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Finding Nemo

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Finding Nemo
Directed by Andrew Stanton
Lee Unkrich (co-director)
Produced by Graham Walters
Written by Andrew Stanton (story/script)
Bob Peterson (script)
David Reynolds (script)
Starring Alexander Gould
Albert Brooks
Ellen DeGeneres
Willem Dafoe
Jess Harnell
Nicholas Bird
Andrew Stanton
Bob Peterson
Vicky Lewis
Bruce Spence
John Ratzenberger
Music by Thomas Newman
Cinematography Sharon Calahan
Jeremy Lasky
Editing by David Ian Salter
Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar
Release date(s) May 30, 2003
Running time 100 min
Country USA
Language English
Budget $94 million
Box office Domestic: $339,714,978
Worldwide: $864,625,978
Preceded by Monsters, Inc. (2001)
Followed by The Incredibles(2004)

Finding Nemo is an Academy Award-winning computer-animated film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released to theaters by Walt Disney Pictures and Buena Vista Distribution. It was released in the United States/Canada on May 30th, 2003, in Australia on August 28th, 2003, and in the UK on October 10th, 2004. The movie is the fifth Disney/Pixar feature film and the first to be released during the summer season.

The movie was released on a two-disc DVD on November 4th, 2003 in the United States and Canada, and in Australia on January 16th, 2004. It went on to become the best selling DVD of all time at 28 million copies sold.

Box officeEdit

Finding Nemo set a record as the highest grossing opening weekend for an animated feature, making $70 million (surpassed in 1999 by Toy Story 2). It was, for a time, the highest grossing animated film of all time, eclipsing the record set by The Lion King II; Simba's Pride. However, in less than four weeks of release, Toy Story 2 surpassed.

Voice actors and charactersEdit

Voice actor Character name Description
Albert Brooks Marlin Clown fish
Ellen DeGeneres Dory Regal blue tang
Alexander Gould Nemo Clown fish
Willem Dafoe Gill Moorish idol
Brad Garrett Bloat Porcupinefish
Allison Janney Peach Seastar (Echinaster spinulosus)
Austin Pendelton Gurgle Royal gramma
Stephen Root Bubbles Yellow tang
Vicki Lewis Deb Four-stripe damselfish / Humbug damselfish
Joe Ranft Jacques Pacific cleaner shrimp
Rob Paulsen Nigel Australian Pelican
Andrew Stanton Crush Green Sea Turtle
Nicholas Bird Squirt Green Sea Turtle
Bob Peterson Mr. Ray Eagle ray
Barry Humphries Bruce Great white shark
Eric Bana Anchor Hammerhead shark
Jonathan Harris Chum Mako shark
Bill Hunter Phillip Sherman Human dentist
John Ratzenberger

Additional voices provided by Jeff Pidgeon, Jessie Flower, Aaron Fors, Leland Grossman, Bradley Trevor Greive, Jess Harnell and Marc John Jefferies

Wider effectsEdit

The film's prominent use of clownfish prompted mass purchase of the animals for children's pets in the United States, even though the movie portrayed the use of fish as pets negatively and saltwater aquariums are notably tricky and expensive to maintain.[1] As of 2003, in Vanuatu, clownfish were being caught on a large scale for sale as pets, motivated by the demand.[2]

At the same time, the film had a central theme that "all drains lead back to the ocean." (A main character escapes from imprisonment by going down a sink drain and ending up in the sea.) This allegedly caused many children to flush their living fish down toilets in imitation of the picture. Major sewage companies teamed with Disney to release press statements that attempted to address the situation with humor. "Although all drains DO lead to water," they read, "water always passes through a turbine before leading to the ocean."[citation needed] Of course, in the case of Sydney, much of the sewer system does pass directly to outfall pipes deep offshore, without a high level of treatment (although pumping and some filtering occurs).[3]

