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Flipper Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 10+

Warmhearted remake of TV classic has some scary moments.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this 1990s remake of the 1960s TV classic has a scene of a dolphin shot and killed at the beginning, as well as a suspenseful hammerhead shark attack at the end, both of which could be too intense for younger viewers. As a man of the sea, Uncle Porter likes his Budweiser and cigars, both of which are shown throughout the movie. There is mild profanity here and there ("ass," "hell"), but as a whole, in terms of the oft-told story of a boy and his animal (in this case, a supernaturally gifted dolphin), you can do much-much worse.

  • Families can talk about how similar stories and themes are treated throughout the decades by film and television. Even if you are not familiar with the 1960s TV series Flipper, how might that show be different -- in terms of characters, story, and handling of environmental themes -- from this film made 30 years later?
  • As an attempt, in part, to raise consciousness of the importance of protecting dolphins and oceans from poaching and pollution, how effective was this film?
  • How accurately do you think this film depicts the day-to-day realities of fishermen trying to earn a living, residents of ocean communities trying to keep their environment as pristine as possible, and law enforcement working to balance all of these demands?

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: Dolphins are part of a fragile ecosystem that must be protected. Family, friendship, and community can fight back against pollution stemming from short-term greed.

  • rolemodels true2

    Role models: Sandy learns the importance of family, friendship, and the preservation of the oceans.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Early in the film, a dolphin is shot and killed by an angry man on a boat who believes the dolphins are interfering with his fishing. Later in the film, a hammerhead shark notorious for attacking people is shown circling and attacking one of the main characters. One character punches out the other, knocking him into the water.

  • sex false1

    Sex: As he settles into his new life on Coral Key, young Sandy is shown reading one of his uncle's copies of Playboy.

  • language false2

    Language: "Hell" is said twice; one character calls another a "smart ass," and early in the film, Sandy tells another character "eat my butt."

  • consumerism false3

    Consumerism: Budweiser cans are prevalent throughout the movie. As Sandy begins bonding with Flipper, they are seen playing catch with a Pepsi can.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Uncle Porter is often seen with cans of Budweiser, drinking and, in one scene, pouring beer into a pelican's mouth. He also smokes cigars. Sandy is intrigued by this; at first, he pretends to smoke cigars, but when he is caught by Porter actually smoking one, Porter teaches him a lesson by making him smoke cigars until he throws up.