The Iron Giant

The Iron Giant

A box-office failure at the time of release, The Iron Giant (1999) was nevertheless recognized by animation fans and professionals as one of the best films to come out of the "animation boom" of the 1990s, and deserving of space on the list of classic cartoon features from any era. Within a few years of release, general audiences discovered the film as well, embracing its well-told, simple story, its heart and its timeless quality.

The Iron Giant was the first animated feature directed by Brad Bird. Bird had been something of an animation prodigy, having submitted his first cartoon to Disney Studios at the age of 13. The studio was impressed by the effort and Bird was mentored by one of the legendary Nine Old Men of Disney animation, Milt Kahl. After going through Disney's CalArts program of studies, Bird's first major solo work was the highly regarded "Family Dog," a 1987 episode of Steven Spielberg's Amazing Stories anthology series. Also for Spielberg, Bird co-scripted the live-action film *batteries not included (1987). For much of the 1990s Bird avoided theatrical animation and concentrated on the then-freer environs of Prime Time TV, becoming a consultant and occasional layout artist on The Simpsons, The Critic, and King of the Hill. By 1997 Bird was developing a feature film project with Turner Feature Animation called Ray Gunn. Turner merged with Warner Bros., however, and Bird found himself at Warner Bros. Animation with a no-go project. Given the chance to pick from other projects being looked at by the studio, Bird happened upon a drawing of a little boy with a giant robot. The project was a potential adaptation of a British book, as filtered through the sensibilities of a British rock star. The book was The Iron Man by British Poet Laureate Ted Hughes, first published in 1968. (Hughes had written the book for his two children--to help explain to them the 1963 suicide death of their mother, American poet Sylvia Plath.) In 1989 The Who frontman Pete Townshend had adapted the book into a solo concept album, also called The Iron Man. After finding its way to the stage, the property ended up in the hands of Warner Bros., brought there by Townshend as a possible animated film using the music he had written.

— John M. Miller,

The Iron Giant

Wed October 5, 2022, 7:30 PM, Muenzinger Auditorium

USA, 1999, in English, Color, 86 min, 2.39 : 1, 35mm

Director: Brad Bird, Screenplay: Brad Bird, Tim McCanlies, Storyboard: Viki Anderson, Piet Kroon, Steve Lumley, Steve Markowski, Fergal Reilly, Dean Wellins, Book: Ted Hughes, Head of Story: Jeffrey Lynch, Cast: Eli Marienthal, Vin Diesel, Jennifer Anisto



10 films for $60 with punch card
$9 general admission. $7 w/UCB student ID, $7 for senior citizens
$1 discount to anyone with a bike helmet
Free on your birthday! CU Cinema Studies students get in free.


Pay lot 360 (now only $1/hour!), across from the buffalo statue and next to the Duane Physics tower, is closest to Muenzinger. Free parking can be found after 5pm at the meters along Colorado Ave east of Folsom stadium and along University Ave west of Macky.


Park elsewhere and catch the HOP to campus

International Film Series

(Originally called The University Film Commission)
Established 1941 by James Sandoe.

First Person Cinema

(Originally called The Experimental Cinema Group)
Established 1955 by Carla Selby, Gladney Oakley, Bruce Conner and Stan Brakhage.

C.U. Film Program

(AKA The Rocky Mountain Film Center)
First offered degrees in filmmaking and critical studies in 1989 under the guidance of Virgil Grillo.

Celebrating Stan

Created by Suranjan Ganguly in 2003.

C.U. Department of Cinema Studies & Moving Image Arts

Established 2017 by Chair Ernesto Acevedo-Muñoz.

Thank you, sponsors!
Boulder International Film Festival
Department of Cinema Studies & Moving Image Arts

Looking for a gift for a friend?
Buy a Frequent Patron Punch Card for $60 at any IFS show. With the punch card you can see ten films (a value of $90).

Cox & Kjølseth
: Filmmaker Alex Cox & Pablo Kjølseth discuss film topics from their own unique perspectives.

: Pablo and Ana share Zoom-based briefs on what's currently playing at IFS

Search IFS schedules

Index of visiting artists

Tue Dec 5, 2023

Rare Exports

At Muenzinger Auditorium

Thu Dec 7, 2023

Princess Mononoke

At Muenzinger Auditorium

more on 35mm...