Sesame Street Presents: Follow that Bird (1985)

G  |   |  Adventure, Comedy, Family  |  2 August 1985 (USA)
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Big Bird is sent to live far from Sesame Street by a pesky social worker. Unhappy, Big Bird runs away from his foster home, prompting the rest of the Sesame Street gang to go on a cross-country journey to find him.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kermit the Frog / Ernie (voice)
Cookie Monster / Bert / Grover (voice)
Richard Hunt ...
Gladys the Cow / Feathered Friends Owl (voice)
Kathryn Mullen ...
Feathered Friend's Magistrate / Grouch Diner Patron (voice)
Grouch Cook
Grouch Waitress
Sid Sleaze
Waylon Jennings ...
Truck Driver
Sam Sleaze
Mommy Dodo (voice)
Brian Hohlfeld ...
Daddy Dodo (voice)


Oscar, Bert, Ernie, Cookie Monster, and Sesame Street residents join Big Bird in a cross country adventure. Miss Finch, a meddling social worker, sends him off to Ocean View, Illinois, for the comforts of family life with his "own kind," the Dodos. But he is a disaster as a Dodo and, lonely and homesick, he soon sets off on foot for Sesame Street. Can his old friends find him before he runs "afowl" of trouble en route? Written by Robert Lynch <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The First Sesame Street Movie Ever. See more »


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




Release Date:

2 August 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Follow That Bird  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The Dodo children's names, Donnie and Marie, are a clear reference to the real-life brother and sister, Donny Osmond and Marie Osmond. See more »


When Big Bird, Ruthie, and Floyd are singing "Easy Going Day," in the shots of the water pump taken from Big Bird's side of the trough Floyd is holding a reddish-orange watering can directly under the spout, but in the reverse shots of Big Bird from Floyd's side, it is nowhere to be seen. See more »


[first lines]
Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, would you please rise for the Grouch Anthem.
Oscar the Grouch: No, no, no! With the Grouch Anthem, you stay sitting down! Down in front there!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The movie is sponsored by the letters W and B (Warner Brothers). See more »


Sesame Street Theme
By Joe Raposo, Jon Stone, and Bruce Hart
See more »

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User Reviews

Criminally neglected joy.
3 August 2013 | by See all my reviews

It took me about 28 years before I finally got around to seeing Follow That Bird and I kind of feel guilty about it.

Like many kids, I watched Sesame Street in its prime circa. 1974-82, although I liked The Electric Company more. I grew up watching these actors and Muppets. By 1985, I was too old for Sesame Street and would only watch it while waiting for my younger brothers to finish watching it so I could change the channel to watch music videos. I had a chance to rent it on VHS in 1988 but never did. After awhile, I forgot about the film altogether.

Finally, I watched the film a few weeks ago and I realized I missed seeing a joyful movie that is free of the condescending tone and shilling that today's kids fare provides.

Big Bird (voiced by Caroll Spinney) is forced to leave Sesame Street by some social welfare group for birds led by Miss Finch (voiced by Sally Kellerman) because they feel children-aged birds would be better off having adult birds and a bird family raising him than the more-than-capable human adults he has for his neighbors. After leaving for Oceanview, Illinois and unhappy with the Dodo family, he decides naively to walk back to NYC and when his friends back home get the Amber alert on the news from Chevy Chase, they all form several groups to intercept him.

Unfortunately, the Sleaze Brothers (SCTV's Joe Flaherty and Dave Thomas) also hear the news and see Big Bird as their ticket to $$$. They are able to capture him and it's up to his old friends to free him.

What I loved about the movie is that there's no talking down or condescending treatment of the audience. It's just a great children's film that teaches the importance of friendship and devotion to said friends. The actors don't try to change their personas. Maria, Gordon, Bob, Cookie Monster, Grover, etc. are the same people we saw in the T.V. show.

The music, sadly, isn't very good but "I'm So Blue", sung when Big Bird is captured by the Sleaze Brothers is an exception. When a painted blue Big Bird sings his sad song, you feel empathy for the guy. I doubt if Barney was painted yellow, anybody would show him the same treatment. It would be seen as the greatest comedy scene in Hollywood instead.

While the movie is G-rated, adults will see some spoofs from various movies; subtle as they are. The opening song featuring Oscar The Grouch in front of a U.S. flag reminded me of Patton while the food fight featuring Sandra Bernhard (!) gave me flashbacks to Blazing Saddles.

It's too bad the film faired poorly in the box office despite critical acclaim. If you can find a way to see this film and your kids aren't Elmo fanatics (he was nothing in 1985) they will enjoy it immensely. You can only then hope we'll revert to more of Follow That Bird and less of, say, Twilight.

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