Birdy (1984)

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Birdy is a 1984 American drama film based on William Wharton's 1978 novel of the same name. Directed by Alan Parker, it stars Matthew Modine and Nicolas Cage. Set in 1960s Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the film focuses on the friendship between two teenage boys, Birdy (Modine) and Al Columbato (Cage). The story is presented in flashbacks, with a frame narrative depicting their traumatic experiences upon serving in the Vietnam War.

Parker initially turned down an opportunity to direct, believing that the complex book could not be successfully adapted for a feature film. The project resurfaced in 1982 when A&M Films, a subsidiary of A&M Records, acquired the film rights and commissioned Sandy Kroopf and Jack Behr to write the screenplay. Upon reading the script, Parker returned as director, and the film continued development at Tri-Star Pictures. Principal photography began in May 1984 and concluded in August of that year. Filming took place on locations in Philadelphia and Santa Clara, California. The film is notable for being the first to be partially shot with the Skycam, a computer-controlled camera system created by Steadicam inventor Garrett Brown. The score was composed by Peter Gabriel.

Birdy opened in limited release on December 12, 1984. It underperformed at the North American box office, grossing only $1.4 million against a budget of $12 million. The film received mostly positive reviews, and has an approval rating of 82% at Rotten Tomatoes. Birdy was chosen by the National Board of Review as one of the Top Ten Films of 1984, and won the Grand Prix Sp├ęcial du Jury prize at the 1985 Cannes Film Festival.

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