The Day of the Dolphin (1973)

PG  |   |  Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller  |  29 March 1974 (Denmark)
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Dr Jake Terrell, who has been training a pair of dolphins for many years, has had a breakthrough. He has taught his dolphins to speak and understand English, although they do have a limited... See full summary »



(screenplay), (novel)
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Margaret 'Maggie' Terrell
Curtis Mahoney
Severn Darden ...
Schwinn - Foundation
Mrs. Rome - Foundation
William Roerick ...
Dunhill - Foundation
Receptionist - Foundation
Pat Zurica ...
First Mate - Foundation
Jon Korkes ...
David - Research Team
Mike - Research Team
Leslie Charleson ...
Maryanne - Research Team
Lana - Research Team
John David Carson ...
Larry - Research Team
Willie Myers ...
Stone (as Willie Meyers)


Dr Jake Terrell, who has been training a pair of dolphins for many years, has had a breakthrough. He has taught his dolphins to speak and understand English, although they do have a limited vocabulary. When the dolphins are stolen, he discovers they're to be used in an assassination attempt. Now he is in a race to discover who is the target, and where the dolphins are, before the attempt is carried out. Written by Brian W Martz <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Unwittingly He Trained a Dolphin to Kill the President of the United States See more »


Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

29 March 1974 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

El día del delfín  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$8,500,000 (estimated)


$2,300,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Screenwriter Buck Henry provides the voices of the dolphins when they speak human words. See more »


Woman in audience: What about their speaking in English?
Dr. Jake Terrell: I'm sorry?
Woman in audience: I saw this dolphin on television and he could count from 1 to 10 in English.
Dr. Jake Terrell: Really? I must have missed that.
Woman in audience: Do you think its some kind of trick or something?
Dr. Jake Terrell: Yes... yes its just a trick.
See more »


Referenced in Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

" If word get's out before I can explain my work, it will turn into a freak show "
23 April 2009 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

Throughout the motion picture business there is many a thespian who truly believes in their role. Some more than others and is why a few become exceptional. The original script called " The Day of The Dolphin " was delivered to several actors, prior to the film's inception. When the principal actor read the interesting dialog between himself and his subject called Alpha, he was not only intrigued, but anxious to begin. The story centers around a Research Scientist named Dr. Jake Terrell (George C. Scott) and his wife Maggie. (Trish Van Devere) Their secret island project concerns a special Dolphin, whom they have raised since birth. In an amazing feat of Phonetic science, laboring on the cutting edge and years of patience instruction, they have taught their unique Dolphin to speak English. However, their financial benefactors are not men with lofty ideals like Dr. Terrell or his staff. Indeed their primary goal is to use the amazing oceanic mammal to swim underwater undetected to a secured location where the President of the U.S. is vacationing and eliminate the Chief Executive. Although it's Harold DeMilo (Fritz Weaver) the C.E.O. of the funding institute who plans on subverting Dr. Terrell's innovative project, it's a strange, mysterious and uninvited visitor, Curtis Mahoney (Paul Sorvino) whom they suspect is behind the theft of their special Dolphin and a midnight murder. Trust is not inherent between the characters, indeed the audience is in for a surprise or two. However it's this very element which gives the film it's dramatic texture. The cast is incredible and delivers a dynamite performance which as a result allows this film to become a Classic. Excellent movie. ****

5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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