7.3/10
18,603
64 user 32 critic

Birdy (1984)

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

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Writers:

(based on the novel by), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Mr. Columbato
...
...
Renaldi
...
Mrs. Prevost
George Buck ...
Birdy's Father
Dolores Sage ...
Birdy's Mother
Pat Ryan ...
Joe Sagessa (as Robert L. Ryan)
James Santini ...
Mario Columbato
Maud Winchester ...
Doris Robinson (as Maude Winchester)
...
Ronsky
Elizabeth Whitcraft ...
Rosanne
Sandra Beall ...
Shirley
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 December 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alas de libertad  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$13,720, 25 December 1984, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,455,045
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of three Vietnam War themed movies released in the 1980's starring Matthew Modine. The other two films are Streamers (1983) and Full Metal Jacket (1987). See more »

Goofs

The position of Birdy's arm and hands change between shots. (at around 15 mins). See more »

Quotes

Birdy: In a dream, I'm trying to decide what I am. When I sleep I'm giving myself strength. I'm reaching for the force to fly. Perta waits, cups herself to receive me. I hover then lower myself into her. Perta and I become one. I see through her eyes, fly on her wings. I am no longer alone.
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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 »

Connections

References The Invisible Man (1933) See more »

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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!


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