Inspired by the amazing true story of Winter.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Dolphin Tale brings us the story of hope, not from some fictional narrative concocted by Hollywood executives, but from the true story of an amazing animal that beat all the odds and found a way to turn her disability into the ability to inspire.
The film centers around Winter, the young dolphin who gets caught in crab trap off the coast of Florida. Struggling to stay alive, she is discovered washed up on shore by Sawyer, a young boy who’s life, so far, has been plagued by disappointment. The Clearwater Marine Hospital gets called in, but it is too late to save her tail. Everyone thinks it must be over for her—how can a dolphin survive with no tail?—but, with the help of Sawyer, Winter quickly learns how to adapt to her new situation.
However, the story doesn’t end here. Her new way of swimming—with a side to side motion, as opposed to the traditional up and down tail movement of most dolphins—starts to injure her spine. The team at the Marina must figure out a way to get Winter a new tail, all the while battling an imminent bankruptcy that will leave all of the animals out of a home.
Here’s the run down:
Humour: Cranky pelicans, mischievous dolphins and a quirky Morgan Freeman give the dramatic tale some much needed moments of laughter.
Hope: Knowing that this story actually happened, it’s totally inspiring to watch it unfold on screen. Look for clips at the end that show Winter’s real rescue and her working with amputees, helping to inspire those who find themselves in similar situations.
Heart: At the heart of the film is the friendship between a dolphin and a boy, who are really both looking for the same thing—someone to believe in them. And isn’t that what we all want?
Thousands of people visit the real Winter—who actually played herself in the film!—and she inspires those of all ages not with words but with her obviously vibrant spirit, which is easy to see just from watching her!
We got a chance to catch up with David Yates, who worked with the real Winter from her rescue to the present day and acted as one of the producers for the movie. Check it out:
Was Winter happy to act herself on set?
David Yates: Winter is a ham. That’s all I can say. I call her my little dolphin diva. Dolphins generally are very social—they just typically like being around people. That’s why, in the wild, they’ll come up to your boat and kind of swim around you. Winter, in particular, is the most social dolphin you’ll ever meet. And that’s just part of her story… She did a great job. She had a blast. I tell people that the best four months of her life were filming. She just loves attention.
What happens when people meet Winter for the first time?
We don’t have to tell them Winter’s story. They can simply look at her and they realize, she’s lost her tail, she has a major physical issue, she looks different, she’s not like other dolphins. But she’s not cowering in the corner; she’s happy, she’s swimming… Winter changes lives. We’ve had kids, we’ve had soldiers—who have given up on life—they just melt. We bring them in and then they walk away and realize, “You know what, I can get up now and move on now.”
Dolphin Tale is now available on Blu-ray and DVD. Check it out!