IMDb > Birdy (1984)
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Birdy (1984) More at IMDbPro »

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Birdy -- Academy Award(r)-winner Nicolas Cage (Best Actor, 1995, Leaving Las Vegas) and Matthew Modine star inthis riveting drama about two childhood friends and the physical and mental wounds they suffer in the aftermath of the Vietnam War.
Birdy -- US Home Video Trailer from Columbia Tristar


User Rating:
7.3/10   15,961 votes »
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Down 9% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
William Wharton (based on the novel by)
Sandy Kroopf (screenplay) ...
View company contact information for Birdy on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
21 December 1984 (USA) See more »
A soaring experience unlike anything you've ever seen before.
After two friends return home from the Vietnam War one becomes mentally unstable and obsesses with becoming a bird. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
3 wins & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
Brilliant story of friendship, and a journey into madness See more (61 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Matthew Modine ... Birdy

Nicolas Cage ... Al Columbato
John Harkins ... Doctor Weiss
Sandy Baron ... Mr. Columbato

Karen Young ... Hannah Rourke

Bruno Kirby ... Renaldi

Nancy Fish ... 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)
Marshall Bell ... Ronsky
Elizabeth Whitcraft ... Rosanne
Sandra Beall ... Shirley
Victoria Nekko ... Claire
Crystal Field ... Mrs. Columbato
John Brumfield ... Mr. Kohler
Joe Lerer ... Military Doctor
Alice Truscott ... Mother on Train
Ed Taylor ... Zimmy The Human Fish
Irving Selbst ... Fairground Announcer
Steve Lippe ... Junkyard Proprietor
William Clark ... Policeman on Beach
James Pruett ... Emergency Doctor
Priscilla Alden ... Waiting Room Lady
Howard Kinsley ... Mr. Tate
Robert Diamond ... Maloney
Bud Seese ... Drunk in Jail
Ray Pili ... High School Band
Lawrence J. McKenna ... High School Band
David Kuhn ... High School Band (as David W. Kuhn)
Kevin P. Kuhn ... High School Band
Ronald Distefano ... High School Band
Larry Hochman ... High School Band
Guy Jones ... Hospital Orderly
Erskine Morgan ... Hospital Orderly
Ramona Bajema ... Girl on Train
Maurice Frizzeli Jr. ... Nuts and Bolts Patient (as Maurice Frizzell Jr.)
Donald Sims ... Nuts and Bolts Patient
Richard Mason ... Injured Soldier
Charles A. Tamburro ... Helicopter Pilot
Richard Holley ... Helicopter Pilot (as Rick Holley)
Harry Hauss ... Helicopter Pilot
Mark Simpson ... Helicopter Soldier
Clark Taylor ... Helicopter Soldier
Michael Shaner ... Veteran
Tim Davis ... Veteran
Bird No. 9 ... Perta
Alfonso ... Himself
Hobbie ... Cat
Sneaky ... Dog
Willey ... Dog
Ace ... Dog
Prince ... Dog
Tiger ... Dog
Bo ... Dog
Budah ... Dog
Chiggar ... Dog
Tyko ... Dog
Kelly ... Dog
Red ... Dog
Fantasy ... Dog
Scooter ... Dog
Jonathan ... Seagull
Monty ... Snake
Horatio ... Jungle Bird
No's. 1 to 84 ... Pigeons
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Dennis Erectus ... Veteran (uncredited)

Directed by
Alan Parker 
Writing credits
William Wharton (based on the novel by)

Sandy Kroopf (screenplay) &
Jack Behr (screenplay)

