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Film Finders: Exploring Special Topics: Oceans

28 Films for Black History Month, compiled by the New York Times in 2018.

Oceans: Endangered, Enchanting, Economic (Spring / Summer 2018 Display)

Poster for Film & Video Oceans display

View our on-site display at the Film & Video Collection on the Lower Level of Morris Library, and explore the Blu-ray, DVD, and eVideo resources available to UD students, staff, and faculty.  Browse select titles below.

You're also invited to attend the Delaware Environmental Institute's Lights, Camera, EARTH! film series, co-sponsored by the College of Earth, Ocean, and the Environment and the Library, Museums and Press on Wednesdays at 7pm, February 21 through April 4, 2018.  This year's series focuses on the challenges facing our oceans and costs.  Screenings are free and open to the public, and will feature faculty-led discussions.

Our Oceans. They are enchanting. They are endangered. They impact the economy everywhere.

“…rising hazards to human health and the ecosystem…”; “…reveals the latest developments in deep sea science…”; “Can experts crack the code of a rapidly changing ocean before it is too late?”; “Documents how the pH balance has changed dramatically…”; “Imagine an ocean without fish… - …this film is a wake-up call.”

“Features an exhilarating look under the sea through the eyes of those that live there…”; “…experience face-to-face encounters with some of the most mysterious and stunning creatures of the sea.”; “Explore the mysterious depths of the 'world ocean'…”; “Startling wildlife photography reveals the sea and its communities…”

“In a sleepy lagoon off the coast of Japan is a highly guarded secret…”;  “…the phenomenal growth in demand for sushi has come at a cost…”; “This is a war for fish, for nature, and for the planet…”; “Explores the immense changes threatening marine fisheries worldwide…”; “…do we fish the last ocean or do we protect it?" 

picture of DVD cover to "The Last Ocean" picture of DVD cover to "The Blue Planet" picture of DVD cover to "Sushi the Global Catch"

picture of DVD cover to "The Living Sea"

picture of DVD cover to "The End of the Line" picture of DVD cover to "Oceans"


Altered Oceans, 2006, Los Angeles Times                                   Available on DVD.

A five-part series on the crisis in the seas. Part 1. A primeval tide of toxins -- Part 2. Sentinels under attack -- Part 3. Dark tides, ill winds -- Part 4. Sea preserves a plastic plague -- Part 5. A chemical imbalance.

A Sea Change, 2009, Bullfrog Films                           Available on DVD and Streaming.

Documents how the pH balance of the oceans has changed dramatically since the beginning of the industrial revolution: a 30% increase in acidification.  Experts predict that over the next century, steady increases in carbon dioxide emissions and the continued rise in acidity will cause most of the world's fisheries to experience a total bottom-up collapse -- a state that could last for millions of years.

Lethal Seas, 2015, PBS                                                Available on DVD.

A deadly recipe threatens the survival of countless creatures throughout Earth's ocean: carbon dioxide. With carbon emissions sharply rising, the silent killer is entering the seas at a staggering rate, raising the oceans' acidity. As a result, the skeletons and shells of marine creatures that form the foundation of the web of life are dissolving. Can experts crack the code of a rapidly changing ocean before it is too late?

One Ocean, 2010, Bullfrog                                              Available on DVD.

This four-part documentary series from The Nature of Things dives into the world's vast interconnected ocean ecosystem, telling the story from its turbulent birth to its threatened future.

Operation Deep Sea: Shedding Light in the Darkness, 2016, Film Ideas                         Available on DVD.

Reveals the latest developments in deep sea science, exploring the still largely unknown abysses of the ocean and its essential impact on our environment and climate. In a world of dwindling resources and a changing climate, we need to know more about the depths of the element that make this planet a blue one.

Poisoned Water, 2009, PBS                                            Available on DVD.

More than three decades after the Clean Water Act, two iconic waterways -- the great coastal estuaries of Puget Sound and the Chesapeake Bay -- are in perilous condition. With polluted runoff still flowing in from industry, agriculture and massive suburban development, scientists fear contamination to the food chain and drinking water for millions of people. A growing list of endangered species also is threatened in both estuaries. This documentary examines the rising hazards to human health and the ecosystem and why it's so hard to keep our waters clean.

Killer Algae, 2016, Film Ideas                                    Available on DVD.

Algae can contaminate vast areas in the sea with highly neurotoxic substances, killing thousands of fish and other marine life. Meanwhile, humans can also become dangerously ill as a result of eating the poisonous seafood. From California's 'red tide', where tons of dead fish are washed ashore every year, to Stockholm, where a group of scientists are recording how algae are killing the Baltic Sea, this in-depth documentary travels the world to uncover the startling instances of oceanic catastrophe, and the steps scientists are taking to prevent them.

The Coastal State of Delaware, 1978, University of Delaware                                       Available on DVD.

