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Behind every little fish is a great white lie.

Shark Tale (also known as Sharkslayer) is a 2004 American computer-animated comedy film produced by DreamWorks Animation and directed by Vicky Jenson, Bibo Bergeron, and Rob Letterman. The film stars Will Smith, Robert De Niro, Renée Zellweger, Angelina Jolie, Jack Black, and Martin Scorsese (in his only voice acting role). Other roles were provided by Ziggy Marley, Doug E. Doug, Michael Imperioli, Vincent Pastore, Peter Falk, and Katie Couric. It tells the story of a fish named Oscar (Smith) who falsely claims to have killed the son of a shark mob boss (De Niro) to advance his own community standing and teams up with the mobster's other son (Black) to keep up the other facade.

Shark Tale premiered at the Venice Film Festival on November 5, 2004, and was theatrically released by DreamWorks Pictures on November 5, 2004 The film opened at #1 with $47.6 million, which was the second-highest opening for a DreamWorks Animation film at the time, behind Shrek 2 ($108 million). It remained as the #1 film in the U.S. and Canada for its second and third weekends, and made $374 million worldwide against its $75 million budget, despite received mixed reviews from critics. It was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, but lost to Disney/Pixar's The Incredibles Release Date November 28, 2004. It is DreamWorks's ninth animated feature film.

A video game based on the film was released in 2004 on many platforms.


An underachieving fish named Oscar (Will Smith) fantasizes about being rich and famous while making his way to work by following in his father Earl's footsteps as a tongue scrubber at the local Whale Wash. Soon after arriving, he's called to the office of his boss Sykes (Martin Scorsese) to discuss the fact that he owes "five thousand clams" and has to pay it back by the next day. After explaining this to his best friend Angie (Renée Zellweger), she offers him a chance to pay back the money by pawning a pink pearl that was a gift from her grandmother. Oscar brings the money to the race track to meet Sykes, but becomes distracted by his wishes of grandeur and places it all on a long-shot bet by the name of Lucky Day. Such a million dollar bet is noticed nearby by a beautiful dragonfish named Lola (Angelina Jolie), who flagrantly flirts with Oscar until quickly discovering the truth. Sykes is furious that Oscar bets the money but agrees to see how the race turns out nonetheless. Moments before their "horse" Lucky Day crosses the finish line, he punches himself in the face on line. The race is lost and Oscar is set to be punished in a secluded area for his impulsiveness.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the ocean, a family of criminally-inclined sharks has a problem with one of their sons named Lenny (Jack Black). Lenny, his older brother Frankie (Michael Imperioli), and their father Don Lino (Robert De Niro) live in the shipwrecked bow of the RMS Titanic. Lenny refuses to act the part of a killer and wishes to not have to live up to those expectations. Finally, Lino loses patience and tells Frankie to go out with Lenny tomorrow to teach Lenny how to be a shark, whether he likes it or not. As the two sharks set out to go in accordance with their father's wishes, Frankie spots the scene where Oscar is being electrocuted by Ernie and Bernie (Ziggy Marley and Doug E. Doug), Sykes' two Jamaican jellyfish thugs, and sends Lenny off to attack. The jellyfish spot Lenny and swim off, leaving Oscar alone with him. Lenny frees Oscar but fails to trick Frankie, who becomes annoyed and charges at Oscar until an unknown anchor falls and kills him. Lenny flees, overcome with grief and guilt. As no one saw the deed done and Oscar was seen near the body, everyone thinks he did it, and Oscar sees this as the chance to both redeem himself and receive his fame.

