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Thursday February 22nd 2024

Birdy | 1984

Birdy (Matthew Modine) is a traumatised war vet who’s retreated into silence, Al (Nicolas Cage) his physically damaged friend. Set in Philadelphia, which certainly provides the city backdrops, much of the movie was filmed around northern California.

The hospital in which Modine is incarcerated is Agnews State Hospital, 4000 Lafayette Avenue in Santa Clara, just south of San Francisco (the sets were built here too).

The elevated railway, where Birdy and Al clamber among the girders to catch pigeons, really is Philadelphia. It’s 46th Street Station at the corner of Market Street and 46th Street in the Mill Creek neighborhood, West Philadelphia. The station has been substantially renovated since filming.

The pair take a ’53 Ford to the coast, but ‘Atlantic City’, where the scene is set, has been extensively redeveloped. The fairground scenes actually filmed 30 miles to the south of Atlantic City, on the Boardwalk at at Wildwood on the New Jersey coast.

The ‘Atlantic City’ jail, where they end up, is a wing of the women’s prison at the House of Correction, 8001 State Road, Philadelphia.

The statue of William Penn can be seen atop the extravagantly towering Philadelphia City Hall, Penn Square at Broad and Market Streets, also prominently featured in Brian De Palma's Blow Out and Terry Gilliam’s Twelve Monkeys.