Examines the varied aspects of Delaware's coastal areas. Considers problems which have been caused by overcrowding and development, and relates these problems to the economic benefits derived from business, industry, and recreation.

Plastic Oceans, 2012, ABC Commercial                                    Available Streaming.

In our throw away world a plastic bag outlives it's usefulness after around fifteen minutes. A plastic bottle might last a little longer, party balloons a whole occasion. But the ocean likes to hang onto these discarded treasures for decades, even centuries giving many other consumers a taste for plastic.

Safe Harbor, 2015, Imageries P.B. Ltd                                                               Available on DVD.

Wellfleet Harbor off of Cape Cod Bay features a particularly striking and unusual tidal environment. This film presents the recent research efforts of scientists, naturalists, and local citizens to understand and protect the inhabitants of this fragile harbor.

Straws, 2017, Video Project                                                      Available on DVD.

Each day, Americans use over 500,000,000 plastic straws. They aren't recycled, and Ocean Conservancy's 2014 list ranked them as the number five most found item - adding to the estimated 8.5 metric tons of plastic debris entering oceans annually. The film illustrates how individuals, groups and business owners around the globe are reducing plastic straw use through education, outreach, policy development and utilization of non-plastic alternatives.

Sonic Sea, 2017, Ro*co Films Educational                                                    Available on DVD.  

"The oceans are not a silent world, but dynamic, living symphonies of sound. In water, sound travels five times faster, and many times farther than it does in air. Whales, dolphins, porpoises, and other marine mammals have evolved to take advantage of this perfect sonic medium. Just as we rely on sight to survive, they depend on sound to hunt for food, find mates, and detect predators. Over the last fifty years, our increasing ocean presence has drastically transformed the acoustic environment of these majestic creatures. Undersea noise pollution is invisible but it is damaging the web of ocean life. The incessant and increasing cacophony masks whales' ability to hear and be heard, hindering their ability to prosper and ultimately to survive."--Container.

The End of the Line, 2009, Bullfrog Films                            Available on DVD and Streaming.

Viewers see firsthand the effects of humanity's global love affair with fish as food. It follows investigative reporter Charles Clover as he confronts politicians and celebrity restaurateurs. Scientists predict that if we continue fishing as we are now, we will see the end of most seafood by 2048, and the impact of overfishing extends beyond marine life. For consumers who innocently buy endangered fish, politicians who ignore the advice and pleas of scientists, fishermen who break quotas and fish illegally, and the global fishing industry that is precipitating disaster, this film is a wake-up call. 


Oceans, 2010, Buena Vista Home Entertainment                          Available on DVD, Blu-ray and Streaming.

Features an exhilarating look under the sea through the eyes of those that live there. Incredible state-of-the-art-underwater filmmaking will take viewers breath away as they migrate with whales, swim alongside a great white shark, and race with dolphins at play. Includes first-ever images of elusive deepwater creatures, featurettes, music video, filmmaker annotations, and more.

Under the Sea, 2010, Warner                                    Available on DVD and Streaming.

Transports you to some of the most exotic and isolated undersea locations on Earth, including Southern Australia, New Guinea, and others in the Indo-Pacific region and allows you to experience face-to-face encounters with some of the most mysterious and stunning creatures of the sea.  

The Living Sea, 2000, Living Entertainment                          Available on DVD.

Explore the mysterious depths of the "world ocean" to discover the beauty and diversity of the ocean and its importance to all life on earth. Travel to Palau, Hawaii, California, Oregon, Alaska, Nova Scotia, and the Red Sea. Meet humpback whales, swim with golden jellyfish, and witness the spawning behavior of giant clams.

The Blue Planet: Seas of Life, 2002, Warner Home Video                                 Available on DVD.

Startling wildlife photography reveals the sea and its communities at their most fearsome and alluring in this landmark BBC mini-series on the ocean, a world we know less about than the moon.


Voyage to the Edge of the World, 2009, Synergy Entertainment                       Available on DVD.

In 1975, Jacques Cousteau and his team aboard the Calypso sail to Antartica, equipped with a submarine to explore the islands, icebergs, fossils, craters and creatures of the ocean.


Secrets of the Deep, Wrecksploitation. 2009, Skyvision.                                            Available Streaming.

An informative and exciting series, using treasure exhumed from the world's oceans to learn about the technologies and science of lost civilizations and periods of historical interest. The series showcases five dramatic stories set at sea, the clues to which are buried deep beneath the waves: ancient Egyptian boats, lost World War II planes, sunken cities and shipwreck treasure.

Coral Sea Dreaming Awaken, 2009, Video Project                                          Available on DVD.

Provided is a vivid exploration of one of the planet's great natural wonders, coral reefs, which harbor the greatest biodiversity of any ecosystem on Earth. Emmy Award-winning cinematographer David Hannan filmed for seven years on three great coral reef ecosystems to create this testimony to an extraordinary undersea world, set to an original score.


