The Big Year

Synopsis: In birding, a Big Year is seeing or hearing as many different species of birds as possible in a calendar year. Three men pursue the Birder of the Year title: Kenny Bostick, who's seen a record 732 in a past big year, Stu Preissler, newly retired, and Brad Harris, who narrates the story. Life gets in the way: Bostick's wife wants a baby, Stu's firm needs him for sensitive negotiations, and Brad, divorced and underemployed at 36, has an encouraging mom and a disapproving dad. They criss-cross the continent (including a trip to Alaska's westernmost island), follow migration patterns, and head for storms that force birds to ground. Who will win, at what cost, and with what rewards?
Genre: Comedy
Director(s): David Frankel
Production: 20th Century Fox
  1 win.
Rotten Tomatoes:
100 min

I love birds. Who doesn't love birds?

Sure, they'll wake you up in the morning,

or ruin the fruit

in your garden.

And sometimes, of course,

they'll crap on your car.

But they're beautiful,

and they fly,

and they're capable of incredible things.

Take little sooty shearwater

of Tasmania, for example.

Before setting out

on his first migration to Hawaii,

he has to shed half of his body weight.

Me, I probably should've shed

half my body weight, too.

And I was trying, I really was.

Okay, maybe I wasn't trying that hard.

'Cause the truth is,

being thin was never really my dream.

No, I wanted to do something

even more amazing.

- Yo! Big bad Brad.

- Mmm?

- What you rocking out to, man?

- Um...

Clark's nutcracker.

I wanted to be the greatest birder

in the world. Seriously.

Rock on.

Rock on, Prasad.

How do you become

the greatest birder in the world?

You have to win the Big Year.

What's a Big Year?

Here, I'll let this English guy tell you.

Well into the 19th century,

Americans celebrated Christmas Day

with contests to kill

the most birds in a single day.

In 1900, Audubon Society ornithologist

Frank Chapman

suggested Americans should

count them instead,

leading eventually

to the creation of the Big Year,

a competition to see

the greatest number of birds

in North America in a calendar year.


In 2003, New Jersey roofing contractor

Kenny Bostick's Big Year

resulted in an astonishing 732 species,

breaking Sandy Komito's

North American record.

Many believe that Bostick's record of 732

would stand forever,

especially Mrs. Bostick.

A Big Year?

Kenny, you promised me you were

never gonna do another Big Year.

Jess, I'm just going out to set the pace.

I promise I'll be back as soon as I'm sure

there's no one out there

who can break my record.

Your record. What's the big deal?

The big deal? Hey, "Lance Armstrong,

what's the big deal?"

Or, hey, "Columbus, what's the big deal

with that whole New World thing?"

Didn't you tell me that a Big Year

killed your marriage to Steph in '03?

First of all, I was married to Bridget in '03.

Didn't you tell me that a Big Year

killed your marriage to Bridget?

A contributing factor,

but, no, not the main reason.

There were so many other problems

with that marriage.

Kenny, I'm getting fertility treatments!

And you promised.

You said you were gonna

build a new room for the baby.

I know. That was before El Nio.

Now I'm really worried

someone's gonna try to beat 732.

Bostick was right. Somebody was

going to try to be beat 732.

Yours truly.

Of course, I wasn't the only challenger

for the title.

I didn't know it at the time,

but up in New York,

a rich executive named Stu Preissler

was also making plans for a Big Year.

We're still nowhere on the deal.

Chemwall won't budge on any key points.

Mclntire used to work for you.

Maybe if you negotiated with him directly...

Sorry, guys. January 1st, I'm outta here.

- Oh, right, you're retiring again.

- Again.

This time I mean it.

Next year is all about the birds.

Edith's already in Colorado

setting up the new house.

So live in the new house

and work from home.

Use the jet. I mean, it's your jet.

- It's your company!

- Forget the birds.

You're big boys now.

You'll be fine without me.

You realize, of course, that the phase

after retirement looks a little bit like this.

Stu was torn. He ruled a vast empire,

his days were full, his opinions mattered.

Was he really ready to move on?

Am I nuts, Edith?

Maybe I should do my Big Year next year.

It might make more sense.

No. Go do it now, Stu.

Rate this script:(0.00 / 0 votes)

Howard Franklin

Howard Franklin is an American screenwriter and film director, known for such films as The Name of the Rose and Quick Change, his collaboration with Bill Murray. His other films include The Public Eye, about a 1940s tabloid photographer modeled on the photojournalist Weegee and starring Joe Pesci; Someone to Watch Over Me and The Man Who Knew Too Little. more…

All Howard Franklin scripts | Howard Franklin Scripts

FAVORITE (0 fans)

Submitted on August 05, 2018

Discuss this script with the community:



    Translate and read this script in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)


    Use the citation below to add this screenplay to your bibliography:


    "The Big Year" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 18 May 2021. <>.

    We need you!

    Help us build the largest writers community and scripts collection on the web!

    Watch the movie trailer

    The Big Year

    The Marketplace:

    Sell your Script !

    Get listed in the most prominent screenplays collection on the web!


    The Studio:

    ScreenWriting Tool

    Write your screenplay and focus on the story with many helpful features.