Welcome to the Wonderful World of Whales


Whales are magnificent creatures. As the marine biologist in Beluga Baby says, they’re fascinating because they can do so many things we can’t. And we don’t even understand how. I mean, these were land-living creatures who adapted so well to water that now they can’t live outside of it. It’s incredible.

And they’re so big.

There are 8 different families of whales, each with its own unique attributes. These films cover only a few different species, but it’s enough to open the door to the wonderful world of whales. Enjoy.

Where the Bay Becomes the Sea

From May to October, the mouth of the Bay of Fundy is a sight to behold. A fertile oasis, it’s a stopping place for an incredible variety of wild and marine life. Among them, a few different species of whales, including the humpback whale and the North Atlantic right whale, one of the rarest whales in existence.

Where the Bay Becomes the Sea, John Brett, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Beluga Baby

This is a beautiful little film, but, if you’re like me, you may want to stop watching at the 11-minute mark. Yes, I know there’s a cycle of life and that everything happens for a reason, but I don’t need to see it. Especially when it involves adorable little baby belugas. In all seriousness, though, this is a truly remarkable film – I experienced three out-loud gasps and one unrestrained instance of spontaneous clapping.

Beluga Baby, Tony Westman, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

In Search of the Bowhead Whale

Is there anyone you’d rather go on an aquatic adventure with than Bill Mason? In this film, he’s joined by whale authority Scott McVay. Together, they venture through the Arctic seas in search of the endangered bowhead whale and a few belugas for good measure. Complete with helicopters, aqualungs, and underwater camera equipment, it’s one heck of a ride.

In Search of the Bowhead Whale, Bill Mason, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Cries from the Deep

If you answered “Yes, I’d rather go on an aquatic adventure with Jacques Cousteau,” to my previous question, who could blame you? And don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. Cousteau, along with his team, explore the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. It’s a typical Cousteau adventure, and it does not disappoint. Among the treasures they find are humpback and beluga whales, alongside harp seals and icebergs for good measure.

Cries from the Deep, Jacques Gagné, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Pour la suite du monde

Moving from the nature documentary to the poetic, this beloved classic of Quebec cinema is about a group of old-timers trying to revive a local whale-catching practice. The film was the first Canadian feature to be in competition at Cannes and was a huge success for the Board. It weaves together the myths and legends that have occupied traditional fishing communities for generations.

Pour la suite du monde (English Version), Michel Brault & Pierre Perrault, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Photo credit: LIFE