The Last Ocean, 2013, Video Project                               Available on DVD and Streaming.

The Ross Sea, Antarctica is the most pristine marine ecosystem on Earth. Scientists describe it as a "living laboratory," a place that can teach us about the workings of all marine ecosystems. But the fishing industry recently found its way to the Ross Sea, targeting Antarctic toothfish and disrupting the natural balance of the Ross Sea. Environmentalists, commercial fishers and governments are going head to head over this issue, which raises the simple ethical question: do we fish the last ocean or do we protect it? 


The Cove, 2009, Lions Gate Entertainment                                      Available on DVD.

In a sleepy lagoon off the coast of Japan is a highly guarded secret. During the night, Taiji fishermen engage in an unseen hunt for thousands of dolphins. The fishermen will stop at nothing to keep the hunt hidden from the outside world. When a team of elite activists, filmmakers, and free-divers embark on a secret mission to penetrate their cover, the shocking discoveries they find there are just the tip of the iceberg.

Sushi, the Global Catch, 2013, Kino Lorber                                   Available on DVD.

Have you ever eaten sushi? If so, the phenomenal growth in demand for sushi has come at a cost: overfishing has led to depleting fish stocks, which in turn has threatened the balance of the ocean's ecosystems. Is the current sushi trade sustainable? What can be done to ensure that the prized Blue Fin Tuna exists for future generations to come?

Fish Tail, 2016, Grasshopper Films                        Available on DVD.

Rabo de Peixe (literally translated as ‘fish tail’) is the name of a village in the Azores that is home to the largest collection of artisanal fisheries on the whole archipelago. The residents, mostly local fishermen and their families, have relied on these waters for generations. In recent years, global industrial overfishing has created significant problems, throwing their livelihood into uncertainty and threatening to wipe out a centuries-old profession.

The Fish on My Plate, 2017, PBS                               Available on DVD.

Journalist and author Paul Greenberg (Four Fish; American Catch) spends a year eating only fish. From farmed fish in Norway to the biggest wild fishery in the world off Peru, he travels to investigate the health of the ocean, as well as his own.

Fish Wars, 2016, Film Ideas                                 Available on DVD.

The seas of the Asia Pacific stand as one of the last major centers of marine biodiversity in the world. They contain 75% of the world's coral species and over 3,000 marine fish species. It is also one of the biggest sources of sea food for a voracious world population. Man's demand for fish, caught legally and illegally, is pushing these reefs to the brink. Bi-catch, cyanide fishing, unsafe long lines, the aquarium industry, unsustainable harvests and climate change all take their toll. Unless drastic action is taken, global fisheries experts warn all that will be left in our oceans will be jellyfish. At stake here is not just the livelihood of a region, but also the future of one of the world’s greatest marine areas. Follow marine biologists from the World Wildlife Fund fighting not just to protect, but to rebuild the oceans.

Empty Oceans, Empty Nets, 2012, Bullfrog Films                            Available Streaming.

Explores the immense changes threatening marine fisheries worldwide. Entire populations of fish are becoming commercially extinct, yet consumer's demand for fish is on the rise.  The film also examines the extent of the global fisheries crisis and the forces that continue to push many marine fish stocks toward commercial extinction. It also documents some of the most promising and innovative work being done to restore fisheries and protect essential fish habitat.

Freightened, 2017, Green Planet Films                                           Available on DVD.

90% of the goods we consume in the West are manufactured in far-off lands and brought to us by ship. The cargo shipping industry is a key player in world economy and forms the basis of our very model of modern civilisation; without it, it would be impossible to fulfil the ever-increasing demands of our societies. Yet the functioning and regulations of this business remain largely obscure to many, and its hidden costs affect us all. Due to their size, freight ships no longer fit in traditional city harbours; they have moved out of the public's eye, behind barriers and check points. The film answers questions such as: Who pulls the strings in this multi-billion dollar business? To what extent does the industry control our policy makers? How does it affect the environment above and below the water-line? And what's life like for modern seafarers? Taking us on a journey over seas and oceans, Freightened reveals in an audacious investigation the many faces of world-wide freight shipping and sheds light on the consequences of an all-but-visible industry.

Sacred Cod, 2016, Bullfrog Films                                   Available on DVD and streaming.

A documentary that captures the collapse of the historic cod population in New England, delving into the effects of overfishing, climate change and government policies on fishermen and the fish.

Exhibit Photos

Photo of left side of Oceans display case, with DVD cases and beach artifacts.Photo of right side of Oceans display case, with DVD cases and examples of pollution artifacts and reusable straws..




Photo of sea turtle swimming


Underwater photo of marine life swimming Photo of trash floating underwater Photo of trash floating on top of water Photo of a wave cresting

Photo of fish swimming past a coral reef