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The Birdcage (1996)

R | | Comedy | 8 March 1996 (USA)
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2:15 | Trailer

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A gay cabaret owner and his drag queen companion agree to put up a false straight front so that their son can introduce them to his fiancée's right-wing moralistic parents.

Director:

Mike Nichols

Writers:

Jean Poiret (play), Francis Veber (earlier screenplay) | 4 more credits »
Reviews
Popularity
417 ( 206)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 25 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robin Williams ... Armand Goldman
Gene Hackman ... Sen. Kevin Keeley
Nathan Lane ... Albert Goldman
Dianne Wiest ... Louise Keeley
Dan Futterman ... Val Goldman
Calista Flockhart ... Barbara Keeley
Hank Azaria ... Agador
Christine Baranski ... Katherine Archer
Tom McGowan ... Harry Radman
Grant Heslov ... National Enquirer Photographer
Kirby Mitchell ... Keeley's Chauffeur
James Lally James Lally ... Cyril
Luca Tommassini Luca Tommassini ... Celsius
Luis Camacho ... Goldman Girl
André Fuentes André Fuentes ... Goldman Girl (as Andre Fuentes)
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Storyline

Armand Goldman owns a popular drag nightclub in South Miami Beach. His long-time lover, Albert, stars there as Starina. "Their" son Val (actually Armand's by his one heterosexual fling, twenty years before) comes home to announce his engagement to Barbara Keeley, daughter of Kevin Keeley, US Senator, and co-founder of the Committee for Moral Order. The Senator and family descend upon South Beach to meet Val, his father and "mother." What ensues is comic chaos. Written by Randy Goldberg <goldberg@nymc.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Come as you are. See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM/UA site | Official Facebook

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 March 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Birdcage See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$31,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$18,275,828, 10 March 1996, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$124,060,553

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$185,260,553
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

United Artists See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Mike Nichols recommended the improvisation of the line "But you keep it all inside" which was said by Robin Williams. See more »

Goofs

Position of the wine bottle changes in Val's hand as he talks with Armand. Then after Val sets the bottle down, we see the back label in all the two-shots of Val and Armand and the front label in the one-shots of Val. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[singers are performing "We Are Family" on-stage]
Cyril: [backstage, into a telephone] Agador! Where is Starina? She goes on in 5 minutes!
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Alternate Versions

In the November 12, 1998 ABC-TV network airing of The Birdcage (1996), approximately 13 minutes of added footage was restored to the film:
  • After Albert and Armand have discussed the upcoming marriage with Val, there is a scene where the cake Albert had ordered earlier is delivered. Albert shrieks because the cake says "To My Piglet From His Uncle" instead of "...From His Aunty" like Albert had requested. Then Albert and Armand have an amusing discussion of what it will be like to have Val and his wife live with them and what it will be like to be grandparents.
  • After Armand initially refuses Val's request to "tone down" the apartment, there is an extra scene later where Armand has a conversation with the bartender that eventually convinces Armand to prepare the apartment for the Keeley's arrival.
  • During the long roadtrip, the Keeley family is seen leaving a rest-stop at the Florida border. There is a huge fiberglass orange on top of the yellow and white striped rest-stop. Lettering on the orange reads, "Welcome to Florida".
  • There is an extra scene where TV network executives decide to send their news team to Florida on the basis that The Enquirer is already there.
  • Armand's dinner speech about the origins of Guatamalan "Peasant Stew" is longer in the TV version and he refills the guests bowls while explaining that the stew is the main course.
  • Albert's speech about his parents's search for a cemetery plot is longer.
  • There is a short scene included where Katherine Archer asks a TV news van if they will be leaving their parking spot which happens to be in an intersection.
  • After the Keeleys have learned that they are stuck in the apartment and everyone is sitting around drinking, Katherine is shown eating the "Peasant Stew" in Albert's and Armand's bedroom. Katherine and Agadore have a brief exchange in which Agadore admits to having made the stew and Katherine compliments him on it.
  • In the version broadcast on ABC, swimming trunks were electronically painted over the skimpy thongs worn by Agador and other male inhabitants of South Beach, Florida.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mafia! (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

William Tell Overture
(uncredited)
Written by Gioachino Rossini
See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of the best comedies ever made
5 August 2005 | by Koteas1See all my reviews

First off; I can understand why people would dislike this movie; The characters are all portrayed in an extremely stereotypical way, the acting is considerably over the top most of the time, the story is rather cheesy and not very believable - I mean which gay couple would (or COULD) transform their eccentric home into a monastery-like environment in 24 hours to pretend to be a cultured family to impress the son's fiancée's parents?

...Yet I couldn't stop laughing all the way through, even after the 10th time. Why? It's BECAUSE the characters are so stereotypical, it's BECAUSE the acting is over the top, it's BECAUSE the whole thing is so unbelievable that it makes it scintillating to behold. Even though the characters are stereotypical, the script has obviously been written by someone who doesn't intend to contribute to the stereotypical view of the gay drag community, but who rather wanted to create characters that are lovable while at the same time shouting "don't take us seriously".

This isn't a movie portraying life in the gay society; and everyone who expects realistic (and hence probably rather unfunny) portrayal of such a theme is better off NOT watching a comedy featuring gays (don't most comedies thrive on making the stereotype seem funny?) It may not be politically correct all the way, but hey; society's too hung up on all this political correctness as it is,. The characters in this movie were lovable, perhaps BECAUSE they were stereotypical depictions. However they're brought to life so well by the actors playing them that it doesn't make you shake your head in frustration over yet ANOTHER movie portraying stereotypes, but rather makes you shake your head in laughter over the deadpan things they say and do, which are so obviously unreal at times that anyone who thinks this movie will promote a false picture of the gay community needs a reality check.

The script is amazing, and even though it may really be too over the top once in a while, it doesn't distract from the overall picture. The story isn't much; the focus on details is what makes this movie funny. Little gestures, frowns, face expressions and little subtleties make this movie one of the best comedies I have ever watched, and probably one of the best comedies I will ever be fortunate enough to see in my entire life. Contrary to what it may seem like at first sight, the humor is overly refined without being intellectual, instead of jumping in your face all the time.

What's more, the cast is great. Both Robin Williams and Nathan Lane are very fine comedians who have the touch it takes to play a role like this one. They make over-the-top stereotypes actually FUNNY, instead of just laughable.

And yes, I HAVE seen the original movie, not all too long ago actually, and I have to say the remake is twenty to the power of 99 times better than the original. I barely laughed, and the original version was in my eyes an utterly forgettable movie. And that coming from a person who usually hates remakes.

This movie gives the original "Birdcage" a fresh new shine and transports the story into the 90's. Well made, on all accounts, I can't think of a single criticism!


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