User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 72 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 68 out of 72
  2. Negative: 2 out of 72

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  1. Jul 20, 2013
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. excellent documentary exposing the harsh brutality of SeaWorld who ruthlessly abuses Orcas and hides what they are doing to the public. Reveals how SeaWorld negligently exposes naive trainers to fatally dangerous situations in which several young trainers have lost their lives. Expand
  2. Jan 4, 2014
    9
    An effective piece of filmmaking. I now want to do something to help these beautiful giants. There's so much disturbing evidence displayed here to show the cruelty inflicted on these creatures, as well as a real understanding of the orca's emotional intellect and sense of family, that you can't walk away from this and not be affected. Which is what all good documentaries are supposed to do. Well done. Expand
  3. Jul 28, 2013
    8
    Another case of people interfering with and destroying nature in the name of greed. People never cease to disgust me. With our apparent intelligence what other reason would there be to imprison such beautiful, intelligent and wild creatures unwittingly submitting them to both physical and mental abuse. The end result, of course, ends in disaster for the humans. This doc is compelling and at times grippingly told and whilst heartfelt there is a certain naivete to the good intentions of the staff of these amusement parks who are as culpable for the whales suffering and the ensuing tragedies as indeed are the captors and, ultimately, the audiences of these questionable attractions. Expand
  4. Dec 31, 2013
    8
    This is a devastating look at how these Killer Whales are treated. This was a difficult watch with many tears shed for these majestic creatures. I know this has affected Sea World's business and rightfully so. A-
  5. Dec 23, 2013
    7
    To be honest, this documentary proved to be much more political than what the brief summaries provided on the streaming website let on (I watched this on Netflix), so a word of caution to those who thought it was simply another nature documentary. It's pretty narrow in terms of opinions provided on the subject, providing very little counterargument, but is informative and no less eyeopening to what goes on in the blackfish-based theme parks. You don't need to be a die hard animal rights activist to sympathize with the cases presented in the film. I work at a wildlife rehabilitation center, and it's sad to say the killer whales aren't just an isolated case; we can apply the same troubles to just about any other facility that handles wild animals and other exotic species that were never meant to be put behind plexiglass and bars. While the argument it tries to make has its merits, it comes off a tad idealistic with unrealistic solutions to a greed-riddled world. Expand
  6. May 11, 2014
    8
    Whether the cam footage is exciting enough to be in a movie is beside the point, or goes against it. Blackfish builds a strong case of something that hasn't been to my attention at all, exactly because it's drowned out by showbiz. As a portrait of a huge wild animal, it works well too. The focus on the trainers' portrayal of the whales makes for an intimate and passionate retelling of events. Recommended. Expand
  7. May 26, 2014
    10
    One of the fine documentary with a fine message. Snubbed from the Oscars and I felt really bad for that. It should have been in there compared to the other nominees, including the winner. This was like another 'The Cove' which spotlights the human torture to the non human species. This documentary is not for entertainment, but which brings the public awareness of the serious issue that still taking place around the world in different venues.

    The movie was committed to expose on the imprisoned Orca, a killer whale called Tilikum and the company called 'Sea World' it owns. It all began from his capture in 1983 on the coast of Iceland, then brought back to the United States to train. In his 30 years of captivity Tilikum was involved in the deaths of his trainers, but the statement to the press and media was denoted as it was the human error. And also the movie had many heartbreaking incidents in many parts.

    When I first heard about this movie I thought it was going to uncover the crime committed by the large Blackfish. As usual like most of the occasion my guess was wrong and I was totally surprised towards the story that tried to reveal some unexpected and unbearable truths. Everything reversed and finger points towards human just like the tag says: Never capture what you can't control. Looked like this just below 90 minutes movie was lacking in valuable inputs. Only because of the 'Sea World' that holds Tilikum refused to participate in making of the movie which portrayed them in dark shade. But the intention of the movie was explained in very honestly. There it goes my salute to the director whose attempt was so courageous.

