Friday Sep 22, 2023

Dive Into These 31 Mermaid Movies

Mermaid Movies
Photo by Bruce Christianson on Unsplash

Not all mermaids are like Ariel in “The Little Mermaid.” Though Disney conditioned us to think that mermaids are bubbly creatures who hardly know what to do with a dinglehopper, some mermaids in fiction are much, much different. In lore, mermaids are half human, half sea creature and date back thousands of years. In some tales, mermaids are portrayed as vicious sirens who use their beauty and allure to draw people – usually men – toward them and kill them. But like any mythical creature, the stories have changed over generations, giving many faces to what mermaids can be.

Though Ariel in “The Little Mermaid” is one of the most notable of her kind, there are plenty of mermaids in other films who serve as main and side characters. All the iterations of “Peter Pan” have life-saving mermaids in them, though they only play a small role in the overall story, whereas movies like “Aquamarine” base the whole story around a mermaid.

If you’re a fan of mermaids and looking for a mermaid movie for your next night in (perhaps as you wait for Halle Bailey’s very own turn as Ariel in “The Little Mermaid”), there are actually quite a few films in this aquatic category to choose from. Spanning decades, these mermaid movies cover a number of genres. From thrilling mermaid movies that lean into the siren theme to romantic love stories involving these magical maidens, there’s really no limit to how far this mythical creature can go. Heck, there are even a couple mockumentaries that might just make you believe mermaids are real.

Needless to say, “The Little Mermaid” is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to mermaid media. If you really want to expand your horizons, check out these 31 mermaid movies ahead.

“The Little Mermaid”

The classic Disney animated film follows a young mermaid named Ariel (Jodi Benson) who desperately wants to live on land. After catching a glimpse of the handsome Prince Eric (Christopher Daniel Barnes), she instantly falls for him — and he feels the same. Her father, King Triton (Kenneth Mars), isn’t supportive of her wishes, so she makes a deal with Ursula (Pat Carroll), the sea witch, to live on land. Ariel agrees to trade her voice for legs, losing both her fins and her ability to sing or talk at all. Now she has to convince Eric she’s the one he’s been pining for — all without being able to sing her siren song to him.

“The Mermaid: Lake of the Dead”

In this suspenseful thriller, Roma (Efim Petrunin) stumbles upon a beautiful woman in a lake and is drawn to her. They share a kiss, and Roma leaves. However, after their kiss, Roma’s life begins to spiral out of control. Despite kissing the mysterious mermaid of the lake, Roma is still tied to his girlfriend, Marina (Viktoriya Agalakova), who has no intention of letting him go. But the mermaid’s kiss set a curse in motion to bring Roma back to the water, where he’ll never be able to leave her. Once she sets her sights on someone, she’ll stop at nothing to claim him.

“Lu Over the Wall”

In this sweet Japanese animated movie, Lu is a mermaid with unique powers. When she sings, she can make people dance, which is exactly what Kai needs in his life. Kai is new to Tokyo and isn’t quick to make new friends. However, one day, he’s asked by a few of his classmates to play the keyboard in their band. This draws Lu to them, causing her to sing along with the music they play and make anyone who hears it dance along. Kai’s taken by her when they meet, and the two form a fast friendship as he starts to open up to her.

“Night Tide”

While on shore leave, Johnny Drake (Dennis Hopper) meets Mora (Linda Lawson), a woman who spends her time posing as a mermaid on the boardwalk. Her life as a fake mermaid might be more real than either of them think, though. She tells Johnny she believes she’s a true siren, like the mermaids of the deep, and Johnny almost starts to believe that Mora’s two dead boyfriends were a result of something she’d done. Johnny isn’t sure if he should grow wary of the beautiful young woman or not, but when he almost drowns at (what he assumes to be) her hands, he can’t help but wonder what’s true.

