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Released August 2, 1985
Duration 89 minutes
Director Ken Kwapis
Written by Tony Geiss & Judy Freudberg
Music Van Dyke Parks and Lennie Niehaus
see also: songs
Studio Warner Bros. Pictures
Rated G

The film's theatrical poster; art by Steven Chorney.


Sesame Street's North by Northwest spoof.

Big Bird and Dodos

(behind the scenes)

Sleaze brothers

Copies of the film presented on home video prior to 2009 featured a cropped 1.33:1 screen aspect ratio. The deluxe edition DVD released in 2009 presents the film in its original 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio.


Elmo's very brief appearance. Seen with an unnamed yellow monster, Anything Muppet boy, and Prairie Dawn.

Big Bird scarecrow

Big Bird's dream family, animated by The Animation House Limited.

Caroll Spinney Follow That Bird screening

Caroll Spinney attends a screening of Follow That Bird.

Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird is the first feature-length film to star characters from Sesame Street.


The plot involves an organization of birds called the Feathered Friends sending Big Bird to Oceanview, Illinois, to live with a bird family called the Dodos. However, after deciding that he isn't happy with them, he heads back to Sesame Street, not realizing that it will take more than just three hours to get back home.

Big Bird's road trip makes the news, and his friends on Sesame Street team up to find him. Also searching for him is overbearing social worker Miss Finch, who wants to return him to the Dodos. Big Bird's travels include a ride with a truck driver and an easy going day with farm children Ruthie and Floyd. He has a less friendly encounter with Sam and Sid Sleaze, crooked carnival operators who cage him as an act. In the end, Big Bird's friends find and rescue him and the bird returns to his true family and home, on Sesame Street.


  • The street set used in this movie is a rebuilt version of the show set, made to look more realistic. The expanded street includes a bakery, a clinic, a grocery store, a fire station, an auto body shop, a music store, a barber shop, and a bookstore. A sign above the Fix-It Shop touts a "local restaurant around the corner."
  • The Dodo family's home address is 35 Canary Row, Oceanview, Illinois.
  • The movie was filmed on location in Ontario, Canada, and at Toronto International Studios. Thus, in addition to the regular Sesame Street puppeteers, many of the performers from Fraggle Rock were used for the film.
  • The movie was also filmed shortly after production wrapped on Sesame Street’s 15th season, but released in the summer following Season 16.
  • The aircraft that Big Bird flies on from Sesame Street to Oceanview, Illinois is a Fokker F27 Friendship.
  • A widescreen DVD presented in the film's original 1.85:1 screen-aspect ratio was available for the first time in 2009, when a 25th-anniversary Deluxe Edition DVD of the film was released. Previously, all region-1 copies of the film were presented full screen 1.33:1.
  • Just before Big Bird's entrance roller-skating down the street, he is visible through the Fix-It Shop window waiting for his cue for just a moment or two before he skates home.
  • The turkey truck driver's license plate reads "GOBBLE."
  • The scene with Big Bird running from Ernie and Bert's approaching plane is a spoof on a visually similar scene from the Alfred Hitchcock film North by Northwest, in which Cary Grant's character hides in a cornfield after a crop duster attack. The subsequent pesticide cloud, in this version, is replaced by Bert's falling bottlecap collection.
  • Richard Hunt puppeteered the Count for the film while Jerry Nelson dubbed over the voice.[3]
  • The "first draft second revision" of the screenplay was written on April 3, 1984.[4]



  • Muppet Performers
Caroll Spinney, Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Richard Hunt, Kathryn Mullen, Jerry Nelson, Martin P. Robinson, Bryant Young, Fred Garbo Garver, Cheryl Wagner, Patricia Leeper, Gordon Robertson, Jeff Weiser, Shari Weiser, Tim Gosley, Noel MacNeal, Robert Stutt, Lee Armstrong, Nikki Tilroe, Robert Mills, John Pattison, Frank Meschkuleit, Terry Angus, Matthew Pidgeon, Stephen Brathwaite, Tom Vandenberg, Francine Anderson, Ron Wagner, Martine Carrier, Karen Valleau, Michelle Frey, Gus Harsfai, Patricia Lewis, Charlotte Levinson, Carolanne MacLean, Peter McCowatt, Brian Moffatt, Myra Fried, Jani Lauzon, Sandra Shamas, Kevin Clash, Pam Arciero
  • Sesame Street Cast
Linda Bove as Linda
Emilio Delgado as Luis
Loretta Long as Susan
Sonia Manzano as Maria
Bob McGrath as Bob
Roscoe Orman as Gordon
Alaina Reed as Olivia
Kermit Love as Willy
  • Human Cast
Dave Thomas as Sam Sleaze
Joe Flaherty as Sid Sleaze
Alyson Court as Ruthie
Benjamin Barrett as Floyd
Richard Campbell as Boy with apple
Liston Bates as Rescue Boy
Tawny Richard as Rescue Girl
Adrian McCalla as Kid at map
Tanya Marie Cook as Tanya
Shawna Stoll as Airline Announcer
  • Voice Actors
Sally Kellerman as Miss Finch
Laraine Newman as Mommy Dodo
Brian Hohlfeld as Daddy Dodo
Cathy Silvers as Marie Dodo
Eddie Deezen as Donnie Dodo
  • Cameo Guest Stars
Paul Bartel as Grouch Cook
Sandra Bernhard as Grouch Waitress
John Candy as State Trooper Nelson
Chevy Chase as Newscaster
Waylon Jennings as Truck Driver

Muppet cast[]

  • Muppet Characters
Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Ernie, Bert, Kermit the Frog, Cookie Monster, Grover, Count von Count, Mr. Snuffleupagus, Telly Monster, Miss Finch, Mommy Dodo, Daddy Dodo, Donnie Dodo, Marie Dodo, Madame Chairbird
  • Background Characters
Grundgetta, Osvaldo, el Gruñón, Grouches, Bruno the Trashman, Barkley, Herry Monster, Gladys the Cow, Elmo, Two-Headed Monster, Sherlock Hemlock, The Amazing Mumford, Biff, Sully, Buster the Horse, Forgetful Jones, Simon Soundman, Dr. Nobel Price, Poco Loco, Maurice Monster, Prairie Dawn, Red Bird, Ferlinghetti Donizetti, Mr. Honker, Old McDougal, Honkers, Slimey, Anything Muppets, Sesame Street Monsters, Board of Birds, Peligro, Granny Monster

Additional credits[]



Follow That Bird promo tote bag

promotional tote bag

Big Bird appeared on the Today show and on the Canadian news magazine show Midday in July 1985 to promote the film.

Wendy's featured the characters on a series of cups and Kids Meal boxes. A promotional tie-in with Coronet was also established which featured the characters on paper towel packaging and as part of a Sweepstakes in the summer of 1985.


See also[]

External links[]