12 Shark Movies for Kids and Families
If your child is fascinated by sharks here are some kid-friendly movies and shows that feature the ocean’s most fearsome predators. From animated movies with shark characters to fascinating and educational shark documentaries, you can find shark fare for kids of varying ages and interests. Animated movies are listed first, followed by the documentaries. You could also use one of these movies to complement a shark-themed party.
“Fish are friends, not food!” In one of the best-animated shark scenes ever, the sharks in Finding Nemo have formed a support group to curb their appetite for fish, but you should never trust a shark on a diet! The three main character sharks in this classic scene in the movie are Bruce, the intimidating great white; Anchor, the hammerhead; and Chum, the mako shark. The best thing about these sharks?—their adorable Aussie accents. (Rated G)
The “Predator Power” DVD from features the episode “Stuck on Sharks,” which uses animation and a little live action to teach kids about sharks in a fun and exciting way. Perfect for kids ages 4-8, Wild Kratts airs on PBS KIDS GO! and follows the adventures of two brothers who love to study animals and explore animal habitats up-close and personal. The DVD contains three additional episodes of the show which feature other predators like cheetahs, wolves, and raptors.
In this funny fish tale, a small fish named Oscar (voiced by Will Smith) takes the credit for walloping a shark and becomes known as “Sharkslayer.” But, Oscar’s lie soon gets him caught in a net of deceit as he tries to maintain his celebrity status, get the right girl and avoid being caught by an angry mob boss who is a great white (Robert De Niro). Shark Tale is rated PG, for some mild language and crude humor, and the language and innuendo make the movie less suited for very young children, despite the colorful animation and comedic characters.
Kenny the Shark is an animated Discovery Kids series about a girl who keeps a tiger shark for a house pet. Kenny the tiger shark is a witty shark who somehow manages to walk around using his tail, talk and survive outside of water. While Kenny’s life does not resemble the life of a real shark in any way, this collection does contain a bonus feature about sharks. The show is recommended for kids about ages 7 and up. The show aired on Discovery Kids from 2003-2006, and several episode volumes are available on DVD.
Jabberjaw, a 15-foot great white shark who talks like Curly of the Three Stooges, stars in this futuristic blast from the past. The 4-disc set contains the complete 16-episode Hanna Barbera series which aired in the ’70s. On the show, Jabberjaw may be a star, but he gets no respect. In the underwater cities where people live, great whites are none too welcome. But Jabberjaw does know how to rock, and along with the teens in his band, he does also a bit of crime-fighting on the side. The show is an old-school cartoon that will likely interest kids about ages 8 and up.
In The Reef, a young fish named Pi loses his parents when they are caught up in a net. Now on his own, Pi is thankfully taken under the fins of a family of porpoises who help him journey to The Reef to make a new home. When they finally arrive, Pi falls for a beautiful fish named Cordelia, but unfortunately, she is already spoken for by a bully of a shark. In fact, the great white is such a bully that Cordelia feels compelled to marry him in order to save Pi. With a little help from a wise and martial arts savvy turtle, though, Pi just might have a chance to win the girl after all. (Rated G)
While sharks don’t get a lot of screen time in this Disney classic, Glut the great white shark gives Ariel and Flounder quite a fright. In a scene both suspenseful and action-packed, Ariel and her little friend run into the shark while they are exploring a shipwreck. Kids can recreate the scary scene with this Little Mermaid coloring page of Ariel and Flounder swimming away from the shark. (Rated G)
In this kid-friendly documentary about sharks, join Captain Jon and his two brothers as they travel from the Bahamas to the Island of Guadalupe to find out about Lemon Sharks, Tiger Sharks, and Great White Sharks. Young shark lovers will enjoy the up-close and personal footage and many fun shark facts. The film is only 34 minutes long, and it’s geared toward kids, so it won’t be a yawner for young ones like many documentaries out there.
National Geographic introduces viewers to the hammerhead shark in this informative documentary. The film examines the movements of hammerhead sharks, looking at how they navigate and what motivates them. National Geographic has a number of other shark documentaries, including Great White Shark: Truth Behind the Legend, available on the website, and many of them are also available to stream through various platforms such as Netflix and Amazon.
From Disneynature, Oceans is a documentary that is geared toward families. Many unique and beautiful ocean animals are featured in the film, including sharks. Other family-friendly ocean documentaries that feature sharks are highlighted in our list of ocean-themed movies for kids. Also see the amazing Blue Planet series, which features a myriad of ocean animals, including different species of sharks, and delves deep into the ocean habitat. The series is available on DVD and digital download.
For older kids who like to watch Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, several different compilations are available on DVD and Blu-ray, such as the 25th Anniversary Edition (rated PG). The anniversary edition is a good place to start, as it’s a recent release and contains several different types of shows. Many kids love to watch Shark Week, but some kids may be disturbed by some of the shows featuring shark attacks or dramatizing the footage of sharks to make them seem scary or dangerous, so you may need to preview this title before showing kids if you have not seen the shows before.
Some shark documentaries steer farther from the facts and information about different species and more toward a conservation message. Pictured here, It’s Your Ocean: Sharks is a family-friendly documentary about three amazing artists who depict sharks through art and photography, and who are on a mission to save sharks as well. The documentary is interesting and heartfelt, and though young kids will not likely sit through it, older shark enthusiasts will enjoy the art and be moved by the call to action.
Alternatively, the documentary Sharkwater gives a suspenseful, fascinating and devastating look at sharks and would be a great resource for a research paper. The movie follows shark enthusiast Rob Stewart as he swims with sharks, and even more dangerous, as he goes up against illegal shark finning in an undercover sting operation if Costa Rica. The film is a bit melodramatic, but the message is strong: sharks are in danger, and we should be more afraid of losing them than being bitten by one. The movie is pretty hardcore in a couple of spots, and young kids may be disturbed by images of poachers cutting off shark fins. Sharkwater is rated PG, for images of animal cruelty, thematic elements, language, and some smoking.