Birdy (1984)


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Movie Info

Director Alan Parker tackles this adapation of William Wharton's novel, which retains much of the source material's texture and complexity. Matthew Modine is Birdy, who comes back from Vietnam mentally shattered and deludes himself into thinking that he is a bird, an animal that has obsessed him since childhood. Birdy is confined to a military hospital, where he spends his time sitting naked in his room, not acknowleding anyone, moving and acting like a parakeet. His best friend Al (Nicolas Cage), also a wounded Vietnam vet, visits Birdy every day, determined to bring him back to reality. Birdy is occasionally disjointed but enriched by strong performances from Modine and Cage and a number of hard-to-forget moments. ~ Don Kaye, Rovi

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Nicolas Cage
as Al Columbato
Sandy Baron
as Mr. Columbato
Karen Young
as Hannah Rourke
Bruno Kirby
as Renaldi
Delores Sage
as Birdy's Mother
Nancy Fish
as Mrs. Prevost
George 'Buck' Flower
as Birdy's father
Dolores Sage
as Birdy's Mother
Robert L. Ryan
as Joe Sagessa
Robert Ryan
as Joe Sagessa
James Santini
as Mario Columbato
Maude Winchester
as Doris Robinson
Chris Taylor
as Helicopter Soldier
Sandra Beall
as Shirley
Maud Winchester
as Doris Robinson
Crystal Field
as Mrs. Columbato
Joe Lerer
as Military Doctor
Alice Truscott
as Mother on Train
Ed Taylor
as Zimmy the Human Fish
John Brumfield
as Mr. Kohler
Irving Selbst
as Fairground Announcer
Steve Lippe
as Junkyard Proprietor
William Clark
as Policeman on Beach
James Pruett
as Emergency Doctor
Priscilla Alden
as Waiting Room Lady
Guy Jones
as Hospital Orderly
Bud Seese
as Drunk in Jail
Erskine Morgan
as Hospital Orderly
Andy Mark Simpson
as Helicopter Soldier
Maurice Frizzell Jr.
as Nuts-and-Bolts Patient
Richard Mason
as Injured Soldier
Michael Runyard
as Stunt Player
Mic Rodgers
as Stunt Player
Charles Tamburro
as Helicopter Pilot
Tim Davis
as Veteran
Harry Hauss
as Helicopter Pilot
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Critic Reviews for Birdy

All Critics (26) | Top Critics (5)

Cage struggles with a character that is no more than a foil to Birdy...

Jan 3, 2018 | Full Review…

Belying the lightheartedness of its title, Birdy is a heavy adult drama about best friends and the after-effects of war, but it takes too long to live up to its ambitious premise.

Sep 16, 2008 | Full Review…
Top Critic

A trifle self-indulgent -- well, it is directed by Alan Parker -- but never boring

Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

A very strange and beautiful movie.

Oct 23, 2004 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Most of Birdy is enchanting.

May 20, 2003 | Rating: 4/5

Though largely confined to a military hospital, this post-Vietnam drama is powerfully acted by Matthew Modine and Nicolas Cage.

Apr 22, 2011 | Rating: B | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Birdy

Real great performances by Matthew Modine and Nic Cage (I know right?), the movie however just isn't my cup of tea.

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

This movie has a realistic feel, as it tells the story of two friends, one of which is insane and thinks he's a bird. I saw this on TV the other day, I thought the characters were interesting, but the story was slow and boring. Overall it's an okay movie, though.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

Incredibly touching story about two friends whose lives were destroyed by war. Alan Parker's direction is flawless, as well as the performances and the soundtrack. An emotional roller coaster ride that feels more genuine every time.

Pierluigi Puccini
Pierluigi Puccini

Super Reviewer

Ever feel totally alone...except in your own head? So did Birdy (played by Matthew Modine). Stuck in a world where he feels he does not belong growing up tethered to the ground by gravity he seeks escape through flight. The flight is as spiritual as it is physical as Birdy makes every effort to run from this world he did not create. He finds one true friend (Played by Nicholas Cage), someone who accepts him unconditionally. This friend (though he has a name there is no use for them in this film) is Birdy's only grounding to a world which holds the horrors of bullies grown up to play with adult toys of war. Birdy's Psyche, wrenched in anger and anguish, trying to come to terms with the things that he cannot understand by seeing them through the eyes of a spirit he can understand...that of a caged. All of this is set masterfully against Peter Gabriel's soundtrack which is simply his album, "Security," revamped for the film without the lyrics. Interestingly enough though, for those Gabriel fans out there, if you listen to Security and truly read the lyrics it will help you to understand the film. The haunting melody of Wallflower, a song depicting a person who has been institutionalized and is asked to maintain his spirit and not break nor bend to the will of the "keepers" plays throughout this film (sans lyrics of course). "6 by 6 from wall to wall, shutters on the windows no light at all, there's damp on the floor and there is damp in the bed, they're trying to get you crazy get you out of your head...Hold on..." I found this film on cable about 19 years ago and found myself crying. It is truly that moving. Also, like so many good films, the book is excellent as well.

Dean L
Dean L

Super Reviewer

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