“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”

In yet another installment of Pirates of the Caribbean, Jack Sparrow’s (Johnny Depp) past catches up with him when he meets Angelica (Penélope Cruz) — a beautiful pirate he once loved. They collect Blackbeard (Ian McShane) on his ship and set off together for the Fountain of Youth. Of course, Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) is also in the chase for the legendary landmark, and the race won’t be pretty. One task they must complete to get to the Fountain of Youth is to capture a mermaid’s teardrop to place in a chalice — so Barbossa snags Syrena (Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey), a mysterious mermaid, along the way.

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“Mad About Men”

While on holiday, Caroline (Glynis Johns) meets a mermaid named Miranda (also played by Johns) who happens to be her distant relative. Because the two look so similar, they decide to switch places so Miranda can see what life on land is really like. Miranda meets Ronald (Peter Martyn), to whom Caroline is engaged, and she immediately doesn’t like him and wants better for Caroline. Looking for suitors, Miranda finds a couple who she thinks are worthy of their bloodline. But Miranda ruffles some feathers and is about to be outed as a mermaid until Caroline swoops in. The question that remains, though, is what becomes of the messy love story Miranda created for Caroline.

“Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid”

In this 1948 movie, Arthur Peabody (William Powell) and his wife, Polly (Irene Hervey), are vacationing in the Caribbean when their marriage hits the rocks. Polly starts to admit her feelings for someone else after thinking her husband is cheating. It turns out, Arthur followed a siren song to a mermaid (played by Ann Blyth) deep in the depths of a cave. Though she cannot speak to him, he finds himself drawn to her more and more. Arthur winds up getting caught in a love triangle that makes him question his marriage and whether or not he can truly be with a mermaid.

“The Water Will Carry Us Home”

In this short, stop-motion animation, captured Africans are traveling by slave ship through the Middle Passage when they’re thrown from the boat. But rather than drown or simply sink to their deaths, they’re saved by a community of mermaids who preserve their souls, preventing them from ever being forgotten. This beautiful fantasy story by Gabrielle Tesfaye brings light and hope to the topic of entrapment and slavery and paints mermaids in a positive and helpful light, something that not all mermaid stories do. Rather than be sirens luring people the wrong way, these mermaids provide a beacon of light.

“Beach Blanket Bingo”

A lot goes down in this 1965 party film. Sugar Kane (Linda Evans) is caught up in a scandal that she’s mostly unaware of and is being used for publicity stunts, like fake skydiving. Because of this, Frankie (Frankie Avalon) thinks he saved Sugar Kane during one, when in reality it was just a stunt. He tries skydiving, though, because Bonnie (Deborah Walley) wants to get her boyfriend’s attention and thinks Frankie is the way to do it. However, everyone gets in on it, and suddenly they’re all enamored with the idea of falling from the sky. Amid all this, Bonehead (Jody McCrea) falls in love with a mermaid, because of course that’s what happens at the beach.


Sara Paxton is Aquamarine, a mermaid who escaped her underwater life to get out of an arranged marriage. Determined to show her father that true love exists, she enlists the help of Claire (Emma Roberts) and Hailey (JoJo) to aid her in romancing a human. Her heart is set on the hunky lifeguard Raymond (Jake McDorman), but Aquamarine has to compete with cool girl Cecilia (Arielle Kebbel) for his heart. To try to win her man, Cecilia sets out to expose Aquamarine’s secret that she’s a mermaid, but her plan is foiled. Naturally, Raymond develops feelings for Aquamarine, but is it enough to convince her father?

“Scales: Mermaids Are Real”

Siren (Emmy Perry) thinks she’s just an ordinary girl, but how could she be with a name like Siren? As she nears her 12th birthday, she realizes she can control water. As she starts to question her existence, she befriends Adam (Jack Grazer), who seems friendly enough, but Siren’s friend Crystal (Nikki Hahn) isn’t so sure. Siren soon finds out she is half mermaid and will begin her transformation on her 12th birthday. Every three years from then on, she has to return to the water to survive. Crystal, who is also part mermaid, warns her of mermaid hunters who might be out to get them.

