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Brewster McCloud (1970)

An introverted loner living in the bowels of the Astrodome plots to develop - with the aid of a mysterious guardian angel - a pair of wings that will help him fly.



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2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Brewster McCloud
Det. Lt. Frank Shaft
Suzanne Davis
The Lecturer
Abraham Wright
Officer Johnson
Daphne Heap
Officer Hines
G. Wood ...
Det. Capt. Crandall
Officer Douglas Breen
Angelin Johnson ...
Mrs. Breen
Dean Goss ...
Officer Ledbetter


Brewster is an owlish, intellectual boy who lives in a fallout shelter of the Houston Astrodome. He has a dream: to take flight within the confines of the stadium. Brewster tells those he trusts of his dream, but displays a unique way of treating others who do not fit within his plans. When the fateful day arrives, and he enters the dome with his fanciful construction of bird wings, Brewster is surrounded by the police. Will he be caught before he attempts to fly? Written by Rick Gregory <rag.apa@email.apa.org>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




Comedy | Fantasy


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

18 August 1971 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Brewster McCloud's (Sexy) Flying Machine  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Released 11 months after MASH (1970) made Robert Altman a critical darling. See more »


At the beginning of the car chase, when Duvall drives out of the Astrodome parking garage nearly hitting the cop on a motorcycle, there is a shot of her wearing the black driving gloves. Later in the chase when she is stopped at a light and notices the police car behind her, she puts on the black gloves, supposedly for the first time. See more »


Det. Lt. Frank Shaft: There are times, Bernard, when a man works best alone. This is one of those times.
Bernard: What did he mean by that?
Officer Johnson: I don't know, but it's something
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the credits, all the actors turn up as Circus Performers and are introduced by the Ring Master - ending with Bud Cort, who lies dead in the center ring. See more »


Referenced in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Hunting Ground (2012) See more »


The Star Spangled Banner
Written by Francis Scott Key and John Stafford Smith
Performed by Margaret Hamilton and the Jack Yates High School Band
See more »

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User Reviews

Bizarre, Unique, wonderful
22 September 1999 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It's hard to talk about a film as unparalleled as Brewster McCloud. It creates its own world out of element from the world we know so well. It plays with everything, including its self-consciousness about being a movie. It weaves together many threads into a lovely, heart-breaking snapshot of a moment in America.

The situation: The world has gone mad. The wicked witch is wearing the Ruby slippers, and has become a beloved social icon. Who wouldn't want to fly away?

Enter Brewster McCloud, a young man who plans to do just that. He is hiding out in the basement of the Astrodome in Houston, working on building his wings. The kind you wear. Like Icarus did. His plan is all feeling, very focused, but doesn't take him past the immediate "How?" He is under the tutelage and protection of a sort of Bird-Goddess/Angel (played by Sally Kellerman) who walks around wearing absolutely nothing but a red plastic raincoat. When she takes it off, you can see the long, curving scars where her wings were removed. She also drives around in a small red car whose license-plate reads "BRDSHT".

Lest you think I've given away too much, let me assure you this barely scratches the surface. Who is responsible for the wave of mysterious murders? What of the presidential candidate who's all over town, is he an assassination target? What is the connection with the horny young girl (Shelly Duvall, in her first movie role - I believe she was discovered by Altman when he attended a party at her house during the location shoot in Houston) who comes to visit Brewster but can't ever really get his attention?

A wonderful, under-rated film worth seeing.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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