Fact Check

Does This Video Show a Dog Being Rescued by a Dolphin?

Although eviscerated for overacting by a New York Times film critic, the dog in a viral tweet was never in any physical danger.

Published Apr 21, 2023

A video authentically shows a dog being rescued by a dolphin.

An April 14, 2023, a tweet with a video of a dolphin transporting a small dog to a sailboat, described as "dolphin saves a dog that fell into the sea from the boat," received nearly 800,000 views at the time of this reporting:

If the soundtrack and camerawork did not make it obvious, this is a scene from a movie — specifically the1997 film "Zeus and Roxanne." 

"Zeus is a rowdy little ruffhouse of a dog, Roxanne, a delightful dolphin," a description of the movie on Amazon reads. "What happens when the two come together, and the effect they have on the people who love them, is an exciting and unexpected tale of freedom, friendship, and love."

The scene in the viral Tweet is shown, in part, in a trailer for the movie:

The dog in the tweet was never in actual need of rescue, except, perhaps, from film critics. In a scathing 1997 review by New York Times critic Lawrence Van Gelder, the trio of dogs playing Zeus were called out for their overacting:  

From the moment Zeus, actually played by three Portuguese Podengos, appears on screen, coyly cocking his head, raising his paws, sticking out his tongue and emitting pitiable whines, the interspecies signal of this film is that it is to be badly overacted.

Because both Zeus and Roxanne are fictional characters from a poorly reviewed 1997 family film, we rate the clip as "Miscaptioned" in the viral tweet. 


Dog And Dolphin "Zeus And Roxanne" Immersed In Overacting While Lacking The Magic Vital To A Children's Film | The Spokesman-Review. https://www.spokesman.com/stories/1997/jan/28/dog-and-dolphin-zeus-and-roxanne-immersed-in/. Accessed 21 Apr. 2023.

Zeus and Roxanne. Directed by George Miller, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Rysher Entertainment, 1997.

Zeus and Roxanne Movie Trailer/TV Spot (1997, Steve Guttenberg, Kathleen Quinlan). www.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3v8aQDmJsU8. Accessed 21 Apr. 2023.

Alex Kasprak is an investigative journalist and science writer reporting on scientific misinformation, online fraud, and financial crime.