The Will Smith Mob Movie Way Stranger Than You Realize, Stream Without Netflix

By TeeJay Small | Updated

These days, it seems that mob movies are all the rage, with visionary filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese delivering numerous hits within the crime genre. Mob movies are often characterized by their use of foul language, bloody violence, and deep social commentary, though one 2004 film managed to compress the essence of this genre into a family-friendly animated venture. The film in question is Shark Tale, starring Will Smith and Jack Black. 

Cast And Crew

shark tale will smith

If you were a kid during the early 2000s, you surely recall seeing this star-studded animated film, which looks incredibly bizarre now with 20 years of hindsight.

Shark Tale was a CG animated film from DreamWorks, written by Michael J. Wilson and Rob Letterman, and directed by Letterman in collaboration with Bibo Bergeron and Shrek filmmaker Vicky Jenson.

The movie touts an absolutely stacked cast of A-listers, including Will Smith, Jack Black, Renée Zellweger, Angelina Jolie, and Robert De Niro.


will smith shark tale

In addition to the main cast, Shark Tale also has numerous cameo appearances from prominent alumnus of The Sopranos, including Vincent Pastore, Michael Imperioli, and Lenny Venito.

Tony Soprano actor James Gandolfini was allegedly in talks to join the cast as well, despite the fact that this film came out dead in the center of The Sopranos‘ illustrious run on HBO.

Legendary mob movie director Martin Scorsese even appears in Shark Tale, voicing a puffer fish which hilariously has his massive eyebrows.

The Story

The narrative of Shark Tale centers on a bluestreak fish named Oscar who, despite his lofty financial dreams, owes more than $5,000 in fish currency to his mafia-affiliated boss.

His closest friend Angie, the angelfish, offers Oscar a precious family heirloom that he can pawn to pay off his debts, though he blows the pearl on a seahorse race, believing that his horse is guaranteed to win.

When his seahorse trips at the finish line and ultimately fails, Oscar’s boss orders his shark goons to kill him.

A Fish Tale

In a random stroke of good luck, one of the sharks is killed by a falling anchor just as it was about to make Oscar his lunch. With no other witnesses to see the fight go down, Oscar returns to the reef and claims to have killed the shark himself in combat.

As the narrative of Shark Tale progresses, Oscar is forced to continue building bigger lies to cover up his initial dishonesty, as he begins to become a local celebrity known as the “Sharkslayer.

Stream It Now

will smith shark tale


Shark Tale is truly one of the most patently absurd films to ever be produced, as it takes the framework of a gritty organized crime narrative and reskins it with fish puns for an audience of children.

The movie seemed nuts when I watched it as a kid, and seems even more nuts now that I’m an adult who has seen The Sopranos. And all that’s without even mentioning the side-plot of the vegetarian shark who doesn’t want to enter into the family crime business, which some Christian groups saw as a thin allegory for homosexuality.

If you missed the chance to catch Shark Tale in theaters 20 years ago, be sure to pull it up on Peacock today. Conversely, if you watched the movie when it aired but haven’t seen it since your youth, you need to get a few of your closest Martin Scorsese-loving friends together and stream this film now, just to refresh your memory.