not working anymore (beginning w/ the fact that there is no demand for dolphin meat in the first place). We need to look at the marine entertainment industry, Sea World, etc, and think about how these places encourage these killings and give the fishermen a job.
This issue is still relevant and extremely pressuring to everyone involved, and it is understandable that it would create such a strong tidal wave of opinions from the public, however, it is time to very seriously look at ourselves as species and evaluate what WE must sacrifice for once.

9 years ago

It is just humans, we all do that, not just japans. It us that create it all, and it is us that are sick of greed. We are the overpopulated parasites and the life need a cure from us.

9 years ago

The history of our planet suggests that "God" created us all to be eaten by some other creature if necessary, and until recently, eaten alive. If we were to know our own distant evolutionary past I think you'd find that humans have eaten their share of other humans, throughout all those thousands of years, just as it is stated in the Bible, where the Samarian women are discussing eating their children. (2 Kings 6:29) Makes me wonder what the 'created in God's image' means, as we seem to be the opposite of any god. You'd think He'd have had us all eating beetles, seeing how He's created 400,000 named species, and an estimated 1 million including those not yet discovered and named. Hmmmm......... I wonder why 'God' didn't create us vegetarians to start with, giving us a separate food supply. Maybe He doesn't care what we eat.......

9 years ago

that was one of the most painful documentaries i have watched. i am vegetarian, trying to avoid all dairy & eggs (what i do eat i try to purchase from locally raised farmers). i also do things like try to not use a plastic bag if i don't have to. if you do these small things and get two people to do the same, and they get two people, etc., etc., then suddenly you can see why think globally act locally can change the world. i have multiple sclerosis, live on a disability budget in colorado, USA. it is difficult for me to do a lot of these things but i do them anyway. i do not even have children. it seems to me that if you have children and you really DO care about the world they must inherit, how come you aren't out there every weekend cleaning up litter or scouring beaches for trash and TEACH YOUR CHILDREN HOW IT IS DONE, because they are going to have to fix the planet we messed or die along with it.


Andrew Gabriel
9 years ago

Excuse me, the slaughter of whales and dolphins gives jobs to over 2000 people. That's less unemployment and twice the food.

Imagine if u were a Japanese dolphin fisher and u had to come home and tell ur wife and kids u lost ur job because some rich american green peace activists.

Killing dolphins might just benefit us as a race. How is a dolphin being killed hurting u?

Most who disagree with me will most likely eat pork and the only reason u don't feel for pigs is cuz you where raised on eating pork. but not whale meat.

9 years ago

Apart from the thought of killing intelligent animals, apart from eating mercury laden meat, the thought of capturing these animals and confining them, when in nature they travel many miles each day makes me ill beyond measure. I'll never go to Sea World or anything like it again. These slaughtering and trapping activities must be stopped.

9 years ago

The wife and I went to Taiji with Sea Shepherd in 2010. This is still going on. It's horrible. I reccomend getting with Sea Shepherd and joining them in the fight to end this. Go, then tell everyone you know about it to put the pressure on them.

9 years ago

This is modern day genocide and must be stopped at all costs. I have never seen anything so disturbing - I wish O Barry the very best with his activism. I urge people to stop buying Japanese products.

9 years ago

One of the best comedies I have ever seen

9 years ago

That is just like how slaves used to be captured.

Irish Sweetness
9 years ago

Couldn't they just google earth that cove?

Irish Sweetness
9 years ago

Mercury. Tuna. Good luck.

tanner massahos
9 years ago

Probably the most influential documentary I have seen and I have seen a
lot of documentaries . It was very influential,informative and powerful
but very depressing. Really well made documentary. I enjoyed it along
with all my class mates. It was quite gruesome but with a purpose. I
really hope more people view this and the slaughter is stopped.The slaughter video was hard to watch.I view this as a massive problem and extremely immoral and foolish of the Japanese.

9 years ago

I've just watched the cove and my blood is boiling. The thing thats getting me about this is I've never heard of it. The people that made this documentary are supposed to be trying to spread the word to put an end to it. If thats the case they should be rolling this out free to every network,tv station,online,tv and any social media site they can to spread the word to bring this cruelty to an end.

9 years ago

When we were hunter gathers like the rest of the animals we went after the ones we could catch the slow the lame the weak - now we raise animals to eat - we have to or eat veggies? And of course we have to raise those also - which produces "Factory Farming" -

We need to stop blaming the industry's that are feeding us and providing our energy - There not the enemy - were the enemy - stop eating the meat and stop using the energy they produce - they will stop making it if we stop using it and stop raising other animals to slaughter if we stop eating them -

Put the blame where it should be on yourself - take responsibility -

The Devils Advocate

9 years ago

One man's food another man's poison. How many people talking about this are truly vegetarians? Is it right to kill buffalos, cows, donkeys, monkeys, sheep for their food? The europeans extinguished most of the animal in this planet earth in the name of gaming and stuffing themselves. First clean these peoples backyard before pointing their finger at others.

