I’m not a movie critic, but I enjoy a good flick. I also enjoy birdwatching. So, during a recent cold and rainy weekend I thought I’d combine two things I enjoy and watch some movies about birds. Then I thought I’d share them with other bird/movie buffs so, below I offer you my top 5 list of movies that bird lovers will… well, love.
You may not agree with my list or you may have some of your own favorites, so be sure to leave a comment and let me and other readers know what you like.
#5 The Birds (1963)
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, The Birds is a series of situations in which residents of Bodega Bay, California, express growing alarm about the strange behavior that escalates into terrifying attacks by local birds. It’s a foreboding film; Hitchcock doesn’t reveal why the birds’ war on humans begins or how it ends… assuming it does end. For Hitchcock fans, it’s a classic. For horror movie fans, its appeal is in good story telling and suspense rather than bloody murder. In 2016, The Library of Congress added The Birds to its National Film Registry for its cultural, historical, or aesthetic significance.
#4 Happy Feet (2006)
This Academy Award winning movie, Happy Feet is a feel-good, animated movie. Poor Mumble is an emperor penguin who can’t sing. It’s a devastating handicap because without a “heart song,” an emperor penguin will never find his soul mate. But Mumble can dance and, while cast out by his own community, Mumble finds true friends among Ramon and Ramon’s cadre of distinctly non-emperor penguins who embrace his difference. The vocal genius and repartee of Robin Williams brings Ramon to life and his performance is hilarious. Happy Feet is a story of self-acceptance, friendship, hardship, and courage that children and adults will enjoy.
See also: Fun Facts About Penguins
#3 Bird of Prey (2018)
Bird of Prey, another multiple award-winning film, traces the plight of the Philippine Eagle and the effort by a few heroes to save the last 1,000 from extinction caused by the tragic human destruction of its habitat.
Not unlike its subject, the film is magnificent. Wildlife cinematographer, Neil Rettig, in the most challenging assignment of his career, offers extraordinary breath-taking views of the elusive eagle. Money from sales and rental of the movie support conservation efforts of The Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
#2 Chicken Run (2000)
Chicken Run is the tale of a band of chickens, doomed to a life of egg-laying, who are determined to escape from an English chicken farm. When a flashy American rooster drops in, the hens hope he can teach them to fly to freedom. Their efforts become more urgent and plight more harrowing when the farm owners buy a chicken-pie making machine.
This claymation movie is among my favorites for several reasons. First, the abundance of puns are clever and irresistible. Trekkies will love Scotty’s, “I’m givin’ her all she’s got, captain!” as spoken by a desperate chicken. Fans of the best war movie ever, The Great Escape, will recognize plenty of that script’s ingenuity adopted by determined-to-be-free fowl. And the majority of the characters have Yorkshire English accents. This isn’t the British accent that makes everything sound important and highly intellectual. It’s the other one, and it makes many of the film’s one-liners especially memorable.
Chicken Run hits all the right buttons. It’s got romance; suspense; a fall from grace and subsequent redemption; bad chickens, good chickens, and the crazy but wise chicken; and most importantly… it’s truly funny.
See also: Talons VS Claws: What’s the Difference?
#1 March of the Penguins (2005)
In March of the Penguins, Morgan Freeman, who could narrate a recipe for white bread and still captivate his audience, tells the astonishing story of emperor penguins as they cross the South Pole to find mates and start families.
And only National Geographic could capture the gorgeous and intimate images of these birds as they contend with the perils of sub-zero cold, ferocious winds, a landscape of blinding white ice and snow, and predators.
It’s impossible to watch this Academy Award winning film and not infuse its stars with human emotions. The love, courage, suffering, grief, and heroism so plainly visible on the screen means you’ll smile, laugh, and cry as you watch.