Chicken Run

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Chicken Run is a stop-action animated film. Described as The Great Escape -- with chickens.

A ginger chicken named "Ginger" is the ringleader in the attempts of the chickens to escape from Mr and Mrs Tweedy's Chicken Farm, a prison where they must lay eggs at least once a week or face being beheaded and end up on the dinner plate. Ginger is at her wit's end having found she is now unable to convince the others into anymore escape attempts (which end with them in failure and her being locked in solitary confinement in a coal bunker). Then a rooster named Rocky, who can apparently fly, falls from the sky and agrees to teach the chickens how to fly like him, in return for Ginger keeping mum on his presence.

However Mrs. Tweedy, tiring of the low profits selling eggs brings her, decides to convert her business into chicken pot pies. Needless to say, things get drastic in a hurry and Ginger must get the whole coop into the air before they all become mincemeat.


Tropes used in Chicken Run include:

Fowler: Pushy Americans. Always showing up late for every war. Overpaid, over-sexed and over here!

    • This was an actual complaint that British soldiers had of American soldiers in WWII, due to the US Army paying better, and their willingness to use that extra money to get girls. The Americans usually countered that complaint by saying that the problem with the British troops was that they were underpaid, under-sexed, and under Eisenhower.
  • Aw, Look -- They Really Do Love Each Other: The look on Ginger's face when Babs reminds her of Rocky by calling her "Doll Face," including looking at his poster in a sad manner (why didn't she remove that poster anyway..?), and Rocky's reaction when he thinks Ginger's been killed.
  • Ax Crazy: Mrs. Tweedy in the climax. Double points for actually wielding an ax.
  • Babies Ever After
  • Bad Boss: Mrs Tweedy, especially regarding her henpecked husband.
  • Bad Vibrations: Lampshaded.
  • Bamboo Technology: The crate.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animals: Nick and Fetcher.
  • Becoming the Boast: Rocky and Fowler are an interesting contrast. Both of them make big boasts that they they can't live up to (Rocky's claim that he can fly, and Fowler's exploits in the Royal Air Force). Rocky runs away rather than face the shame of exposure; Fowler comes clean about the fact that he was a mascot, not a pilot, and at Ginger's urging he takes the pilot seat in the chickens' homemade aircraft.
    • To be clear, Fowler never claimed to be a pilot and seemed surprised Ginger assumed he was. He was just openly proud to have served.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Ginger and Rocky have traces of this.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Rocky's return in the climax; while Mrs. Tweedy has Ginger pinned to the ground and is threatening to kill her, Rocky comes flying over the fence on a tricycle, screaming Ginger's name as he does so.
  • Big Eater: Most of the hens, especially Babs.

Babs: Chicken feed. My favorite!

    • Averted by Ginger and Mac, who are considerably skinnier than all the other hens. They're about the same size as Rocky and Fowler.
  • Big No: Done by Rocky when Mrs. Tweedy seemingly kills Ginger. Includes a Futile Hand Reach.
  • Big "Shut Up!": From Ginger to the other chickens during the mudfight.
  • Bonnie Scotland: Mac.
  • Boxed Crook
  • Break the Cutie: Ginger goes through all kinds of hell, no doubt about it.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Ginger, when arguing with Rocky.
    • Rocky's "Thrrrust".
  • British Accents: Everyone except Rocky, of course, who makes a point of not understanding a word the Scottish-accented Mac says.
  • Captain Obvious: This little exchange near the end. It's meant to be a big plot twist, but it's just so obvious that you can't help but laugh.

Ginger: But you're supposed to be up there! You're the pilot!
Fowler: Don't be ridiculous. I can't fly this bloody contraption.
Ginger: "Back in your day"? The Royal Air Force?
Fowler: 644 Squadron, Poultry Division - we were the mascots.
Ginger: You mean you never actually flew the plane?
Fowler: Good heavens, no! I'm a chicken! The Royal Air Force doesn't let chickens behind the controls of complex aircraft!

  • Captivity Harmonica: Parodied.
  • Cassandra Truth: Mr. Tweedy's belief that the chickens are "organized".
  • Chekhov's Gun: Why on earth did they make such a big deal of showing the lights getting caught on the plane's wheel? Oh, now they're using it to climb! But I'm sure they don't serve any other... IS THAT MRS. TWEEDY?!?
    • Another example is the turnip catapult from the escape meeting scene, which shows up again in the climax when it's used to launch eggs at the attacking Mrs. Tweedy. But it doesn't stop her.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Fowler. He spends most of the film rambling about the RAF, then in the third act his stories inspire Ginger to build the crate and he ultimately becomes its pilot.
  • Chick Magnet: Rocky. Quite literally...
  • Claymation
  • Closet Shuffle: Whenever Rocky's presence needs to be hidden from the Tweedys.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Babs and Fetcher.
  • Coincidental Article: "Sick and tired of making miniscule profits?"
  • Comically Missing the Point: Babs thought Rocky left to go to the store. This got on Bunty's nerves, and this escalated into a huge brawl until Ginger stops it.
  • Composite Character: Bunty was originally two separate characters, the pushy one and the overly productive egg-layer (who, ironically, was going to be Edwina).
  • Conscience Makes You Go Back
  • Conspicuous CG: The rain and the gravy explosion. This is why Flushed Away was all-CGI; it's near-impossible to do with clay.
  • Conveyor Belt O' Doom: though this one is sideways with the chickens upside-down.
  • Crapsack World: The farm is depicted as one.
  • Dance of Romance: Arguably, the dance scene is when Ginger starts to fall for Rocky.
  • Death Course: The pie machine.
  • Death Glare: Ginger does this several times.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Lampshaded.

