Birdy (1984)

R  |   |  Drama, War  |  21 December 1984 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.3/10 from 16,754 users  
Reviews: 60 user | 29 critic

After two friends return home from the Vietnam War one becomes mentally unstable and obsesses with becoming a bird.



(based on the novel by), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

After the bankruptcy of their father's stonemasonry firm, brothers Nicola and Andrea emigrate to America to restore their fortunes. After many adventures and near-disasters, they end up in ... See full summary »

Directors: Paolo Taviani, Vittorio Taviani
Stars: Vincent Spano, Joaquim de Almeida, Greta Scacchi
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Colonel Chabert has been severely wounded in the French-Russian Napoleonic war to the point that the medical examiner has signed his death certificate. When he regains his health and memory... See full summary »

Director: Yves Angelo
Stars: Gérard Depardieu, Fanny Ardant, Fabrice Luchini
Blood Wedding (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Director: Carlos Saura
Stars: Antonio Gades, Cristina Hoyos, Juan Antonio Jiménez
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An American in Paris lives by sponging off his working friends, and throws a party using borrowed money when his rich American aunt dies, believing firmly in his horoscope.

Director: Eric Rohmer
Stars: Jess Hahn, Michèle Girardon, Van Doude
You Laugh (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Two segments: In the first one Felice, a baritone who has had to give up his career because of a heart condition and now works as an accountant at the Opera, inexplicably spends his nights ... See full summary »

Directors: Paolo Taviani, Vittorio Taviani
Stars: Antonio Albanese, Giuseppe Cederna, Luca Zingaretti
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A young journalist (Lespert) helps the French President compile his memoirs.

Director: Robert Guédiguian
Stars: Michel Bouquet, Jalil Lespert, Philippe Fretun
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

In Paris outskirts Blanche, a young clerk, befriends Lea, a girl livelier than she is. Lea is going steady with Fabien who is a friend to Alexandre who is going steady with Adrienne but is ... See full summary »

Director: Eric Rohmer
Stars: Emmanuelle Chaulet, Sophie Renoir, Anne-Laure Meury
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

After another cardiac arrest, Armand knows he doesn't have long to live. But after more than 70 years in the same house, he doesn't want to die anywhere else. His wife, Rose, has secretly ... See full summary »

Director: Jean Pierre Lefebvre
Stars: Marthe Nadeau, J. Léo Gagnon, Marcel Sabourin
Trotta (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Director: Johannes Schaaf
Stars: András Bálint, Rosemarie Fendel, Doris Kunstmann
Codine (1963)
Crime | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An ex-convict struggles to survive by brute force alone in a turn-of-the-century slum in Braila. Codine (Alexandre Virgil Platon) is the thug who served 10 years for murdering a friend. He ... See full summary »

Director: Henri Colpi
Stars: Alexandru Virgil Platon, Razvan Petrescu, Françoise Brion
Mon amie Max (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Catherine, a concert pianist, is surprised one night by the arrival of her best friend from childhood, Marie-Alexandrine (Max), whom she hasn't seen for 25 years. Catherine and Max were ... See full summary »

Director: Michel Brault
Stars: Geneviève Bujold, Marthe Keller, Johanne McKay
The Novena (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Director: Bernard Émond
Stars: Elise Guilbault, Patrick Drolet, Marie-Josée Bastien


Cast overview, first billed only:
John Harkins ...
Sandy Baron ...
Dolores Sage ...
Pat Ryan ...
Joe Sagessa (as Robert L. Ryan)
James Santini ...
Maud Winchester ...
Doris Robinson (as Maude Winchester)
Marshall Bell ...
Elizabeth Whitcraft ...
Sandra Beall ...


Philly boys Al and Birdy became friends in high school despite the extreme difference in their personalities, Al being the popular and athletic extrovert, Birdy the antisocial "weird" introvert. Al gave Birdy his nickname because of his fascination - obsession really - with birds, especially with flight. Al and Birdy have just completed their service of duty in the Vietnam War and have returned to the States. Al sustained some serious physical injuries, which required major reconstructive surgery to his face. Birdy, however, returned from Vietnam seemingly emotionally scarred. He was missing in action for one month. He has not spoken since he was found. Despite his own medical issues, Al travels to the institution where Birdy is being kept to see if he can assist in getting Birdy out of his near comatose state. Having always had issues with authority, Al is less than forthright with the doctors about Birdy's mental state prior to the war. As Al tries whatever he can to help Birdy ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A soaring experience unlike anything you've ever seen before.


Drama | War


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

21 December 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alas de libertad  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


First use of the skycam in a feature film. It was a camera held by wires supported by four cranes and controlled by computer, and was used in Birdy's dream sequence of actually being able to fly. See more »


Al calls Birdy "Al" (11:08) See more »


Birdy: Do you like pigeons?
Sergeant Al Columbato: What's to like?
Birdy: They fly.
Sergeant Al Columbato: They fly. So what?
Birdy: That's enough.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Animals: Perta ... Bird No. 9 Perta's Stunts ... Queepers Alfonso ... AS HIMSELF Cat ... Hobbie Dogs ... Sneaky, Willey, Ace, Prince, Tiger, Bo, Rudah, Chiggar, Tyko, Kelly, Red, Fantasy, Scooter. Seagull ... Jonathan Snake ... Monty Jungle Bird ... Horatio Pigeons ... No's. 1 to 84 See more »


Referenced in Natural Born Killers (1994) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Great movie, great ending.
11 September 1999 | by See all my reviews

This is one of my favorite movies of all time. It's such a great growing-up buddy flick. Despite the serious subject matter (shell-shocked, catatonic Vietnam vet in mental hospital), the movie manages to be very light-hearted for the most part, without discounting the gravity of the situation that the characters are in. It doesn't seek to use the war as a means of creating the identities of the characters, the war and the "present situation" in the film (most of the film is flashbacks) are more background to the story of two crazy Philly kids growing up together.

The movie is full of laughs that don't occur at the expense of the characters, but rather, bring you closer to them. I personally identified with Matthew Modine's character, and found myself laughing in spite of myself at some of his mishaps and wondering "how did I ever survive being a teenager?"

Modine plays Birdy flawlessly. His character, while strange, is certainly believable and definitely likeable. He's like the visionary mystic friend I never had! Nicholas Cage is equally good as Al, Birdy's more down-to-earth lady's man friend. Their friendship seems unlikely on the outside, but powerful and inevitable by the end of the movie.

I think it's strange that some people didn't like the ending to Birdy. I think it's one of the best movie endings for a buddy film ever. It accurately reflects the tone of Birdy and Al's relationship more than any other ending possibly could. It ties their characters in the present in perfectly with the growing-up characters of the flashback sequences. Perfect!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Where did Matthew Modine go? ragelse80
Is it a remarkable frienship or Gay relationship? uday_b78
Soundtrack!!!!! soymilk
Why is it rated R? bigz55
Asperger's Syndrome? bdass
Who has come to this movie through the soundtrack?? drf711
Discuss Birdy (1984) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page