Kick up your feet, grab some popcorn, and get comfortable because it’s movie time. Since birds are fun, entertaining, and compelling creatures in real life, it’s easy to see why birds make such great movie subjects.
However, compared with well-trodden movie subjects like pirates, ghosts, and boxers, there’s a dearth of really great films about birds. Fortunately, there are a few that are fun to watch and great for the family.
This list is completely subjective and forgoes some of the popular animated films that feature birds like Rio and Chicken Little, but this is a place to start for those looking to watch a good bird movie. Let us know if we missed any in the comments.
The Big Year (2011)
With an all-star cast of Steve Martin, Jack Black, and Owen Wilson, The Big Year was touted as the movie that would offer a positive and attractive look into the world of birding. Unfortunately, expectations were too high and the movie fell short in many ways (both birders and non-birders were a little disappointed).
Still, The Big Year is a fun, family movie that’s thoroughly enjoyable. As long as you’re not watching with a critical birding eye, you’ll laugh and maybe even shed a tear.
Birdman of Alcatraz (1962)
Yes, this film is old and in black and white, but you shouldn’t let that stop you from watching it. Birdman of Alcatraz is a fictionalized version of the life of Robert Stroud—a prisoner who became a respected ornithologist by rearing birds in prison.
The story is fascinating and Burt Lancaster is absorbing. Even though the real Robert Stroud was a murderer and psychopath, birds have actually been used to teach prisoners responsibility and empathy.
Legends of the Guardians: Owls of Ga’Hoole (2010)
This 2010 animated film is an interesting addition. It didn’t fair so well in terms of reviews, but it features a much darker and more menacing tone than you might expect from an animated film. The owls, which are a mythic band of guardians against evil, are the main characters of the movie. There’s kidnapping, battles, and violence, which may not be suitable for very young kids.