• Review Date: February 5, 2013
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1999
  • Running Time: 91 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Talking bird on a coming-of-age journey with some peril.
  • Review Date: February 5, 2013
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1999
  • Running Time: 91 minutes





What parents need to know

Educational value
Not applicable
Positive messages

Paulie is filled with extremely positive messages about friendship, respect, compassion, valuing the moment, telling others how you feel about them, and the value of simply listening to one's fellow humans. Paulie's story only unravels in the film because Misha believes it has innate value. Paulie listens to Ivy's story about her life traveling with her husband, and later, Ignacio's romantic woes. 

Positive role models

Paulie is a loyal friend to Marie, and a compassionate guide bird to Ivy. Marie is a loving pet owner. Misha is a kind friend.

Violence & scariness

A girl falls off a roof and is rescued. A bird is abandoned and trapped in a house. A bird is in agony when his wings are clipped. An ambulance signals the death of a character, though nothing is explicit or scary.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable

The movie has a few instances of insulting language, such as when Paulie calls Misha a "mutt monkey," and calls a pet cat a "stupid hairball." A pawn shop owner briefly mutters "Goddammit."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

In one minor scene, patrons at an outdoor bar/taqueria consume beers during a musical performance.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Paulie is a sweet, sensitively handled tale about the bond between a bird and his owner, with some great lessons about friendship, but it does include the death of a caretaker (implied, not shown explicitly or with any scariness), a tearful separation between a child and her pet, and a few other potentially frightening scenes. In one, a girl falls off a roof but is rescued; in another, the bird is abandoned, and later becomes trapped in a house. Additionally, for a portion of the film the bird is an accomplice to theft and robbery, though he learns it is wrong.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

A janitor, Misha (Tony Shalhoub), discovers a forgotten parrot in the basement of a research lab who not only talks (voiced by Jay Mohr), but understands, and listens. As Misha earns PAULIE's trust, he tells him the story of his long-lost owner, a 5-year-old girl named Marie, his years-long search to reunite with her, and the acquaintances he makes along the way, including Ivy (Gena Rowlands) and Ignacio (Cheech Marin).

Is it any good?


Paulie sounds like a recipe for disaster -- a talking parrot, a stuttering kid, and a bird on a very long road trip. But it's a sweet, charming film (featuring some great scenery shots) about a girl, her pet, and the exciting acquaintances he makes in his search to reunite with her that proves far more endearing and less cornball than it has any right to be. 

In part, Paulie succeeds because there isn't an hokey performance from anyone in this terrific cast, not even the bird, who has a natural, understated (if wisecracking) presence. (It's also hard to go wrong with anything involving Gena Rowlands.) Though this isn't a laugh-a-minute sendup, it's a rewarding, nuanced movie about friendship and loss for audiences mature enough to appreciate it. And, hey, on top of that, it's got a talking bird, which kids will love even if the heavier themes fly right over their heads.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about listening. Can you think of other movies you've seen that show the importance of listening to our friends' stories?

  • Discuss how animals should be treated in a research setting. Is there value in testing things on animals before humans?

  • Visit the library to learn more about animal training and communicating with different species.

Movie details

DVD release date:April 20, 1999
Cast:Bruce Davison, Cheech Marin, Gena Rowlands, Hallie Eisenberg, Jay Mohr, Tony Shalhoub
Director:John Roberts
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Adventures, Friendship, Wild animals
Run time:91 minutes
MPAA rating:PG

This review of Paulie was written by

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About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byzeekattacklee February 18, 2015

Great film to see again after a very long time..

I Personally loved this film a whole bunch.. It's a great film for everyone in the family.. On the side note it does have it's share of rude humor.. Otherwise, I think this would make a perfect choice for a family film..
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Kid, 11 years old September 8, 2013

so cute

This is a good movie but is sad in the beginning.
What other families should know
Great messages
Educator and Parent Written bylindsaym3 May 22, 2015

Inappropriate language

This movie sends a great message, however some of the language used might not be suitable for young children. Stupid and ugly are used often, and the word "jack ass" is also used. Proceed with caution when showing this in a school setting.
What other families should know
Great messages


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