Most people have seen Disney's "The Little Mermaid" animated movie. But there are several others which are absolutely excellent – classics. Here they are:
1. My top pick for a mermaid movie is "Splash". Not only is it funny and the plot wonderful, but there is quite a bit of awesome footage of Daryl Hannah mermaiding in the ocean. We can not get enough of that! Keep in mind that this is not a children's movie. It was made in the '80s, and for the most part it is okay for the family to watch. But there is a little bit of nudity (when the mermaid is walking into New York out of the ocean with nothing but her long hair to cover her) and there is some implication of what she and the Tom Hanks character are doing in the elevator, though nothing is shown. The movie is wonderful, with a great story and awesome mermaid footage and lots of laughs, as well as a great romance.
2. My second top choice is "The Secret of Roan Inish". This is a safe, quiet movie the entire family can enjoy. It was made in Ireland, and as such is slower and quieter than most American movies. It is about a little Irish girl who moves to live with her grandparents. While there she unwittingly stumbles upon the mystery surrounding the island the family used to live on, called "Roan Inish" (Island of the Seals). As she slowly solves the mystery, she brings healing and unity back to the family. In this movie the mythical creature is a selkie, not a mermaid. The selkie lives in the form of a seal. On occasion she climbs up on a rock and removes her seal skin, revealing a beautiful woman. So this movie is a little bit different, and you will never look at a seal the same way again.
3. My third favorite mermaid movie is "Aquamarine." This one is geared to the teen crowd. It has nothing unseemly, so the whole family can enjoy it. It's a delightfully different rendition of the classic Little Mermaid story, with a wonderful surprise ending. The mermaid in this movie is different, more like a regular teen girl. There are several good shots of her in the water. The messages in this movie are high quality, such as loyalty, friendship, personal confidence, selflessness and courage. And it is also very funny.
4. Number four of my top mermaid movies is an old black and white classic called "Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid." You will have a challenge finding this movie to watch, but VHS versions are available for sale on Amazon.com. All of the underwater footage was filmed in the famous Weeki Wachee Springs in Weeki Wachee, Florida, only a year after this underwater theater opened. Made in 1948, this movie is about a married couple taking a vacation in the Caribbean. The man is almost 50 and is having a mid-life crisis. While on vacation he accidentally fishes up a live mermaid from the sea! Ann Blyth plays the enchanting mermaid and you will love this wonderful film. The only objections a parent might have is the theme of extramarital flirting, and some funny scenes with a guy trying to give up smoking.
5. One that is a little different, and which only recently came out, is a Japanese anime Miyazaki movie called "Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea", or simply "Ponyo". In this one the fish-girl is depicted as a goldfish with a human face, which is rather strange. But in an unusual twist, this five-year-old fish-girl has to get the little five-year-old human boy to love her faithfully, or she will turn into sea foam and be no more. It is such a sweet interpretation, these small children learning to love and trust each other in such an innocent way. It is a tale of wonder and courage and should not be missed.
6. My pick for number six is Disney's "The Little Mermaid". It was the movie that got Disney back into the popular movie business again in the 1980s. The music and story are a delight. I remember how enchanted I was when it first came out – it is a delightful mermaid movie, fun for the whole family.
7. Number seven for me is the Russian adaptation of "The Little Mermaid." This 1976 film shows plenty of wonderful mermaid footage under the sea. Back then the swimmers had only small flippers, so they had to ripple their legs in a very quick motion for movement. The underwater scenes are only in the beginning of the movie, but they are marvelous !! (I can not figure out how those swimmers could be in the water with all those jellyfish !!). You can find this movie to rent at Netflix and it is directed by Vladimir Bychkov. Again, this version of Anderson's famous story is a little different, almost a completely new story. Be forewarned that there is nudity in one scene, and portrayals of a witch performing magic. Other than those the whole family will enjoy this one.
8. "Barbie Mermaidia" is a little-kid movie, but the plot is good and the scenes are beautiful. I especially enjoyed the unusual design of Barbie's mermaid tail. In this story the main character has to make great sacrifice, and learns some good lessons. I like this one better than the newest Barbie mermaid movie because of its great message.
9. There was much excitement this year over the new release of "Barbie in a Mermaid Tail." This one has wonderfully fun surfboarding scenes. The mermaid world of Oceana was a little strange – basically a mimic of our materialistic society. This made it funny but in this setting you lose the mystery and magic of legendary mermaids. This is what I call a "fluff" movie – nothing deep, just fun images and a nice little story.
10. My least favorite mermaid movie is a kid movie called "Roxy Hunter and the Myth of the Mermaid." It's about a young small-town journalist named Roxy who gradually discovers her new homeless friend (a beautiful blond) is actually a mermaid. The movie is okay but throughout the entire film there are no underwater scenes or scenes with a mermaid in a tail – none – until after the very end. Then, finally, you see about 10 seconds of the blond mermaid swimming underwater with a gorgeous tail. The story is interesting enough, however, and children will certainly enjoy this movie.