The Cove

Synopsis: Richard O'Barry was the man who captured and trained the dolphins for the television show Flipper (1964). O'Barry's view of cetaceans in captivity changed from that experience when as the last straw he saw that one of the dolphins playing Flipper - her name being Kathy - basically committed suicide in his arms because of the stress of being in captivity. Since that time, he has become one of the leading advocates against cetaceans in captivity and for the preservation of cetaceans in the wild. O'Barry and filmmaker 'Louie Psihoyos (I)' go about trying to expose one of what they see as the most cruel acts against wild dolphins in the world in Taiji, Japan, where dolphins are routinely corralled, either to be sold alive to aquariums and marine parks, or slaughtered for meat. The primary secluded cove where this activity is taking place is heavily guarded. O'Barry and Psihoyos are well known as enemies by the authorities in Taiji, the authorities who will use whatever tactic to expel the
Director(s): Louie Psihoyos
Production: Roadside Attractions
  Won 1 Oscar. Another 39 wins & 17 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
92 min

I do want to say that we

try to do the story legally.


I thought of all the possibilities

of what could happen,

and it kept me up at night.

The story that Ric

showed me at the beginning

was just the tip of the iceberg.

Here it is... the town of Taiji.

The little town

with a really big secret.

It's funny driving into Taiji.

It's kind of like The Twilight Zone.

It's so bizarre

because if you didn't know

what's going on over here,

you would think this is a town

that loved dolphins and whales.

On our left here is the infamous

Taiji Whale Museum.

And I really, really

hate this place.

When we first got to Japan,

Ric O'Barry was incredibly frustrated.

He said, "Oh, you have

to wear a mask.

Otherwise, they'll know

that we're here."

And I thought, okay, all right.

There's the police.

I've got to hunch over

and change my shape

so they think

I'm just some old Japanese guy.

I thought, you know, what am I doing?

I went halfway across the world

to end up in this car,

locked up with this paranoid guy.

Somebody's behind me.

I don't know who that is.

Yep. He's coming. He's coming.

Is he really?

Yeah. I've been doing this too long.

The mayor of this town

actually gave me the key to the city.

I was welcome then.

Today they'd kill me if they could.

And I'm not exaggerating.

If these fishermen could

catch me and kill me,

they would.

About three years ago,

my friend Jim Clark and I

started this organization...

The Oceanic Preservation Society, OPS.

We've been diving for over 35 years,

and you could go back to the same

dive spot year after year

and literally see

the degradation of the oceans

before your very eyes.

There's major extinctions

going on right now in our lifetime.

Jim had the idea

to try to do something

about it, to stop this,

so I began documenting

reefs around the world.

I went to a marine mammal conference

down in San Diego.

There was 2,000 of the world's

top marine mammal scientists,

and Ric O'Barry was supposed

to be the keynote speaker,

and at the last minute,

the sponsor of the program

pulled him from the ticket.

I thought, oh God, that's interesting.

Well, who's the sponsor?

They said, "Sea World."

A lot of marine mammal

scientists get their money

from Hub Research Institute,

which is the nonprofit arm of Sea World.

They don't like me.

They don't like my message

about captivity,

and they took me off the list.

They wouldn't let me

talk about this dolphin slaughter in Taiji.

I said, "Dolphin slaughter?

What's... What's that about?"

He says, "Well, I'm going next week.

You want to come?"

Now we're approaching the area

that's most important.

That's a dolphin's

worst nightmare right there.

Hundreds of thousands

of dolphins have died there.

You'll see the signs...

"Keep Out," "Danger."

There are fishermen walking

around these hills with knives.

This is a national park.

The fishermen told me.

They said, "If the world finds out

what goes on here,

we'll be shut down."

Can you imagine that?

They actually told us that.

We knew to get in there

and film exactly what happens.

We need to know the truth.

When we got back to the hotel...

It's a big spa hotel,

people going by in robes,

and there's these three

undercover cops talking to Ric.



- No.

- No?


In the background,

you could see these dolphin boats

going by in the window,

and it was just... it was so surreal.

I couldn't... I wanted to laugh,

and I wanted to scream

at the same time.

No. No.

Right. I know.


I don't enter. No, no.

Thank you so much, and...

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Mark Monroe


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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "The Cove" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 13 May 2021. <>.

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