->'''Mytyl:''' Why do they have to have war? What makes war, anyway?\\
'''Daddy Tyl:''' The same things that make trouble everywhere. Greed. Selfishness. Those who aren't content with what they have.\\
'''Mytyl:''' But you're not like that, Daddy. Why should you have to go?\\
'''Daddy Tyl:''' That's what's wrong about it, Mytyl. You can't be unhappy inside yourself without making others unhappy, too.

A play written in 1908 by Belgian playwright Maurice Maeterlinck. It has been adapted into five films and an anime series, with the best-known version being the 1940 film starring {{Shirley Temple}}, which provides the above dialogue.

The original play tells the tale of Mytyl and Tyltyl, two poor children. One night an old crone (who resembles their neighbor Berylune) arrives at their cottage and tells the children they must seek the Blue Bird of Happiness for her sickly daughter. She gives the boy a cap with a magic diamond that reveals the true spirits (anthropomorphic personifications) of all things -- including their cat Tylette and their dog Tylo, and those of Sugar, Bread, Milk, Water, Fire, and Light. This band serves as their companions as they venture through many lands and encounter everyone from the spirits of their grandparents to the decadent Luxuries to the simpler but more enduring Happinesses to Father Time himself. [[spoiler: The Blue Bird proves elusive at every turn, but upon arriving home it turns out to be their own pet bird, which they give to Berylune's daughter. It flies away, and Tyltyl asks the audience to help them find it again...]]

In the 1940 film, Mytyl is a selfish bratty girl who always complains about not having everything the wealthy children have. One day she catches a bird in the royal forest and keeps it for herself rather than giving it to her bedridden sickly friend. Later, after complaining to her parents about how poor they are, her father gets a message telling him he must go to war. That night, she's visited by the fairy Berylune who tells her and her brother Tytyl that they can be happy if they find the Blue Bird of Happiness. The fairy transforms their dog Tylo and their cat Tylette into humans to help them and calls the {{Anthropomorphic Personification}} of Light to guide them. Together they visit the past, the land of luxury, the forest, and even the future, searching for the Blue Bird. Along the way, they learn some important lessons happiness and return empty-handed. [[spoiler:Only to find that the bird Mytyl caught at the beginning was blue all along. She gives it to her friend and it flies away...]]

The second most famous adaptation, and the last film version, was directed by George Cukor in 1976 and was the first-ever cinematic collaboration between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., featuring Creator/ElizabethTaylor ([[Main/LoadsAndLoadsOfRoles Mother, Berylune, Light, and Maternal Love]]), Creator/JaneFonda (Night), Cicely Tyson (Tylette), Ava Gardner, and Russian performers in most of the minor roles. Due in part to the severe culture clash between the Americans and Russians, [[TroubledProduction the shoot was difficult]] and the expensive result (while quite faithful to the play) was widely derided. It bombed at the box office, and has never had a legit video release in the U.S.

The 1918 film version, starring Tula Belle as Mytyl and Robin Macdougall as Tyltyl, is less well remembered today, but was inducted into the NationalFilmRegistry in 2002.

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!!!This play contains examples of:
* AndYouWereThere: The same actress plays both the children's mother and the Spirit of Maternal Love. The 1976 version expands on this by having her actress also play Berylune (referred to in the credits as "The Witch") and Light.
* AnthropomorphicPersonification: Most of the characters are these, representing concepts, objects, or animals.
* BreakingTheFourthWall: At the end, Tyltyl does this [[spoiler: to ask audience members to -- if any of them should find it -- return the Blue Bird to him and the sick girl]].
* CatsAreMean: Tylette. She does not like being in thrall to mankind, and tries to encourage her cohorts to keep the children from fulfilling their quest to find the secret of happiness because that would only put animals, etc. further under Man's control. When that fails, she collaborates with Night and later the tree spirits to stop the children.
* ChekhovsGun: The big one turns out to be [[spoiler: the children's pet bird]]. Less importantly, the children's father is a woodcutter, and the tree spirits of the forest -- already bitter with mankind's dominance over them -- are ''not'' happy to meet them as a result.
* DarkIsEvil: Night is the keeper of the world's secrets (both good and evil), and does not want Man to know the secret of happiness. With this in mind, she tries to scare the children and their companions away with some of the nastier things she keeps under lock and key, including ghosts, wars, and diseases. And Death can be seen sleeping at her feet.
* EverythingTalks: Once their spirits are revealed, anyway. Animals, trees, food, you name it!
* FairyTale: A theater example, and an original story to boot.
* FemaleFelineMaleMutt: Tylette and Tylo, respectively.
* IdleRich: All the Luxuries do is enjoy parties and feasts in their palace.
* ItWasWithYouAllAlong: Justified: [[spoiler: Their pet bird ''was'' black before the children set off, but after they're "en-Lightened" to what's truly important in life (as critic John Simon put it), they return to find it's turned blue]].
* LightIsGood: And she is the leader of the sidekicks.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters: The kids get eight sidekicks, for starters!
* OrWasItADream: The final scene reveals that the children's year-long quest for the Blue Bird is a dream that unfolds over one night, but not only is their neighbor Berylune's daughter actually ill, [[spoiler: their pet bird is now blue...]].
* ShootTheShaggyDog: The poor kids [[spoiler: ''finally'' get the Blue Bird only for it to fly away almost as soon as they give it to the sick girl]]!
* StarCrossedLovers: Two children-to-be have fallen in love in the Kingdom of the Future, but one isn't due to be born yet and has to watch as their sweetheart heads down to Earth without them. (They hope to find each other someday.)
* ThemeNaming: [[OddNameOut With one exception]], the names of every character contain the syllable "Tyl" at least once.
* TrueBeautyIsOnTheInside: One of the big Aesops. The diamond's ability to reveal the true nature of things allows Tyltyl and Mytyl to see just how beautiful things they take for granted or fear actually are, starting with the old crone being revealed as a beautiful fairy. Maternal Love resembles what their mother would look like if she weren't weighed down with the day-to-day responsibilities of running a household and raising kids, and The Land of the Dead initially looks like a graveyard but turns out to be a beautiful garden of peaceful departed souls. The children, once they return home, take this lesson to heart and can see the beauty of their surroundings and family without the diamond.