The French children's book author Franck Le Calvez sued Disney, claiming that the story and the characters were stolen from his book Pierrot Le Poisson-Clown (Pierrot the Clownfish). The idea of Pierrot was protected in 1995 and the book was released in France in November 2002.[4] [1] Franck Le Calvez and his lawyer, Pascal Kamina, demanded from Disney a share of the profits from merchandising articles sold in France. Le Calvez and Kamina lost the lawsuit on March 12, 2004, but intended to file an appeal on October 5.[citation needed]

Tourism in Australia strongly increased during the summer and autumn of 2003, with many tourists wanting to swim off the coast of Eastern Australia to "find Nemo."[citation needed] The Australian Tourism Commission (ATC) launched several marketing campaigns in China and the USA in order to improve tourism in Australia many of them using Finding Nemo movie clips. [2] [5] Queensland, Australia also used Finding Nemo to draw tourists to promote its state for vacationers.[6]


The film received many awards, including:

  • An Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film.
  • Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards for Favorite Movie and Favorite Voice from an Animated Movie, Ellen DeGeneres.
  • Saturn Awards for Best Animated Film and Best Supporting Actress, Ellen DeGeneres
  • Seven different Annie Awards in multiple categories

Finding Nemo was also nominated for:

  • Three additional Academy Awards (Original screenplay, Andrew Stanton, Bob Peterson and David Reynolds; Achievement In Music Written For Motion Pictures (Original Score); Achievement In Sound Editing)
  • Three additional Saturn Awards
  • Three additional Annie Awards
  • A BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay
  • A Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
  • Two MTV Movie Awards

Sequel Edit

Due to the box office response to Finding Nemo, Laurie Craig had been hired to write the screenplay for a Finding Nemo.[7] One of the drafts for Finding Nemo 2 flipped the premise of the first film so that Nemo had to search for his father, Dory regained her memory by a hit on the head, and Nemo was given a long-lost brother.[8]

Prior to this, Disney CEO Michael Eisner and Pixar owner Steve Jobs began to disagree on how the relationship between the two companies would continue, resulting in Jobs announcing in January 2004 that Pixar would not renew their agreement with Disney and would look for other distributors for their films. In response, Eisner created Circle 7 Animation to make sequels for the seven Pixar films they owned the rights for, including Finding Nemo. The new division was created as a bargaining chip to either force Jobs to completely break off negotiations, opening the way for Disney to make sequels cheaper than Pixar could, or would push Pixar to renew the agreement.[9][10]

After the departure of Eisner in 2005, new CEO Robert Iger negotiated a deal for Disney to purchase Pixar. Circle 7 Animation was shut down as all future Pixar sequels would be made by Pixar.[11]

Work on a Finding Nemo sequel ended until 2012, at which point a new sequel was announced: Finding Dory. It is currently in production for a June 17, 2016 release. Many of the cast from the first movie will reprise their roles.

Cultural referencesEdit

In Finding NemoEdit

As usual with Pixar movies, Finding Nemo has many subtle references and sight gags.

