Western Animation / Free Birds


The greatest turkey movie of all time!

Free Birds is the first animated film from Reel FX Animation Studios, starring the voices of Woody Harrelson, Owen Wilson, and Amy Poehler.

Reggie is a turkey on a turkey farm, and seems to be the only one who realizes the fate that's in store for him and all the others there. Fate intervenes one day as the President of the United States comes to his farm to pardon the Thanksgiving turkey, him! Now he gets to enjoy the good life, all the food he can eat, his own robe and slippers, and being able to live without fear...until Jake shows up.

Jake is on a mission: Go back in time to the first Thanksgiving, and make it so turkeys are not served for dinner. And he's bringing Reggie along with him. First they have to break into a top secret research facility and steal the time machine being developed there, and then they have to make sure that turkeys are not served at the first Thanksgiving.

It was released on November 1, 2013, just in time for Thanksgiving. Though a box office success, it was loathed by critics.

Free Birds provide examples of:

  • Action Girl: Jenny
  • Ambiguously Gay: Jake.
  • Artistic License History:
    • Disclaimer at the beginning: "The following film is a work of fiction. It is loosely based on historical and is in no way meant to be historically accurate. Except for the talking turkeys. They were totally real." With that out of the way...
    • People mainly ate deer for the first Thanksgiving, not turkey.
    • The pardoned turkeys (traditionally, two are pardoned each year, not just one) go to a petting farm at Disneyland not Camp David.
  • Berserk Button: Don't tell Ranger that he lacks courage.
  • Big Bad: Myles Standish.
  • The Big Guy: Jake.
  • Blind Obedience: Jake attempts to invoke it, but it doesn't work
    Jake: The enemy is approaching! You must follow me blindly!
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The TV remote control that Reggie accidentally brings with him is later used to ward off the dogs when he and Jake blow up the weapons shack.
    • Likewise, Reggie's love for pizza comes into great play when it replaces turkeys on the holiday menu.
  • The Chief's Daughter: Jenny. She becomes the Chief after Broadbeak's Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Jake, at least so it seems at first.
  • The Chosen One: Reggie.
  • Dumb Muscle: Jake is much bigger and stronger than Reggie, and seemingly the one with the plan, but considering that Jake talks to his own reflection...
  • Faceless Mooks: The guys guarding the time machine, who laugh maniacally as they brandish their flamethrowers.
  • Fourth Wall Psych: In this exchange:
    Jake: We're going back in time to the first Thanksgiving to get turkeys off the menu!
    Reggie: Who are you talking to?
    Jake: [Points to the audience] This guy right here. [cut to showing him looking at his reflection] He totally gets it! See how he's nodding?
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • In the scene where Reggie switches the president's daughter's remote for the president's, one of the pens on the table is from Chrono Lab 2, foreshadowing the secret time travel base.
    • While Reggie watches TV for the first time, there's an momentary view of two hockey players, who are clearly wearing Vancouver Canucks jerseys (though you only see the "Vancouver" part, not the logo or team name).
  • Friend to All Children: Jake
  • Fun with Acronyms: The time machine is the Space Time Exploration Vehicle Envoy (S.T.E.V.E.)
  • The Genie Knows Jack Nicholson: "Those are some Angry Birds."
  • Glass Smack and Slide: During the activation of the Time Machine, which cause some serious magnetic/gravitic anomalies, the chrononaut and a guard are pressed against the large glass window of the control room, on which they slide sideways under the confused eyes of the President, the General and the technicians. Then the machine departs and the gravity return to normal, leaving the chrononaut and guard sliding down normally.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Chief Broadbeak.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: Myles Standish.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    [Reggie approaches an old turkey mumbling to himself]
    Reggie: Looks like it's just you and me.
    Old Turkey: Beat it, weirdo! [continues mumbling to himself]
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Jenny, with many of her mannerisms and facial gestures, is just like Amy Poehler in turkey form.
  • It's All My Fault: Reggie says this after the turkeys' home is destroyed, with many captured and the chief dying (as mentioned above).
  • Kill It with Fire: For some reason, fire is the preferred weapon of the guards at the facility Reggie and Jake invade. Perhaps it's to cook them?
  • Kissing Discretion Shot: Reggie and Jenny kiss off-screen to avoid Alternate Animal Affection.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Jake looks incredibly guilty when he sees what his actions (of accidentally leading the pilgrims to their nest and destroying it, killing Chief Broadbeak in the process) have caused.
  • The Native Rival: Jake and Ranger are both the Boisterous Bruiser, Dumb Muscle type, and Ranger doesn't appreciate Jake showing up suggesting war to a peaceful flock. They don't see eye-to-eye, at least at first.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The trophy Jake takes from the Plymouth colony in order to prove his heroism to the wild turkeys ends up leading the colonists straight to their nest.
  • Only Sane Man: Reggie seems to be the only turkey on the farm who realizes what their fate will be.
  • Plot Hole: When Reggie goes back (forward?) to his own time, he meets two other versions of himself that are from the future, but none of them know that they are the Great Turkey and it takes STEVE to figure it out, how did the other versions not know if they were him from the future? Then at the end of the movie Reggie stays with the flock in the past, so how did those future Reggie's travel back in time to meet their former self, and if they were (are whatever!) the Reggie we see now, how did they not know they were the great turkey?
  • Powder Trail: Jake accidentally leaves one that leads the pilgrims to the turkey's hideout.
  • Product Placement: Chuck E. Cheese pizza ends up saving the day.
  • Rushmore Refacement: The epilogue shows a photograph of Mount Rushmore with a turkey joining the Presidents.
  • Sapient Eat Sapient: Turkeys have enough intelligence to travel through freaking time, but evidently just informing the humans of their sapience via written language or other shows of intelligence is simply not an option from the get-go.
  • The Stinger:
    Jake: Have you heard about the TURDUCKEN?
  • Self-Deprecation: The tagline proclaims the film to be "the greatest turkey movie of all time". A "turkey" is a nickname for a terrible film.
  • Shout-Out:
    • From the trailer, while the turkeys shoot flaming pumpkins at the Indians:
      Native American: Those are some angry birds.
    • Also, the scene where Jake steals Standish's powder horn is reminiscent of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.
    • The time travel sequence is reminiscent of the wormhole sequence in Contact.
  • Stable Time Loop: Jake said he was inspired by "The Great Turkey" when he was younger. It turns out that Reggie in the time machine was "The Great Turkey" who purposefully invoked this trope.
  • Succession Crisis: Averted. Hunter is more than willing to let Jenny take charge after they determine that their late father's wish was for Jenny to lead the tribe.
  • That Poor Cat: A cat screams when Governor Bradford tosses a pitchfork aside.
  • Time Travel: To get back to the first Thanksgiving.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: A whole flock of future Reggies shows up to tell Reggie what he needs to do.
  • This Is a Work of Fiction: "The following film is a work of fiction. It is loosely based on historical events and is in no way meant to be historically accurate. Except for the talking turkeys. That part is totally real."
  • Troubled Backstory Flashback: Jake. He grew up in a factory farm, attempted to escape with unhatched eggs in order to start a new flock, but couldn't get the eggs through the fence.
  • What's a Henway?: Occurs when the guards see Jake and Reggie's break-in.
    Guard: Control, we have a contaminant.
    Control: Copy that, what type, Agent?
    Guard: Turkey, sir. How do we address it?
    Control: Uh, with cranberry sauce.
    Both: ...hehehehehehehe.
    Guard: —but seriously.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Reggie and the other turkeys call out Jake when he unintentionally reveals their location to the Pilgrims (due to a gunpowder trail he accidentally left when they blew up the weapons shack).