!!!The 1940 version includes examples of:
* AnAesop: [[spoiler:"We'll find it again because now, we know where to look for it, don't we?"]]
* BigFancyHouse: The Luxurys' mansion.
* CatsHaveNineLives: [[spoiler:Mytyl uses this to explain why Tylette is waiting back at the house after being burned to death in the forest.]]
* ChekhovsGun: In this version, [[spoiler:the bird Mytyl catches at the beginning turns out to be the Blue Bird]].
* DeliberatelyMonochrome: Until the children's dream begins. The rest of the film is in color, even when they return to the real world.
* DisneyDeath: [[spoiler:Tylette, who still has eight lives left.]]
* FollowTheLeader: This was 20th Century Fox's answer to ''Film/TheWizardOfOz''.
* [[InThePastEveryoneWillBeFamous In The Future Everyone Will Be Famous]]: When they go to the land of tomorrow, they meet the unborn versions of several famous people, including Abraham Lincoln.

!!The 1976 version contains examples of:
* BillingDisplacement: Tyltyl and Mytyl (Todd Lookinland and Patsy Kensit) are billed ninth and tenth in the opening credits, and after the title to boot. Moreover, while Elizabeth Taylor's top billing makes sense (given her LoadsAndLoadsOfRoles and their relevance to the plot), and U.S. viewers of the time would certainly recognize her fellow American actresses in important supporting roles, the four Russian performers credited before the title all play ''much'' smaller roles. (Oleg Popov, as "The Clown" at the Palace of Luxury, is just TheCameo played up because he was the star of the Moscow Circus well into TheEighties.) Given the nature of the production, this was probably mandated so that the Russian side of it would not be marginalized.
* CanonForeigner: Luxury, Ava Gardner's character. Like the play's Luxuries she embodies a particular indulgence, but unlike them which one it is isn't revealed. (See FemmeFatale below for more on this issue.)
* ColorCodedElements: Reflected in several characters' costumes.
** Light: White
** Night (dark): Black
** Fire: Red
** Water: Blue
* CompositeCharacter: Here, the old crone Berylune (called "The Witch" in the credits) is revealed to be Light herself, rather than a fairy.
* CostumePorn: Elizabeth Taylor (as Light), Jane Fonda, and Ava Gardner all get glamorous costumes.
* EverythingsBetterWithSparkles: Light's gown, tiara, and wand, as well as Night's elaborate hat.
* EverythingsSparklyWithJewelry: Luxury.
* FemmeFatale: Luxury is this to Tyltyl -- she ends up diverting the whole party from their quest when she convinces him to come with her to the Palace of Luxury and enjoy the fun and food there. It's clear he finds her attractive, and when he asks her ''which'' specific luxury she happens to be (after she introduces him to ones like The Luxury of Eating When You Are Not Hungry and The Luxury of Knowing Nothing), she tells him that he'll find out when he's older. She even dresses in red; while her gowns are not typical of the LadyInRed trope, the symbolic function of the color is clear.
* GemEncrusted: Luxury and her cohorts' costumes.
* GriefSong: "Wings in the Sky" for Light when the children realize, to their sorrow, that the (fake) bluebirds they caught in Night's castle have all died.
* LetsMockTheMonsters: Mytyl and Tyltyl are initially afraid of the ghosts in Night's castle, who resemble decaying Elizabethan actors and moan their way through Shakespeare. But when Tylo barks and paws at them to defend his masters, the children realize the ghosts are capable of being scared too. They find this funny and from there easily drive them back behind their door.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfRoles: Four for Elizabeth Taylor (technically three, due to the CompositeCharacter issue).
* ManInWhite: Both Sugar and Father Time.
* TheMusical: There are both songs and dance interludes, the latter showing off some of Russia's top ballet dancers of the period.
* NoSongForTheWicked: None of the villainous characters get to sing or dance.
* PanUpToTheSkyEnding: One that has [[spoiler: the Blue Bird in flight]].
* RavenHairIvorySkin: Light.
* RhymesOnADime: Most of Fire's dialogue. Light, Water, and Bread each have rhyming speeches when they are first revealed, but Fire speaks almost exclusively this way.
* SettingOffSong: "Blue Halloo", a song about finding and sharing happiness, though it's placed ''after'' the kids have made their first stop in the Land of Memory.
* WomanInBlack: Night. Tylette was supposed to be this as well, but actress Cicely Tyson (an African-American) didn't like the implication of "black = evil", so instead she wears brown.
* WomanInWhite: Both Light and Milk; Light's dress is sparkly while Milk's is simple and homey.
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