Set in mid-winter Montreal, a mentally unstable man becomes involved with two different women which fuels his paranoia, forcing him to commit criminal acts.



(screenplay), (original stories)
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »


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Directed by celebrated British filmmaker Tony Palmer, "Bird on a Wire" follows Cohen on his 1972 European tour. Long lost 16mm prints were restored for this release, not seen since 1972.

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Complete credited cast:
Alexis Kanner ...
Ernie Turner
Judith Gault ...
Derek May ...
Ernie's accomplice
Anna Cameron ...
Social worker
Ernie's friend
Corinne Copnick ...
Rolland D'Amour ...
Neighbour (as Roland D'Amour)


Ernie Turner is released from a mental hospital and evicted from his apartment. Alienated and indifferent to life, he meets Donna, a beautiful young woman while wandering down the street. Donna takes pity on Ernie despite him being in a terminal state of confusion and the two become involved with each other. Later at a party, Ernie meets a former girlfriend, Gail, and the two resume their previous relationship. For Ernie life is a game, but as he moves between the two women, his fragile mental state declines and his imagined rejections drive him to fantastic and dangerous schemes. Written by pr1mal_1

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independent film | See All (1) »







Release Date:

14 November 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ernie  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


CAD 321,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
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Did You Know?


Song by Leonard Cohen
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User Reviews

Evil is Canadian
21 October 2002 | by (Toronto, Ontario) – See all my reviews

While doing a little research on Canadian cinema, I had the distinct displeasure of sitting through this atrocious film. The Ernie of the title is very possibly the most smug, most obnoxious, most irritating character ever to hit the screen; he runs around sponging off of women who ought to know better, declaring himself a "saint" and talking down to people as if they were four years old. (Of course, he fancies himself a writer despite never having written a sentence.) The lead actor is perfect- too perfect- in the role: he's so convincing that he makes an already annoying character completely intolerable, so much so that I decided I'd rather spend time with Buffalo Bill from "The Silence of the Lambs" than look at his horrible smirk ever again. Unless you're a Leonard Cohen diehard (he has a small scene in which he sings) my advice to you is flee in terror.

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