The film stars Murray as an eccentric oceanographer who sets out to exact revenge on a "Jaguar shark" that ate his partner. The film is both a parody of and homage to French oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, to whom the film is dedicated.
When his partner is killed by the mysterious and possibly nonexistent Jaguar Shark, Steve Zissou and his Team Zissou crew set off for an expedition to hunt down the creature. Along with his estranged wife, a beautiful journalist and a co-pilot who could possibly be Zissou's son, the crew set off for one wild expedition.
- Bill Murray as Steve Zissou
- Owen Wilson as Ned Plimpton/Stanley Zissou
- Cate Blanchett as Janet Winslett-Richardson
- Anjelica Huston as Eleanor Zissou
- Willem Dafoe as Klaus Daimler
- Jeff Goldblum as Alistair Hennessey
- Michael Gambon as Oseary Drakoulis
- Bud Court as Bill Ubell
- Seymour Cassel as Esteban du Plantier