John Roberts (1998)

U Certificate
Mon 5 Feb 4:35am - 6:15am Sky Cinema Family


Our Score
Refreshingly free from gratuitous pyrotechnics and sentimental moralising (well, almost), this fine-feathered blend of Black Beauty and The Incredible Journey should prove a playground talking point. Such is the technical ingenuity that, for much of the time, it's impossible to tell whether we're looking at one of the 14 blue-crown conure parrots specially trained for the film or an animatronic replica, created by Michael "Tony" Meagher and his special-effects team. Yet, this film is so much more than just a technical triumph - it also has a heart and a sly sense of humour (where else would you see a parrot cheering on the winged attackers while watching Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds on TV?). Paulie (voiced by Jay Mohr) lives in the basement of an animal study institute, and how he got there and why he's so desperate to find the little girl he helped cure of a stammer form the basis of the story, as told to the building's Russian janitor (Tony Shalhoub). However, there are many engaging diversions along the way, as painter Gena Rowlands tries to teach the cocky bird some manners, Cheech Marin introduces him to his singing circus and scientist Bruce Davison tries to steal the secret of his voice. Mohr even crops up in human form - as a petty criminal whose credit-card scam lands Paulie behind bars. There are longueurs, but this mostly flies by.


An intelligent parrot falls into late-night conversation with a janitor and ends up recounting the tale of his epic cross-country journey in search of a new life - a plan that went awry when an evil scientist managed to get his hands on the brilliant bird for his own nefarious ends. Family adventure, starring Gena Rowlands, Tony Shalhoub, Cheech Marin, Bruce Davison and the voice of Jay Mohr.

Cast & Crew

Ivy Gena Rowlands
Misha Tony Shalhoub
Ignacio Cheech Marin
Dr Reingold Bruce Davison
Paulie/Benny Jay Mohr
Adult Marie Trini Alvarado
Artie Buddy Hackett
Young Marie Hallie Kate Eisenberg
Director John Roberts
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: U.I.P. (UK)Available on: video and DVD
Children's Drama