March of the Penguins

 (2,099)
7.51 h 20 min2005X-RayG
This documentary chronicles the heroic and harrowing journey that emperor penguins make amid subfreezing temperatures and violent snowstorms at the South Pole in order to mate.
Directors
Luc Jacquet
Starring
Morgan FreemanMorgan Freeman
Genres
KidsDocumentarySpecial Interest
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
English
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Producers
Yves DarondeauChristophe LioudEmmanuel Priou
Studio
WARNER BROS.
Rating
G (General Audience)
Purchase rights
Stream instantly Details
Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

2099 global ratings

  1. 86% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 8% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 4% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 2% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

John P. Jones IIIReviewed in the United States on October 25, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
“Maybe they are just stubborn…”
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… and sometimes that is admirable.

I first saw this movie on the big screen, soon after its release in 2005. The Director is Luc Jacquet and it was filmed with a (remarkable) French crew who had to endure the elements as the penguins do. There is also the beautiful narration by Morgan Freeman, with his often wry commentary. I wonder how much is his own thoughts and how much is written for him. For example, he mentions that Antarctica once had a tropical climate. But then the land masses moved and the weather changed, a bit of an understatement. Almost all the other animals left, but there was one “tribe” that stayed: the penguins. Freeman posits: Did they think the weather change temporary, or are they simply stubborn?

The movie commences in March, the end of summer in the southern hemispheres. The penguins must walk, yes, birds who no longer fly, 70 miles to their breeding grounds. They walk, day and night, for a week. Like salmon, they know where they were born, and for generation upon generation the penguins trudge those miles to get back to the spot. Once there, they engage in mating rituals, in ways not much different than you or I. And they are monogamous – sorta – meaning for an entire year, before they part ways for the next season. That might be “monogamous” longer than many human couples. Ah, how oh how did the film crew capture it: the gentleness? How many human and animal couplings (if those are different categories) are of the slam-bam-thank-you-ma'am variety? At the moment of consummation, this one penguin gently leans over, and does the equivalent of nibbling her earlobe. The grace of it all.

With the fun and the grace now in the rearview mirror, the difficult task of bringing and raising a new one in this incredibly harsh environment commences, with temperatures sometimes sinking to 80 below (F), and winds of 100 mph. She produces an egg in June, in the middle of the dark winter. In another ballet, she must transfer the egg from her feet to his (it must be kept off the ice, or the embryo dies), and under his protective flap. She takes off for the sea to eat, again trudging those 70 miles, plus, since the sea is now further away, due to the additional ice. Just in time, if all works well, she brings a meal back to the newborn babe. Dad has not eaten for 125 days, has huddled with his buddies as protection against the wind, has lost half his body weight, and now leaves the newborn in mom’s care, and takes off for his overdue meal, in the sea. Whew. These birds are stubborn indeed.

Death is filmed. The lone penguin has no chance against the winter’s cold, and lies down to die. Eggs are dropped on the ice and lost. Sometimes it is the newborns; in another incredible scene a mother is inconsolable in her grief (sorry if all that seem “anthropomorphic,” the dreaded “put-down,” but it is hard to find another interpretation for what occurs), and she attempts to steal another mom’s baby, to the instant disapproval of the crowd of moms.

There is also some excellent underwater photography, which I hope was being done remotely. Penguins can hold their breath for 15 minutes and dive to 1700 ft. Sea lions are predators. One dramatic scene shows one catching a penguin – two die, as Freeman says, since the baby will never get the meal.

This movie displayed a deep understanding of penguin behavior and was the result of the equally incredible endurance – and stubbornness - of the film crews. I appreciated it even more the second time around. 6-stars.
6 people found this helpful
M. D. FlackReviewed in the United States on January 17, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
Relaxing,touching, Sunday afternoon movie
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Good, relaxing, Sunday afternoon flick.Maybe it's just me..Morgan Freeman's voice is so calming and he's a perfect choice to voice the narration of this nature film. It's touching to follow the penguins as they march to their birthplace and try to raise the next generation is extremely inhospitable conditions. It's a fascinating look at an animal that most of us will never see outside of movies or nature show films such as these, and gives a view into their lives and behavior that we'd otherwise not know. Very well done and great editing and Mr. Freeman's deep, slow timbre somehow seems to fit with the relentless plodding Emperor penguins..
3 people found this helpful
Obi WanReviewed in the United States on April 4, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
Fantastic
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This is simply a fascinating look at life at the bottom of the world.

