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The Birdcage (1996)

R  |   |  Comedy  |  8 March 1996 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 59,396 users   Metascore: 72/100
Reviews: 172 user | 69 critic | 18 from Metacritic.com

A gay cabaret owner and his drag queen companion agree to put up a false straight front so that their son can introduce them to his fiancée's right-wing moralistic parents.



(play), (earlier screenplay), 4 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 21 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
National Enquirer Photographer
James Lally ...
Luca Tommassini ...
Goldman Girl
André Fuentes ...
Goldman Girl (as Andre Fuentes)


Armand Goldman owns a popular drag nightclub in South Miami Beach. His long-time lover, Albert, stars there as Starina. "Their" son Val (actually Armand's by his one heterosexual fling, twenty years before) comes home to announce his engagement to Barbara Keeley, daughter of Kevin Keeley, US Senator, and co-founder of the Committee for Moral Order. The Senator and family descend upon South Beach to meet Val, his father and "mother." What ensues is comic chaos. Written by Randy Goldberg <goldberg@nymc.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Come as you are. See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

8 March 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Birds of a Feather  »

Box Office


$31,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£3,673,343 (UK) (17 May 1996)


JPY 249,131,200 (Japan) (3 January 1997)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Director Paul Thomas Anderson has said that this movie is one of two films "that without fail or question will make me stop dead in my tracks and watch [it] all the way to the very end, no matter what else is happening or needs to get done." The other film is Stanley Kubrick's The Shining (1980). See more »


Armand indicates that his cemetery plot is on Key Biscayne. There are no cemeteries, nor would there ever be in this highly up-scale, resort community that is an island "key." Key Biscayne is at best, a few feet above sea level precluding ever having burials on the island secondary to the water table. See more »


[first lines]
[singers are performing "We Are Family" on-stage]
Cyril: [backstage, into a telephone] Agador! Where is Starina? She goes on in 5 minutes!
See more »


References The Red Shoes (1948) See more »


Written by Alan Jay Lerner (as Alan Lerner) and Frederick Loewe
Performed by Nathan Lane (uncredited), Hank Azaria(uncredited), Gene Hackman (uncredited), Robin Williams (uncredited) and Dianne West (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

One of the best comedies ever made
5 August 2005 | by See all my reviews

First off; I can understand why people would dislike this movie; The characters are all portrayed in an extremely stereotypical way, the acting is considerably over the top most of the time, the story is rather cheesy and not very believable - I mean which gay couple would (or COULD) transform their eccentric home into a monastery-like environment in 24 hours to pretend to be a cultured family to impress the son's fiancée's parents?

...Yet I couldn't stop laughing all the way through, even after the 10th time. Why? It's BECAUSE the characters are so stereotypical, it's BECAUSE the acting is over the top, it's BECAUSE the whole thing is so unbelievable that it makes it scintillating to behold. Even though the characters are stereotypical, the script has obviously been written by someone who doesn't intend to contribute to the stereotypical view of the gay drag community, but who rather wanted to create characters that are lovable while at the same time shouting "don't take us seriously".

This isn't a movie portraying life in the gay society; and everyone who expects realistic (and hence probably rather unfunny) portrayal of such a theme is better off NOT watching a comedy featuring gays (don't most comedies thrive on making the stereotype seem funny?) It may not be politically correct all the way, but hey; society's too hung up on all this political correctness as it is,. The characters in this movie were lovable, perhaps BECAUSE they were stereotypical depictions. However they're brought to life so well by the actors playing them that it doesn't make you shake your head in frustration over yet ANOTHER movie portraying stereotypes, but rather makes you shake your head in laughter over the deadpan things they say and do, which are so obviously unreal at times that anyone who thinks this movie will promote a false picture of the gay community needs a reality check.

The script is amazing, and even though it may really be too over the top once in a while, it doesn't distract from the overall picture. The story isn't much; the focus on details is what makes this movie funny. Little gestures, frowns, face expressions and little subtleties make this movie one of the best comedies I have ever watched, and probably one of the best comedies I will ever be fortunate enough to see in my entire life. Contrary to what it may seem like at first sight, the humor is overly refined without being intellectual, instead of jumping in your face all the time.

What's more, the cast is great. Both Robin Williams and Nathan Lane are very fine comedians who have the touch it takes to play a role like this one. They make over-the-top stereotypes actually FUNNY, instead of just laughable.

And yes, I HAVE seen the original movie, not all too long ago actually, and I have to say the remake is twenty to the power of 99 times better than the original. I barely laughed, and the original version was in my eyes an utterly forgettable movie. And that coming from a person who usually hates remakes.

This movie gives the original "Birdcage" a fresh new shine and transports the story into the 90's. Well made, on all accounts, I can't think of a single criticism!

96 of 117 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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