[[quoteright:330:[[VideoGame/EccoTheDolphin http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dolphin1_9371.jpg]] ]]

In fiction, dolphins will be portrayed primarily as heroic and helpful creatures. They're a marketable species of hero, [[RuleOfCute partly because they're cute]] and partly because of real-life stories of dolphins saving human lives, either by guiding them to shore, fending off sharks or helping them to remain afloat until help arrives.

Sometimes overlaps with FriendlyPlayfulDolphin, or SapientCetaceans, or both.

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!! Examples:

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[[folder: Comics ]]

* The comics based on the ''EccoTheDolphin'' game series make Ecco's noble nature clear in no uncertain terms though his [[http://ecco-darksea.com/comics/ecco_the_dolphin/chapter_2/page_4.jpg somewhat]] [[http://ecco-darksea.com/comics/ecco_the_dolphin/chapter_4/page_4.jpg dark]] methods of fighting enemies may make him seem like a bit of an AntiHero.
* Porm, the dolphin who acted as a surrogate mother to ''ComicBook/{{Aquaman}}.''
* Comicbook/GhostRider was saved from a killer shark by dolphins, while he was trying to rescue them from a misguided man obsessed with revenge.
* In Creator/GrantMorrison's ''Comicbook/AnimalMan'', one story features Animal Man saving dolphins from murderous Scandinavian townsfolk who kill them for fun. At the end, one of the dolphins saves an evil townsperson from drowning.
* Subverted in an issue of ''[[Comicbook/ThePunisher The Punisher War Journal]]''. A Hawaiian "kahuna" controls sealife to rescue Frank from being stranded in the sea, and he thinks to himself that he didn't know that dolphins rescuing humans was true. When he gets back to the shore, she reveals that she actually used a shark to help him.

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[[folder: Film ]]

* In ''Film/Jaws3D'', Cindy and Sandy rescue Kay and Mike from a shark after attempting to keep them out of the Galleon.
* Fa and Be from ''Day Of The Dolphin.''
* [[TheLegendOfTheTitanic Both animated]] [[TitanicTheLegendGoesOn Titanic movies]] have them: the first has talking dolphins that are trying to stop evil whalers, and the second has dolphins who don't talk, but help save people from the sinking ship.
* Willy from ''FreeWilly'' is this in the second and third films and the animated series. And yes,orcas are technically dolphins.

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[[folder: Literature ]]

* ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'' combines this trope with SapientCetaceans - not only do the team morph dolphins early and often, but dolphins themselves are depicted as more or less the heroes of the seas. Cassie gets a dolphin as the cover morph of her first book, ''The Message''.
* ''Venus Among the Fishes'' is about Coral and her brother Snapper who are sent on a journey to save their pod from orca attacks.
* In ''Journey of the Dolphin King House'' Rinaldo the leader dolphin of a band of dolphins and his goal is to help his dolphin pod find a new home.
* ''Dolphin's Dance'' is about a man reincarnated as a dolphin. One of the events in the story involves him saving a college student who was in a surfing accident.
* ''The Tempests Roar'' is about a white dolphin named Apollo whose destiny is to save whalekind from destruction on this planet man calls Earth but whales know as Planet Ocean
* In ''TheRomanMysteries'' book ''The Dolphins of Laurentum'', a dolphin rescues Lupus after he nearly drowns from staying underwater too long while diving. It is also strongly implied that the same dolphin discouraged Lupus from deliberately leaving behind another diver who had been trapped by a giant octopus, though in fairness to Lupus he had a good reason for wanting the trapped person to die. The same scene is also in the LiveActionTV adaptation. The book also references several examples of the use of dolphins in ClassicalMythology, including stories of shipwrecked sailors being rescued by dolphins.
* The cyber hacker dolphin from JohnnyMnemonic.
* ''Dolphin Way Rise of the Guardians'' has a dolphin protagonist who must break his civilizations rules to save his friends.
* ''Dolphins of Expedor'' is about Timothy Shore, a yellow, fourteen year old 'talking' dolphin, gets sucked into a whirlpool adventure to save his city 'Expedor' from certain destruction
* ''Dolphin Journey'' has a dolphin protagonist and hero that goes out on a journey to create a song that will keep other dolphins from being trapped in nets.
* ''{{Literature/Dinotopia}}'' - Dolphins were responsible for bringing all shipwreck survivors to the island.
* In the first Literature/AgeOfFire book, dolphins rescue a drowning baby dragon and help him to land. A few months later and considerably larger, the [[AndroclesLion dragon sees fishing boats attempting to capture the dolphins...]]
* In Creator/CarlHiaasen's ''Native Tongue'', [[MeaningfulName Dickie]] [[FluffyTheTerrible the Dolphin]] isn't strictly friendly, (or perhaps overly so, [[spoiler: as villian Pedro Luz finds out]]) making this perhaps a DoubleSubversion.
* There's a book called ''Dolphin Song'' which is the second book in ''The White Giraffe'' series. The main character, a girl called Martine - who holds a special gift with animals - falls overboard during a storm while on a school trip aboard a boat. Several other students also fall overboard, and they are all rescued by a pod of dolphins who remain friendly to them throughout.
* The ''Ingo'' series written by Helen Dunmore is about Mer-folk, and dolphins in the series are portrayed as a friendly, noble race who are strong allies with the Mer and help the main characters throughout. It is also a great taboo for a Mer to kill a dolphin, and likewise for a dolphin to kill a Mer.
* ''Literature/SoLongAndThanksForAllTheFish'' has dolphins responsible for replacing [[spoiler:the Earth and all of the people on it after it was destroyed by Vogons.]]

