Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 15
  • Comedy
  • 1996
  • 119 mins

Birdcage, The

Birdcage, The


Robin Williams swings his hips in a fluttery, farcical tale of family values and attitudes towards homosexuality. Nicely judged, generous performances and flamboyant costumes make this a sparkling treat


Colourful, camp, beautifully acted and brimming with gags, Mike Nichols The Birdcage sits comfortably in Hollywood's canon of unchallenging, 'It's OK to be gay' films. While mildly irritating much of America's gay community on its release, it was nevertheless a box office hit.

Based on the French play and film La Cage Aux Folles, and set in Miami's South Beach, Robin Williams dons gaudy shirts and tufty tash to play Armand Goldman, the owner of a successful drag night club. He lives with his boyfriend, the club's reigning star Albert (Nathan Lane). Their lives are turned upside down when Goldman's son - from his one heterosexual relationship years ago - Val (Dan Fullerton) announces his engagement to Barbara Keeley (a plumper Calista Flockhart), the daughter of a right-wing senator (Gene Hackman). Oblivious to their future son-in-law's unusual family set-up, Keeley's parents set out to visit Val's 'parents'. Meanwhile, Armand and Albert fret over how they are to fake 'normality'. And so the deftly choreographed comic chaos begins...

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Gene Hackman, Dianne Wiest, Dan Futterman, Nathan Lane, Robin Williams, Calista Flockhart
  • Director: Mike Nichols
  • Writer: Jean Poiret, Edouard Molinaor, Elaine May, Marcello Danon, Francis Veber
  • Producer: Mike Nichols
  • Photographer: Emmanuel Lubezki

In a nutshell

Aside from Williams' blazing performance - his best in years - the film's real strength lies in director Mike Nichols' skill at eliciting believable performances, and, in turn, a proud, bold examination of the traditional nuclear family.

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4

    Thunder Island

    Thriller. A hit man (Gene Nelson) is hired to kill a former Caribbean dictator. He abducts a couple and their boat to reach the despot's island, but then his plans go badly wrong.

    On Film4: 6 Oct 11:00AM

  • Film4

    The Enchanted Forest

    An old man raises a young boy who became lost in the woods, teaching him about life and nature

  • Channel 4 Blog

    TIFF: five favourites

    Elena Lazic reports from the Toronto International Film festival on her five favourites of the fest. The Lobster Yorgos Lanthimos' success in realising the usually disastrous combination of farci

  • Channel 4 Blog

    TIFF: five favourites

    Manuela Lazic reports from the Toronto International Film Festival on five favourites from the fest. The Witch What if the sorceresses and deadly spells in which people believed so fervently in th

Register with

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register