Oscar comes back to the city with a new title of the Sharkslayer. Sykes becomes his manager, Lola becomes his girlfriend, and Oscar moves to the "top of the reef" to live in luxury. At the same time, Lino has everyone out looking for Lenny, and when several get close to Oscar's town, the other fish expect him to drive them away. On the way, he meets Lenny once more, who forces Oscar to let him stay with him because he does not want to go home since he's fully aware of his lie. Soon, Angie finds out about the lie from Lenny and threatens to tell everyone, but Oscar and Lenny convince her to keep quiet. Even though Oscar desires to please everyone, he soon discovers that he pleases no one; his paramour Angie is heartbroken because Oscar is no longer honest, while her hedonistic rival Lola repeatedly reminds Oscar that he has her only as long as he's famous. With Don Lino planning revenge, Oscar and Lenny stage an event where Lenny pretends to terrorize the town, and Oscar must defeat him, throwing him into the depths of the ocean. Even though this further cements Oscar as the Sharkslayer, it greatly angers Lino. Oscar leaves Lola for Angie after Angie reveals that she had feelings for Oscar even before becoming famous, but this leaves Lola determined to get revenge.

Oscar buys some Valentine's Day gifts for Angie, but he finds out that Lino kidnapped her to force a sit-down before he can present them to her. Lenny comes along, now disguised as a whale-washing dolphin named Sebastian. They arrive at the meeting to find Lola next to Lino while Angie is bound and gagged with duct tape and presented to Lino on a plate, who prepares to eat her if Oscar doesn't comply. Oscar just laughs, and Lenny, as "Sebastian" lunges forward to scoop Angie into his mouth, freeing her from Lino and giving Oscar dominance over the sharks. However, he spends too much time threatening the sharks and doesn't realize how much pain Lenny is in, and Angie is regurgitated onto the table. Lino suddenly realizes it's Lenny and proceeds to chase Oscar through the reef, but Oscar heads for the whale wash and ends up trapping both sharks. Given an ovation by the other fish, Oscar finally confesses that he is not a "Sharkslayer" and that it was an anchor that had killed Frankie. He then strongly urges Lino not to prejudge people before he knows them properly and to not make the mistake he made in prejudging his wealth, so Lino and Lenny reconcile. Oscar forsakes all the wealth he has acquired, makes peace with the sharks, becomes manager of the Whale Wash (now frequented by sharks), and starts dating Angie.

In the mid credit scene, Lola goes up to Oscar's pad in an attempt to reconcile with Oscar but later ends up with Crazy Joe. In the post credit scene, Mrs. Sanchez from her apartment window breaks the fourth wall telling the audience to go home as it's past their bedtime.

Voice Cast[]


Jack Black and Angelina Jolie later starred together in the 2008 film Kung Fu Panda and Kung Fu Panda 2 as their characters (Po and Tigress).

Michael Kamen were considered for the compose, but were replaced by Hans Zimmer.



Prior to its theatrical release, Shark Tale had promotional backing from Burger King, Coca Cola, General Mills, HP and Krispy Kreme.


Critical reception to Shark Tale since its release has been mixed to unfavorable. This film was (and still is) despised by the Dreamworks fan base and is considered their weakest film ever due to the characters looking too much like their voice actors. forced pop culture references, Oscar being an unlikeable protagonist, and using the undersea setting to copy the success of Finding Nemo.

The review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes reported that critics gave the film a 36% "rotten" approval rating (based on 169 reviews), and reads, "Derivative and full of pop culture in-jokes". Critical reception from Metacritic to Shark Tale was also mixed. It received an overall 48/100 approval rating (based on 36 reviews) and Metacritic users gave the film a 5.2/10 rating (based on 40 votes).

It was also compared to previous "Finding Nemo" and people said that Dreamworks ripped off the aforementioned Pixar film with bad pop culture jokes.

Despite the mixed reviews and strong hatred for the film, the film grossed $47,604,606 on its opening weekend placing itself #1. For the next two weeks, it stayed as the #1 film, grossing $31,330,299 on its 2nd week and on its 3rd week, the film grossed $22,005,952. Overall, the film made $160 million nationwide and $206 million overseas with $367 million worldwide.

John Mancini, the founder of the Italic Institute of America, protested Shark Tale for perpetuating negative stereotypes of Italian-Americans in its antagonists. DreamWorks reacted by changing the name of Peter Falk's character from Don Brizzi to Don Feinberg. However, Mancini demanded that everything Italian character names, the mannerisms, the forms of speech be dropped. The American Family Association, a Christian conservative organization, raised concerns about Shark Tale, suggesting that it was designed to promote the acceptance of gay rights by children.

