6.2/10
40,235
145 user 105 critic

The Big Year (2011)

PG | | Comedy | 14 October 2011 (USA)
Trailer
1:54 | Trailer
Two bird enthusiasts try to defeat the cocky, cutthroat world record holder in a year-long bird-spotting competition.

Director:

David Frankel

Writers:

Howard Franklin (screenplay), Mark Obmascik (book)
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Cleese ... Narrator (voice)
Jack Black ... Brad Harris
Zahf Paroo ... Prasad
Stacey Scowley ... Vicki
Michael Karl Richards ... Vicki's Fiancée
Owen Wilson ... Kenny Bostick
Rosamund Pike ... Jessica
Steve Martin ... Stu Preissler
Kevin Pollak ... Jim Gittelson
Joel McHale ... Barry Loomis
JoBeth Williams ... Edith
Paul Campbell ... Tony
Cindy Busby ... Susie
Greg Kean ... Computer Birder
Eva Bourne ... Birder's Daughter (as Eva Allan)
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Storyline

In birding, a Big Year is seeing or hearing as many different species of birds as possible in a calendar year. Three men pursue the Birder of the Year title: Kenny Bostick, who's seen a record 732 in a past big year, Stu Preissler, newly retired, and Brad Harris, who narrates the story. Life gets in the way: Bostick's wife wants a baby, Stu's firm needs him for sensitive negotiations, and Brad, divorced and underemployed at 36, has an encouraging mom and a disapproving dad. They criss-cross the continent (including a trip to Alaska's westernmost island), follow migration patterns, and head for storms that force birds to ground. Who will win, at what cost, and with what rewards? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for language and some sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site [Japan]

Country:

USA | Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 October 2011 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Big Year See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$41,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,251,884, 16 October 2011

Gross USA:

$7,204,138

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$7,448,385
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jim Parsons plays an avid bird blogger in this film. His character on The Big Bang Theory (2007) ironically has a serious phobia of birds. See more »

Goofs

A Great Gray Owl is shown as being found in Virginia. A species of the Northern boreal forest, this raptor is mainly distributed in Canada and Alaska. It only typically ventures into the contiguous United States in the Northern Rocky Mountains and has never been found in Virginia. See more »

Quotes

On Screen Text: [first lines, the text that appears on screen] This is a true story.
On Screen Text: Only the facts have been changed.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the end credits, photos of every bird found by the winner are shown. See more »

Alternate Versions

UK BluRay sports an Extended Cut of the film, adding a good six minutes of minor background information on the three main characters and special birds. It also replaces Jack Black's narration of the story with a new narration by John Cleese who also receives a credit in the opening title sequence. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #20.12 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Wheel of Fortune Underscore
Courtesy of Sony Pictures Television, Inc.
Under license from Sony Pictures Music Group
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
They had me at Nutting flycatcher...
31 October 2011 | by wrlj2See all my reviews

I confess that I cannot represent the following as an entirely objective, nor representative assessment of the quality of "The Big Year". How often does one of the early scenes in a film almost identically replicate an incident in the viewer's life? My introduction to the peculiar world of birding was in the late 1990s at Patagonia State Park in Southern Arizona. We had unsuspectingly selected a camping location that was noted for hosting an enormous variety of birds, and were awakened one morning by a small army of odd looking characters hell-bent on confirming the first reported sighting of the Nutting flycatcher in the United States in several decades. Out of curiosity we joined the chase, and the rest is family history, eerily duplicated by the makers of this film. What followed were many years of exercise, pleasure and reward for one of life's most interesting avocations.

So... how could I not enjoy this fine effort at mixing the allure of this strange "sport" with a thoughtful exploration of human motivation and conflicted choices. I can understand why the faithful fans of Black, Martin and Wilson might be disappointed with this production. But I, for one, have grown infinitely weary of too many superficial, sophomoric attempts at humor through these three capable actors. I was encouraged to see the restraint and depth that they could bring to these characters which provided the necessary credibility for this otherwise improbable tale. The film maintains a near perfect balance of humor, drama, and suspense in a well paced, engaging and uplifting plot. The spectacular photography of an abundance of aesthetically appealing locations is an added bonus.

I count it a big plus when I can walk out of the movie with that "feel good" elation that comes from a pleasant and interesting evening's entertainment. My heart said give it an eight or nine, but my never-ending quest for realistic objectivity resulted in the understated seven. Unless you are of the set that requires demolition derbies and frat humor for your entertainment, go see it. You'll have a good time.


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