It's basically just watching penguins live their lives for an hour and twenty minutes. It takes place over the course of 1 year, from the time penguins come out of the water to mate to the time their semi mature offspring jump into the water to hunt for the first time on their own.

It's beautifully filmed. It shows you a part of Earth that is as beautiful as it looks miserable.

It shows how evolution can take weird left turns and yet somehow life finds a way to thrive even under ridiculously adverse conditions.

Plus it's got Morgan Freeman's voice for an hour and twenty minutes. I mean come on....the man could read the phone book and you'd be entertained for at least a half an hour. When he's narrating something interesting you can't lose!
2 people found this helpful
Joan SmithReviewed in the United States on April 19, 2013
5.0 out of 5 stars
A MUST HAVE COLLECTION
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March of the Penguins (Full Screen Edition) ONLY THE BEST OF THE BEST PEOPLE COLLABORATED IN THIS NATIONAL GEOGRAFIC FILM.ONLY NEGITIVE & PETTY PEOPLE WILL SEE IT DEFFERENTLY.I TRIED TO FIND THE BEST ADJECTIVES TO DISCRIBE THIS MOVIE,BUT ALAS,EVERY ONE OF THEM,HAVE BEEN USED UP ALREADY.THE ONE SCENE OF THE DANCE IS ENOUGH TO CONVINCE YOU.[ASTONISHING,AMAZING & RIVETING] THEY HAVE OUTDONE THEMSELVES ON THIS ONE.JUST IMAGINE !! LETS SHOW IT TO ALL THE KIDS NOW,AS NOW IS THE ONLY TIME.[EXTINTION --GOD FORGIVE] I RECOMEND THIS HISTORIC MOVIE FOR ALLL,AS WE BLESS AMAZON FOR MAKING IT POSSABLE. ALL YOUR EMOTIONS WILL BE INVOLVED IN THIS ONE GREATLY,AS HISTORY, BEAUTY & RIVETING STORY TELLING REVEALS.CAMERA PERSONS HAVE ALL MY RESPECTS,FOR BEING THE FORERUNNERS & CAPTURING OF SCENES SKILLFULLY & BEAUTIFULLY THIS SPECIAL PART OF THE WORLD.[NOWHERE ELSE IS THIS POSSABLE.99% OF US HAVE NO IDEA OF SUCH EXISTANCE] LETS NOT MAKE IT [ONCE WAS] OR IN A HISTORY BOOK.SEE IT FOR REAL IN THIS ONCE OF A LIFETIME MOVIE.NOT JUST PENGUINS,BUT THE BREATHTAKING SCENES & A LITTLE COMEDY WHEN THEY FALL.[IT WILL CRACK YOU UP]
Cedric's MomReviewed in the United States on January 6, 2006
5.0 out of 5 stars
Absolutely Stunning
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The life, death, and love story of the Emperor Penguin is tenderly and dramatically told in March of the Penguins. This story has it all: love, loss, struggle, triumph, rejection, acceptance, and beauty. Director Luc Jacquet has done a fantastic job of making these creatures seem almost human as they face the incredibly harsh and unforgiving environment of Antarctica (South Pole) as they live their daily lives. Jacquet and his crew have done an incredible thing with March of the Penguins. Truly, this is a universal tale.

Everything about "March" fits together--the story, the beautiful and evocative score, the pace, the awesome scenery, and of course, Morgan Freeman's calm and reassuring voice. Moments of narrative perfectly dovetail with soundtrack and penguin sounds to create a flawless whole. The director shows us the beauty and mystery of animal behavior exquisitely in this movie. Their coupling is like a ballet, filled with tenderness. The perfection of their markings is a testament to "intelligent design" and artistry as well.

Maybe because they walk upright (and are quite tall, almost 4 feet tall in some cases) or because of their round and emotionally pleasing shape do these animals garner a place in the human psyche. Their side-to-side waddle that suggests a shruggingly "OK, I'm coming," reveals struggle and resignation to their lives. What's a penguin to do? The next time you have a crappy day at the office, pop this DVD into the player and thank God you were born a mere human and not a penguin.

