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There's nothing more determined than poultry with a plan.
~ Tagline

Chicken Run is a 2000 British stop-motion animated family comedy film and the first animated feature film produced by Aardman Animations in partnership with DreamWorks Animation. The film was distributed by DreamWorks Pictures in the US, released on June 23rd 2000 and by Pathé in the UK, released on June 30th 2000. The film was directed by Nick Park and Peter Lord. It features the voices of Julia Sawalha, Mel Gibson, Timothy Spall, Phil Daniels, Tony Haygarth and Miranda Richardson. The film focuses on a group of British chickens who meet a smooth-talking Rhode Island Red rooster named Rocky Rhodes as their only hope to escape from facing certain death when the owners of their farm decide to move from selling eggs to chicken pot pies.

A sequel, Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget was released on Netflix on December 15, 2023.

Plot[]

The Tweedys are a grumpy middle-aged couple who run a British chicken farm in Yorkshire, England. The coop is run in the style of World War II Camp with the chickens accountable for the number of eggs they lay each day or else face being on the chopping block. One chicken, Ginger, has attempted numerous plans to flee the coop, aided by contraband smuggled into the coop by two rats, Nick and Fetcher, but she is always caught by Mr. Tweedy and his dogs, and placed into solitary confinement. However, Ginger is released just in time for roll call the next day, When Mrs. Tweedy finds Edwina had laid no eggs for a week, Mrs. Tweedy then kills her with a hatchet for dinner and Ginger faces problems with Nick and Fetcher who are tired of being payed with chicken feeds and want eggs instead.

Mrs. Tweedy realizes her farm is failing and reads a catalogue on products to increase the profits. Ginger tries to convince the other hens to speed up their efforts to escape, but soon comes to conclude the only escape route is to go over the fence, something chickens cannot do. Soon, a Rhode Island rooster approaches to fly over the fence and crash-lands into the coop. The hens fawn over the new arrival, Rocky, and keep him hidden from the Tweedys. Ginger finds part of a poster Rocky dropped, claiming that he can fly. She tries to convince Rocky to help them escape by teaching them how to fly, but Rocky's wing was injured and cannot show them immediately. Fowler, an older rooster, says because Rocky is American, then he's snobby, and he calls Americans names such as, "overpaid" and "oversexed". Rocky puts them through a set of exercises that seem to have no purpose while assuring the chickens they are making progress. Soon, the Tweedys have machinery delivered and begin assembling it. At the same time, Mrs. Tweedy measures Babs, and orders food rations doubled, intending to fatten the chickens up, demanding they all be as fat as Babs is! Ginger is the only one to take serious note of this.

Soon, what is revealed to be a pie machine is completed, and Mr. Tweedy grabs Ginger for its first test. Rocky rescues Ginger, and they manage to jam the machine, giving them more time to work out their escape. Fowler apologizes to Rocky for misjudging his character, and gives Rocky his respect for saving Ginger, giving him his old Scotland badge in tribute, and surrendering his entire bunk to him. Rocky decides to flee the farm the next day. Ginger finds Fowler's medal and the second part of the poster, showing that Rocky was a stunt rooster, "flying" by being shot out of a cannon. This revelation shocks and depresses the chickens, and a fight soon breaks out between Bunty and Mac as morale falls. When Fowler arrives to restore order, he begins talking of his days in the Royal Air Force, until Bunty starts to criticize. Fowler hits her with his stick, and then, the argument becomes physical as all the chickens get involved. Ginger realizes they can build a plane from Fowler's pictures and personal recollections. The chickens race against time to assemble the aircraft while Mr. Tweedy works to repair the pie machine.

