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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Chan Parker
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Red Rodney
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...
Buster Franklin
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Brewster
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Esteves
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Young Bird
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Kim
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Dr. Heath
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Moscowitz
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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

Plot Keywords:

drugs | jazz | drug addict | 1940s | woman | See All (27) »

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

Shot in 52 days, during October, November, and December 1987. See more »

Goofs

When Charlie Parker goes to Dizzy Gillespie's house in the middle of the night and asks Dizzy to write down a tune, the year is 1953. The tune is "Now's the Time", published and recorded in 1949. 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

Featured in The Eastwood Factor (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Cool Blues
Performed by Charlie Parker, Walter Davis, Jr. (Piano), Ron Carter (Bass),
John Guerin (Drums)
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User Reviews

Eastwood proves he's one of America's best directors. Simply brilliant.
15 November 2004 | by (Iowa) – See all my reviews

A dark and atmospheric biopic on jazz legend Charlie Parker, who with his fast improvisational style formed the sub-genre of bebop. Clint Eastwood directed this movie with a heart and passion that reflects back to his own love of the music which he has carried with him all his life and played a role in all his work. Eastwood himself actually was fortunate to have seen Charlie "Bird" Parker play in when he was alive. The film chronicles his life and has a tight focus on his self destructive behavior and the music itself. Bird explores the highs and lows of his journey. Playing to a sold out house in Paris, playing alongside Dizzy Gillespie, and earning a respect that few other musicians have matched. In contrast we see his heroine addiction, his suffering and depression resulting in several suicide attempts, the death of his daughter, and his wife's loving struggle to help save a man who's ill-fate was inevitable and irreversible.

Forest Whitaker plays Bird with a lot of heart and soul. Even though I have no idea if it was an accurate portrayal in capturing the man's nuances, Whitaker's interpretation was superlative. Equally as good was Diane Venora as Bird's wife, who found enough strength for the both of them and tried to hold the family together in an un-winnable battle. There's lots of rain, lots of dark nightclubs, lots of street lamps reflecting the soaked streets, and lots of feeling in this one. Having just watched another biopic, that one on Ray Charles, it's clear to see Eastwood's was the real deal, whereas Ray was merely decent.

Grade: A+


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