Friday, June 7, 2013

The Birdcage

1996 American Feature

Cast: Robin Williams, Nathan Lane, Gene Hackman, Dianne Wiest, Hank Azaria, Dan Futterman, Calista Flockhart and Christine Baranski
Director: Mike Nichols
Writer: Elaine May, based on the play by Jean Poiret and screenplay by Jean Poiret, Francis Veber, Edouard Molinaro and Marcello Danon

Armand owns a popular drag nightclub in South Miami Beach, which stars his long-time lover Albert as "Starina". Their lives are turned upside down when Armand's son announces his engagement to the daughter of a conservative US Senator... and their impending visit to meet the new in-laws.


  • Internet Movie Database: 6.7/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes - Critics: 77% / Audience: 75 %
  • Metacritic - Critics: 72% / Audience: 8.5%
  • OMG rating: 5 /10

  • DVD/Blu-ray: Available
  • Soundtrack: Available
  • Book: Available


  • Academy Award nomination for Best Art Direction.
  • GLAAD Media Award nomination for Outstanding Film - Wide Release.
  • Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical and Actor - Comedy/Musical (Lane).
  • Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast; also nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor (Azaria and Lane).
  • Writers Guild of America nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.

  • The original French play La Cage aux Folles ran in Paris from 1973 to 1978 for close to 1,800 performances.
  • In the early 1980s, director Mike Nichols was hired by producer Allan Carr to direct a different "Americanized" version of La Cage aux Folles, this one for Broadway. It was to be set in New Orleans and titled The Queen of Basin Street. However, when Carr brought in a new production team to co-produce, Nichols (along with choreographer Tommy Tune and composer Maury Yeston) were all fired. This project eventually became the 1983 Tony Award winning hit Broadway musical La Cage aux Folles.
  • Working Title: Birds of a Feather.
  • Robin Williams was originally cast as Albert opposite Steve Martin as Armand, who had to back out of the film due to scheduling conflicts. Williams decided he wanted a change from the outrageous characters he usually played, and asked to be cast as Armand. Director Mike Nichols agreed to the change.
  • Agador Spartacus (played by Hank Azaria) was originally just in one scene, with the larger role of the housekeeper played by David Alan Grier. However, the producers feared the racial connotations of a black actor in such a part, so Azaria's role was expanded. Azaria has said that he based Agador on his grandmother.
  • A number of songs written by Stephen Sondheim were used in the film, including the newly composed  "Little Dream". Two of the other songs were written but eventually cut from two of Sondheim's stage musicals:  "Can That Boy Foxtrot" (cut from Follies) and "Love Is in the Air" (cut from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum). 
  • The Birdcage held the record as the highest weekend opening gross for a film with an openly gay character in the lead until BrĂ¼no in 2009.
  • Hank Azaria reprised his role as Agador Spartacus in animated form in an episode of the TV series The Simpsons.

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