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Paulie poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by John Roberts
Produced by Mark Gordon
Gary Levinsohn
Allyson Lyon Segan
Written by Laurie Craig
Starring Jay Mohr
Tony Shalhoub
Gena Rowlands
Cheech Marin
Bruce Davison
Trini Alvarado
Narrated by Jay Mohr
Music by John Debney
Cinematography Tony Pierce-Roberts
Edited by Bruce Cannon
Mutual Film Company
Distributed by DreamWorks Pictures
Release date(s)
  • April 17, 1998 (1998-04-17)
Running time 91 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $23,000,000
Box office $27,084,499[1]

Paulie is a 1998 film about a bird named Paulie, starring Tony Shalhoub, Gena Rowlands, Hallie Kate Eisenberg, and Jay Mohr. Mohr performs the voice of Paulie and plays a minor on-screen character. The film was nominated for 5 awards and won 2. The film was rated PG by the MPAA for "Brief Mild Language". This is the second Mutual Film Company movie to not have their logo & have only the DreamWorks SKG logo. It was released on VHS in 1998 by DreamWorks Home Entertainment, the home video operation of DreamWorks SKG Pictures, formerly DreamWorks Home Video.


The film is a picaresque tale about an intelligent talking blue-crowned conure named Paulie and his long quest to return to his owner.

Misha Belenkoff (Tony Shalhoub), a Russian immigrant and former teacher of literature, is living in America and working as a janitor at an animal testing lab. There he encounters a blue-crowned conure and is astonished when it speaks to him in perfect English. The bird does not talk when Belenkoff brings witnesses.

Misha persuades the bird to tell his story with pieces of mango after reading about the diet of conures. Paulie tells Belenkoff about his real owner, a little girl named Marie (Hallie Kate Eisenberg) who was a stutterer. Paulie is shown in flashback, first as a baby bird. As Marie learns to speak, so does he, and he learns well, understanding the meaning of words and learning to construct complex sentences. Soon Marie's father Warren, who's a soldier, returns home. However, he does not like the bird and believes it's not helping her speak. It's believed he may resent the bird for its closeness to her instead of him and that Paulie was able to help her speak when none of his methods worked.

It becomes very obvious that he wants Marie to forget Paulie when he brings her a pet cat. It's also obvious that the cat and Paulie don't get along either, mainly because Paulie's afraid of the cat. The cat tries a few times to attack Paulie. However, again Marie's father blames Paulie for Marie's speaking problems and believes she's in a fantasy about Paulie speaking. Eventually after a dramatic event in which Marie falls off the roof of her house in an attempt to teach Paulie to fly, he convinces her mother to send the bird away.

Paulie is passed from one owner to another, eventually ending up in a pawn shop, where he spends his time insulting the customers, until he is purchased by a widowed artist, Ivy (Gena Rowlands). She befriends him and agrees to take him to find Marie, who has moved across the country to Los Angeles. Ivy loses her sight and Paulie decides to stay and take care of her, but this is cut short when Ivy dies one day and is taken away while Paulie, having finally learned to fly, continues his journey.

In East Los Angeles, Paulie joins a group of performing conures owned by Ignacio (Cheech Marin), but is kidnapped by Benny (Mohr) and begins a life of crime. In a botched jewel theft, Paulie flies down through the chimney of a house, but is trapped inside and abandoned.

Paulie is then brought to the institute, his current home, where employees and scientists there are stunned by his intelligence. They put Paulie through tests and promise that he will be reunited with Marie. When Paulie discovers that the institute has lied to him, he refuses to cooperate with any more tests. Paulie's wings are clipped, and he is imprisoned in the basement.

Moved by Paulie's story, Misha decides to give up his menial job to release Paulie and take him to Marie. After escaping from the Institute and taking a bus to Marie's address, they find Marie, who is now fully grown and a beautiful young woman (Trini Alvarado), who is unrecognizable to Paulie. After a moment of confusion, they are happily reunited when Marie sings Paulie's favorite song and he remembers her, flying with joy. The film ends with Misha and Marie going into her house with Paulie to catch up.



The film's production budget was 23 million US dollars.[2]


Paulie was well received. As of August 22 2014, the movie has scored a 62% or 6.2/10 rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

It was distributed in 24 countries and 10 different languages between 1998 and 1999.

Paulie grossed $5,369,800 on its opening weekend, and $26,875,268 USD altogether.[3] It was released in 1,812 theaters.[2]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Award Category Result
ALMA Award Outstanding Actor in a Feature Film - Cheech Marin Nomination
ALMA Award Outstanding Actress in a Feature Film - Trini Alvarado Nomination
BAFTA Children's Award Best Children's Feature Film Won
Bronze Gryphon Early Screens - John Roberts Won
Young Artist Award Best family feature - Comedy Nomination
Young Artist Award Best performance in a feature film - Young Actress aged ten or under - Hallie Kate Eisenberg Nomination
Young Artist Award Best performance by a young actress in a comedy film - Hallie Kate Eisenberg Nomination


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b "PAULIE". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  3. ^ "Angels Stays Aloft in Top Spot". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-07-08. 

External links[edit]