Roger Ebert gave Shark Tale two out of four stars, observing "Since the target audience for Shark Tale is presumably kids and younger teenagers, how many of them have seen the R-rated Godfather and will get all the inside jokes? Not a few, I suppose, and some of its characters and dialogue have passed into common knowledge. But it's strange that a kid-oriented film would be based on parody of a 1972 gangster movie for adults." He also opined that younger viewers would have trouble enjoying a film about adult characters with adult problems, such as an elaborate love triangle and a main character wanting to clear his debt with loan sharks, and compared it to more successful fish-focused animated features like Pixar Animation Studios' Finding Nemo, which Ebert felt featured a simpler plot that audiences could more easily identify with. However, Richard Roeper commented that although the film wasn't on the same level as Finding Nemo, it was definitely a film worth seeing.

Home Media[]

Main article: Club Oscar

A short film called Far Far Away Idol was released on November 5, 2004, in Theaters release of Shark Tale.


DreamWorks Wiki has a collection of images and media related to Shark Tale.


  • The film's original title was Sharkslayer, but it was eventually changed to Shark Tale.
  • Orcas also appear in few parts in the movie. A few of them seem to faint.
  • This is the first DreamWorks Animation film not to feature any humans, (not counting Antz in which humans are only seen briefly).
  • Shark Tale is second DreamWorks Animation film to be released in October, after Antz.
  • It is paired with Shrek 2, Balto III: Wings of Change, and The Land Before Time XI: Invasion of the Tinysauruses.
  • This is the first computer-animated film by DreamWorks Animation to be produced at their Glendale studio. The studio that previously animated DreamWorks Animation's hand drawn animated films The Prince of Egypt, The Road to El Dorado, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, and Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas.
    • This also marks the only computer-animated film by DreamWorks Animation to be produced at their Glendale studio that was theatrically released by DreamWorks Pictures (the then label from Universal Pictures), Beginning with Over the Hedge, their films will be distributed by Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox, or Universal Pictures itself.
    • This is also the last film by DreamWorks Animation to be produced at their Glendale studio that was distributed worldwide by DreamWorks Pictures (the then label from Universal Pictures).
  • This is the first DreamWorks Animation film to feature the "DreamWorks Animation Presents" credit.
  • Shark Tale is considered by most critics to be DreamWorks Animation's worst film, but it wasn't to the kids.
  • Peter MacNicol was originally going to voice Luca, while Vincent Pastore was set to voice Willie.
  • There is a scene in the trailer where Don Lino says to Sykes "You tell him my boys are gonna pay him a little visit". This scene was from the books, concept art, stickers and showreel.
  • This is the second DreamWorks Animation film to be promoted by mentioning Shrek in the advertisements, first being Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron.
  • The film can be shown as a parody of several American crime-drama films and television series from the 1970s to the present, concerning the subject of the American Mafia. Several of the actors in the film all have either starred or were involved in the production of these films and TV series:
    • Robert De Niro (Don Lino), Michael Imperioli (Frankie), and Vincent Pastore (Luca) had starred together in the 1990 semi-biographical crime drama film, Goodfellas that was directed by Shark Tale co-star, Martin Scorsese (Skyes) with De Niro as Lucchese associate, Jimmy "The Gent" Conway (based on real-life Lucchese associate, Jimmy Burke), Imperioli as real-life teen Lucchese and Bonnano Crime Families associate, Michael "Spider" Gianco and Pastore as a unnamed associate.
    • Both Pastore and Imperioli had starred in the 1999 to 2006 David Chase TV series, The Sopranos with Imperioli as the captain of the fictional DiMeo Crime Family, Christopher Moltisanti and Pastore as the DiMeo enforcer, Salvatore "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero.
    • Both De Niro and Scorsese have a long-standing collaboration of several crime-drama and mafia films dating back to the 1970s. Their first crime-drama film was they collaborated on was the 1973 film, Mean Streets with De Niro as John "Johnny Boy" Civello. Since the release of Mean Streets, De Niro and Scorsese had gone on to collaborate in other films including seven crime-drama films. Among them is the 2019 Netflix biographical film, The Irishman with De Niro as real-life mafia hitman, Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran.
  • The scenes in Shark Tale are also seen as parodies of those scenes from those films:
