Watch Big Bird in China Online

Big Bird in China

Where to Watch Big Bird in China


Big Bird in China is a 1983 television special, a unique creation that merged the enchanting world of Muppets with the rich cultural tapestry of China. Created during a time when East-West cultural exchanges were still blossoming, this family-friendly feature provided a rare glimpse into the life and landscapes of China through the eyes of one of America's most beloved characters: Big Bird from Sesame Street. The movie stars Caroll Spinney as the voice and puppeteer of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, Brian Meehl naturally playing various Muppet characters as well. Lianzi Ouyang also stars, providing a genuine Chinese presence and assisting as a cultural guide for Big Bird and friends.

The movie begins with Big Bird, the iconic, eight-foot-tall bright yellow bird, receiving a mysterious scroll in Sesame Street. The scroll contains a poem about a phoenix, and this discovery sparks a sense of adventure in Big Bird's big heart. This phoenix, as the legend reveals, is the Feng Huang, a bird of high virtue and grace, whose appearance signifies peace and prosperity. Intrigued by the legend and the poetic verses, Big Bird decides that this mythical creature is someone he just has to meet.

Accompanied by the lovable Barkley, the large, enthusiastic canine who also hails from Sesame Street, Big Bird sets off on a sweeping quest to find the legendary Feng Huang. They are not alone in their cross-cultural journey, however, as they are joined by the young and determined Xiao Foo, played by Lianzi Ouyang. Xiao Foo becomes an invaluable companion, helping them navigate the sights, sounds, and social customs of China with the insight only a local can offer.

The narrative takes viewers on a vibrant exploration across various Chinese landscapes, from the bustling streets of Beijing to the tranquil beauty of the countryside. The movie excels in capturing the genuine spirit of China during the early 1980s—a transformative period filled with both tradition and innovation. Through the Muppets' trademark blend of clever humor and warmth, cultural differences are bridged as Big Bird develops friendships and learns about the lifestyle, traditions, and folklore of the Chinese people.

Throughout their adventure, Big Bird and his companions encounter a variety of fascinating characters, some fellow Muppets and others human, each adding depth and entertainment to the journey. They introduce elements of Chinese cultural heritage, including landmarks like the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City, along with traditional arts such as tai chi, calligraphy, and Peking opera. As a children's special, the program is appropriately educational, but it never forgets to sprinkle learning moments with laughter and play.

One of the more significant achievements of Big Bird in China is its subtle teaching of Mandarin words and phrases to its young audience. Big Bird's attempt to communicate with the people he meets provides a seamless and enjoyable language lesson that plays out naturally within the story's context. Moreover, the importance of friendship and understanding across cultures is a dominant theme. As Big Bird makes his way through China, he doesn't merely seek the Feng Huang but also discovers the value in new experiences and respecting differences.

From a production standpoint, the movie is a crucial example of how television specials of the era sought to combine entertainment with education. The use of puppetry, especially the skillful work of Caroll Spinney and Brian Meehl, is a standout aspect, managing to evoke life and emotion from inanimate objects in ways that endear them to the audience. Their artistry ensures that the Muppets on screen are just as compelling as any human character, if not more so because of their unique charm and non-threatening approachability.

The soundtrack also contributes significantly to the film's allure, featuring music that combines traditional Chinese instruments and melodies with contemporary stylings, while also providing memorable songs that emphasize the show's educational and cultural elements.

In a world that is increasingly connected yet often divided, Big Bird in China holds up as more than just a relic of children's television. It's a poignant reminder of the power of curiosity, the joy of exploration, and the timeless truth that learning about others is not just an adventure but a pathway to understanding and friendship. While the movie takes audiences on a literal journey through the geographical heart of China, its true destination is the realization that our world is wonderfully diverse and that harmony lies in embracing this diversity with open wings and an open heart. Big Bird in China remains a treasured piece of family entertainment that continues to educate, inspire, and remind viewers of all ages about the value of cultural exchange and the simple beauty of a world seen through the eyes of a child—or a big, yellow bird.

Big Bird in China is a Fantasy, Adventure, TV Movie, Comedy movie released in 1983. It has a runtime of 75 minutes. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 7.0..

Jon Stone
Also starring Ken Flott
Big Bird in China is available on .