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[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* ''{{Flipper}}'' might be the TropeCodifier as far as recent western media go.
* Darwin the (talking) Dolphin from ''SeaquestDSV.''
* In ''Series/NinpuuSentaiHurricaneger''/''Series/PowerRangersNinjaStorm'', the water-themed Blue Ranger has a dolphin motif and mecha.

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[[folder: New Media ]]

* ''Website/{{Cracked}}'' deconstructs this by listing dolphins in both [[http://www.cracked.com/article_16762_the-6-biggest-assholes-in-animal-kingdom_p2.html The 6 Biggest Assholes In The Animal Kingdom]] and [[http://www.cracked.com/article_15853_the-6-cutest-animals-that-can-still-destroy-you.html The 6 Cutest Animals That Can Still Destroy You.]]
* ''Kip The Dolphin'' is a flash game that has a dolphin who is supposed to save as many deep sea divers as possible.

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[[folder: Pinball ]]

* Invoked in ''Pinball/{{Baywatch}}'', where the "Search and Rescue" lane features a spinner with a helpful dolphin.

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[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]

* Some editions of ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' have depicted dolphins as sentient Good-aligned creatures with their own patron goddess.
* In one {{Traveller}} sourcebook a story is told of some uplifted sapient dolphins who helped bring to light a scandal involving the secret enslavement of an intelligent species by a megacorporation.
* In ''{{Rifts}}' Underseas'', players can in fact choose to play as a Dolphin (or an Orca or even Humpback Whale).
* The board game ''Escape from Atlantis'' (recently reprinted with the name ''Survive!'') has dolphins which give swimmers a boast of 3 spaces per turn rather than the usual 1.

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[[folder: Video Games ]]

* ''VideoGame/EccoTheDolphin:'' Humans aren't even present, at least not in the Genesis games, but Ecco saves not only his family, but the world as a whole, from being consumed by aliens. The other dolphins also bravely show up en masse to battle the Vortex aliens at the end of the second game, and the Resistance dolphins from ''Defender'' show some courage in helping Ecco overthrow the Clan, a group of violent, militaristic dolphins who have taken over that particular reality.
* Played straight with the empathic, pacifist Liir race from ''SwordOfTheStars''...until you attack them, at which point they'll declare you Suul'Ka and never stop killing you until your entire race is just a fading memory. Liir soldiers are called "Black Swimmers" and are ''never'' permitted to interact with civilian Liir, lest their murderous tendencies corrupt the entire species.
** As far as the planet-bound Liir are concerned, the Black Swimmers are all dead to them. They hold a funeral service for each Liir who signs up to join the fleet.
* Mike rescues a dolphin in the second stage of ''VideoGame/StarTropics''. [[spoiler:[[AndroclesLion It returns the favor at the end of the game]]]].
* ''[[CommandAndConquerRedAlert Red Alert 3]]'' is set to include dolphins with sonic weapons as seagoing infantry for the Allies, and the 3rd political party in the USA, the Federalists, adopted the Dolphin as their symbol. Of course, dolphins are already Allied sea units in ''Red Alert 2'' as anti-giant squid weapons.
* ''VideoGame/SuperMarioWorld'' features a few levels with Scuba-wearing Dolphins that jump out of the water regularly and can be used as platforms to reach far away areas. [[VideogameCrueltyPotential They can be eaten by Yoshi too.]]
** Of course, Romhacks like to use them to lift Mario up into spiked ceilings and similar obstacles, so the trope can swing both ways.
* The ShootEmUp ''VideoGame/AeroFighters'' has a playable character who's a dolphin that's also a ''fighter jet pilot''. And he can speak and understand human language.

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[[folder: Web Comics ]]

* ''WebComic/TheAdventuresOfDrMcNinja'' story Death Volley has the implication of dolphins getting revenge on Agent Bearclaw. His story: "One time I swam out to sea, and pretended to be injured so that dolphins would swim up to rescue me. I did this so that I could kill them with my bare hands."

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[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* Subverted in ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', when Bart, Homer, Flanders and his kids stranded at sea and being approached by dolphins. Flanders is relieved, stating that dolphins always help people lost at sea. The dolphins merely chitter that they are all going to die, giggle a bit, and then leave.
** Later inverted in a Treehouse Of Horror episode when dolphins [[MakesJustAsMuchSenseInContext rebel aganst humans, take back the land for themselves, and force humans back into the sea.]]
* Averted with Dr. Blowhole in ''WesternAnimation/ThePenguinsOfMadagascar''; he is one of the main villains of the show.
* Brainy Smurf mistakes shark fins for a school of porpoises in ''WesternAnimation/TheSmurfs'' episode "Never Smurf Off Till Tomorrow".

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[[folder: Real Life ]]

* It has become increasingly popular in non-fictional media to portray dolphins as AlwaysChaoticEvil, due to cases of dolphins [[http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2009/05/13/dolphins_are_violent_predators_that_kill_their_own_babies.html killing their own young]], but in practice it is unclear what percentage of dolphins are like that, etc... at the very least, it should be regarded as depending on the individual dolphin. [[http://www.dolphins-world.com/Dolphins_Rescuing_Humans.html Dolphins have also been known to rescue humans, after all.]]
** One of reasons why dolphins are so popular may be exactly that similarity to humans in that they are capable of doing very... erm, humane deeds, as well as things completely opposite of these.
* Inverted in the recent case of [[http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/01/23/distressed-dolphin-seeks-out-diver-for-help/ a dolphin coming to a human diver for help]].

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