70 user 36 critic

Bird on a Wire (1990)

PG-13 | | Action, Comedy | 18 May 1990 (USA)
1:12 | Trailer
An old flame discovers her ex-boyfriend from the past is a relocated FBI informant out to stop the bad guys.


John Badham


Louis Venosta (story), Eric Lerner (story) | 3 more credits »
1,216 ( 334)





Cast overview, first billed only:
Mel Gibson ... Rick Jarmin
Goldie Hawn ... Marianne Graves
David Carradine ... Eugene Sorenson
Bill Duke ... Albert Diggs
Stephen Tobolowsky ... Joe Weyburn
Joan Severance ... Rachel Varney
Harry Caesar ... Marvin
Jeff Corey ... Lou Baird
Alex Bruhanski ... Raun
John Pyper-Ferguson ... Jamie
Clyde Kusatsu ... Mr. Takawaki
Jackson Davies Jackson Davies ... Paul Bernard
Florence Paterson Florence Paterson ... Molly Baird
Tim Healy Tim Healy ... Paul
Wes Tritter Wes Tritter ... Scottie


Rick has been given a new identity by the FBI for helping convict a drug dealing FBI agent. Fifteen years later his former fiance recognises him. Rick's FBI 'minder' has been replaced by a corrupt agent who helps the drug dealing FBI agent and his accomplice locate him. There are many subsequent chase scenes as Rick and girlfriend revisit his former haunts. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He's every woman's dream and one woman's nightmare


Action | Comedy


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The crop-dusting plane was a Piper J-3C-65 Cub, while the black chopper that chased it was a Hughes 369D. Both are seen flying upside down and even doing a 360-degree loop, something that had also been seen in John Badham's earlier movie Blue Thunder (1983). See more »


There are scenes in which mountains can be seen in the distance. There are no mountains or even big hills in Detroit. See more »


Marianne Graves: What are you doing here?
Rick Jarmin: I missed you. Now hop on...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Credits scroll down instead of up See more »


Referenced in The Laser Man: Episode #1.3 (2005) See more »


Blowin' In The Wind
Written and Performed by Bob Dylan
Courtesy of CBS Records, Music Licensing Department
See more »

User Reviews

Nice thrills and laughs
20 June 2020 | by Rodrigo_AmaroSee all my reviews

What it's meant to be cannot be broken but it certainly take a long and tumultous way to finally make the perfect circle. That's the story of the couple played by Mel Gibson and Goldie Hawn in "Bird on a Wire", where they were split from each other in the early 1970's when the man had to disappear from view and enter the witness protection program when he denounced his former criminal comrades. When the business lady played by Hawn accidentally bumps into the man many years later barely she knows the problem both will get when the bad guy (David Carradine) is released from prison and with the help of a rogue FBI agent (Stephen Tobolowsky) he tracks down Mel and seeks revenge on him, which makes the pair go into a thrilling escape that besides the scary scenario it can also ignite the once brightening flame of love.

This is unlike today's messy business one call films today. There's non-stop adventure and action, non-stop comedy and thrills, some romance and tiny chewed drama and even with such a paradoxal combo the film never fails at anything. Back when of my first view I just couldn't get anything special out of it except remembering Goldie Hawn shouting and screaming all the time, and a nice conclusion but the whole ordeal was too weak. I was to demanding then, of getting a more intelligent and well-connected plot. Now, I can see it as a simple minded flick that has plenty to offer with its exciting action sequences, helicopter versus plane chase, motorcycles and cars running, some shooting and the hilarious pairing of Hawn and Gibson.

John Badham isn't known for a particular style or trademark, but he certainly could extract good performances and orchestrate good action sequences, all brilliantly edited and hardly ever wasting a moment. I absolutely had a great time with this picture, even forgiving some of its errors and lack of consistence at times. It's an almost mindless screwball comedy, simple, fun and thrilling experience. 9/10

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Release Date:

18 May 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bird on a Wire See more »


Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$15,338,160, 20 May 1990

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo (4 channels)



Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

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