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Dolphin Tale (2011)

2:33 | Trailer

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A story centered on the friendship between a boy and a dolphin whose tail was lost in a crab trap.
4 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Harry Connick Jr. ... Dr. Clay Haskett
Ashley Judd ... Lorraine Nelson
Nathan Gamble ... Sawyer Nelson
Kris Kristofferson ... Reed Haskett
Cozi Zuehlsdorff ... Hazel Haskett
Morgan Freeman ... Dr. Cameron McCarthy
Austin Stowell ... Kyle Connellan
Frances Sternhagen ... Gloria Forrest
Austin Highsmith ... Phoebe
Betsy Landin ... Kat
Juliana Harkavy ... Rebecca
Megan Lozicki Megan Lozicki ... Brittany
Jim Fitzpatrick ... Max Connellan
Kim Ostrenko ... Alyce Connellan
Michael Roark ... Donovan Peck


A lonely and friendless boy finds and untangles a hurt dolphin that is caught in a crab trap. He becomes very attached to the dolphin when the tail must be taken off to save the dolphin's life. The boy believes the dolphin would be able to swim normally if it was given a prosthetic tail. Written by Douglas Young (the-movie-guy)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Inspired by the amazing true story of Winter


Drama | Family

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some mild thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



Canada | USA



Release Date:

23 September 2011 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Delfiini lugu See more »


Box Office


$37,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$19,152,401, 25 September 2011, Wide Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS | DTS (as Datasat Digital Sound)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The gel / liner for Winter the dolphin - as well as Winter herself - is in fact REAL. It was not done with special effects and is actually Winter herself swimming around both without the prosthetic tail and with the prosthesis. Initially the aquarium had issues with keeping a prosthetic tail on her that was secure and comfortable. Because of this they reached out to a local medical manufacturer, ALPS South out of St. Petersburg, Florida partnered with Hanger Orthopedic Group and ALPS South developed the liner, specifically designed to comfortably and securely fit Winter's prosthetic tail. See more »


The position of the two containers put down by Hazel changes between shots. See more »


Sawyer Nelson: If you don't wear the tail, you're gonna die.
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Alternate Versions

Also shown in 3D version. See more »


Referenced in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #20.27 (2011) See more »


Kings Road A
Written by Jens Funke and Josef Peters
Courtesy of APM Music
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A positive message of hope and redemption in the face of adversity
28 October 2011 | by 3xHCCHSee all my reviews

This is a nice little inspirational movie that had a relentlessly positive message, and an exuberant talented cast (led by Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, and Harry Connick, Jr.) to boot. While the title and the poster already tells you what to expect, the movie actually had a multi- layered plot, all of these sub-stories drive home the same positive message of hope and redemption in the face of adversity.

The main story of course is that of Winter, a young dolphin whose tail got caught and seriously injured in a crab trap. Sawyer, a young boy with school and father issues, grows very attached to this dolphin that he saved. When Winter's tail was eventually amputated, Sawyer sought the help of the prosthetics expert at the veteran's hospital to come up with a prosthetic tail so the dolphin could swim normally again.

To thicken this simple and straightforward main plot, the script gave us several supporting stories. We get the story of Sawyer's older cousin Kyle, a swimmer who tragically lost his leg in the war. The very marine hospital itself where Winter was confined was in trouble with its sponsors and was threatened with closure. The very community of Clearwater, Florida where the story happened also had to face the wrath of a calamitous cyclone. We get to witness how these "broken" people had the will to rise above their difficulties and move on with their lives.

There was of course no surprises anymore how this will end. However, the story telling was engaging without being too pushy or cheesy with its message. The kid actors were very natural and not annoying, especially the young man who played Sawyer, Nathan Gamble. I think it is a very good family film where important lessons about life can be learned by all. Once in a while it is quite refreshing to watch a happy positive film so reinforce the belief that not all hope is lost in this seemingly sad and cruel world of ours.

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