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Birdy (1984)

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2:39 | Trailer

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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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Based on the life of Ned Hanlan, the late-19th century Canadian sculler and world champion. Hanlan was one of the first scullers to successfully utilize the "sliding seat."

Director: Charles Jarrott
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Cynthia Dale, Christopher Plummer
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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
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was the debut film score composed by progressive rock singer-songwriter Peter Gabriel. His music made heavy use of the Fairlight CMI music computer, an early sampling system. Gabriel was one of the earliest adopters of the Fairlight, which became one of the most commonly used instruments in 1980s popular music. The soundtrack was composed and recorded in one weekend. Due to time constraints, Gabriel partly recycled music from his third and fourth solo albums for much of the score, which included excerpts from "Not One Of Us", "Family Snapshot", "The Family and the Fishing Net", and "San Jacinto." One cue was simply an instrumental version of "The Rhythm of the Heat", and the main theme was a variation of "Wallflower." See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Birdy: Do you like pigeons?
Sergeant Al Columbato: What's to like?
Birdy: They fly.
Sergeant Al Columbato: They fly. So what?
Birdy: That's enough.
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

 
Skillful Comedy-Drama
3 May 2009 | by kenjhaSee all my reviews

A man suffering from post-war trauma is helped by a friend who was also injured in Vietnam. We learn about their friendship through flashbacks. Modine brings a gentle sensibility to the title role of a bird lover so traumatized that he no longer speaks or acknowledges anyone. In what was at the time his biggest role, Cage is dynamic as Birdy's friend, displaying a volatile combination of empathy and anger. There are some very funny moments, such as Birdy's awkward prom date. The film's pacing suffers somewhat due to the episodic nature of the narrative, but Parker infuses the film with visual elegance and skillfully balances the drama and the comedy. The ending is great.


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