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Bird (1988)

7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 7,650 users   Metascore: 78/100
Reviews: 36 user | 27 critic | 14 from Metacritic.com

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

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Title: Bird (1988)

Bird (1988) on IMDb 7.2/10

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

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
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Forest Whitaker in this movie was the first actor to portray Charlie Parker on screen. After this picture, Parker would be played by Albert J. Burnes in Robert Altman's 1996 film Kansas City (1996) and later by Steven Watts in 2001's Jazz Seen: The Life and Times of William Claxton (2001). 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", which was published and recorded in 1949. See more »

Quotes

Chan Parker: Dizzy sent you a birthday card. Seems he's back in town. Do you owe him a phone call?
Charlie Parker: I owe Dizzy everything...except a phone call.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The O'Reilly Factor: Episode dated 11 June 2008 (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Reno Jam Session
Performed by Lennie Niehaus, James Rivers, Red Rodney, Pete Jolly,
Chuck Berghofer, John Guerin
See more »

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User Reviews

Cool Soundtrack! Overall good movie but, flawed.
9 August 2000 | by (Los Angeles, CA) – See all my reviews

If you like Jazz you can't 'not like' this movie. If you like Noir you will dig the overall look of it. My only problem is that Eastwood concentrates more on presenting the tragic side of Charlie parker's life and so we get a very dark and somber film.

While we do get glimpses of Parker as 'musician', Forest Whitaker's, Parker as 'junkie', tends to weigh down the story. If Eastwood had to choose between highlighting the story of 'The greatest jazz musician of all time' or 'The premature death of a self-destructive Junkie', It's obvious which route he chose to take...the easiest one.

Ultimately it becomes more a movie about Parker's relationship with his wife Chan, and less about Parker's relationship with Jazz. In my opinion, Clint doesn't really succeed at showing us why we should love the character of Bird and maybe this was not his intention; but if a separation of the personality (warts and all) and his art is necessary to show an honest depiction; then why not also highlight the music and allow it to speak for itself? In this case, by making it a more satisfying listening experience like Formans "Amadeus" or Tavernier's "Round Midnight". The way they allowed the music be THE lead character of the movie.

Still, the improved fidelity in the remix of the soundtrack makes some of these old recordings easier digestible for those who may be new to Parker's music. Incidentally, this is the best fidelity of Charlie Parker you'll find anywhere. On the whole this is not a bad movie; It is not a complete depress-fest like two other movies about drug induced pop culture icons: 'The Doors' or 'Sid & Nancy'. Indeed this movie has its moments. There's a scene where Parker (blowing on his sax) wakes up Dizzy in the middle of the night to improvise on 'Now's the Time'. I also love the scene where he takes a gig with Red Rodney to play at a Jewish wedding. I wanted more of this type of interaction with his fellow Jazzers!


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