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

G  |   |  Documentary  |  29 August 2003 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 10,084 users   Metascore: 82/100
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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 6 wins & 13 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) »




G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| | | |



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?


Jacques Perrin says in his commentary that his team tried to include emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) in the film, but weather conditions interfered, so they had to be satisfied with king penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) instead. Some years later, the makers of March of the Penguins (2005) succeeded in making an emperor penguin movie. See more »


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


References Baraka (1992) See more »


Masters of the Field
Performed by Robert Wyatt
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User Reviews

Birds of a feather......
19 June 2003 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

This magnificent documentary was a delight. It is a rare film to enjoy as it shows how these amazing creatures migrate from place to place in such incredible fashion.

The colors and the backgrounds behind the different species are photographed with such an eye to detail that one wonders the miracle of the technology behind it. One thing that never ceased to surprise me was the way most birds are shown flying in perfect formation as the camera seems to be part of the flock and it's just going along for the ride.

Contrary to what other people have experienced in watching this film, time practically "flew" for me as it was never boring, even though we are constantly looking at birds that are somehow similar doing the same thing over and over.

It's surprising that this documentary has been shown in art houses to grown ups, mainly. It is a film that would be suitable for children instead of other kinds of violent cartoons, or films that emphasize the brutal force in humans.

I'll take the birds, anytime!

13 of 15 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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