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Director/co-writer Luc Jacquet's astonishing documentary follows one year in the life of an emperor penguin flock—and one couple in particular—as they waddle hundreds of miles across the frozen wastes of the treacherous Antarctic on their annual journey to mate. Narrator Morgan Freeman guides us through almost every major life experience that these flightless birds experience—from birth to death, from dating to mating, from comedy to tragedy—every moment of which is a fight for survival against predators and ice floes alike.

 March of the Penguins

Antarctica: The South Pole.
Average Temp: -40°F
One creature survives on the pack ice: the emperor penguin.

Beneath our feet, the heart of the Earth hums its eternal magnetic melody. Each year, our route’s appearance alters. We have to make long detours to pass these sleeping giants but never, in our elders’ memory, has a single caravan lost its way here.

After ten days and thousands of steps, then another ten days and as many steps and one morning, our tribe reaches its destination. These gates of rock have seen us all hatch, every last one of us, since the dawn of time. Here, on the Oamock, we meet every year to give life.

We know winter is ready to strike. We’re like tightrope walkers, balancing our eggs. We huddle up together, forming a single body that circles like a whirlwind.

Here is our victory over winter. Life! So small and so beautiful, unreal in the cold that plagues us. Our suffering has reached its peak. Each coming day will free chicks from their shells.

Like the sun, our chicks become stronger everyday. But summer’s a long way off. For now, we cannot let our chicks out. They are so frail. They need our warmth so much. All around us, the cold lies in wait.