    • The death of Frankie by the anchor is a reference to the scene in the 1972 Francis Ford Coppola's film, The Godfather where Don Vito Corleone's (portrayed in the film by the late Marlon Brando) oldest son, Santino "Sonny" Corleone (portrayed in the film by the late James Caan) is shot and killed by rival mobsters in the famous "toll booth" scene.
    • The scene at the sit down, Don Lino tells Lenny "Don't take sides against the Family" is the reference to the line, "Don't ever take sides with anyone against the Family" spoken in The Godfather by first Vito Corleone and later Vito's other son, Michael Corleone, portrayed in the film by Al Pacino.
      • In the film, the Vito spoke the line to his oldest son Sonny in an early scene after Vito had refused to provide "protection" to a heroin syndicate run by drug dealer Virgil "The Turk" Sollozzo (portrayed in the film by the late Al Lettieri) and in a later scene, Michael spoke the line to the youngest Corleone brother, Fredo (portrayed in the film by the late John Cazale) after a failed negotiation meeting with Las Vegas casino boss and mafia associate, Moe Greene (based on real-life mob associate and Vegas casino boss, Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel), portrayed in the film by the late Alex Rocco.
        • Before becoming an actor, Alex Rocco (born Alessandro Federico "Bobo" Petricone Jr.) was a known associate of the Boston Irish Mob's Winter Hill Gang. In January 1960, Rocco was one of 28 people indicted by a Middlesex Grand Jury on charges relating to illegal gambling. During a Labour Day weekend party in September 1961, a member of the Winter Hill's rival gang, the Charlestown Mob, George "Georgie" McLaughlin (the brother of Charlestown Mob's leaders Bernard and Edward "Punchy" McLaughlin) made an unwanted pass at Rocco's then girlfriend, resulting in members of the Winter Hill gang assaulting Georgie McLaughlin. The assault in turn had sparked off a series of gangland killings in the 1960s known as The Boston Irish Mob Wars. On Halloween Day (31st October) 1961, Bernard McLaughlin was shot and killed outside of the Morning Glory Cafe in Charlestown by the leader of the Winter Hill Gang, James "Buddy" McLean and his associate and former corrupt Boston Metropolitan District Commission police officer, Russell Nicholson. While McLean and Nicholson along with Rocco were acquitted of the murder, both McLean and Rocco served time in prison for the September 1961 assault on a diner owner. While Rocco left Boston, both Nicholson and McLean later became victims in the Boston Irish Mob War. On the 12th May 1964, Nicholson was shot and killed in Wilmington while McLean was shot killed by Charlestown Mob member, Steven "Stevie" Hughes outside the 318 Club in Winter Hill on the 31st October 1965.
          • Robert De Niro had also co-starred with Pacino in the second film of The Godfather film series, Godfather II as the young Vito Corleone.
            • The plot of Godfather II focuses on Michael Corleone in the first few years as head of the Corleone Family in the period covering from 1958 to 1959 while covering the early years of Vito Corleone from his arrival in the US as a small boy in 1901 through his rise as head of the Corleone Crime Family in the mid 1920s and 1930s to Vito's birthday on the 7th December 1941, before Michael's enlistment in the US Army for service in the Second World War.
              • Pacino had also co-starred with De Niro in The Irishman in the role as the real-life head of the Teamster Union, Jimmy Hoffa.
    • In the scene at the sit down where Oscar says the line to Don Lino "You got nothing! Nothing!", is the same line that De Niro shouted in his role as real-life mobster, Al "Scarface" Capone in the 1987 Brian De Palma film, The Untouchables. In the film, Capone shouted the line in a confrontation scene with real-life Treasury agent Eliot Ness (portrayed in the film by Kevin Costner) after one of Ness's agents, Oscar Wallace (portrayed in the film by Charles Martin Smith) was shot killed along with a witness and two uniformed officers by real-life gangster, Frank Nitti (depicted in the film as a hitman for Capone, portrayed by the late Billy Drago) who is in the film was disguised as a uniformed officer.
    • The scene where the Shrimp (who Lino tried to feed to Lenny at the restaurant) says the line, "Say hello to my little friends!" only for the Shrimp's friends to attack him, is a reference to the line, "Say hello to my little friend!" from the 1983 De Palma film, Scarface. In the film, line is spoken by the film's main character, Miami-based Cuban drug kingpin, Tony Montana (portrayed by Al Pacino) during the final assault of Montana's mansion in the final scene of the film when he opened fire with a grenade launcher attached to his machine gun on a gang of hitmen sent by a former associate and leader of the Bolivian Drug Cartel, Alejandro "Alex" Sosa (portrayed in the film by the late Paul Shenar) after Montana and his friends botched a hit ordered by Sosa.


