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The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill (2005)

tomatometer

95

Average Rating: 7.7/10
Reviews Counted: 97
Fresh: 92 | Rotten: 5

Interesting and appealing as both a study of man and nature.

100

Average Rating: 7.8/10
Critic Reviews: 31
Fresh: 31 | Rotten: 0

Interesting and appealing as both a study of man and nature.

audience

85

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 5,142

My Rating

Movie Info

Telegraph Hill is a neighborhood in one of the hillier sections of San Francisco that over the years has become home to a large flock of wild parrots. While no one is certain how they got there, the birds were for the most part left to their own devices until they were discovered by Mark Bittner. A street musician and self-described "Dharma bum," Bittner had no practical background in ornithology when he first encountered the parrots, but it wasn't long before he developed a close bond with them

G,

Documentary, Special Interest

Oct 28, 2008

$2.7M

Shadow Distribution - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (107) | Top Critics (36) | Fresh (92) | Rotten (5) | DVD (13)

The beautiful shots of San Francisco's lush Telegraph Hill are captivating by themselves, but the film's greatest achievement is its humanity.

December 9, 2005 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A bright window into the wild kingdom just outside our door that most of us barely notice, if at all.

July 15, 2005 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A cornball charmer of a film with some beautiful birds and homespun wisdom.

July 15, 2005 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Charming, intelligent entertainment that should attract the same family audiences that flocked to Winged Migration in 2001.

May 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Profile of a gentle, caring, and sensitive man who models for us the empathy and respect we should have for all animals large and small.

July 25, 2012 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Fall in love with these brave and beautiful birds.

December 29, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

A documentary which captures an eccentric ornithologist communing with his flock with an intimacy that's almost unimaginable.

May 25, 2007 Full Review Source: Sly Fox
Sly Fox

Irving captures some memorable images… but generally relies on the birds' natural photogenic charm as well as the human dimensions of the drama to sustain the 83-minute film.

February 10, 2006 Full Review Source: Decent Films Guide
Decent Films Guide

Perhaps if Judy Irving's The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill had been released in any other year, I wouldn't be so judgmental and hard to please

December 9, 2005 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

In the spirit of all good documentaries, Wild Parrots transcends its ostensive subject.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: BBC.com
BBC.com

The birds...are a natural subject for a documentary film, but in the end Judy Irving's film is as much or more about Mark Bittner, a self-appointed guardian of the flock, than it is about the birds themselves.

November 26, 2005 Full Review Source: culturevulture.net
culturevulture.net

Amusing, touching and satisfying, this gentle yet probing little doco is a hand made movie whose simplicity and its subject matter are pluses.

October 14, 2005 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Even though it's only August, I'm not going out on a limb when I say that "The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill" is one of the best films of the year.

August 16, 2005 Full Review
KWQC-TV (Iowa)

How animals can sometimes, like art, serve as a reflection of the hopes and fears of their caretakers.

August 2, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

Parrots not so wild.Documentary shows quirks but not much else.

July 20, 2005 Full Review Source: Sympatico.ca

A quietly profound way to understand the importance of mankind's relationship with nature.

July 15, 2005 Full Review Source: Jam! Movies
Jam! Movies

Director Judy Irving has created a picture that should fascinate not only bird lovers, but general audiences.

July 15, 2005

... objections recede in the face of the prime fact of this movie: It makes us feel better about being human.

July 1, 2005 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

The tables are turned in The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill. In this mentally invigorating nonfiction film, parrots inspire a human to talk.

June 27, 2005

Something about the way in which it's been told can turn even a fellow fauna fancier into a harrumphing curmudgeon.

June 17, 2005 Full Review Source: Orlando Weekly
Orlando Weekly

Its sweet surprise ending may be the most satisfying movie moment of the year to date.

June 17, 2005
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Audience Reviews for The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill

A beautiful documentary about a truly unique subject. However, I question the motivation, the "honesty" behind closing with the highly speculative killing of Connor by the hawk. As in all life writing, I also question the "truth," in this case, of "miraculously" returning to the scene to capture Connor on film on his last day of life. Kind of reminds me of Jack Nicholson lauding the rule of coincidence in our lives in The Passenger.
January 19, 2009
binky013

Super Reviewer

Sweet, charming and very noisy.
February 18, 2008
Julie

Super Reviewer

A look at the flock of wild parrots that live in a neighborhood of San Fransisco and the remarkable individual (Mark Bittner) that studied and cared for them over a period of years. Mark was able to interact with the birds on a personal level, calling them by name, to nurse them through injuries and disease, and yet allowed them to remain free. He has also written a book about his experiences. This was fascinating. The extras include well over an hour of additional footage and information about the the birds and their lives since the footage that was used in the main body of the film. This film reached me on a deeper level than I exected. I found myself invested in the lives of these magnificent creatures and the man whose heart was tuned to them and was quite moved by this film.
October 31, 2008
Mark Abell

Super Reviewer

I think we all know someone like this. A guy who just plants himself somewhere to become part of the neighbourhood, just hanging out an appreciating. He discovers the parrots of Telegraph Hill who, like him, are strangers to the City and an interesting relationship is created. Providing you with information on the final interesting relationship would be too much of give away.
January 11, 2013
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

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  • Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill (UK)
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