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La Cage aux Folles ([la kaʒ o fɔl], "The Cage of Madwomen") is a 1978 Franco-Italian comedy film and the first film adaptation of Jean Poiret's 1973 play La Cage aux Folles. It is co-written and directed by Édouard Molinaro and stars Ugo Tognazzi and Michel Serrault.

La Cage aux Folles
La Cage aux Folles (film).jpg
French release poster
Directed byÉdouard Molinaro
Produced byMarcello Danon
Screenplay by
Based onLa Cage aux Folles
by Jean Poiret
Music byEnnio Morricone[1]
CinematographyArmando Nannuzzi
Edited by
  • Monique Isnardon
  • Robert Isnardon
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
  • 25 October 1978 (1978-10-25)
Running time
91 minutes[2]
  • France
  • Italy
  • French
  • Italian
Budget$1.1 million
Box office$20.4 million[3]



Like the play, the film tells the story of a gay couple – Renato Baldi (Ugo Tognazzi), the manager of a Saint-Tropez nightclub featuring drag entertainment, and Albin Mougeotte (Michel Serrault), his star attraction – and the madness that ensues when Renato's son, Laurent (Rémi Laurent), brings home his fiancée, Andrea (Luisa Maneri), and her ultra-conservative parents (Carmen Scarpitta and Michel Galabru) to meet them.



Box officeEdit

As of 2014, La Cage aux Folles has remained the No. 10.[4] foreign film released in the United States of America. The film was the second highest-grossing film of the year in France with 5,406,614 admissions. In Germany, it received 2.65 million admissions, making it was the 11th highest-grossing film of the year.[5]

Critical responseEdit

On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 100% rating based on 20 reviews, with an average rating of 7.8/10.[6]

Roger Ebert gave the film three-and-a-half stars out of four and wrote that "the comic turns in the plot are achieved with such clockwork timing that sometimes we're laughing at what's funny and sometimes we're just laughing at the movie's sheer comic invention. This is a great time at the movies."[7] Vincent Canby of The New York Times wrote in a negative review that the film "is naughty in the way of comedies that pretend to be sophisticated but actually serve to reinforce the most popular conventions and most witless stereotypes."[8] Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune gave the film two-and-a-half stars out of four and wrote, "For me, 'La Cage aux Folles' was over soon after it began. It's all so predictable. This could have been a Luci & Desi comedy routine. The film's only distinctive quality is the skill of its veteran actors in working with tired material."[9] Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times called the film "a frequently hilarious French variation on 'Norman, Is That You?' and has the same broad humor and appeal but has been put over with considerably more aplomb."[10] Gary Arnold of The Washington Post panned the film for "stale, excruciating sex jokes" and direction that "has evidently failed to devise a playing rhythm to compensate for whatever farcical tempo the material enjoyed on the stage."[11] David McGillivray of The Monthly Film Bulletin described the film as "a crude amalgam of Norman... Is That You? and John Bowen's play Trevor ... All shrieks, mincing and limp wrists, La Cage aux folles also looks positively antiquated beside the sophisticated gay comedy of such as Craig Russell."[12]

Awards and honorsEdit



The film was followed by two sequels: La Cage aux Folles II (1980), also directed by Molinaro, and La Cage aux folles 3 - 'Elles' se marient (1985), directed by Georges Lautner.

Musical adaptationEdit

The 1983 Broadway musical La Cage aux Folles based on the play and the film was also successful.[13]

American remakeEdit

In 1996, an American remake titled The Birdcage, directed by Mike Nichols and written by Elaine May, was released, relocated to South Beach, Miami, and stars Robin Williams and Nathan Lane.[14]

Adam and YvesEdit

La Cage aux Folles caught the attention of television producer Danny Arnold, who in 1979 pitched the concept of a weekly series about a gay couple similar to the one in the film to ABC. His planned title was Adam and Yves, a play on both Adam and Eve and a slogan used by some anti-gay groups. After months in development, Arnold realized that the concept was unsustainable as a weekly series, which led to the show getting dropped.[15]


  1. ^ Hinckley, David (21 January 2001). "Is Ennio Morricone cinema's greatest living composer?". Daily News. New York. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
  2. ^ "BIRDS OF A FEATHER (LA CAGE AUX FOLLES) (AA)". British Board of Film Classification. 30 January 1980. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  3. ^ La Cage aux Folles at Box Office Mojo
  4. ^ Foreign Language Movies at the Box Office. Box Office Mojo.
  5. ^ "La Cage aux Folles (1978) - JPBox-Office".
  6. ^ "La Cage aux Folles (1979)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 23 December 2018.
  7. ^ Ebert, Roger. "La Cage Aux Folles". Retrieved 23 December 2018.
  8. ^ Canby, Vincent (May 13, 1979). "Film: 'Cage aux Folles,' Farce in a French Club". The New York Times. 41.
  9. ^ Siskel, Gene (July 19, 1979). "Acting helps, but 'La Cage' material seems tired". Chicago Tribune. Section 2, p. 5.
  10. ^ Thomas, Kevin (July 18, 1979). "A French Variation on 'Norman'". Los Angeles Times. Part IV, p. 13.
  11. ^ Arnold, Gary (July 18, 1979). "Feeble Farce". The Washington Post. E6.
  12. ^ McGillivray, David (January 1980). "La Cage aux folles". The Monthly Film Bulletin. 47 (552): 5.
  13. ^ "La Cage aux Folles Broadway @ Palace Theatre - Tickets and Discounts". Playbill.
  14. ^ Susman, Gary. "'The Birdcage': 11 Things You (Probably) Don't Know About the Robin Williams Hit".
  15. ^ Tropiano, p. 252


  • Tropiano, Stephen (2002). The Prime Time Closet: A History of Gays and Lesbians on TV. Applause Theatre and Cinema Books. ISBN 1-55783-557-8.

External linksEdit