  • The title character's name alludes to Captain Nemo, the submarine captain in two of Jules Verne's novels: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (which was also released by Walt Disney in 1954) and The Mysterious Island. Ironically, Nemo means "no one" in Latin.
  • During the scene with Marlin, Dory, and the school of fish, when the fish turn into the ship, they say "oh, it's a whale of a tale, I'll tell you lad...," a reference to the Walt Disney film adaptation of Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
  • PeTA has a reference in which "Fish are friends, NOT food." is stated.
  • Mr. Ray sings a song, The Zones of the Open Sea (about the different biological regions of the ocean), which is a pastiche of Gilbert and Sullivan's Major General's Song.
  • Mount Wannahockaloogie ("wanna hock a loogie") is the "mountain" in the dentist's aquarium. "Hock a loogie" is American slang for expectoration, a common occurrence in a dentist's office.
  • The obligatory A113 inside joke: the scuba diver who briefly blinds Marlin uses a camera with model code "A-113."
  • There are two nods to director Alfred Hitchcock:
    • The overhead shot of the seagulls gathering to dive for Marlin and Dory stylistically echoes a similar gull scene in The Birds.
    • In the dentist's office, two shots of dangerous brat Darla's face are accompanied by the shrieking violin glissandi from the shower scene in Psycho.
  • The dentist's office has a picture of Motif Number 1 hanging on the wall, a tribute by director Andrew Stanton to his hometown of Rockport, Massachusetts.
  • While Marlin and Dory are in a whale, Marlin calls the whale Moby, a reference to Moby Dick.
  • Another nod to Stanton's roots: When the story of Marlin's journey is being spread throughout the ocean, one of the creatures telling the tale is a lobster with a Boston accent who uses the common local adjective, wicked ("It's wicked dahk down there, you can't see a thing..."). Unsurprisingly, this lobster was voiced by Stanton himself.
  • Two of Dory's several misnamings of Nemo are "Chico" and "Harpo," references to the Marx Brothers. She also calls him "Elmo", the name of a popular Sesame Street character and St. Elmo the patron of sailors, and "Fabio," likely in reference to Fabio Lanzoni, the Italian male model.
  • The first patient seen in the dentist's office is a Mr. Tucker. Tucker was the last name of a member of the storyboard team.
  • Recurring use of the number 42, such as in P. Sherman's address ("42 Wallaby Way, Sydney") and the time it takes the dentist to use the restroom (4.2 minutes), is likely a reference to Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, in which the number 42 is supposedly the answer to the question of "Life, the Universe and Everything".
  • The Great White Shark's name is Bruce, which may be a reference to the name given to the mechanical shark used to film the movie Jaws supposedly named after Steven Spielberg's lawyer. The writers were also aware that Barry Bruce, an Australian shark researcher with CSIRO, was radio tagging white sharks. Alternatively, Bruce may just be considered to be a stereotypically Australian name. The name 'Bruce' may also be a reference to the sketch in Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl, entitled Bruces' Philosophers Song, in which Eric Idle and other Python members portrayed staff of the University of Woolloomooloo's philosophy department who all called each other 'Bruce' in over-exaggerated Australian accents.
  • Bruce the shark has a scar on his nose in the shape of a four, this is a tribute to JAWS for which they made three mechanical sharks all named Bruce. This makes the shark in Finding Nemo the fourth Bruce.
  • Several references to Monty Python's Flying Circus:
    • The krill and Bruce shouting "Swim away!" during various scenes is a reference to the recurring line "Run away" in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
    • Marlin forbidding Dory to sing is reminiscent of a scene in the Swamp Castle of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
  • In the scene where Bruce tries to eat the protagonists, Bruce says "Here's Brucie!" with his face showing through the door, alluding to Jack Nicholson's "Here's Johnny!" line in Stanley Kubrick's film The Shining. (The Nicholson scene in The Shining was an allusion itself, referring to Ed McMahon announcing Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show.)
  • "Hop inside my mouth, if you want to live" is a reference to The Terminator series - it is used, in both Finding Nemo and The Terminator series, where a seemingly dangerous character is actually an ally.
  • A notable portion of the production crew were Filipino, and the name "P. Sherman" was chosen because it sounds like how one with a Filipino accent would say the word "fisherman."
  • The scene where Nemo defies his father and touches the bottom of the boat as Marlin continually warns him to stop is arguably reminiscent of the ice cream scene in Kramer vs. Kramer.
  • In the sunken submarine wreck, Dory sees an escape hatch with the word ESCAPE on it and says: "Esscoppay...looks like the word escape!" Dory's initial pronunciation of escape is really the Spanish pronunciation of escape.
  • The seagull calls have been confirmed to be "Mine! Mine!" but many audiences hear them as saying "Mate!" in an exaggerated Australian accent.
  • the seagulls resemble Feathers McGraw, the villain from the Wallace and Gromit film, The Wrong Trousers
  • Additionally, the dentist's address is "42 Wallaby Way," which is another Wallace and Gromit reference, since Wallace and Gromit live at "62 West Wallaby Street."

