The movie opens with pigeon (voiced by John Cleese) leading two others toward white cliffs of Dover. Theyre attacked by falcons and he alone survives to be taken back to their bunker in occupied France.
Cut to news reel-like segment aimed at getting pigeons to enlist as their country needs them. Little Valiant (Ewan McGregor) decides to go for it, despite being very tiny. He tells his peglegged friend who owns a pub his plan (the peg is a pencil!) and then a squadron of the elite birds come in. Valiant is impressed!
Later, he says good bye to his mum, typical tearful farewell and the regurgitation bit from the ads. Bit yucky! He flies on to London where he literally lands on Bugsy, a typical con man (con bird?) running a shell game on two other birds. When they discover what hes up to, they chase him and Valiant right up to the recruiter. Both sign up Bugsy intent on taking a powder once the coast is clear, but he gets trapped when box is loaded on a motorbike and driven off.
At the air base, they form squadron F and meet three other birds a prim and proper one, and two brothers who are typical strongman types, perfect to play rugby! They undergo training and Valiant falls for the pretty nurse dove
During all this, John Cleeses character is being tortured by the falcons; their leader Von Falcon is voiced by Tim Curry quite well done! Under the influence of truth serum, he spills everything who his contacts are and where they can be found.
At last, its time for the team to go and Bugsy is hesitant mission is dangerous and its unlikely theyll make it back. He slips away the night before and Valiant is depressed that his new friend has left. As theyre loaded into a plane for a parachute drop, Bugsy returns. They fly out under the guidance of Valiants hero, the best of the elite birds. Once over France, theyre shot at and the plane starts to go down. They all make it out except the top bird.
Once on the ground, they move to their contact point and meet the French mice. Unfortunately, the falcons show up and its a chase through the village. They reach a safe house and get the message. Bugsy puts it in his carrying tube and theyre off. The others try to mislead the falcons, but they eventually capture Bugsy and return him to the bunker and seal it down!
The others are at a loss, when suddenly the elite bird wounded shows up. He checks things out and realizes theres only a tiny opening into the bunker. Valiant decides he must try.
Meanwhile, the falcons have the message, and plan to EAT Bugsy to celebrate! Von Falcon takes a shower while his minions prepare his clothes. Valiant slips in, gets the message and swallows it, having no place to hold it. He tries to free Bugsy, but he tells Valiant to get out while he can. Valiant refuses to leave. He sees the key hanging in the shower area (near a rubber duck!). He goes for it just as the minions return.
Unlocking the cage, Valiant frees Bugsy and John Cleeses character. They fly to the gun breech (where Valiant came in) and all three are able to open it. They meet up with the others and fly!
The falcons give chase. Bugsy and the others are able to stop the minions, but Von Falcon chases Valiant across the countryside. They end up back at his hometown and the peglegged bird sounds the alarm. All the birds come to help Valiant, but hes trapped in the old mill with Von Falcon. They fight, and he finally traps Von Falcon and flies off to London.
At HQ, Valiant arrives and coughs up the message very messy! Its relayed to the humans and they change the location of their attack to Normandy.
Later, Valiant and the gang are given medals and they return to his hometown pub now all decked out like the elite birds. A dove asks to dance with Valiant, but he says hes taken. The nurse dove shows up and they share a tender moment together.
Film ends with overview of the pub (an upside down old boat) and words telling of all the animals decorated with special medals in World War II for heroism dogs, horses, a cat and a lot of pigeons!
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