The chickens finish their machine just as Mr. Tweedy completes repairs and enters the coop to grab the chickens. Led by Ginger, the chickens launch an open revolt, tying up and gagging Mr. Tweedy and readying the "crate". As they prepare for take off Mr. Tweedy breaks himself loose and knocks down the ramp. Ginger jumps down while Fowler turns the plane around, knocking Mr. Tweedy unconscious. As Ginger struggles to lift the ramp, Mrs. Tweedy arrives with an earlier used hatchet. Rocky, (who had seen the billboard advert of chicken pies), flies in over the fence and hits Mrs. Tweedy. Ginger and Rocky grab onto a string of lights caught on the plane's landing gear- Mrs. Tweedy soon wakes up and now in a burst of primal rage grabs onto the lights too, weighing down the crate. Ginger heads down the string to cut it, but Mrs. Tweedy crashes into her own billboard, the impact had sent Ginger out of the crate and onto the string. Just as Mrs. Tweedy swipes at Ginger with her hatchet but is foiled by Rocky launching eggs at her with the help of Nick and Fetcher which causes Mrs. Tweedy to accidentally make Ginger drop the pair of scissors, Ginger tricks Mrs. Tweedy into using the hatchet to sever the string. Mrs. Tweedy ends up falling through the barn and crashing into the pie machine, plugging up the safety valve, this causes the machine to build up pressure and explodes in a mushroom cloud of gravy which floods the entire farm, destroying the barn leaving only what's left of the barn and the barn door standing. Mr. Tweedy (who isn't covered in gravy and was standing behind the door), who reminds his wife, "I told you they was organized!", which only enrages her further. Having enough, Mr. Tweedy then pushes the door on top of her. It is unknown if she survived as the chickens cheer and continue flying to freedom.

The film concludes with the chickens having found a bird sanctuary where they can live in comfort and raise their new chicks, while Ginger and Rocky fall into a romantic relationship. Meanwhile, Nick and Fetcher discuss starting their own chicken farm so they can have all the eggs they could eat. In the post-credits, Nick and Fetcher end up arguing over whether the egg chicken or the egg came first. Rocky then tells the two to be quieter. Nick and Fetcher then complain of him being a movie star.

Cast[]

Production[]

Chicken Run was first conceived in 1995 by Aardman co-founder Peter Lord and Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park. According to Park, the project started as a spoof on the 1963 film The Great Escape. 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 Karey Kirkpatrick scripted, with additional input from Mark Burton and John O'Farrell.

When a chicken speaks, each sound corresponds to a different beak that was placed on the character.

Pathé agreed to finance the film in 1996, putting their finances into script development and model design. DreamWorks officially came on board in 1997. They beat out studios like Disney, 20th Century Fox, and Warner Bros. and largely won due to the perseverance of DreamWorks co-chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg; as a company they were eager to make their presence felt in the animation market in an attempt to compete with Disney's dominance of the field. Katzenberg explained that he had "been chasing these guys for five or six years, ever since I first saw Creature Comforts." DreamWorks secured their first animated feature with the film, and they handled distribution in all territories except Europe, which Pathé handled. The two studios co-financed the film. DreamWorks also retains rights to worldwide merchandising.

Principal photography began on 29 January 1998. During production, 30 sets were used with 80 animators working along with 180 people working overall. The result was one minute of film completed for each week of filming, with production wrapped on 18 June 1999.

Music[]

John Powell and Harry Gregson-Williams composed the music for the film, which was released on 20 June 2000 under the RCA Victor label.

Release[]

Chicken Run was released on June 30, 2000 in the UK and on June 23, 2000 in the US.

Home media[]

Main article: Chicken Run (video)

Reception[]

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 & 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 theatres and finishing in fourth place. The film's widest release was 2,953 theatres, after grossing $106,834,564 domestically with an additional $118,000,000 overseas for a worldwide total of $224,834,564. Produced on an estimated budget of $42–45 million, the film was a huge box office hit. To date, it is still the highest grossing stop motion animated movie.

Critical Response[]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 97% based on 173 reviews and an average rating of 8.1/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "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." At Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 88 out of 100, based on 34 critics, indicating "universal acclaim". Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade "A−" on an A+ to F scale.

Videos[]


Transcript[]

Gallery[]

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Trivia[]

References[]

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v - e - d
Chicken Run Logo
Media
Films: Chicken Run (video) • Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget
Characters
GingerRockyMrs. Melisha TweedyMr. Willard TweedyFowlerBuntyMacBabsFetcherNickFetcherDogsCircus Man
Locations
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