Universal acclaim - based on 33 Critics What's this?

User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 73 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: While in captivity, Tilikum, a performing killer whale, has been responsible for the deaths of three people, including a top orca trainer. Blackfish shows the sometimes devastating consequences of capturing and confining such intelligent and sentient creatures.
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
    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: Justin Chang
    Jun 4, 2013
    Righteous, captivating and entirely successful as single-issue-focused documentaries go, Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s film draws on startling video footage and testimonies from former orca trainers, building an authoritative argument on behalf of this majestic species.
  3. Reviewed by: Alan Scherstuhl
    Jul 16, 2013
    The movie is revealing, wrenching, and important, a reminder that what feels wrong in our gut—the effort to turn free-roaming and unknowable beasts into caged vaudevillians—is always worth investigating.
  4. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Jul 16, 2013
    Blackfish, a troubling exposé of Sea World’s hazardous entertainment trade, does much to restore a realistic sense of danger, interviewing former park workers who detail their shoddy, nonscientific training, and chronicling the much-suppressed history of whale-on-human violence.
  5. Reviewed by: Jenny McCartney
    Aug 3, 2013
    As an indictment of the industry, this is strong stuff.
  6. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Jul 19, 2013
    One glaring question the film doesn’t raise: Why, given his history, is Tilikum still entertaining in sea parks?
  7. Reviewed by: Geoff Pevere
    Jul 18, 2013
    As more than one orca expert points out in the film, when you take a creature born to roam thousands of miles of open water and stick it in a pool to do tricks, there’s going to be some behavioural blowback. In Tilikum’s case, it’s actually described as a form of induced “psychosis.”

See all 33 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 15
  2. Negative: 1 out of 15
  1. Jul 20, 2013
    This review contains spoilers. 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. Collapse
  2. May 26, 2014
    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.

  3. Jan 4, 2014
    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
  4. May 11, 2014
    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
  5. Dec 23, 2013
    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. Nov 3, 2013
    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. Expand
  7. Dec 13, 2013
    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.

See all 15 User Reviews


Related Articles

  1. The Best and Worst Movies of 2013

    The Best and Worst Movies of 2013 Image
    Published: January 6, 2014
    There were more great movies released in 2013 than in any year in recent memory. Browse our official lists of the year's highest-scoring movies in a variety of categories, and check out 2013's worst films, too.