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Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)

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2:53 | Trailer
A washed-up superhero actor attempts to revive his fading career by writing, directing, and starring in a Broadway production.
Popularity
726 ( 10)
Won 4 Oscars. Another 192 wins & 279 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Keaton ... Riggan
Emma Stone ... Sam
Kenny Chin ... Korean Grocer
Jamahl Garrison-Lowe ... Stagehand (Daniel)
Zach Galifianakis ... Jake
Naomi Watts ... Lesley
Jeremy Shamos ... Ralph
Andrea Riseborough ... Laura
Katherine O'Sullivan ... Costume Assistant
Damian Young ... Gabriel
Keenan Shimizu Keenan Shimizu ... Han
Akira Ito ... Translator
Natalie Gold ... Clara
Merritt Wever ... Annie
Edward Norton ... Mike
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Storyline

Actor Riggan Thomson is most famous for his movie role from over twenty years ago of the comic book superhero Birdman in the blockbuster movie of the same name and its two equally popular sequels. His association with the role took over his life, where Birdman is more renowned than "Riggan Thomson" the actor. Now past middle age, Riggan is trying to establish himself as a true artist by writing, directing, starring in and co-producing with his best friend Jake what is his Broadway debut, an adaptation of Raymond Carver's story, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. He is staking his name, what little artistic reputation that comes with that name and his life savings on the project, and as such will do anything needed to make the play a success. As he and Jake go through the process of the previews toward opening night, Riggan runs into several issues: needing to find a replacement for the integral supporting male role the night before the first preview; hiring the talented ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language throughout, some sexual content and brief violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 November 2014 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$424,397, 19 October 2014

Gross USA:

$42,340,598

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$103,215,094
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | Datasat

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Fittingly, given this movie's setting and subject matter, many of the secondary roles or bit parts are played by people who, in their real lives, have accomplished Broadway careers. Jeremy Shamos (Ralph, who Riggan thinks is a terrible actor) was in seven Broadway shows between 2004 and 2016, and was nominated for a Tony in 2012. William Youmans (Bartender Tommy) was in the Broadway casts of Wicked, Big River, Finian's Rainbow, and Bright Star, among many other shows (and he is also a relative of the great Broadway Composer Vincent Youmans, who was name-checked in Cole Porter's classic song "You're the Top"). Lindsay Duncan (Tabitha, the jaded critic) has been in four Broadway plays, including the production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses that first introduced Alan Rickman to American audiences. Donna Lynne Champlin (Broadway Lady) has performed in such Broadway musicals as Sweeney Todd, Billy Elliot, and By Jeeves. Roberta Colindrez (Broadway Woman on Street) played Joan in the original Broadway cast of Fun Home. Jackie Hoffman (Lady on Balcony (Mary)) has appeared in such Broadway musicals as On the Town, The Addams Family, Xanadu, and Hairspray. Bill Camp (Crazy Man) has been in seven Broadway plays between 1993 and 2016. Michael Siberry (Larry) has appeared in eight Broadway plays and musicals from 1986 on, including leads in productions of The Sound of Music, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, and Spamalot. Stephen Adly Guirgis (Good Neighbor) is an accomplished playwright whose plays include Jesus Hopped the A Train, Our Lady of 121st Street, The Motherfucker with the Hat, and Between Riverside and Crazy (winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama). See more »

Goofs

The note from Sam in the bouquet of flowers changes. At first it is a wide strip of paper and reads "They didn't have the whatever you wanted". A little later the paper is narrower and the "the" is omitted. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Young Birdman: How did we end up here? This place is horrible. Smells like balls. We don't belong here.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Sundance TV recently released an edited version which removes the swearing and zooms in the scene it shows Edward Norton's butt so it is not shown. See more »

Connections

Featured in 2015 MTV Movie Awards (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Harpad
Composed by Victor Hernandez Stumpfhauser (as Victor Stumpfhauser)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Beautiful mess...
9 February 2015 | by supercygnusSee all my reviews

It's chaotic and loses focus now and again, but it is ambitious with some of the best acting you will see in any movie this year. It is witty and self aware and there are many who simply won't "get it". If your tastes lean more to the obvious or straight forward, this is not the movie for you. If you like imaginative, challenging, and visually stunning films that deal with ego, passion, love, weakness, insecurity and redemption, this is worth your time.

Unfortunately some subplots are completely forgotten and character arcs begun but not finished, but there is so much rewarding here to be found these are mostly forgiven shortcomings. The editing and scene structure plays like a stream of consciousness, but the consciousness of a very neurotic person. And while there are several standout performances in a uniformly excellent cast, Keaton is the the focus and he is amazing. He runs the gauntlet of neurosis and desperation and pulls it off with an amazing balancing act between insanity and relatability. Perhaps not the best film of the year, but a very memorable one.


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