The troubled life and career of the jazz musician, Charlie "Bird" Parker.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Chan Parker
...
Red Rodney
...
...
Buster Franklin
...
Brewster
...
Esteves
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Young Bird
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Kim
...
Dr. Heath
...
Moscowitz
...
Bellevue Nurse
Glenn Wright ...
Alcoholic Patient (as Glenn T. Wright)
George Orrison ...
Patient with Checkers
...
Dr. Caulfield
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Storyline

Saxophone player Charlie Parker comes to New York in 1940. He is quickly noticed for his remarkable way of playing. He becomes a drug addict but his loving wife Chan tries to help him. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

"There are no second acts in American lives." - F. Scott Fitzgerald

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 September 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Yardbird Suite  »

Box Office

Budget:

$9,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$2,181,286 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The saxophone playing is original Charlie Parker performances. The body and fingering are by Charles McPherson, who had to learn to breathe exactly like Parker did in the recordings. See more »

Goofs

At the Jewish wedding, the first shot of the orchestra shows both horns playing, but only the trumpet is heard. The saxophone joins later on. See more »

Quotes

Doctor at Nica's: [while Bird's body is being retired] Charles Christopher Parker, Junior. Preliminary diagnosis: heart attack. Stocky, male, negro. Approximately 65 years of age.
Baroness Nica: [with a sad look] He was 34.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Tatort: Märchenwald (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Ornithology
Performed by Charlie Parker, Jon Faddis (Trumpet), Mike Lang, Chuck Domanico,
John Guerin (Drums), Charlie Shoemaker (Vibes)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Something sad, something happy, and long but never boring, it's one of the more honest tributes to a musician in film
15 January 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Clint Eastwood's direction was very suitable for the material in this film, dealing with subjects he cares much about (music, loners, risking on the edge), and his handle on Bird, for my money, was wonderful. It's not an easy film to take, and it asks a lot from one in the viewing (it's a big film, with a plot complex, but not confusing, but is rewarding for those with a good interest Charlie Parker and the days of 40's-50's jazz. It's arguable whether there might be flaws in some of the uses of symbolism or bits of dialog in Joel Oliansky's script. But it's strong points - Forest Whitaker's major breakthrough in the title role; the bountiful and superb collection of Parker songs on the soundtrack (with a fine score by Lennie Neuhaus); a keen eye for getting the atmosphere and lighting right by Eastwood - are worth the viewing.

Like most films about musicians with demons in the back of their heads (i.e. Ray, The Doors, even Amadeus), there is a level of possible melodrama that has to be crossed. With Bird, Parker is an interesting subject with this, and is ultimately shown well to be redeemed by the music. Likely to become more appealing, or at least easier to take on a second viewing, Bird is a solid, inspiring movie, with a kind of feeling to it that is unique. A+


17 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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