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La Cage aux Folles (1978)

La cage aux folles (original title)
R | | Comedy | 30 March 1979 (USA)
Two gay men living in St. Tropez have their lives turned upside down when the son of one of the men announces he is getting married. They try conceal their lifestyle and their ownership of ... See full summary »



(play), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Albin Mougeotte dit Zaza Napoli
Claire Maurier ...
Simone Deblon
Rémi Laurent ...
Carmen Scarpitta ...
Louise Charrier
Luisa Maneri ...
Andréa Charrier
Carlo Reali ...
Le videur
Guido Cerniglia ...
Le médecin
Angelo Pellegrino ...
Un assistant de la boîte de nuit
Nicola D'Eramo
Vinicio Diamanti
Liana Del Balzo ...
Mme Charrier


Two gay men living in St. Tropez have their lives turned upside down when the son of one of the men announces he is getting married. They try conceal their lifestyle and their ownership of the drag club downstairs when the fiancée and her parents come for dinner. Written by Elisabeth Freeman <freeman-elisabeth@cs.yale.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The comedy that comes out of the closet!




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

30 March 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Birds of a Feather  »

Box Office


FRF 7,000,000 (estimated)


$17,921,489 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The original French play ran for 1800 performances, from 1973 to 1978, at the Theatre du Palais-Royal in Paris. In New York, the play ran for well over a year at the 68th Street Playhouse, as well as in theaters throughout the country, in both urban and rural areas See more »


Albin Mougeotte: He's being taken from us, and we won't have any others.
Renato Baldi: Unless there's a miracle.
See more »


Referenced in La cage aux zombies (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

C'Est magnifique! Terrific French farce transcends the language barrier in getting its laughs and message across.

Already considered a mainstream cult classic, "La Cage aux Folles" ranks as one of the biggest crossover box-office hits ever to land on American soil. And for very good reason. Italy's Ugo Tognazzi and Gallic Michel Serrault are the most inspiring and oddest couple to appear on screen since Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, and just as entertainingly colorful as Siegfried & Roy!

Tognazzi essays the role of Renato, a suave, successful, over-the-hill cabaret owner whose nightly drag revues spotlight his long-time partner Albin (who goes by the stage name "Zaza"), a touchy, temperamental, hopelessly mincing diva who has got to be seen to be believed. A neurotic wreck most of the time, Zaza (Serrault) is a full-time job for the exasperated Renato, needing constant coddling and stroking when it comes to "her" age (she's up there), figure (a deep fondness for chocolates hasn't helped), and affairs of the heart (they are celebrating their 20th year anniversary, but the invariably jealous Albin/Zaza is sure Renato is playing around while she's performing). Getting the insecure Zaza on stage every night usually includes your usual number of psychoanalytical sessions, shoe-throwing tirades and prescription medicines.

The fun begins after Renato's son, Laurent, conceived during a temporary moment of heterosexual abandon ("you should try everything once"), informs his father of his plans to marry -- a girl! The daughter of a staunch, right-wing bureaucrat whose political party is in the midst of a shocking moral scandal, Laurent is obligated to introduce her priggish parents (who think a big traditional wedding could restore the party's reputation) to his "straight" parents. The fiancee has passed them off as a respected cultural attaché for the Italian embassy and a Catholic housewife/mother of six.

The resulting farcical set-up unleashes a barrage of priceless comic moments as the pair must not only refurnish their "gay-ly" luxorious apartment, which is right above the nightclub, but pass themselves off as heterosexuals. The crème de la crème of all scenes takes place at a restaurant where the somewhat more virile Renato instructs Albin how to drink tea, butter toast, and walk butch á la John Wayne! The dinner party segment too is absolutely crammed with riotous sight gags, especially the erotically-designed soup bowls and shoeless butler bits.

The cast is impeccable. Serrault and Tognazzi are to be cherished for pulling off such an acting coup. Under normal circumstances, these two roles could be hammy, forced and quite offensive. But in the hands of this pair, they are not only funny, but credible and even touching. Serrault, in particular, is a marvel, with every gesture, tone and vocal inflection coming from a real emotional center, while Tognazzi's charming boulevardier provides the perfect "straight" man to Serrault's antics. Together, their "I am what I am" message really hits home. You believe these two as a couple. You believe their longevity. You believe their spats. You believe their devotion.

Michel Galabru and Carmen Scarpitta are superb as the strict, moral-minded parents who slowly come to the horrifying realization that all is not right with their prospective son-in-law's family. Benny Luke has some wonderfully outré moments as the gay couple's barefoot live-in "French maid" who dusts the house in skimpy hot pants and very little else. Claire Maurier is effective as Laurent's estranged mother, who tries to get back in Laurent's good graces by agreeing to be part of the dinner party charade.

Two lesser sequels and an abominable American remake cannot tarnish the beauty of the original. WARNING: When renting this video, make sure you rent the version with sub-titles, not the inferior English-dubbed version. Much of Michel Serrault's magic is in his voice.

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