    In my childhood, I had a fish bowl with a couple of goldfish in it and I regret having it after seeing this documentary movie. Truly an eye opener, whoever watch this would feel similar fashion, especially if you are an animal lover. Hoping this movie will change the perspective of the relationship between man and animals. Expecting more and more movies like this until people realise what's going on between dominated and enslaved species on the planet earth. If you are reading my review then you must add it to your watch list because I don't want you to miss this.

    9.5/10
    Expand
  8. Nov 3, 2013
    7
    Explores the specifics surrounding the OSHA/Seaworld trial thoroughly and brings to light issues I didn't even know existed. Interesting and enraging story that really changed my viewpoint on parks like Seaworld.
  9. Sep 2, 2014
    7
    An insightful look into the disturbing treatment of whales and sea-life at SeaWorld over the past thirty years. We are captivating and easily feel the cruelty inflicted on innocent animals.
  10. Oct 23, 2013
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Excellent documentary that will make you so angry you might go out and steal a whale Free Willy style. It is shocking the extent to which Sea-world have gone to lie and cover things up, some may say it is unbalanced as no official representative from Sea-world responds to criticism but the filmmakers have approached them again and again with no response. Hopefully this film will deal a blow to their profits which is the only way to truly get back at them. Expand
  11. Dec 13, 2013
    0
    This film was a huge disappointment. It lacked a clear focus and was not at all what it claimed to be. This seems more like a sideways attempt to sling mud at SeaWorld in a circumferential manner, though it seems this claim may have some merit (there seems to have been some deliberate or negligent mismanagement). This film is nothing like the great Planet Earth series.

    I would not
    recommend you watch this film. Expand
  12. Dec 28, 2013
    7
    Blackfish certainly lays down a compelling argument against keeping Orcas in captivity, and I was pleased with the filmmaker's decision to give some former trainers with opposing opinions a bit of screen time.
  13. Jan 2, 2014
    9
    People need to understand that these animals have a natural instict and they are very powerful as well. They are the rival of the great white for god sake. Evidence 10/10 People/witnesses 9/10 Proof 10/10 back-story 9/10 footage 10/10 overall 9.5/10 Sea World I built off of lies and stupidity for even thinking they could actually try to tame something that is suppose to be roaming the oceans. Expand
  14. Jan 19, 2014
    5
    What I liked: -Has an emotional appeal to it that I heard but didn't really expect -Made me want to make a change about the whales' situation What I disliked: -There's one plot points the makers seemed to miss: Tilikum was cruelly mistreated when young. If they really are so much like humans, could this not make a difference in his behavior? -Just slams Sea World, makes it harder to relate

    Conclusion:
    -Will still go to Sea World, out of all the parks, it seems to be the best institution so far
    -Support change nonetheless. I liked the one trainer's idea to give Tilikum an open range with other, older whales. They could still interact humans (like if they cannot find food).
    Expand
  15. Aug 3, 2014
    6
    A very well made, well-written documentary that only comes short in that it comes across as a political piece rather than a balanced report. The filmmakers pushed to dig out the full story of Tilikum and clearly tried to get all sides of the story on the table, so that effort has to be praised. There is also incredible footage of the orcas in their natural habitat providing stark contrast to enclosure life. But what is lacking is a clear reckoning of the value Sea World brings to conservation and to animal wellbeing outside the tank. Agreed we should free the orcas (or put them in open water enclosures), and certainly let's tighten OSHA regulations. But without a more balanced view of the contributions these parks bring to animal welfare it comes across as a shrill piece of Hollywood activism, leaving the viewer to wonder if everyone had a say. That's unfortunate, because this is a very good film. Expand
Metascore
83

Universal acclaim - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 33
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 33
  3. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Aug 15, 2013
    100
    Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite creates a fascinating character study of Tilikum, part of a revered species without a single confirmed kill of a human in the wild. Captivity is where Blackfish's evidence continually points the blame for Tilikum's deadly behavior.
  2. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Aug 8, 2013
    80
    Blackfish is a disturbing movie, one that will make you rethink parks like SeaWorld and their value.
  3. Reviewed by: Jenny McCartney
    Aug 3, 2013
    80
    As an indictment of the industry, this is strong stuff.