The Birdcage

March 8th, 1996


The Birdcage

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Still of Robin Williams and Nathan Lane in The BirdcageStill of Nathan Lane in The BirdcageRobin Williams and Marsha Garces Williams at event of The BirdcageStill of Hank Azaria, Gene Hackman, Dianne Wiest and Christine Baranski in The BirdcageStill of Robin Williams, Nathan Lane and Mike Nichols in The BirdcageStill of Gene Hackman in The Birdcage

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 fiancé's right-wing moralistic parents.

Release Year: 1996

Rating: 6.6/10 (34,584 voted)

Critic's Score: 72/100

Director: Mike Nichols

Stars: Robin Williams, Nathan Lane, Gene Hackman

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 Keely, daughter of Kevin Keely, US Senator, and vice president of the Committee for Moral Order. The Senator and family descend upon South Beach to meet Val and his father and "mother..." and what ensues is comic chaos.

Writers: Jean Poiret, Francis Veber

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 - Cyril
Luca Tommassini - Celsius
Luis Camacho - Goldman Girl
André Fuentes - Goldman Girl (as Andre Fuentes)

Taglines: Come as you are.


Official Website: MGM/UA site |

Release Date: 8 March 1996

Filming Locations: Art Deco District, South Beach, Miami Beach, Florida, USA

Gross: $124,000,000 (USA)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Hank Azaria created two different voices for the character of Agador Spartacus, one being somewhat of a more masculine voice and the other one being higher pitched. He was worried about the second one being too stereotypical until he asked a gay friend of his, who thought it was more realistic.

Factual errors: Examining the books on the shelf at Armand's home, the senator's wife remarks that he has the complete set of Nancy Drew books. While the blue-bound books on the top shelf might be Nancy Drew books, there are nowhere near enough of them to complete the set. All the other books on the shelf have binding of different colors and would not be books from that series.

[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!

User Review

One of the best comedies ever made

Rating: 10/10

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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