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Birdy (1984)

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After two friends return home from the Vietnam War one becomes mentally unstable and obsesses with becoming a bird.

Director:

Alan Parker

Writers:

William Wharton (based on the novel by), Sandy Kroopf (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Matthew Modine ... Birdy
Nicolas Cage ... Al Columbato
John Harkins ... Doctor Weiss
Sandy Baron ... Mr. Columbato
Karen Young ... Hannah Rourke
Bruno Kirby ... Renaldi
Nancy Fish ... Mrs. Prevost
George Buck George Buck ... Birdy's Father
Dolores Sage Dolores Sage ... Birdy's Mother
Pat Ryan ... Joe Sagessa (as Robert L. Ryan)
James Santini James Santini ... Mario Columbato
Maud Winchester Maud Winchester ... Doris Robinson (as Maude Winchester)
Marshall Bell ... Ronsky
Elizabeth Whitcraft Elizabeth Whitcraft ... Rosanne
Sandra Beall Sandra Beall ... Shirley
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Storyline

Philly boys Al and Birdy became friends in high school despite the extreme difference in their personalities, Al being the popular and athletic extrovert, Birdy the antisocial "weird" introvert. Al gave Birdy his nickname because of his fascination - obsession really - with birds, especially with flight. Al and Birdy have just completed their service of duty in the Vietnam War and have returned to the States. Al sustained some serious physical injuries, which required major reconstructive surgery to his face. Birdy, however, returned from Vietnam seemingly emotionally scarred. He was missing in action for one month. He has not spoken since he was found. Despite his own medical issues, Al travels to the institution where Birdy is being kept to see if he can assist in getting Birdy out of his near comatose state. Having always had issues with authority, Al is less than forthright with the doctors about Birdy's mental state prior to the war. As Al tries whatever he can to help Birdy ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A soaring experience unlike anything you've ever seen before.

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 December 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alas de libertad See more »

Filming Locations:

Hercules, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$13,720, 25 December 1984, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,455,045
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of three Vietnam War themed movies released in the 1980's starring Matthew Modine. The other two films are Streamers (1983) and Full Metal Jacket (1987). See more »

Goofs

The position of Birdy's arm and hands change between shots. (at around 15 mins). See more »

Quotes

Sergeant Al Columbato: Maybe life is shitty. It is shitty. I'll tell you something. I'm not trying to pin life anymore. I don't even fucking understand it. I just want to make it through with some dignity, like everybody else. Of course, if there was any real dignity, there wouldn't be any sex.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Animals: Perta ... Bird No. 9 Perta's Stunts ... Queepers Alfonso ... AS HIMSELF Cat ... Hobbie Dogs ... Sneaky, Willey, Ace, Prince, Tiger, Bo, Rudah, Chiggar, Tyko, Kelly, Red, Fantasy, Scooter. Seagull ... Jonathan Snake ... Monty Jungle Bird ... Horatio Pigeons ... No's. 1 to 84 See more »

Connections

Referenced in Valley Girl: 20 Totally Tubular Years Later (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

learning to fly (in the sky and in real life)
10 March 2003 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

Alan Parker is a British film-maker that was capable of the worst (the boring "the commitments", the insipid "evita" as well as the best (the sordid "angel heart", the vibrating "Pink floyd: The Wall". This one, "Birdy" will surely rank among his best movies. He revives a myth, a desire that always shone in men: flying but not with a plane or an helicopter, just like Icare with real wings. This is what haunts a teenager's mind whose name is Birdy. This one devotes all his free time by inventing stratagems or ways so as to be able to fly in the sky. he also has an interest in birds' social life with their habits (it's not a fate that his name is Birdy because there's the word "bird" in it). Even if he didn't win his best friend's adherence concerning these odd likings, they succeeded in striking up a strong relationship. Above all, "birdy" is this: a story of a friendship between two teenagers brought up in a Philadelphia' popular area. They're sharing jobs, free time, girls before they were parted by the Vietnam war. Parker films this relationship with its joys, its sorrows in a hearty way and make the two actors friendly. "Birdy" is also a well-regulated movie where Parker knows how to sustain the interest in the past sequences as well as present sequences (Birdy's room hospital). Furthermore, there's not a sequence where one of the two main actors is stealing to the other, the spotlight. But the movie seems easy when it denounces the atrocities of war and its disastrous consequences on young people (Cage's long monologue with Modine in his arms towards the end of the movie). These sorrowful consequences are concrete (Cage's face full of bandages) and abstract (Modine has become dumb and stays immures in his silence). Nevertheless, emotion prevails in the end and you sympathize to the two teenagers' helpless after the war. A beautiful movie and the revelation of two great actors


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