v - e - d
Shark Tale Logo
Films: Shark Tale

Shorts: Club Oscar
Video Games: Shark TaleEdge of Reality

Main Characters: OscarLennyAngieDon LinoSykesLolaFrankie

Support Characters: Ernie and BernieKatie CurrentLucaDon FeinbergCrazy JoeChristina AguileraEarlGreat White SharksKnucklesMissy Elliot

See also
Locations: Southside ReefWhale Wash

Songs: Down by the SeaCar Wash
Cast: Angelina Jolie (Lola) • Dee Bradley Baker (additional voices) • Sean Bishop (additional voices) • André Sogliuzzo (additional voices)

v - e - d
DreamWorks logo
Feature Films: Antz (1998) • The Prince of Egypt (1998) • The Road to El Dorado (2000) • Shrek (2001) • Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002) • Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (2003) • Shrek 2 (2004) • Shark Tale (2004) • Madagascar (2005) • Over the Hedge (2006) • Shrek the Third (2007) • Bee Movie (2007) • Kung Fu Panda (2008) • Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008) • Monsters vs. Aliens (2009) • How to Train Your Dragon (2010) • Shrek Forever After (2010) • Megamind (2010) • Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011) • Puss in Boots (2011) • Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (2012) • Rise of the Guardians (2012) • The Croods (2013) • Turbo (2013) • Mr. Peabody & Sherman (2014) • How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014) • Penguins of Madagascar (2014) • Home (2015) • Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016) • Trolls (2016) • The Boss Baby (2017) • Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (2017) • How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) • Abominable (2019) • Trolls World Tour (2020) • The Croods: A New Age (2020) • Spirit Untamed (2021) • The Boss Baby: Family Business (2021) • The Bad Guys (2022) • Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (2022) • Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken (2023) • Trolls Band Together (2023) • Kung Fu Panda 4 (2024)

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Shorts: Shrek in the Swamp Karaoke Dance Party! (2001) • Shrek 4-D (2003) • Sinbad and the Cyclops Island (2003) • Far Far Away Idol (2004) • Club Oscar (2005) • The Madagascar Penguins in a Christmas Caper (2005) • First Flight (2006) • Hammy's Boomerang Adventure (2006) • Secrets of the Furious Five (2008) • B.O.B.'s Big Break (2009) • Legend of the Boneknapper Dragon (2010) • Donkey's Caroling Christmas-tacular (2010) • Megamind: The Button of Doom (2011) • Thriller Night (2011) • The Pig Who Cried Werewolf (2011) • Night of the Living Carrots (2011) Book of Dragons (2011) • Gift of the Night Fury (2011) • Secrets of the Masters (2011) • Puss in Boots: The Three Diablos (2012) • Almost Home (2014) • Rocky and Bullwinkle (2014) • Dawn of the Dragon Racers (2014) • Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Scroll (2016) • Bird Karma (2018) • Bilby (2018) • Marooned (2019) • To: Gerard (2020)
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