Rocky: Flying takes three things; hard work, perseverance and...hard work.
Fowler: You said "hard work" twice!
Rocky: That's because it takes twice as much work as perseverance!

Mr. Tweedy: [covered in chickens] Mrs. Tweedy! The chickens are revolting!
Mrs. Tweedy: [inside the house] Finally something we agree on.

Babs: Mornin', Ginger. Back from holiday?
Ginger: I wasn't on holiday, Babs, I was in solitary confinement.
Babs: Oh. It's nice to get a bit of time to yourself, isn't it?

Rocky: Ouch! What happened to my wing?
Ginger: You took a rather nasty fall.
Mac: And sprained the anterior tendon connecting your radius to your humerus. I gave her a wee bit of a tweak, Jimmy, and wrapped her up.
Rocky: Was that English?
Ginger: She said you hurt your wing. She fixed it.

  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Rocky, who let the "flying chicken" myth go to his head. Once he had to give an actual demonstration, he chickened out.
    • To a lesser degree, Fowler. While he never outright said he was a wartime hero, his ramblings gave off that impression. When he finally admits he was just the mascot, he insists that should have been obvious, since no one used chickens as pilots.
  • Fanfare: With kazoos!
  • Fat and Skinny: Mr and Mrs Tweedy; Nick and Fetcher.
  • Feather Fingers: This is a movie which features a chicken using scissors.
  • Five-Man Band: An almost perfect one at that:
  • Foreshadowing: Whenever Fowler gets to talking about "the crate".
  • Friend in the Black Market: The rats, Nick and Fetcher.
  • Funny Animal: though with some anthropomorphisms, mostly limited to cues based on clothing
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Pops up quite often. Notable examples:
    • Fetcher's hat.
    • "So... which bunk is mine?" And the enthusiastic response from nearly all the hens in the place.
    • "Overpaid, oversexed, and over here!"
      • That's more an example of The Radar Does Not Exist.
    • During the Training Montage, there's a precious moment where Ginger is leaning over and stretching and Rocky is checking out her bum. And then she catches him. And he coughs and continues instructing the class. Wow.
    • Mr. Tweedy pretty clearly jumps after Mrs. Tweedy apparently grabs his rear off-screen.
  • Gilligan Cut: This wonderful exchange.

Mrs Tweedy: (To her husband after he voices his suspicions of the chickens) They're chickens. They don't plot, they don't scheme and they are not organized!
(Cut to Ginger banging a gavel at one of their escape meeting)
Ginger: Order, order!

Nick: "Poultry in motion!"

  • I Just Want to Be Free: Ginger's personal reason for escaping.
  • Improvised Zipline: The chickens did it with coat hangers.
  • Indy Escape: Done with gigantic gears while avoiding bolts bolting from the walls.
  • Indy Hat Roll: Ginger rescuing her beret.
  • Karma Houdini: Rocky lies to the chickens about being able to fly, abandons them in their time of need, and the only punishment we ever see him get is a slap across the face from Ginger.
    • Well he did come back and help save them, that counts for something.
  • Kill'Em All:

Mrs. Tweedy: Bring me the chickens, Mr. Tweedy.
Mr. Tweedy: Um, which ones?
Mrs. Tweedy: All of them.

Rocky: Thank you ladies and gentlemen, you've been a wonderful audience.

Ginger: Ladies, please. Let's not lose our heads.
Bunty: Lose our heads?! [screams]

  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man
  • Sitting on the Roof: Ginger has a habit of doing this. In one scene she goes up to the roof and discovers Rocky already sitting there. "I'm sorry, is this your roof?"
  • Slap Slap Kiss: There is a Running Gag that every time Ginger and Rocky would be about to kiss, they would be interrupted; one of these instances was near the end, when Ginger slaps Rocky across the face as they're about to kiss.
    • This was because the filmmakers were nervous about showing Rocky and Ginger kissing onscreen, fearing that the sight of two birds touching beaks would look too awkward. When the kiss finally comes, it is staged so that the actual contact of "lips" is hidden.
  • Stealth Pun: Stealthier in the US than in the UK, but as mentioned, the coal bin that Ginger is repeatedly thrown into is called a bunker.
  • Stock British Phrases
  • Take That: Edwina, the chicken that gets beheaded, was named after former politician Edwina Currie who is (in)famous for starting a nationwide salmonella scare in 1988 (confirmed by Word of God).
  • Techno Babble: Mac is full of it.
  • This Is No Time to Panic:

Bunty: We mustn't panic! We mustn't panic!
[beat]
All Chickens: AHHHHHHHHHHHH!

    • The DVD has a special bonus feature called the "Panic Button". Click it and it plays a scene when all the chickens are going bonkers.
  • Those Two Guys: Nick and Fetcher.
  • Toothy Bird
  • Totem Pole Trench
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The theatrical trailers completely spoil The Reveal of the pie machine, while a TV commercial and the Burger King toys were all based around the plane. Then there's one DVD trailer which is comprised almost entirely of clips from the last 15 or so minutes of the film and the final scene in particular.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Mrs. Tweedy.
  • Visual Pun: Many as expected from such a film:
    • In the end, they really DO fly the coop...
    • When Fowler shouts "Chocks away!" it shows the chickens removing "Tasty-Choc" chocolate bars from the wheels that are very similar to the widely known Toblerone bar.
  • When I Was Your Age: This is part of Fowler's shtick.