Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

March of the Penguins (2005)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

March of the Penguins (2005, Fr.) (aka Le Marche de l'Empereur)

In the highest grossing nature documentary ever made (up to its time), Luc Jacquet's Oscar-winner for Best Documentary Feature, with awe-inspiring visuals of the icy continent of Antarctica, and beautifully narrated by Morgan Freeman:

  • the opening narrated line: ("There are few places hard to get to in this world. But there aren't any where it's harder to live") - about the fight for survival by Emperor penguins, as they live in the center of the harshest place on Earth - Antarctica
  • the miles-long penguin march and their awkward, waddling-walking when not flopping on their bellies to slide forward on the hardened snow, to return to the breeding grounds for the mating season, about 70 miles away: ("To get there, they will walk day and night continuously, sometimes for a week. It is a long, dangerous and seemingly impossible journey, and some of them will not survive it")
  • the clumsy, perilous ballet of handing off eggs (later hatching chicks) between parents, and the difficult efforts of the male penguin parent to keep the fragile penguin egg warm to ensure its incubation over a long period of time: ("As soon as the egg appears, it is instantly hidden from the cold. The tiny beating heart within the shell cannot survive much more than a moment's exposure to the freezing air. From now on, the couple has but a single goal, keeping their egg alive. The hungry mother must return at once to the sea to eat. But before she leaves, she must entrust the egg to its father. Some, young couples perhaps, are too impulsive or rushed. And within moments, their affair comes to an end. They can only watch as the ice claims their egg and the life within it. This couple's partnership is now over. The long march in vain....And now begins one of nature's most incredible and endearing role reversals. It is the penguin male who will tend the couple's single is the father who will shield the egg from the violent winds and cold")
  • the graceful underwater swimming by the female penguins, who return to the water to eat ("to fill their empty bellies")
  • the crowd-pleasing sequence of a young chick reunited with its mother for the first time: ("To find each other in the enormous crowd, the penguins must rely on sound, not sight. As they circle, the returning mothers trumpet loudly and wait for their mates to call back. The sound is deafening, and yet, somehow, each of them will hear their mate's song. The couple has found one another. The mother sees her chick for the first time. And, at last, the family is together")
The Young Emperor Penguin Chick
  • the view of the adolescent penguin chicks learning to walk, and then diving into the water -- (in voice-over): "Going home for the first time"
  • the film's final voice-over line: ("And they will march just as they have done for centuries, ever since the Emperor Penguin decided to stay, to live and love in the harshest place on Earth")

Warming The Penguin Egg

The Penguin Parents

Underwater Swimming


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