Produced by
Ned Kopp .... associate producer
David Manson .... executive producer
Alan Marshall .... producer
Original Music by
Peter Gabriel 
Cinematography by
Michael Seresin (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Gerry Hambling 
Casting by
Juliet Taylor 
Production Design by
Geoffrey Kirkland 
Art Direction by
W. Stewart Campbell  (as Stu Campbell)
Armin Ganz 
Set Decoration by
George R. Nelson 
Costume Design by
Kristi Zea 
Makeup Department
John Caglione Jr. .... special makeup (as John Caglione)
Barbara Kelly .... makeup artist
Paul LeBlanc .... hairdresser (as Paul Le Blanc)
Production Management
Nancy Giebink .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Tom Davies .... second assistant director
Chris Soldo .... first assistant director
Art Department
Rodney Armanino .... construction best boy
Robert Bovill .... draughtsman
Richard W. Clot .... construction foreman (as Rich Clot)
Roger Dietz .... set artist
Margery Z. Gabrielson .... painter (as Margery Gabrielson)
John Gorham .... graphics
Dale Haugo .... paint coordinator
John A. Kelly .... painter (as John Kelly)
Tom Sindicich .... construction coordinator
Michelle Souza .... assistant props
Anthony Tortorice .... assistant props
Don Watson .... lead man
Aaron Zajac .... assistant props
George Zimninsky .... property master
Sound Department
Clive Barrett .... assistant editor
Danny Benson .... boom operator
Leonard Green .... assistant editor
David Grimsdale .... footsteps editor
Stephen Janisz .... assistant editor (as Steve Janisz)
Eddy Joseph .... sound editor
David MacMillan .... sound recordist
Marty McGee .... cable operator
Ray Merrin .... assistant mixer
Peter Pennell .... sound effects editor
Bill Rowe .... re-recording mixer
Jeremy Strachan .... assistant editor
Special Effects by
Cliff Wenger .... special effects
Eric Roberts .... special effects (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
Costas Charitou .... opticals: Camera Effects Ltd (uncredited)
David Smith .... optical cameraman (uncredited)
M. James Arnett .... stunt coordinator (as James Arnett)
Queepers .... stunts: Perta
Mic Rodgers .... stunt player
Reid Rondell .... stunt player
Michael Runyard .... stunt player
Camera and Electrical Department
Maurice Beesley .... best boy
Don Biller .... assistant cameraman: Local 644 (as Donald Biller)
Peter Bloor .... chief electrician
David L. Butler .... aerial cameraman (as David Butler)
Ted Churchill .... Steadicam operator
Joseph F. Coffey .... cameraman: Local 644 (as Joseph Coffey)
Harold Cole .... grip
Robert Corso .... grip
Jan d'Alquen .... cameraman: Local 659
Alan R. Disler .... first assistant camera (as Alan Disler)
Brad Edmiston .... steadicam assistant (as Bradford Edmiston)
Gary Gill .... key grip
Jon Guterres .... camera grip
Charlie Hammerschmitt .... Steadicam operator
Douglas C. Hart .... steadicam assistant (as Douglas Hart)
Kerry Hayes .... still photographer
Robert Hillman .... camera operator: Local 659
Alec Hirschfeld .... camera operator: Local 644
Marc Hirschfeld .... assistant cameraman: Local 644
Doug Hunt .... assistant cameraman: Local 659 (as Douglas Hunt)
Adam Kimmel .... Steadicam assistant
Mark Ludwig .... second assistant camera
Larry McConkey .... Steadicam operator
Donna Morrison .... assistant camera: second unit
Terry Morrison .... camera operator: second unit
Ralph Nelson .... still photographer (as Ralph Nelson Jr.)
Scott Rathner .... second assistant camera
Mike Roberts .... camera operator (as Michael Roberts)
Frank Strzalkowski .... best boy
James Wise .... electrician
Michael Meier .... electrician (uncredited)
Michael Meier .... lighting technician (uncredited)
Casting Department
Lisa Clarkson .... extras casting
Ellen Lewis .... assistant casting
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Mark Burchard .... costumer
Judy Feil .... assistant costume designer
Molly Maginnis .... assistant costume designer
Mary Elizabeth Still .... costumer (as Mary E. Still)
Editorial Department
Daniel Candib .... assistant editor
Richard Hymns .... first assistant editor
Music Department
Larry Fast .... special musical contributor
John Hassell .... special musical contributor
Daniel Lanois .... music co-producer
Tony Levin .... special musical contributor
Jerry Marotta .... special musical contributor
David Rhodes .... special musical contributor
Transportation Department
Ed Arter .... transportation coordinator
Michael Brum .... transportation captain (as Mike Brum)
Paul Cimino .... transportation captain
Andrew Mendez .... dispatcher (as Andy Mendez)
Michael W. Broomer .... driver (uncredited)
Other crew
Christine Baer .... production assistant
Brett Barclay .... craft service
Steph Benseman .... location coordinator
Thomas 'Doc' Boguski .... production assistant (as Tom Boguski)
Janice Clark .... assistant auditor
Kathryn Colbert .... production assistant
Josephine Cornell .... first aid (as Josie Cornell)
Michael DeMay .... production assistant (as Michael De May)
Rory Enke .... location manager
Gary Gero .... bird trainer
Monica Goldstein .... assistant: Mr. Marshall
Peter Govey .... titles
Tom Gray .... unit publicist
Dick Gros .... location auditor
Robert Harman .... flying effects
Mark Jackson .... assistant animal trainer
Gwen Johnson .... assistant animal trainer
Ken Johnson .... ornithopter
George Krafft .... police coordinator
David Lamb .... unit coordinator
Donna Lindemann .... production secretary
Maureen Murphy .... production secretary
Larry Payne .... assistant animal trainer
Ron Phipps .... financial controller
Tracy Rosenthal-Newsom .... production assistant (as Tracy Rosenthal)
Gilly Ruben .... assistant: Mr. Parker
Sally Sherwin .... assistant: London office
Alice Tompkins .... script supervisor
Michael Waxman .... location coordinator
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
120 min
Color (Metrocolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

