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The Birdcage (1996)

R  |   |  Comedy  |  8 March 1996 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 58,903 users   Metascore: 72/100
Reviews: 172 user | 68 critic | 18 from

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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


What could possibly come between a match made in heaven? The parents. Dinner. And a nightclub called... (The Birdcage) 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?


The song sung by Armand and Katherine in her office, "Love Is in the Air," is a song that was cut from the Stephen Sondheim musical "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum." Originally supposed to be the first number in the show, it was replaced by the song "Comedy Tonight", sung by Nathan Lane in the 1996 Broadway Revival. See more »


The evening that Val arrives home, Albert comes upstairs in a fit. While screaming "Where is he? Where's your little Chippie," Albert throws a product of the stage skit at Armand and, as a result, the candle on the table goes out. In the next shot, the candle is lit again. 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 »


Referenced in The Codes of Gender (2010) See more »


Written by Enrique E. Garcia
Performed by Gloria Estefan and The Miami Sound Machine
Courtesy of Epic Records
By Arrangement with Sony Music
See more »

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User Reviews

Robin Williams and Nathan Lane as a gay couple
3 June 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Though nothing can beat "La Cage aux Folles," the film on which this American version is based, I still found "The Birdcage" delightful fun and hilarious at times, thanks to the comic geniuses of Robin Williams and Nathan Lane. Lane is the dramatic Albert, an over the top drag queen who has lived for years with Robin Williams, Armand, the owner of The Birdcage, where Albert performs. Armand once had a liaison with a woman, which produced a son, Val, who now wants to be married to the daughter of a conservative politician. In order for that to occur, Armand has to become butch, all gay art work, etc., needs to exit the apartment - and Albert must disappear for a few days.

Williams is hilarious - my two favorite scenes are his rehearsal with Albert and a young man appearing with him on stage, and the scene where he coaches Armand on being macho - priceless. Nathan Lane's shtick is familiar to me, as I've seen him in "The Producers" and "The Odd Couple" - he's a riot as the insecure, jealous, easily hurt Albert.

The role of Val is problematic, because how does one keep him from looking like a complete bastard as he shuts out Armand, who raised him. But Dan Futterman and Calista Flockhart as Barbara make a lovely young couple. Gene Hackman and Dianne Wiest are very funny as Barbara's befuddled parents.

It's been a long time since I've seen the French "La Cage aux Folles," and I saw the musical on Broadway as well. The French is superior to any version. The musical is quite poignant and emphasizes its statement in the song, "I Am Who I Am." The joy of the French film is that the actors playing the lovers, Ugo Tognazzi and Michel Serrault, play their roles very seriously, and the humor and poignancy come out of the situation and the outrageousness of the Armand character (Albin/Zaza in the French). In "The Birdcage," it's played for comedy all the way. That's okay. You'll still enjoy it. But see the original.

21 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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