“Blue My Mind”

Mia (Luna Wedler) is a 15-year-old girl on the cusp of becoming something completely different. Whereas most teen girls hit adolescence and grow into women, Mia finds herself craving fish and growing gills. Soon, her toes start to fuse together and her legs become bruised. For a curious teen, this transformation is troubling, and Mia demands answers out of her mother (whom she can’t recall ever seeing pregnant in photos). Mia starts to suspect maybe she comes from something otherworldly and her affinity for the water might be more than just a desire to swim. Perhaps it’s her true home.

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“Mermaids: The Body Found”

This mockumentary is a fictionalized story of what it could be like for mermaids to exist. Actors portray scientists discussing findings in the deep sea about life that resembles mermaids. Told almost in the style of found footage, the scenes are cut together with input from the scientists discussing the great unknown that lies beneath the water and analyzing what could possibly be on this footage. The film, which aired on Animal Planet, was actually so believable that some viewers were angry at being duped. Nonetheless, it’s an enjoyable piece of fiction that provides a good laugh at the mysteries of the ocean.

“The Thirteenth Year”

In this Disney Channel Original Movie, Cody Griffin (Chez Starbuck) starts to go through some serious changes when he hits his teen years. Ever the water-lover, Cody starts to grow scales on his skin and and even fins. He suddenly can swim faster than ever and breathe underwater, which terrifies him greatly. It turns out Cody’s real mom was a mermaid who left him on the Griffins’ boat when he was a baby so he could live a life on land. However, when mermaids — or mermen in this case — become teenagers, their aquatic transformation begins, forcing Cody to adjust quickly to his newfound life.

“The Mermaid”

“The Mermaid” is a classic tale of falling in love with the wrong person. Liu Xuan (Deng Chao) buys a wildlife reserve that requires sonar technology to raze the area, which will wipe out the merpeople currently living there. The thing is, Xuan doesn’t seem bothered. Shan (Lin Yun) is sent by her fellow merpeople to kill Xuan to prevent the erasure of her kinfolk. Unlike all merpeople, Shan is able to blend in with humans because of her unique ability to use her fins like feet. But when she actually meets Xuan, she accidentally falls in love with him — and the feeling is mutual.

“A Mermaid’s Tale”

Ryan (Caitlin Carmichael) feels like her life might be over because she has to move to a sleepy coastal town with her dad, Matt (Jerry O’Connell). While trying to get used to her new home, Ryan discovers a new friend — a mysterious mermaid named Coral (Sydney Scotia). The two bond quickly, and Coral helps Ryan understand and appreciate the new town she’s moved to. But Coral also clues her in on some of the town’s not-so-great aspects, and perhaps with the two of them working together — on land and in the water — they can turn everything around.

“The Little Mermaid”

Not to be confused with the Disney cartoon “The Little Mermaid,” this 2018 film is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s mermaid tale. Cam (William Moseley) and his young niece Elle (Loreto Peralta) discover a mermaid named Elizabeth (Poppy Drayton) trapped in a tank at the circus. Supposedly, her water heals all ailments, which Cam hopes to use for Elle, who is sick. However, he fears it’s not true and that Elizabeth isn’t actually a mermaid, especially when he meets her again in the woods. But while the mermaid water may not be working as planned, Elizabeth truly is a mermaid who’s trapped, and Cam and Elle can help her find a way out.

“The Lure”

This Polish film tells the thrilling story of two mermaids, Silver (Marta Mazurek) and Golden (Michalina Olszańska), who escape their watery homes to dance in a nightclub. They start by just dancing and singing backup for other acts before they realize they’re quite the catch on their own. They form an act called The Lure, and that’s where things start to go off the rails. There’s murder, lust, betrayal, and absolutely no possibility that anyone will get a happy ending in this off-the-wall horror film. At least the scenes with The Lure on stage are relatively mild and not too bloody.

“Magic Island”

It’s not been easy for teenager Jack (Zachery Ty Bryan). Determined to run away and find a new life, Jack sets his mind to making it happen. Before he can, his nanny hands him a magic book and tells him to just read it before he makes any decisions. Upon reading the book, Jack is pulled into the fantastical world where he meets princes, pirates, and even a mermaid whom he falls in love with. The book turns into a giant, fantastical adventure that forces Jack to find a way back home. It’s through his quest that Jack also starts to get a new outlook on life.