9 years ago

So I'm assuming all the people against this are vegetarians and don't eat any other animals, right?

9 years ago

My head is pounding and my blood is boiling. Am I alone in thinking that I would happily watch all of the people involved in this scandal bleed out and drown in a cove with their family and friends watching. I wish they all bloody die of mercury poisoning or something else, as long as it's painful and they don't lose their consciousness until the very last moment. I think it's time to send another nuke over, this time to that bigoted little shitty excuse for a town in a middle of nowhere.

Gilly Carson
9 years ago

Horrific ............... just horrific. How can this be going on still ?

WilliamV Vysniauskas
9 years ago

Have just watched it. It's heartbreaking to witness. Why? WHY do we (humans) do this?

10 years ago

God, what we do. The money is to be made in other ways.

10 years ago

Some old generation Japanese thinks that they're the most superior race in the planet. Of course they'll feel more superior than aquatic species.
Some old-gen people think that dolphins and whales are also classified as fish just because they live in the sea and look like one.
Also, I think those fishermen are doing it because of their national pride. Also, they make a living from it.
I'm ashamed of them tricking people to believe dolphin meat is whale meat (whaling - which is also shameful).
To me, killing cetaceans are equivalent to killing humans. Cetaceans are probably much smarter than us humans.
maybe, just maybe, they're in their early stage of evolution. That someday, they will all have hands or some other feats to manipulate their surroundings.

meanwhile, I'll take my raw tuna diet to moderation. These high mercury levels are probably affecting all of us.

KC Hicks
10 years ago

exceptionally well made film - loved the ending where the dude walks around with the TV strapped to himself.

10 years ago

thank you Ric o Berry for making this doc, you have opened my eyes up! Changed the way i think about putting dolphins in tanks, i will never take my daughter to swim with them! I hope to one day see them swimming free :) thanks again!

10 years ago

Oh good grief, there is so much bleeding going on here from your hearts, we will soon be flooded. Reality check, and animal is an animal is an animal. I personally do not eat dog or cat, but many cultures do. We eat beef, an animal worshiped in many countries. While I personally love dolphins and enjoy watching them, who are we to decide what another can eat. All the mercury cries is absurd, they have been eating dolphin for thousands of years and have been fine. Here in the USA, we consume tons of fish known to have higher to high mercury.

Get over yourselves, animals are not humans and are not entitled to the same protections. Bet a bunch of you crying foul over an animal would raise your signs proclaiming the greatness of abortion, the actual killing of a human. They can eat what they want, we will eat what we want. Animals will always be food for human kind and while their death is never pleasant, it is a part of life. And if you have consumed flesh, you have no pulpit to preach from.

Devesh Somani
10 years ago

Are we Humans? If this is who a human is and this is what they do. I AM ASHAMED TO BE ONE !!

10 years ago

What is unacceptable is that people know that they have the knowledge that they are wrong but they try to conceal the fact and they lie to win support for the legalization of cruelty and evil act.

11 years ago

it makes u thankful ww3 has started. the world needs 2 b cleansed of the human race. god 4give me 4 saying that. the fact is its true.

11 years ago

it makes u grateful ww3 has started. god 4give me saying that. the world needs 2 b cleansed of the human race

11 years ago

it makes u grateful ww3 has started. the world needs 2 b cleansed of the human race

11 years ago

Understand this people. No other wild animal would come up to you and play with you, let alone help you against a shark attack or save you in otherwise perilous situations. Other mammals would knock you out, eat you, or just bite your head off. This is a fact you cannot get around while trying to explain how hypocritical we are because we eat this or that. Suck you jap fishermen pretending to be Joe Smiths here.

11 years ago

Is sad ... I sipseumnida help.

11 years ago

I must applaud Japan for showing an open door to those who wish to make movies even if it may show some of the local people in a negative light. Do I agree with the Dolphin Hunt personally? Not one bit. Do I agree with forcing my beliefs on others by infringing on their rights? Again No. What I do believe in is knowledge. TEACH what you learned about these lovely creatures, as you learned, so may they. Respect others and they will listen with respect, treat them with hatred and they will not hear the words or lesson.

By the way? racist slurs are given by all races so lets not waste time nor energy on that besides pointing out that those that say any slur against another culture including "white" people should not do so.

11 years ago

@Nigel, it saddens me that people still see black, white, yellow, etc.... Every human is there own person and can be responsible for horrible attrocities. Its the person(s) not thier colours. Until poeple stop dividing others into groups, we will always have division. Unfortunately it is people like you who keep fuelling it. Intentional or not, you create divisions by your words, i feel sad for you.

