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The Birdcage

4.7 out of 5 stars 1,707 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Armand and Albert have a home life many would envy. They share a long-term committed relationship encompassing their lives and careers, and have together raised Armand's son, Val, into a caring, responsible, and mature young man. So, when Val arrives home and announces his engagement to the daughter of an ultra-conservative U.S. Senator, what choice is there but to accept his decision with love? Meanwhile, Senator Keeley and his wife are facing bigger problems than their daughter's unexpected engagement. The senator is watching his right-wing constituency evaporate with the scandalous demise of his closet political ally. A visit to the future in-laws could be just the thing to take the public's focus off the Keeley's messy predicament. With the impending visit of his fiancee's rigid family, Val asks his father to straighten up the apartment just a bit. All it entails is the removal or Armand's collection, furnishings, clothes, job...and Albert.

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The great improvisational comedy team of Mike Nichols and Elaine May reunited to (respectively) direct and write this update of the French comedy La Cage Aux Folles. Robin Williams stars as a gay Miami nightclub owner who is forced to play it straight and ask his drag-queen partner (Nathan Lane) to hide out when Williams's son invites his prospective--and highly conservative--in-laws and fiancée to a meet-and-greet dinner party. Gene Hackman and Dianne Wiest play the straight-laced senator and his wife, and Calista Flockhart (from television's Ally McBeal) plays their daughter in a culture-clash with outrageous consequences. May's witty screenplay incorporates some pointed observations about the political landscape of the 1990s and takes a sensitive approach to the comedy's underlying drama. Topping off the action is Hank Azaria in a scene-stealing role as Williams's and Lane's flamboyant housekeeper, "Agador Spartacus." --Jeff Shannon

Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Robin Williams, Nathan Lane, Gene Hackman, Dianne Wiest, Dan Futterman
  • Directors: Mike Nichols
  • Writers: Marcello Danon, Elaine May, Francis Veber, Jean Poiret, Édouard Molinaro
  • Producers: Marcello Danon, Michele Imperato
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Dubbed, Subtitled, Full length, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Dubbed: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: March 26, 1997
  • Run Time: 117 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,707 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0792833198
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,605 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Birdcage" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
You will laugh until your sides hurt and you will rewind scenes two or three times ! This film is loaded with catchy phrases and scenes that keep popping into your thoughts and make you giggle, despite your attempts to think of something-else. You will never forget the Butler / House Boy....ever--"Agadore Spartacus" steals scene after scene, as (Robin Williams) struggles to maintain his sanity and composure, while fending-off Emotional Outbursts and Episodes of Self/Relationship Doubt from his transvestite Partner, (Nathan Lane). The plot revolves around "their" son getting married and not being able to deal with certain "issues," concerning his "parents." He is marrying (Alley McBeal), whose parents are Right-Wing Politicians.... thus, the "Issues."
I have seen "The Birdcage" many, many times & I know children love the movie (they will watch it repeatedly). Couples will find lines from the film invading their daily conversations. When I watch it, with my girlfriend, we have weeks of fun from one viewing! This is just one of those fun-filled, hilarious films, that even homophobic men can't resist. You will laugh, Nathan Lane will cry....and you will do poor imitations of "Agadore Spartacus" for weeks afterward. Enjoy !
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Format: DVD
American audiences flocked to this remake of the French classic, "La Cage Aux Folles" - perhaps the funniest comedy ever released in ANY language. It's no surprise that the US viewer could easily lose his or herself in this laugh riot, especially with the incomparable Robin Williams and Nathan Lane in starring roles. Lane is delicious here as the top billed female impersonator and star at Birdcage, a drag extravaganza club owned by his better half Williams. While Williams tones down his Mork routine and actually softens as a result, as funny as he his, Lane steals the movie, with a warm, knowing performance that ranks up there with STeve Martin in "All of Me" as one of the best comedic works ever on film. Dan Futterman (brilliant in "Urbania") plays Williams' son with the right mix of charm and apprehension, while Calista Flockhart (yes, Ally McBeal herself) is strong as his fiance. And that's Hank Azaria (of "The Simpsons" and the ex-Mr. Helen Hunt) as the butler, in a HYSTERICAL mode. Gene Hackman is a hoot as the bride-to-be's right-wing Jesse Helms-like character...and his final scene in drag (think Robert Preston in "Victor Victoria" mixed with Martin Landau in "Ed Wood") alone deserved Oscar consideration. Both Hackman and Lane were robbed at Award time, unlike Ugo Tognazzi (who played the Robin Williams role in the original) who scored an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. Williams doesn't come close to achieving Tognazzi's utter sincerity and charm, but the movie works regardless.
If you've seen and enjoyed the "Birdcage" do yourself a HUGE favor - suspend all fears about reading subtitles and rent thyself "La Cage Aux Folles" (part ONE, not part TWO, which is a poor continuation.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
One of the funniest movies that I have seen in ages! Robin Williams is not the funny one here, it is Nathan Lane's character, Albert, that gets the most laughs. This movie has made me a life-long Nathan Lane fan. Both Williams (whose character is Armand Goldman) and Lane play gay men, with William's role being the dominant or male character. Since I am not gay, it is hard for me to define gender definitions of gay couples, but in this movie, there can be no missing the fact that Lane is the female side of the couple. When William's son comes to tell Dad of his impending marriage to a young woman (played admirably by Calista Flockhart) and to plead with Dad to pretend to be straight when he meets the girl's parents, as her father is a very straightlaced Senator in D.C.(played by Gene Hackman),trouble starts, in the form of hurt feelings and feelings of rejection to the other member of the relationship, namely, Albert. All kinds of solutions are considered to try and work him in to the charade, but he is so blatantly what he is, a gay man who is a female impersonator, but more female in his real self image than he is male, then it is nigh on to impossible to have him pose as an "uncle" or any male person, though he does try to adapt, with a few lessons on "maleness" from Armand, but he is incapable of being anything other than what he is, so they don't know what to do with him, how to explain him, and he refuses to just go away and be quiet until the wedding is over.
The ensuing struggle between the characters to remain true to who they are and each other, and yet not mess things up for the young couple is hilarious! The supporting actors are as good as the stars in this movie.
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Format: DVD
This one of very few films which I find more entertaining each time I see it again. (The others include Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Singin' in the Rain, and Young Frankenstein.) Directed by Mike Nichols, working with a script written by Elaine May, its major characters are Armand Goldman (Robin Williams), Albert Goldman when not performing as "Starina" (Nathan Lane), Senator Keeley (Gene Hackman) and his wife Louise (Diane Wiest), and Agador Spartacus (Hank Azaria). Most of those who have seen this film since it appeared in 1996 probably know that it is (somewhat) based on La Cage Aux Folles, a play written by Jean Poiret and then a film directed by Edouard Molinaro. (Actually, knowing all this neither adds to nor detracts from what Nichols and his associates achieve.) In fact, the basic dramatic situation can be traced back more than 2,000 years to classical "comedies of error."

The plot line is rather straightforward. Val Goldman (Dan Futterman) informs his gay parents that he is in love and intends to marry the Keeleys' daughter, Barbara (Calista Flockhart). Most of the film focuses on a celebration dinner party in the Goldmans' home, above their nightclub, The Birdcage. Nichols brilliantly manipulates the plot (such as it is) to create a series of hilarious situations in which the Goldmans attempt to deceive the Keeleys and thereby not jeopardize their beloved son's marriage. When I think of the body of Nichols' work as a director, I am amazed by his versatiulity. (Consider his treatment of marital issues in The Birdcage juxaposed with those in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? or The Graduate. Consider how much mileage he got out of the relatively thin plot in Working Girl.
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