How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is quite clearly Ocean.

Please take some time to watch these documentaries and other videos that have inspired me and increased my knowledge about the ocean. I learned something from all of them and most of them brought tears to my eyes; either from awe and wonder at the beauty of nature or sadness and shame about how humans treat it. This small collection includes videos with stunning underwater footage, some educational talks, and a few documentaries that are difficult to watch with graphic but necessary messages. All of them touched me in some way and I hope they do the same for you. 

Some of these are trailers since the full film may not be publicly available. Where you can stream, buy, or rent them varies by country. Please make the effort to find them!

Filmed close to my home, in Lombok, at one of the largest shark markets, this documentary addresses global shark fishing issues at a local level. (Trailer)

A poignant look at the global devastating effects of our plastic production and some solutions to this issue.

Acid Test: The Global Challenge of Ocean Acidification (2009)

A short film about ocean acidification and the consequences if we do nothing to stop it.

An Inconvenient Truth (2006)

One of the first major films to sound the alarm about global warming. An interesting watch 15 years later. (Trailer)

Blackfish (2013)

A heartbreaking film focusing on the controversial captivity of orcas and the dark side of tourism and the marine wildlife trade. (Trailer)

The Blue Planet (2001)

The gold standard of ocean documentaries. With gorgeous underwater footage and full of interesting ocean facts, this series is pure joy to watch! (Trailer)

Blue Planet II (2017)

The sequel series is as jaw-dropping as the original. But 16 years later it also contains a more serious warning about the health of our ocean. (Trailer)

By Killing the Ocean, We Kill Ourselves (2011)

A TED talk from the legendary Dr. Sylvia Earle after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The talk emphasizes respecting the Gulf (the ecosystem), and not just the creatures that live in it.

Chasing Coral (2017)

Incredible time lapse footage showing the effects of global warming on coral. An urgent wake up call demanding action.

Chasing Ice (2012)

A sobering visual global warming wake up call. Chasing Ice lets the glaciers show global warming in action using time lapse photography. (Trailer)

One of the most difficult documentaries I have watched. The filmmakers go undercover to show one of the darkest examples of the marine wildlife trade. (Trailer)

Current Sea (2020)

Recent documentary about the a Marine Protected Area in Cambodia and the human element of the illegal fishing trade. (Trailer)

The Dead Zone of the Gulf of Mexico (2018)

Informative TED Talk explaining ocean dead zones. While the political examples are from the USA, the message is global.

The End of the Line (2009)

Poignant documentary full of great information about the extend and the consequences of overfishing around the world. Does a great job of sharing multiple sides of the issues. (Trailer)

How I Fell in Love with a Fish (2010)

TED talk by a chef about sustainable fishing and aquaculture and the choices a restaurant has to make. It’s an entertaining listen and you’ll learn something!

How Sand Mining Destroys One Home to Build Another (2019)

A beautiful short film from National Geographic showcasing the real world effects of sand mining.

In the Same Net: Ocean Life, Ethics, and the Human Spirit (2010)

A university lecture by Carl Safina more than 10 years ago. You’ll come away from this lecture with a bit more knowledge and a bit more hope.

The Last Resort (2017)

A documentary about creating an eco resort and marine conservation area in Misool, Indonesia. An inspirational look at someone making a difference.

Mining the Deep Sea: The True Cost to the Planet (2020)

Short documentary explaining the current state of deep sea mining and the potential costs to the marine ecosystem.

Mission Blue (2014)

A look at our attitude toward the ocean and how it has changed in the past 60 years as seen through the eyes of one of my ocean heroes, Dr. Sylvia Earle. (Trailer)

Oceans: Our Blue Planet (2018)

Incredible underwater footage. Some of the scenes give me goosebumps. (Trailer)

Oceans (2009)

Beautiful marine footage with a bit more adrenaline than other documentaries while still adding a conservation message. (Trailer)

Our Planet (2019): Frozen Worlds

One of the 8-part series narrated by David Attenborough focusing on the “natural wonders that remain.” The images kept me riveted and the message inspired me to act.

Our Planet (2019): High Seas

Another ocean-based episode in the Our Planet series. This one takes us to the deep ocean which also need our help. 

Our Planet (2019): Coastal Seas

The last marine episode from the Our Planet series. This focuses on seas near land; where 90% of marine creatures can be found. Beautiful footage, important message. 

Our Planet: Our Business (2019)

A World Wildlife Fund companion short documentary to “Our Planet.” Discusses the consequences of the loss of biodiversity and the role of corporations in making change happen.

Planet Ocean (2012)

A breathtaking documentary from Yann Arthus-Bertrand exploring the relationship between humans and the ocean. 

Racing Extinction (2015)

A movie exposing the illegal wildlife trade and the alarming rate of species extinctions on our planet. It’s a lot to process but it cannot be ignored. (Trailer)

Revolution (2012)

A hopeful documentary which illustrates not only the number of issues we face but the individuals and organizations, especially youth, working on solutions. (Trailer)

Seaspiracy (2021)

This controversial documentary examines overfishing and the greed behind it. Oversimplified. But whether or not you agree with the message, it reignited a much needed conversation. (Trailer)

Sharkwater (2006)

Rob Stewart’s passion project to raise awareness for shark finning and help to protect these apex predators. (Trailer)

Sharkwater Extinction (2018)

The follow-up to Sharkwater, released after Rob tragically died. This documentary provides a sobering update on the state of shark fishing. (Trailer)

What Animals Are Thinking and Feeling (2016)

A powerful TED Talk by Carl Safina. I found it thought-provoking. It’s not just about marine animals but many are included. Enjoy!

Perpetual Planet: Heroes of the Ocean (2021)

A new series from National Geographic and Dr. Sylvia Earle. Each episode shows marine scientists and the work they are doing for our ocean; great to learn about what’s being done and to be reminded that we can all make a difference! 

Pulau Plastik (Plastic Island) (2021)

A new film about marine plastic in Indonesia made by Indonesians. Sharing a personal message about their experiences including solutions for this pervasive problem that resonate with all of us.

The Human Element (2018)

A film by photographer James Balog (Chasing Ice) that looks at the effects of climate change in each of the four elements: earth, air, fire, water. And then discusses the fifth element, humans and how we affect the other four. 

Doing Nothing is Crazier (2021)

A poignant short film from Conservation International illustrating plastic pollution solutions through the eyes of children. 

How to Save Our Planet (2019)

This short documentary (9 minutes) with David Attenborough by the World Wildlife Fund explains how humanity got to this current crisis. Even better, it gives 4 solutions to get out of it. A must watch.

Saving the Ocean with Carl Safina (2011)

This 10 part series from PBS shares good news for the ocean from around the planet. Each episode features unsung heroes implementing solutions.