A Turtle's Tale: Sammy's Adventures Movie Poster Image

A Turtle's Tale: Sammy's Adventures



Ocean tale should amuse, educate young kids about sea life.
  • Review Date: June 11, 2012
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 85 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids will learn environmental lessons about the importance of keeping the oceans clean, as well as various educational tidbits about sea turtles: their life cycles from hatchlings to elderly turtles, their mating habits and their migratory patterns.

Positive messages

Sammy's journey is one that teaches about friendship, the environment, love, and overcoming obstacles. The eco-friendly sequences explain why humans contaminate the sea and how pollution affects animals' everyday lives.

Positive role models

Several of the sea animals are kind-hearted and courageous creatures who go out of their way to lend a hand to their friends. An exception is the cat who tricks Sammy and can't wait to get rid of him.

Violence & scariness

There are a few tense and frightening moments when Sammy, Ray, or Shelly are about to be hurt but are rescued/get away at the last minute. Sammy faces everything from predatory seagulls to commercial fisherman to sharks (one of whom turns out to be a pal) in his journey.

Sexy stuff

During the conversations about selecting a mate, Ray asks Sammy what his "type" is and discusses "cuties" of the opposite sex. Some flirting and eventually an embrace of sorts as Sammy and Shelly reunite. 


Rare insults ("dumb" and "baby").

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that A Turtle's Tale is a traditional animal adventure about a sea turtle who has to overcome countless obstacles to be reunited with his best friend and his dream mate. There are some elements of potential peril in which Sammy and his friends are separated or have to be rescued. Nothing is too upsetting, however, because we know Sammy lives to an old age (he narrates the story of his life). Children will learn a great deal about global warming, sea turtles, their habits, and their overall life cycles from hatchlings to grandparents.

What's the story?

An elderly sea turtle named Sammy tells the story of life from a wee little hatchling trying to escape predatory seagulls to a juvenile turtle (Yuri Lowenthal) who along with his best friend Ray (Anthony Anderson) attempt to survive the current and find a mate. Along the way, Sammy remains steadfast to finding Shelly, the female turtle who saved him as a baby. Despite several adventures that take him away from Ray, Sammy wants nothing more than to reunite with his friends. As he grows older, Sammy realizes that humans and pollution and global warming are all destructive forces that sea animals must face.

Is it any good?


A TURTLE'S TALE is a noticeable improvement to Ben Stassen's other historical drama Fly Me to the Moon. The story is considerably more accessible to kids, the characters are better developed, and the messages aren't as preachy. Kids familiar with Finding Nemo (and loved the segment with Crush the sea turtle and his family) will be particularly interested in a movie dedicated to the life of a sea turtle, one of the ocean's longest-living animals.

Part coming-of-age tale, part environmental lesson, the movie should teach children about the importance of ocean preservation and the life of sea turtles while also entertain them with silly characters (Ray is the classic goofball best friend) and a series of adventures that teach Sammy about being a responsible citizen of the sea as well as a good friend. It may not be Pixar, but it's a surprisingly educational pick for younger kids with a curiosity about the sea.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the movie's environmental message concerning the sea. How does pollution affect the underwater animals? Are all humans portrayed as "bad for the sea," however?

  • How does the movie compare to other underwater adventures like Finding Nemo? What are some similar themes shared between the movies?

  • The movie chronicles several decades of Sammy's life. How are the different decades portrayed? 

Movie details

DVD release date:April 3, 2012
Cast:Anthony Anderson, Melanie Griffith, Tim Curry
Director:Ben Stassen
Studio:Studio Canal
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Friendship, Ocean creatures
Run time:85 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of A Turtle's Tale: Sammy's Adventures was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 4 and 6 year old Written byMeagan's Mom March 23, 2013

Entertaining film, good message

I enjoyed watching Turtle Tale with my 5 and 7 year-old. Yes, it was a little scary, but as the review said, you can remind the kids that the Sammy is narrating the movie, so he lives. My older child is sensitive to scary films and she was ok with this one. There was little more mating talk than I would have liked, however. I thought the environmental message was very well done. It showed the impacts from the perspective of the turtle without being preachy. I used moments from the film to talk about the environmental issues it raised.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Too much sex
Parent Written byjen.mac.rhee August 19, 2012

Not for preschoolers.

I had hoped that this would be a nice family movie for my four year old, but I'm thankful we only watched half of it. It's not appropriate for a preschooler. Sammy is in danger or vulnerable to danger throughout the movies. This is unsettling for a four year old. Children can learn about turtles and dangers to them when they're older. It's not something they need to worry about now.
Teen, 13 years old Written byJimmy Jimmy June 25, 2013

A good movie for kids! Teaches life lessions.

This is an O.K. movie. The little kids (9 years and under) will enjoy this film. It teaches kids to not pollute the ocean. And Sammy is a great role model. He shows kids to keep trying and you'll make it.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models


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