One of seven movie collaborations of "The Two Alans" - producer Alan Marshall and director Alan Parker. The films include Birdy (1984), Fame (1980), Angel Heart (1987), Bugsy Malone (1976), Midnight Express (1978), Shoot the Moon (1982) and Pink Floyd The Wall (1982).See more »
Continuity: The position of Birdy's arm and hands change between shots. (at around 15 mins).See more »
Birdy:The dream is as real to me now as my waking life. I don't know where one begins and the other ends. I wish I could tell Al, but I'm afraid to. In my dreams, nothing holds me down. Everything's out and away. There's nothing in my life to keep me here anymore. I wish I could die and be born again as a bird.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in The Benchwarmers (2006)See more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
27 out of 30 people found the following review useful.
Brilliant story of friendship, and a journey into madness, 21 March 2001
Author: Megabuck from Birmingham, England

Birdy is a difficult film to describe. It's about the developing friendship between Al (Nick Cage) and Birdy (Matthew Modine), but it's also about a descent into madness, and the lengths to which Al goes for his friend.

The film starts in the late 60's, in a US military mental hospital. Cage has been seriously wounded, and has had reconstructive surgery on his face, but he's been brought in because Birdy is here. He's uncommunicative and appears to recognise no one, spending all day squatting on the floor of his cell squinting up at the window.

The story is mostly told in flashbacks, either Al recounting incidents in their growing friendship as neighbourhood kids or, later, Birdy remembering other incidents. From the start the two are pretty dissimilar - Al is athletic, outgoing and popular while Birdy is quiet and introverted - a typical nerd. The two are, paradoxically, brought together by Birdy's love of birds, and the stupid things they do - making suits out of pigeon feathers to befriend more pigeons, climbing on (and falling off) factories trying to capture more birds.

Al tries to set Birdy on a 'normal' track; they buy a wrecked car and fix it up, and head off to the beach. But Birdy is just too wrapped up in himself for this to work, and it's a wonder he doesn't alienate Al with his strange behaviour.

In the 'present', the doctor is putting more pressure on Al to get Birdy to respond; if he doesn't, then Birdy will be written off and sent to a permanent mental institution. The flashbacks continue, and it becomes clear that Birdy's love of birds has turned into an obsession, and then into the darker realms beyond that.

The final few minutes of the film cover a lot of ground; Al finally realises that Birdy is pretty well off the deep end; they both go off to fight in the war; Al gets his injury, while we see the incident that left Birdy in his present state. Meanwhile the doctor finally decides that time has run out, but Al decides he's not leaving.

The ending of the film is incredibly powerful, and it should be a criminal offence to give it away. Is it 'appropriate' to the rest of the film? I dunno - but I thought it was pretty damn good.

The film stands or falls on the performances of Cage and Modine - and, for me, it stands tall. Cage is excellent in his role, capturing the bravado of his character perfectly; but Modine is simply brilliant. During the flashbacks he portrays his nerdy character completely believably, but it's the way he handles the scenes in the asylum that amazed me. As soon as you know his obsession, it is crystal clear that he's not squatting in his cell, but perching, wishing to fly.

Alan Parker has made some great films; this might just be his best.

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BIRDY on bluray hilar-452-550284
the ending *spoiler parsleylion
Is it a remarkable frienship or Gay relationship? uday_b78
what did you think of the scene of birdy in the car with his prom date? parsleylion
Asperger's Syndrome? bdass
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