British theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Peter Lord
|Produced by||Peter Lord
|Screenplay by||Karey Kirkpatrick|
|Story by||Peter Lord
|Music by||John Powell
|Cinematography||Dave Alex Riddett
|Editing by||Mark Solomon|
|Distributed by||DreamWorks Pictures (United States)
Pathé (United Kingdom)
|Running time||84 minutes|
Chicken Run is a 2000 British-American stop-motion animation family comedy film made by the Aardman Animations studios and directed by Peter Lord and Nick Park. It was the first feature-length film by Aardman and the first produced in partnership with DreamWorks, which co-financed and distributed the film. The film features the voices of Julia Sawalha, Mel Gibson, Timothy Spall, Phil Daniels, Tony Haygarth and Miranda Richardson. Chicken Run received very positive reviews, and was a box office hit.
The plot centres around a band of chickens who see a smooth-talking Rhode Island Red named Rocky as their only hope to escape from certain death when the owners of their farm decide to move from selling eggs to selling chicken pies.
The film was initially part of a five-picture deal between DreamWorks and Aardman Animations, which was never completed, due to the companies' splitting over 'creative differences'.
The Tweedys are a troubled middle-aged couple who run their own chicken farm somewhere in a town in Yorkshire, England. Mrs. Tweedy (voiced by Miranda Richardson) is the ill-tempered brains of the pair, while Mr. Tweedy (voiced by Tony Haygarth) is slow, but he can handle the manual work industriously. The coop is run in the style of a World War II POW camp, with the chickens accountable for the number of eggs they lay daily. One chicken, Ginger (voiced by Julia Sawalha), who is often treated as the chickens' leader, has attempted numerous escapes, which she was aided by contraband smuggled in by a pair of rats named Nick and Fetcher (voiced by Timothy Spall and Phil Daniels). However, Ginger is routinely captured by Mr. Tweedy and his dogs and is later thrown into a coal bin for solitary confinement. Ginger is released from the coal bin just in time for roll call the next day. Mrs. Tweedy soon finds out that one chicken named Edwina had not laid any eggs that week. Edwina is beheaded to death and is later cooked for the Tweedys' dinner. Ginger becomes increasingly desperate to find a plan of escape which will work but faces problems with Nick and Fetcher, who are tired of being paid with chicken feed and want their own eggs instead.
Mrs. Tweedy soon realises that the couple's farm is failing and reads a catalogue on an ambiguous method of increasing profits. Realising something is wrong, Ginger attempts to convince herself and the other chickens to speed up their efforts to escape. However, Ginger soon concludes that the only escape route is to go over the fence and something that she and the other chickens cannot do. That same night, as Ginger sits outside of the coop, she sees a Rhode Island Red cockerel named Rocky (voiced by Mel Gibson), who flies over the fence and accidentally crash into the coop. The other chickens also fawn over Rocky, while Ginger finds the first half of a poster with a picture of Rocky on it that appears to show that he can fly. After Ginger discovers that Rocky is from a circus, she agrees to hide him from his owners if he teaches them how to fly. Rocky reluctantly agrees, but says he cannot show them immediately because he injured his wing when he crashed into the chicken coop. Instead, Rocky puts Ginger and the other chickens through a set of exercises that seem to have no purpose, while assuring them that they are making progress.
Suddenly, a large pie-making machine arrives at the farm, in which Mrs. Tweedy orders all food rations doubled. Ginger proclaims that their intent is to fatten them up and then kill them. Rocky and Ginger argue with each other, which Rocky claims that Ginger's honesty will demoralise the chickens, and Ginger refusing to lie to the other chicken. Discovering that the other chickens have gone into depression following Ginger's announcement, Rocky organises a party using a radio obtained by Nick and Fetcher. During the party, Rocky's wing is shown to have healed. Once their pie machine is complete, the Tweedys kidnap Ginger and later subject her to its first test. Rocky follows Ginger into the machine and rescues her by damaging the machine and giving him and Ginger more time to work on their escape. Fowler (voiced by Benjamin Whitrow), an older cockerel who has been doubtful of Rocky's acts, gives Rocky his respect for rescuing Ginger and his old Royal Air Force (RAF) badge in tribute. Rocky decides to flee the farm the next day, leaving behind Fowler's medal and the second half of his poster, which shows that he was actually a stunt cockerel who "flew" by being shot from a cannon. This revelation outrages and demoralizes all the chickens except Ginger. When Fowler arrives to try and restore order, he begins talking of his days in the RAF, leading Ginger to realise that she and the other chickens could fly out after all by using an airplane, built from the chicken coops, modeled after Fowler's pictures and personal recollections and constructed using tools supplied by Nick and Fetcher. The chickens race against time to assemble their plane as the Tweedys work to repair their pie machine.
