A rock singer travels to a small Ohio town to make his "farewell" television performance and kiss his biggest fan before he is drafted.

Director:

George Sidney

Writers:

Michael Stewart (book), Irving Brecher (screen play)
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Janet Leigh ... Rosie DeLeon
Dick Van Dyke ... Albert F. Peterson
Ann-Margret ... Kim McAfee
Maureen Stapleton ... Mama Mae Peterson
Bobby Rydell ... Hugo Peabody
Jesse Pearson ... Conrad Birdie
Paul Lynde ... Harry McAfee
Mary LaRoche ... Doris McAfee
Michael Evans ... Claude Paisley
Robert Paige ... Bob Precht
Gregory Morton Gregory Morton ... Maestro Borov
Bryan Russell ... Randolph McAfee
Milton Frome ... Mr. Maude
Ed Sullivan ... Ed Sullivan
Ben Astar ... Ballet Manager
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Storyline

Conrad Birdie is the biggest rock & roll star of the 60's ever to be drafted. Aspiring chemist and song writer Albert is convinced he can make his fortune and marry his girlfriend Rosie if he gets Conrad on the Ed Sullivan show to kiss a high school girl goodbye. Albert's mother will do anything to break him up with Rosie. Kim and Hugo, the high school steadies, live in Sweet Apple, Ohio where most of the action takes place. Written by Lisa Grable <grable@unity.ncsu.edu>

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Taglines:

Go! Go! See! See! Bye Bye Birdie! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Musical

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The song that made Dick Van Dyke's career, "Put on a Happy Face", was unsuccessful in early showings of the musical and almost cut from the production. See more »

Goofs

In the long pan shot of the town square after Birdie sings "Honestly Sincere," a single "fainted" dancer sits up to see if the shot is over and then quickly flops back down again. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
John Daly: This is John Daly reporting with the CBS mobile unit in front of the nation's Capitol bringing you special on the spot coverage of our current teenage crisis over the drafting of Conrad Birdie. Sociologists agree that Birdie is a phenomenon. And for those few music lovers who have never attended one of his concerts, here are some news photos tracing his meteoric rise.
[brief satirically humorous montage of female teenage fans swooning over Conrad Birdie]
John Daly: And that, that is our army's ...
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Crazy Credits

There is no "The End" credit or cast list at the end of the film. Ann-Margret simply sings an on-screen reprise of the song "Bye Bye Birdie" at the end, and then says " 'Bye, now!". See more »

Connections

Referenced in Modern Family: Farm Strong (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Honestly Sincere
Music by Charles Strouse
Lyrics by Lee Adams
Performed by Jesse Pearson
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User Reviews

A Boomer Touchstone.
18 January 2006 | by tjonasgreenSee all my reviews

When 'Bye Bye Birdie' was the hit of the '59-'60 season on Broadway, it was as much for its satirical edge as for the talent on stage or the innovative direction by Gower Champion. By that time it was only too clear to savvy adults that Elvis Presley and rock'n'roll had been thoroughly co-opted and mainstreamed by Hollywood and Madison Avenue. For all its supposed danger and subversiveness in 1956, Rock was a pop culture commodity like any other by the end of the decade.

And by the time BYE BYE BIRDIE hit the screen in 1963, that point was too obvious to have any edge. Presley had long since become a bland and unfashionable movie personality, and rock itself had devolved into the kind of inconsequential June/Moon tunes that in a slightly different form had been hit parade staples for decades.

So the point is, the teen world BYE BYE BIRDIE was parodying was largely gone by that time already. Just a year later, when the Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan (ironically he was still a King Maker but not for much longer) that world began to dissolve and reform unforgettably. So BIRDIE is the swan song for an era and an expression of Baby Boom nostalgia for kids who were too young to have enjoyed the '50s in quite the same way their older brothers and sisters had. How many children in '63 thrilled to the vigorous twitching of Ann-Margret and Bobby Rydell, hoping that was the teen world that awaited them in the future, only to discover by '68 that alienation and anger were the currency of the day? Not that those emotions were misplaced -- the times themselves demanded them. But there was a sense of loss too, a sense that we had been cheated out of fun: silly, twitchy dances and full skirts and snug pastel pullovers. There's a reason this film made an indelible impression on children then, and perhaps most on girls and gay boys.

It was an old-fashioned musical in a movie era that was confused but evolving rapidly, and Ann-Margret was a transitional star of that moment. A throwback to another Hollywood, she gets the traditional star buildup here, and it works spectacularly. Like Rita Hayworth in GILDA, A-M was the good/bad girl -- fresh and sweet and direct enough to please any elder, but with a smoldering animal eroticism so potent the screen seemed barely able to contain it. She is hot in the runway opening and delicious thereafter but she doesn't really become a star until a pivotal moment in the 'Got A Lot Of Livin' To Do' number when her eyes narrow, she smiles and grits her teeth and her hands envelope the head of a chorus boy while she parses out the lyrics of female sexual emancipation -- Daddy won't know his daughter indeed.

It was a sexual call to action that kids understood and responded to. So THIS was what being a teenager would be like! In that moment and the few minutes that followed, even gay boys felt the tops of their heads come off. It's an excitement that doesn't return until the coda: once again A-M is on the runway, but this time any pretense that she is sweet, innocent Kim McAfee has gone -- this is Ann-Margret, and the sexual light and heat of a new star is palpable. Unfortunately, she was almost immediately to become outdated. Within a few years she was a joke in pictures, and had to wait until 1971 and CARNAL KNOWLEDGE to make a 'comeback' -- at the age of 30, no less. She had made the mistake of starting too late, and being too traditional a Hollywood star just when Hollywood decided to do away with stars, at least those that were provokingly lovely.

So BIRDIE trembled on the edge of a new, harsher era, and those of us who were caught on the cusp of that upheaval feel great affection for the fantasy of rock stars like Birdie, for Sweet Apple High, and for the bouncy, shiny, crisp teenagers we never were.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Russian | Cantonese

Release Date:

27 May 1963 (Brazil) See more »

Also Known As:

Bye Bye Birdie See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$13,129,412
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording) (optical prints)| 4-Track Stereo (RCA Sound Recording) (magnetic prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (RCA Sound Recording) (70 mm prints)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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