“She Creature”

Angus Shaw (Rufus Sewell) and his wife, Lily (Carla Gugino), are two carnival workers in Ireland in the early 1900s just trying to make a life for themselves. In the show, Lily pretends to be a mermaid, but when a mermaid collector comes to see, he’s disappointed to find Lily isn’t a real mermaid. He shows the Shaws that he has his own mermaid held captive. After a scuffle, the Shaws are able to free the mermaid (Rya Kihlstedt) and want to help her find her way home. It’s not that easy, though, and the mermaid possesses Lily during sex, giving her fertility but nearly killing her husband.

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Dr. Thomas Bradley (Billy Zane) and his daughter, Serena (Amber Savva), are sent to a beautiful Greek island for Thomas to work on research for ancient love spells. However, Serena uses this trip as an opportunity to help her widower dad find love again. She searches high and low through the women in town, but no one seems to be the right fit. Knowing her dad needs a special kind of woman who understands him, Serena casts a wider net. It’s then that she meets the beautiful mermaid Neried (Kelly Brook). Using a bit of her dad’s love spells, Serena links her dad to the mythical creature and lets love work its magic.

“Sabrina Down Under”

In this TV movie that’s part of the Sabrina the Teenage Witch universe, Sabrina (Melissa Joan Hart) goes to Australia with one of her witch friends. It’s there that she comes across a mermaid colony that’s at risk. A clout-chasing marine biologist wants to use it as his claim to fame, and it’s up to Sabrina to try to help protect these sea creatures. During her investigation, Sabrina befriends a merman named Barnaby (Scott Michaelson), whom she briefly turns into human so he can see what it’s like to be on land. Together, they both try to find a way to protect the mermaid community.

“Mermaid Down”

A mermaid (Alexandra Bokova) finds herself caught in the crosshairs of fishermen out to make a profit off of her existence. When they finally capture her, various parts of her fin are chopped off and sold to interested parties. Afterward, she’s thrown in a mental institution because being a mermaid is all she knows, and no one believes her. Everything she’s trying to tell people is just making things worse for her, leading her deeper into despair as she begs and pleads to go back home to the water. It’s a race against time to try to find a way out.


When he’s just a boy, Allen Bauer (Tom Hanks) falls overboard while on a trip to Cape Cod but is quickly rescued by a mermaid. Fast forward 20 years, and Allen still can’t stop thinking about the mermaid (Daryl Hannah) who saved his life. He returns to Cape Cod just to test the waters (so to speak) and falls in the ocean. Yet again, he’s saved by the same mermaid. The mermaid finds her way to New York to reconnect with Allen and assumes a human body. She quickly learns English and gives herself the name Madison. She and Allen grow closer, but people start to suspect she’s not who she says she is.

“Killer Mermaid”

What should have been a relaxing, sunny vacation turns out to be anything but. While on a trip to the Mediterranean, two young women explore their surroundings, deciding to head to Mamula. At Mamula, they discover an abandoned military fortress, tucked away in a remote corner of the islet. Upon getting there, they realize something is horribly wrong. It turns out the remote island is harboring a deadly secret under the water. Before they know it, the duo end up being hunted by a vicious mermaid that’s seeking carnage. Forced to fight for their lives, the duo do everything in their power to try to overcome their aquatic foe.


Miranda the mermaid (Glynis Johns) is every bit the siren you’d imagine a mermaid to be. She meets Paul (Griffith Jones) while he’s on holiday without his wife. Miranda hooks herself onto Paul’s fishing line and drags him down into the water to keep him prisoner. She agrees to let him go if he takes her home to London with him. With no other option, he agrees, but he has to figure out how to disguise the mermaid so no one will know what’s going on. Once they arrive in London, a series of events ensue that threaten to expose Miranda and Paul’s secret.

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