While many of the best films on birds are documentaries, bird-lovers will be pleased to find some unexpected winners in a variety of genres.
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Birds have long been revered as powerful allegories in folklore. They can stand for a variety of things, including the working class, fertility, peace, death, and hope. It’s a combination of their diversity and human attraction that has led to so many symbols being connected with them.
For as long as we’ve had a connection to the natural world, birds have played a role in the entertainment industry. Even in movies that don’t focus on birds, minor birds like the eagles in Lord of the Rings or Hedwig in the Harry Potter series can play a significant role.
The good news for birdwatchers is that there are lots of movies about birds in general to choose from. The genres span from horror to fantasy to humor, much like the birds themselves.
1. Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga’Hoole (2010): Score 6.9
Simply because of the stunning animation, this film is well worth seeing. A bird enthusiast will be delighted by the level of detail in the feathers. In addition, there are owls with helmets! The visual effects in the film are breathtaking and received the AACTA Award for Best Visual Effects. Despite the film’s dismal box office result, it will delight any family who choose to watch it.
The book series, Guardians of Ga’Hoole, is the inspiration for the film. A sequel is unlikely because the picture had an 80 million dollar budget but only brought in 140 million dollars.
2. Chicken Run (2000): Score 7.0
On a chicken farm, the hens are plotting an uprising against their terrible humans in this claymation film. The film is a family-friendly action adventure comedy with a G certificate.
The film is praised for its ability to appeal to viewers of all ages. Adults and children alike will find something to laugh about in this book. A number of accolades were bestowed to the film, including those for best family film and best animated feature respectively.
3. Leafie: A Hen Into the Wild (2011): Score 7.1
“Leafie: A Hen Into the Wild” is one of my favorite books. Hen and her duckling live in the wild after she abandons her farm, and the film is a South Korean drama. Leafie, the primary character, is a devoted and caring mother in a brutal and wild environment, and the animation is bright and cheerful. Hwang Sun-mi, a South Korean author, wrote the children’s book that inspired the film.
Forewarning: this film has elements of Bambi-style brutality. When you see this film for the first time, expect to shed a few tears.
4. Crimson Wing: The Mystery Of The Flamingos (2008): Score 7.3
This British-American documentary was shot in Tanzania and provides an intimate look at the life of lesser flamingos, which are endangered in the wild. In the UK, it was shown in cinemas, while in the US, it had a direct-to-video release. The film’s score was recognized at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival with a gold medal.
Originally titled Crimson Wing: The Mystery of the Flamingos, this nature documentary was Disneynature’s debut release. For some young kids, seeing flamingos being preyed upon by predators may be too much for them to bear.
5. Birders: The Central Park Effect (2012): Score 7.4
One of the best movies ever made about birds is The Central Park Effect, which explores the complex relationship between birds and humans. How Central Park birds have impacted the lives of New Yorkers is documented in this documentary film. It’s an interesting look at how much Central Park and its birds mean to visitors, even if you’re not a birder.
The film demonstrates how Central Park is home to a variety of birds throughout the year because of their migration. A one-hour movie is also unusually short for a feature film.
6. March Of The Penguins (2005): Score 7.5
One of the most adored birds in the world is the penguin. Some of the most inhospitable areas on Earth are home to these creatures, which are unable to fly. As a result, they’ve been the topic of a wide variety of movies. Not even March of the Penguins comes close to matching its popularity.
March of the Penguins is a documentary on emperor penguins in Antarctica that was produced by the French government. Their reproduction, egg care, and hatching are all covered in this documentary. It was nominated for several honors, including Best Documentary, Best Cinematography, and Best Editing.
7. The Eagle Huntress (2016): Score 7.5
When it comes to this film’s subject matter, Aisholpan, the first female eagle hunter at the Uglii, Mongolia eagle festival, takes center stage. The film follows her as she prepares to compete in the Uglii festival with her own golden eagle, with the support of her father.
The film provides a rare glimpse into the Kazakh culture, which is rarely depicted in cinema. To be clear, the film was criticized for its depiction of the culture. It is well known that the documentary exaggerated the absence of participation in eagle hunting by women until Aisholpan entered the picture.
8. The Birds (1963): Score 7.7
Do you know someone who is afraid of birds? Do not show them Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” at all. The Birds is one of the most recognizable films in the horror genre. For this reason, it has been included in the National Film Registry.
Critics at the time had conflicting feelings about the film. Critics and spectators alike have reacted well to it in recent years. What’s different now? Everyone may have recognized The Birds’ influence on future horror and thriller films as time went on.
9. The Wild Parrots Of Telegraph Hill (2003): Score 7.8
Documentary about a group of cherry-headed conures that live in San Francisco’s Telegraph Hill neighborhood. But the birds aren’t the only focus of the film. Mark Bittner, a homeless musician who lives in the city and builds an intimate friendship with these birds, is the genuine magic in their relationship.
Judy Irving directed, produced, and edited this film, making it even another hidden gem.
10. Winged Migration (2001): Score 7.9
The title of this French documentary, which earned an award for Best Editing, refers to birds’ migration. It was filmed on seven continents and took four years to complete. There were a lot of aerial images in the film, where the camera was attached to the birds. From hot air balloons to remote-controlled robots to a fleet, the picture required a great deal of effort. (The DVD’s “Making of” additional feature reveals these details).