I first saw this film in the theatre but was so emotionally moved that I had to leave halfway through because I couldn't keep a dry eye. I knew that I would immediately purchase the DVD as soon as it became available. Even now, I can't watch it through without stopping; some scenes are too heartbreaking for me to endure without a time out. No doubt most people won't have such a strong reaction to the film, but no doubt some will.

What are the chances that "March" will be nominated for an Academy for Best Picture of the Year? It would be a worthy contender and even a justified winner for my money. But then, animals are my weakness.

Special features on the DVD include National Geographic's Crittercam, a classic Looney Tunes cartoon (8 Ball Bunny), and a visit with the crew showing us some of the hardships and techniques used to make this incredible film.

In time, March of the Penguins will become a classic. It is suitable for all ages and all tastes, and it will amaze the most discriminating moviegoer and any animal behavior expert. It is absolutely stunning. I give it my highest rating.
2 people found this helpful
Chris HarrellReviewed in the United States on February 21, 2011
5.0 out of 5 stars
Outstanding Video and a must watch for nature enthusiasts!
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This video is a must watch for all naturalists, conservations and wildlife enthusiasts abroad. The manner in which these birds survive and continue to thrive in such a harsh environment is amazing to say the least. You simply must watch the video to appreciate these birds, it will leave you wondering how in the world any life remains there on the Artic but these birds seem to view it as rather "homely"...

I must say the folks that spent a year of their life on the Artic to research these birds and to shoot this video are worthy of a standing ovation. You just must watch the "behind the scenes" extras that reveals the tough times these biologists and videographers had to undergo to gather such footage. Trust me, when i say this portion of the video is great as well.

Overall, i give it a 10 for the manner in which it was composed, the narration, the video footage and the education that it renders.

Educational and very inspiring film for the entire family.

Chris
Eastern NC
slow glassReviewed in the United States on March 30, 2011
4.0 out of 5 stars
Nature Is Not Cute
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I purchased and viewed "March" from Amazon several years ago, but haven't reviewed the movie until now. Seeing it appear on the Amazon Instant Video selection, I re-read some of the reviews posted here and decided to leave my own comment. First of all, it is Excellent. It has already been emphasized by a few, but let me restate that this movie isn't "cute" as some have written. Yes, there are some cute scenes, but it is misleading, I believe, that it be labeled as cute, since it is really a story of survival and not children's entertainment in the classic sense. But the portrayal of the raw brutality of nature in the one of the most harsh environments on Earth is among the best in the documentary genre. Very educational, very well filmed and narrated. Just not cute. And one final comment: If there was ever proof on film that members of the animal kingdom (besides mankind) have the ability to Love, it is documented in March of the Penguins.
3 people found this helpful
Rajeev RajagopalanReviewed in the United States on May 14, 2007
5.0 out of 5 stars
Moving
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If we were to picturize a song rather than composing a song for a movie , my choice for "The Circle of Life" would be "March of the Penguins", and in sheer artistry its an apt pairing. Watching a documentary about a 8-9 month long slice in a penguins life , sounds boring, but surprise surprise this is the closest I have come to being moved by the animal kingdom (ravenous crocodiles score high, but rarely on the emotional side). The documentary packs awesome imagery and a simple narration in slightly more than an hour of sheer beauty. Antarctica would possibly never figure in my vacation itinerary, but for an armchair tourist its quite a delight. Sheer solitude , wind blowing across barren landscapes ,glorious sunsets and out popped a penguin from a hole in the "ground". One by one the characters pop out to make a remarkable "march" of over 70 miles in excruciating conditions towards finding a mating place shielded from the predators from the sea as well as the life threatening wind. The mating rituals resemble a ballet, heightened by the cinematography. The penguins go through a rather painful procedure of transferring the egg from the female to the male parent following which the female trudges off into the horizon to grab a meal (she's lost 30% of her weight in the process of producing the egg). The male spends the next 4 months WITHOUT ANY FOOD making sure that the hatchlings don't catch a cold. The females after they return(if they manage to) are left to "discover" their mates by scent. The hatchlings are passed over to the females and the males take a break(he's lost 50% of his body weight). After a brief family reunion , the young penguins are left to fend for themselves , and the film ends with them responding to the call of the sea. In between this rather simple storyline are magical moments of elation, the poignancy of the loss of a young one and a reassurance of continuity of a graceful species. Nature never ceases to humble ,here are some lessons from the penguin
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