To other Pixar filmsEdit

There are several references to previous and forthcoming Pixar films.

  • One of the toys that can be seen in the dentist's office is a Buzz Lightyear action figure from Toy Story.
  • During Gill's outline of the escape plan:
    • One of the cars which flashes by is a "Pizza Planet" delivery truck, as seen in Toy Story.
    • Vehicles from Cars can also be seen, including an early version of the character Luigi, which can be seen when the tank gang escapes.
  • An M is for Monsters book is lying on the table, an obvious reference to Monsters, Inc..
  • In the dentist room, an art project is featured hanging from the ceiling. This same handmade art piece is in Monsters, Inc., as it is made by the character Boo, and gets stuck to Sully's foot when he exits her room.
  • Mike Wazowski, the green one-eyed monster from Monsters, Inc., swims across the screen as the credits roll.
  • A patient in the dentist's office is reading a Mister Incredible comic book based on the then-forthcoming Pixar movie The Incredibles.
  • The mermaid from "Knick Knack" can be seen on the ship's bow in the fish tank.
  • One of the boat names is "For the Birds", a reference to the Pixar short For the Birds.
  • There are several objects around the dentist's office, including a small device that says on the bottom, "Engineered by a bunch of Pixar TDs," with the alien from Toy Story next to it; this is a reference to the technical directors who create these objects for the sets. A diploma in the waiting room that shows the alien in the middle says "Pixar High School of Dentistry."

To Finding NemoEdit

  • Pixar's previous film, Monsters, Inc., features three references to Finding Nemo, which was in production at the time of Monsters, Inc.'s release:
    • At the Harryhausen's sushi restaurant, on the wall behind the octopus chef is a Finding Nemo wallpaper.
    • When Boo is showing Sulley some of her toys, one of them is a Nemo squeaker toy.
  • In the film Underclassman, Nick Cannon's character is scuba-diving and comes back up to the surface and says "I think I swallowed Nemo!"
  • In a short scene near the start of Looney Tunes: Back in Action, Bugs is fishing and says, "Hey, I found Nemo!"
  • The movie trailer for Flushed Away includes a scene where the main character Roddy is flushed into the sewer pipes and meets a small fish who asks, "Have you seen my dad?"
  • During a scene in The Home Teachers, the main character Greg is trying to stop the flow of an overflowing toilet. He says, "Yeah, find the ocean. Find Nemo."
  • The movie was parodied on The Wrong Coast as the animated version of The Search For Spock titled Finding Nemoy.
  • On the Food Network television show Ham on the Street, George Duran, after accidentally making dumplings that look like fish, he exclaims, "They're like edible Nemos!"
  • In 2005, the movie was alluded to in the TV series Lost. One of the characters in the show, Shannon, is asked to translate some notes that are written in French. She later recognizes some of the notes as lyrics from a song played in the credits of a "cartoon fish movie." The song is Charles Trenet's "La Mer", the French original of Bobby Darin's classic "Beyond The Sea." She then proceeds to sing the song, confirming the connection, although she only refers to it as "the fish song" from that point on.
  • In 2006, the film was also mentioned on House when a seemingly overprotective mother explained that she knew that her sickly daughter needed to have some freedoms — "I need to loosen up... I saw Finding Nemo, I get it, I don't need another story," she quipped in frustration. Several episodes later, House made another reference to the movie, explaining that a little girl had gratification disorder by saying she was "marching the penguin... ya-yaing the sisterhood... finding Nemo."
  • In an episode of The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, when Jimmy is looking at a list of the greatest films in the universe, a scene from Finding Nemo can be heard.