11 years ago


11 years ago

Nature will take care...
the people are eating the meat that has mercury.... the slaughters and the consumers will get sick and if they don't kill all the dolphins in that region it will stop.... but when...
The nature does not depend on the civilized to librate it... a natural process will be initiated.

11 years ago

My cousin and i where saved off the coast of Florida from the jaws of a 12'-0" shark by two Dolphins.

It is astounding to me to see such a significant and educated culture like japan's allowing such ignorant barbarianism to happen off of its coast.

I am all about eating flesh, but not from any animal that can show the level of intelligence and compassion that a dolphin can.

We might as well start eating each other if we allow for this.

11 years ago

1. If the Japanese government were really worried about Ric O'Barry and his friends, why did they give them all entry visas?
2. The film crew were hardly inconspicuous or discrete -- not to mention the mountains of technical gear they arrived with -- the group's intentions and purposes were pretty clear. The Japanese government still allowed them entry, and EXIT. Doesn't that point to Japan's benign level of democracy?
3. No arrests were made despite the fact that O'Barry and his crew apparently broke Japanese law by trespassing on prohibited sites. I'd like to see that happen to a foreign interloper on a European or American government site.
3. This is NOT a film about "The Wise Western World" vs "Nasty Japan". Japan is not the only nation of the world that hunts dolphin for commercial purposes - Peru, Taiwan, the Solomon Islands, the Faroe Islands and HAWAII (i.e. USA) are others. The whaling industry is equally big in the USA and Canada, not to mention Norway, Russia, Indonesia, Iceland, Greenland and some Caribbean islands. To target one nation's industry without looking closer to home is not very objective or responsible film making.
4. This IS a film which tries to cash in on the tear-jerk response most people have to 'cute' dolphins. I'm assuming this film wants to make money just as much as any other film, never mind all the sentimental banner waving. The film is a product and the purpose of any product is to sell. The subject of the film is almost irrelevant. It could have been about a groundbreaking cure for cancer, but if TV networks don't buy it and if no one watches it, then it has failed as a film. Therefore WE the audience are just as much a part of the product as the dolphins are. It's irrelevant whether one is against dolphin-hunting, in favour, or couldn't care either way. What is relevant is the fact that we've all felt compelled to come to this website.
5. I thought it was a powerful film with a strong impact and message, but that doesn't make it the one and only, ultimate truth.

11 years ago

Japan must stop this sickening and disgusting act!. They dont care about this innocent creature. :(

11 years ago

I'm a dutch teacher. In 1993 I showt the dolphin slaugter to 38 kids, 12 years old.
They were all crying.
What will be in their minds now?

11 years ago

I'm from Japan and am so overwhelmed by this film. I've lived in San Diego and currently live in UK, I understand both Japanese and activists' perspectives on this. Some may defend Japanese local industry, or may mention the fact that most Japanese people don't eat or have not eaten whale meat at all. But regardless of all the socio-cultural, economic or political conditions contributing to this situation, it's just incredibly cruel to see those fishermen stabbing innocent dolphins. They should stop the practice, the market should not be strong anyway, even if it can take away jobs from so many local people because government should be able to do something about it if they stop using the money to subsidize whale hunting, for example money to recruit support from small countries.

But above all what makes me sad is that people who watch this film would have such hatred, anger and disgust,any feelings against Japanese people I assume. Please don't categorize the whole nation and people as the same evil,there are so many Japanese people who are and would be opposed to this,once they know the situation, yes they don't even know the situation. Please don't say Japan deserves another earthquake or Hiroshima bombing or something like that, those really can't be a joke.. :'(

11 years ago

haha them activists behave as children do--unable to picture any solution which doesn't satisfy their demands 115%. I recommend they grow up & understand that interests besides their own may be just as valid. Rather than playing petty games pretending to be members of a super-awesome Oceans 11 eco-team, they should do their part to work towards an agreement. A solution where both sides compromise.

11 years ago

How can we sit and think we are the most intelligent animals and are better than all other species as we supposively understand what life is, do we really want to find aliens in spaces as they may do to us what we do to the dolphins, keep us in captivity and make us perform in front of a crowd. So maybe we are not the most intelligent just the most ignorant as dolphins are killed and the numbers which are killed are hidden so nobody knows just like elephants in africa and asian or the tiger by the chinese who keep farms of tigers to use as "medicines" even though it is proven it does nothin. but cause we are ignorant we like to think the animals are recovering by putting them in reserves which are not big enough for them and as soon as they leave the reserve they get shot as humans are all around the reserve and feel indangered, so what to politicians do the make more small reserves to fool the doped up public and so the final question has to be what will the politicians do? you wouldnt be wrong to say nothin.

This is the view of a 16 year old living in a world of lies