March of the Penguins

  • U
  • Luc Jacquet (2005)
  • US / Fr
  • 76 min
March of the Penguins
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Film Review
Reviewed By
4 out of 5

Director Luc Jacquet's disarmingly simple nature documentary follows a flock of emperor penguins as they make the arduous journey to their annual breeding ground, and then endure the Antarctic's extreme winter until their chicks are hatched. The avian protagonists' comical ungainliness on land and deadpan manner make for adorable viewing, while the austere, glacial landscape is consistently breathtaking. The film's own backstory is perhaps even more fascinating. Originally, it had a soppy dialogue track in which French actors voiced the penguins' "thoughts". Fortunately, the US version (released in here in the UK) ditches most of the anthropomorphism in favour of a drier, factual narration by Morgan Freeman, which marvels at the penguins' stamina, dedication as parents, and serial monogamy. These qualities have led to the film being championed - and perhaps misinterpreted - by some US commentators keen to promote the anti-evolutionary theory of "intelligent design". But such controversy should not be allowed to detract from this movie's wide-ranging appeal or its startling box-office success.

Plot Summary

Nature documentary, narrated by Morgan Freeman, that follows the annual cycle of life of emperor penguins in the Antarctic. In March, hundreds of birds trek single file 70 miles inland to their traditional breeding ground. The fathers then protect the eggs from the freezing conditions while the females go to sea to find food, returning in two months when the chicks are born.

Cast and crew


Morgan Freeman


Luc Jacquet

Other Information

Theatrical distributor: 
Warner Bros
Available on DVD and BluRay
Released 9 Dec 2005
Certificate U
Warner Home Video Ltd