Winged Migration (2001)
"Le peuple migrateur" (original title)

G  |   |  Documentary  |  29 August 2003 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 10,149 users   Metascore: 82/100
Reviews: 153 user | 99 critic | 34 from

Documentary on the migratory patterns of birds, shot over the course of three years on all seven continents.

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »



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This documentary introduces the viewer of "Winged Migration" to the people behind what its makers call "the tale," a combination of fiction and truth. The movie was storyboarded and the ... See full summary »

Director: Olli Barbé
Stars: Jacques Perrin


Credited cast:
Philippe Labro ...
Narrator (English version)
Narrator (voice)


This documentary follows several species of migratory birds over a four year filming period. These birds travel several hundreds if not thousands of miles toward the equator in the autumn, and make the return journey to their higher latitude summer homes in the spring, always taking the same route, using the natural compasses of the universe, the stars, to find their way. Some species, like the arctic tern, even fly from pole to pole. These long and often torturous treks are a matter of survival, to live in a hospitable climate and find sources of food. With the exception of migratory penguins, travel over oceans is especially difficult as the birds have little refuge unless there is something floating on the water, such as a ship, on which to land. Otherwise they must continue flying until they reach land. Some will not survive the migration due to predators, including man, illness or injury. Although the migrations themselves are done as a community, once the birds reach their ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

bird | migration | arctic | ocean | flight | See All (123) »




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Release Date:

29 August 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Winged Migration  »

Box Office


FRF 160,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$2,402,605 (France) (14 December 2001)


$10,762,178 (USA) (12 December 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Filmmakers exposed the eggs of some of the birds to the sounds of people and film cameras so that the birds would not be afraid of them later. See more »


[first lines]
Narrator: The story of bird migration is the story of promise - a promise to return.
See more »


Featured in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007) See more »


The Highest Gander
Performed by Robert Wyatt
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User Reviews

2 February 2004 | by (Tulsa, OK) – See all my reviews

I really cannot summarize this documentary in one word. I was awe-struck, elated, saddened...this movie has so many emotional experiences in one 90-minute time frame that I am completely overwhelmed by it. The cinematography is so outstanding it is nearly unbelievable. That same cinematography is behind much of the emotional upheaval of this documentary. Some of the vistas and scenery are so breathtaking that you might just find yourself crying from the joy of looking at something so beautiful.

The musical score for this movie is half the experience. I don't think the movie would have been the same at all without it. The movie speaks to your heart, but the music speaks to your soul. The birds themselves are stunning and you feel their complete freedom, as well as the effort it takes to fly these tremendous distances, all based on the instinct of survival. Not all survive, and you will feel the sadness and pain of the sacrifices made along the arduous trip.

I happen to be a bird lover, but I don't think you need to be one to fully appreciate this movie. It is so much more than just about birds, it's the life, struggle and survival of all wild creatures who follow their instincts. If you see this movie, and I think everyone should, you will come away from it with a greater feel and respect for nature and it's struggles, as well as it's magnificent beauty. And I, for one, believe that respect will make each of us a better person.

I give this movie a 10.

33 of 36 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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No 'special effects' chrisyx
Brilliant photography steph_g
filming techniques for Winged Migration sevgram
Why is DVD $19.00 and VHS $54.00?? jennecy
Funny thing on back of DVD winstonsmith_84
DVD Narration/subtitles question cassnate
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