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

G  |   |  Documentary  |  29 August 2003 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 10,151 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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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.
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Featured in Le peuple migrateur - Le making of (2002) See more »


The Highest Gander
Performed by Robert Wyatt
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User Reviews

The Birds, Revisited.
17 April 2005 | by See all my reviews

When documentaries fail to show humans and human events it's almost enough to put the audience to sleep by default (except of course, those who get excited at the mere suggestion of shows like "Nova" or educational programmes sponsored by the Mutual of Omaha).

WINGED MIGRATION doesn't essentially need or looks to inform us what we probably know already: that birds migrate, and in doing so, ensure their own species. But what it does show us is a continuous yet striking montage of birds of different species flying among oceans, mountains, skies, land... we see them through their points of view, while throughout there is the barest suggestion of a plot here and there as inevitably one bird either gets lost in flight, lands in a ship, gets caught in toxic waste (of which it may not escape alive as the others, obeying that instinctual law of moving on, depart), gets disoriented and injured and becomes food for hungry crabs, or even captured by humans to become pets. Beautiful, sometimes moving images that shows us a quiet cycle of life, death, and reproduction, which will stay with the viewer long after the credits have rolled.

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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
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DVD Narration/subtitles question cassnate
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