The chickens finally finish their plane just as Mr. Tweedy enters the coop to grab them. However, the chickens launch an open revolt by tying up and gagging Mr. Tweedy. As the chickens are preparing to depart, Mr. Tweedy frees himself and knocks down the ramp used to get the chickens' plane airborne. Ginger jumps down as Fowler turns the plane around, which knocks Mr. Tweedy unconscious. As Ginger struggles to lift the ramp, Mrs. Tweedy attempt to kill her with her hatchet. However, Rocky, who just returned after seeing a controversial ad for the chicken pies, jumps over the fence aboard his tricycle and hits Mrs. Tweedy in her face, which knocks her senseless. Rocky and Ginger grab onto the string of lights which was caught on the plane's landing gear as the plane departs. However, Mrs. Tweedy soon awakens and also grab the lights, which weighs down the chickens' plane. Ginger heads down the string to cut it and get rid of Mrs. Tweedy, but she accidentally loses her own scissors. Realising that it is the only way to cut the lights, Ginger manages to trick Mrs. Tweedy by using her hatchet to sever the string, which later causes Mrs. Tweedy to fall, crash into the pie machine, and plugging herself into the safety valve. The pie machine build up its pressure and explodes, destroying the barn, and covering the entire farm with gravy. The chickens continue to fly to freedom as Mr. Tweedy tells Mrs. Tweedy: "I told you they was organised". Mr. Tweedy later pushes the door on top of Mrs. Tweedy before she can lash on him.
In the epilogue, the chickens are happily living in their bird sanctuary, where they can live in comfort and raise their new chicks. Rocky and Ginger fall in love with each other and later become a couple. Meanwhile, Nick and Fetcher discuss their plans of starting their own chicken farm, so they can have all the eggs they could eat. However, Nick and Fetcher ends up arguing with each other over whether the chicken or the egg came first during the film's closing credits.
- Julia Sawalha as Ginger, who is determined to save her fellow chickens from their impending doom on the Tweedys' farm. She is usually the one that comes up with the ideas and is generally more intelligent than the other chickens.
- Mel Gibson as Rocky the Rhode Island Red, a cockerel who crash-lands into the farm's chicken coop after fleeing from a circus.
- Miranda Richardson as Melisha Tweedy, a cantankerous egg farmer who decides to convert her farm into a chicken pot pie factory solely for monetary reasons.
- Tony Haygarth as Mr. Willard Tweedy, Melisha's henpecked husband.
- Benjamin Whitrow as Fowler, an elderly cockerel who regularly prattles about his Royal Air Force experiences.
- Timothy Spall as Nick, a portly rat who is the brains of their operation.
- Phil Daniels as Fetcher, Nick's slow-witted partner.
- Jane Horrocks as Babs, the fattest of the chickens with a dim-witted innocence and a love of knitting.
- Imelda Staunton as Bunty, the group cynic who is the most skeptical of Ginger's escape plans.
- Lynn Ferguson as Mac, Ginger's brainy Scottish assistant and chief engineer.
Chicken Run was Aardman Animations' first feature length production, which would be executive produced by Jake Eberts. Nick Park and Peter Lord, who run Aardman, directed the film, while Margaret French and Jack Rosenthal scripted the film. In December 1997, it was revealed that David Sproxton would produce. DreamWorks secured their first animated feature with the film, and they handled distribution in all territories except Europe, which Pathé handled. The two studios both co-financed the film. DreamWorks also retains rights to international merchandising. Pathé and Aardman had both been developing the film since 1996, whilst DreamWorks officially came aboard in 1999. DreamWorks beat out studios like Universal Studios and Warner Bros. and largely won due to the perseverance of DreamWorks co-chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, who as a company were eager to make their presence felt in the animation market in an attempt to compete with Disney's dominance of the field.
