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USA: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
UK: Entertainment Film Distributors
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Ricky Gervais, Tim Curry, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Laurie, John Cleese, John Hurt, Pip Torrens, Rik Mayall, Olivia Williams, Jonathan Ross, Brian Lonsdale, Dan Roberts, Michael Schlingmann, Sharon Horgan, Sean Samuels, Buckley Collum, Annette Badland, Harriet Jones, Harry Peacock, Corin Mellinger, Gary Chapman, Curtis Augspurger, Mike Harbour, Mike Jenn, Heidi Fecht, Robert Lence, Ali Dowling, Chris Fairbanks, Rupert Farley, Dan Flynn, Kris Milne, Stephen Pacey, James Dale Robinson, Emma Tate
Director: Gary Chapman
USA & UK: 76 mins
USA Rated: G
UK Certificate: U contains mild peril
UK Release Date: 25 March 2005
UK Release Date: 19 August 2005
"Some pigeons eat crumbs, others make history."
For thousands of years, men have turned to pigeons to carry messages in times of need. In the Second World War, pigeons played a crucial role for the Allied forces by delivering key dispatches from behind enemy lines.
During a dark and stormy night over the English Channel, we see three members of the elite Royal Homing Pigeon Service (RHPS) en route to deliver their messages. However, just as they come within sight of the famed White Cliffs of Dover, a dark shadow crashes down to stop them.
Back at the headquarters in London, word comes that none of the homing pigeons have made it back alive. Gutsy, the iconic hero of the RHPS, realizes that the losses from German falcons guarding the Channel have been heavy and that new birds are needed to fill the thinning ranks.
Far from the heavy backdrop of the war, a group of pigeons watch a newsreel at a small waterside pub in rural England. The newsreel shows the glorious life of the RHPS elite as they deliver messages, enjoy the good life, and meet the nursing doves. Valiant watches the film and knows that this is what he wants to do. As Valiant talks to Felix, the warm but crusty publican, about his goal to be a homing pigeon, the pub is surprised by the impromptu arrival of an RHPS squad, including Valiant's personal hero, Gutsy. The members of the RHPS are on a recruiting drive and Valiant is eager to follow their encouragement, although everyone in the pub chides him as being too little.
Valiant eagerly sets off to join the RHPS, though his doting mother fights to keep her little baby home. He flies into London and inadvertently rescues an artful dodger named Bugsy from impending trouble. In return, Bugsy helps Valiant squeeze through the process of enlisting in the RHPS, but gets more than he bargained for when he finds himself unexpectedly along for the ride. Valiant and Bugsy are set to become part of a ragtag group of misfit recruits which includes Lofty, who has come down from Oxford to carry on his proud family tradition of serving in the military (although he is a bit more of a nerdy scholar than chiselled warrior) and the twins, Toughwood and Tailfeather, who make up with enthusiasm and strength what they lack in smarts.
With good intentions and dreams of a hero's life, the new recruits arrive at the base and come face-to-face with the harsher realities of military life when they meet their new drill sergeant, Sarge, a grizzled and gruff veteran pigeon determined to weed out any bad recruits. Under his tough direction, the pigeons must learn what it takes to become military homing pigeons and members of a team. While the tough training results in some bumps and bruises, Valiant finds the blows softened by the lovely nursing dove, Victoria.
After a few weeks, even though the recruits still have much to learn in order to succeed as homing pigeons, Gutsy arrives with bad news: another squad has gone missing, and the recruits will have to go into service even though they are not ready. The recruits are sent on their mission to occupied France where they will need to meet up with members of the Resistance and obtain a message that they must deliver back to England.
But the mission quickly unravels over enemy territory and our recruits find themselves lost and leaderless behind enemy lines. Will they be able to retrieve the message and deliver it back to headquarters? How will our recruits survive the perils of their mission, including the pigeon eating falcons lead by the dreaded General Von Talon? Will Valiant and his friends have the courage and strength to face their fears and the dark forces of war in order to fulfil their duties? Will Valiant come back to win his nursing dove's love?
All will be revealed in this animated family comedy about a little pigeon coming of age in a world bigger than he had imagined, when everyone was telling him he was too little to make a difference.