  • Finding Nemo was originally to be released in November 2002.
  • The tikis in the tank are caricatures of three Pixar employees. The employees are Peter Sohn, Nelson Bohol and Ricky Nierva, who are responsible for character and art design.
  • This film was the first Pixar film to have an advisory warning put on its G rating in Australia, which said "Some scenes may frighten young children." This may be referring to any or all of these scenes:
    • When the barracuda attacks Marlin and Coral, presumably killing Coral and their unborn children.
    • Dory and Marlin's encounter with the deep-sea anglerfish.
    • Bruce the Shark's feeding frenzy.
  • The movie was dedicated to Glenn McQueen, a Pixar Animator who died of Melanoma in October 2002.
  • The royal gramma in the tank, Gurgle, is not actually addressed by name in the film script. The name of this character was worked out by fans though a process of elimination of the character list in the movie credits.
  • The face of Gill was specifically designed to resemble Willem Dafoe who provided the voice.
  • The small hut in the fish tank wherein Nemo sleeps in is called a "kubo", a nipa hut commonly found in farms and other agricultural areas in the Philippines. The animator of the kubo in the film is a Filipino.[citation needed]
  • An internet pictorial joke, which circulated within a year after the film was released, bore the title "They found Nemo" and featured a typical group of sushi rolls with clownfish stripes, and Marlin's head sticking out of the one closest to the top.
  • Anchor the hammerhead shark has a mouth where a real hammerhead's neck should be.[citation needed]
  • Director Andrew Stanton not only voices Crush, but is credited in "additional voices". Other characters he voices include the flock of seagulls, the lobster, and, if Lee Unkrich is to be believed, a large number of other characters.
  • Mount Wannahockaloogie is also a reference to Philippines' Mt. Mayon because some of the animators of the movie were Filipinos. The name refers to the school prank of "hocking a loogie" into a drinking fountain (spitting into the drinking fountain).[citation needed]
  • A school of clownfish is always built into a hierarchy with a female fish at the top. When she dies, the most dominant male changes sex and takes her place. Thus Marlin would become Marla in the sequel, if there were one.[citation needed]
  • Nemo means "no one" in Latin. An ironic spin meaning that the movie is about finding no one.


  • Walt Disney World's Epcot: The Seas with Nemo and Friends
  • Walt Disney World's Epcot: Turtle Talk with Crush
  • Disneyland: Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage
  • Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom: Finding Nemo - The Musical

Attached short filmEdit

Main article: Knick Knack

The theatrical and video/DVD release of this film includes Knick Knack, a Pixar short made in 1989.


  1. Jackson, Elizabeth. "Acquiring Nemo", The Business Report, 29 November 2002. Retrieved on 2006-11-10. 
  2. Corcoran, Mark. "Vanuatu - Saving Nemo", ABC Foreign Correspondent, 9 November 2004. Retrieved on 2006-10-23. 
  3. Coastal sewage treatment plants operated by Sydney Water. Sydney Water (unknown date). Retrieved on 2011-07-06. North Head and Bondi would be the closest sewage treatment plants to the location of the film. Further explanation of "primary" sewage treatment can be found here.
  4. Willsher, Kim. "Disney 'copied my idea for Nemo' claims French author", Telegraph, 28 December 2003. Retrieved on 2006-11-10. 
  5. Mitchell, Peter. "Nemo-led recovery hope", The Age, 3 June 2003. Retrieved on 2006-10-23. 
  6. Dennis, Anthony. "Sydney ignores Nemo", The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 August 2003. Retrieved on 2006-10-23. 
  7. Animated Views, "Bob Hilgenberg and Rob Muir on the Rise and Fall of Disney’s Circle 7 Animation"
  8. Script Review: Finding Nemo 2, by Russell Davidson, CC2K. Retrieved via the Internet Archive
  9. Los Angeles Times: "Disney Plans Life After Pixar With Sequel Unit"
  10. Entertainment Weekly: "Woody: The Untold Story"
  11. Los Angeles Times: "Disney Closes Unit Devoted to Pixar Sequels"

See alsoEdit

  • List of films with similar plots
  • List of animated feature-length films
  • List of computer-animated films

External linksEdit

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Preceded by
Toy Story
Succeeded by
The Incredibles

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