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The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)

R  |   |  Adventure, Comedy, Drama  |  25 December 2004 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 129,577 users   Metascore: 62/100
Reviews: 628 user | 253 critic | 38 from

With a plan to exact revenge on a mythical shark that killed his partner, oceanographer Steve Zissou rallies a crew that includes his estranged wife, a journalist, and a man who may or may not be his son.


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Title: The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Niels Koizumi ...
Pawel Wdowczak ...
Intern #1


When his partner is killed by the mysterious and possibly nonexistent Jaguar Shark, Steve Zissou and his Team Zissou crew set off for an expedition to hunt down the creature. Along with his estranged wife, a beautiful journalist and a co-pilot who could possibly be Zissou's son, the crew set off for one wild expedition. Written by FilmFanUK

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The deeper you go, the weirder life gets

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some drug use, violence and partial nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




Release Date:

25 December 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Life Aquatic  »

Box Office


$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$113,085 (USA) (10 December 2004)


$154,517 (Australia) (18 March 2005)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The score that plays on the soundtrack when Steve Zissou gives the tour of his boat is actually a theme from The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) being played in reverse. See more »


When Steve and Ned are in the helicopter, they're supposedly far out in remote "unprotected waters". There's a two-masted sailboat visible over Steve's right shoulder in several shots. In the same sequence, the water beneath the helicopter is shallow and churning with brown sand, indicating this was shot very near a beach. See more »


[first lines]
[in Italian]
Festival Director: Ladies and gentlemen, we are very pleased to welcome you to the world premiere of Part 1 of the newest film from a great favorite of ours here at Loquasto, Mr. Steve Zissou. A brief Q & A will immediately follow the screening. Thank you.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the scene of the credits where the crew boards the Belafonte, Ned can clearly be seen at the top of the ship in full pilot's uniform smoking his pipe. See more »


Referenced in Hewy's Animated Movie Reviews: Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) See more »


Concierto de Aranjuez
Written by Joaquín Rodrigo
Performed by Paco de Lucía
Courtesy of Universal Music Spain S.L.
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

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User Reviews

Brilliant, unpretentious, charming
23 July 2005 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Well exactly as my summary says, this is a very well made straight-out unpretentious movie about a fading wildlife-film director's attempt to re-create his past success that made him some sort of cult phenomenon. Reading a few of the other reviews, I think this is evidently a "hate it or love it" film, however a lot of people seem to have missed the point-I don't think this film was really intended as a comdey, to me it was more just about the relationships and interactions between the various characters and maybe even an exploration of the human spirit.

The motivation for this project is revenge on the "leopard shark" that killed his best friend/long-standing partner and there is a lot of emotion on the way, including an inspiring relationship between him and his long lost son, whom he has never met but was a huge fan of his as a boy, and the constant drama between him and his wife, who's father's money has payed for his entire career.

Wes Anderson has excellent cinematography, with some great CGI, depicting marine life in a very retro fashion, and beautiful landscapes, as well as a very well put-together soundtrack including Sigur Ros, The Stooges and Ziggy Stardust era Bowie played in Portuguese with a classical guitar accompaniment. We also see Bill Murray at his best as well as a heart-warming performance by Owen Wilson, who I am not normally a fan of. The script is also very well written and the story is so well put-together that even an attack by pirates or looting a large scientific institution seem plausible in a serious movie about an oceanographer! Overall, this is a brilliant film and there isn't a lot more I can say.

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