Critical response 
The film has received critical acclaim from critics upon its release and currently garners a 96% "Certified Fresh" rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, based on 140 reviews, with an average rating of 8/10 and the critical consensus: "Chicken Run has all the charm of Nick Park's Wallace & Gromit, and something for everybody. The voice acting is fabulous, the slapstick is brilliant, and the action sequences are spectacular." The film also holds a score of 88 based on 34 reviews on Metacritic, indicating "universal acclaim."
Box office 
On opening weekend, the film grossed $17,506,162 for a $7,027 average from 2,491 theatres. Overall, the film placed second behind Me, Myself and Irene. In its second weekend, the film held well as it slipped only 25% to $13,192,897 for a $4,627 average from expanding to 2,851 theaters and finishing in fourth place. The film's widest release was 2,953 theaters and it closed on November 2, 2000, after grossing $106,834,564 domestically with an additional $118,000,000 overseas for a worldwide total of $224,834,564. Produced on a $45 million budget, the film was a huge box office hit. To date, it is the highest grossing stop motion animated movie.
|Annie Awards||Best Animated Feature||Nominated|
|Best Individual Achievement in Directing (Nick Park and Peter Lord)||Nominated|
|Best Individual Achievement in Writing (Margaret French)||Nominated|
|BAFTA Awards||Best British Film||Nominated|
|Best Visual Effects||Nominated|
|Broadcast Film Critics||Best Animated Feature||Won|
|Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics||Best Animated Feature||Won|
|Empire Awards||Best British Director (Nick Park and Peter Lord)||Nominated|
|Best British Film||Nominated|
|Best Debut (Nick Park and Peter Lord)||Nominated|
|European Film Awards||Best Film||Nominated|
|Florida Film Critics||Best Animated Feature||Won|
|Genesis Awards||Best Feature Film||Won|
|Golden Globe Awards||Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy||Nominated|
|Kansas City Film Critics||Best Animated Feature||Won|
|Las Vegas Film Critics||Best Family Film||Won|
|Los Angeles Film Critics||Best Animated Feature||Won|
|National Board of Review:||Best Animated Feature||Won|
|New York Film Critics:||Best Animated Feature||Won|
|Phoenix Film Critics:||Best Animated Feature||Won|
|Best Family Film||Won|
|Best Original Score (John Powell and Harry Gregson-Williams)||Nominated|
|Satellite Awards||Best Motion Picture - Animated or Mixed Media||Won|
|Southeastern Film Critics||Best Film||Nominated|
|3.||"The Evil Mr. Tweedy"||4:22|
|5.||"Chickens Are Not Organized"||1:01|
|6.||"We Need a Miracle"||2:03|
|7.||"Rocky and the Circus"||3:51|
|9.||"A Really Big Truck Arrives"||5:58|
|10.||"Cocktails and Flighty Thoughts"||1:56|
|11.||"Babs' Big Break"||1:40|
|12.||"Flip, Flop and Fly"||Ellis Hall||2:08|
|13.||"Up on the Roof"||3:08|
|14.||"Into the Pie Machine"||3:10|
|15.||"Rocky, a Fake All Along"||3:28|
|16.||"Building the Crate"||3:32|
|18.||"The Chickens Are Revolting"||2:45|
|20.||"Escape to Paradise"||4:58|
Video game 
Chicken Run is a stealth-based 3-D platformer based on the movie. The game is a loose parody of the film The Great Escape, which is set during World War II.
See also 
- Nick Park
- Aardman Animations
- Wallace and Gromit
- List of animated feature-length films
- List of stop-motion films
- Colditz Cock, a glider built by British prisoners of war for an escape attempt during World War II
- "Wallace and Gromit's Hollywood date". BBC. 9 March 2000. Retrieved 9 May 2012.
- "Chicken Run | Mrs Tweedy". Telepathy LTD. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
- "Chicken Run | Mr Tweedy". Telepathy LTD. Retrieved January 13, 2012.
- Rex Weiner (10 April 1997). "Aardman on 'Run'". Variety. Retrieved 2010-02-18.
- Dan Cox (4 December 1997). "D'Works' feat of clay". Variety. Retrieved 2010-02-18.
- "Chicken Run Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2011-02-07.
- "Chicken Run Movie Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More". Metacritic. Retrieved 2011-02-07.
- "Chicken Run". AllMusic. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
- Official website
- Chicken Run at the Internet Movie Database
- Chicken Run at Metacritic
- Chicken Run at Rotten Tomatoes
- Chicken Run at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- Chicken Run at Box Office Mojo
- Chicken Run at AllRovi