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Bird (1988)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama, Music  |  30 September 1988 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 8,198 users   Metascore: 78/100
Reviews: 36 user | 28 critic | 14 from Metacritic.com

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

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 11 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

A sound engineer digitally and electronically isolated the solo tracks from the old recordings that Clint Eastwood got from Charlie Parker's widow Chan Parker. Then modern day musicians such as Ray Brown, Ron Carter, Red Rodney, Barry Harris and Walter Davis, Jr recorded backing tracks over Charlie Parker's original music. Dizzy Gillespie could not contribute to these backing tracks as he was on tour at the time so instead trumpet player Jon Faddis stepped in to do Gillespie's part. See more »

Goofs

When Bird is reciting the telegram to be sent to Chan, and we see the telegram being printed as he speaks, he says "Forgive me for not being in the hospital with you," but the telegram reads "Forgive me for not being there with you while you were at the hospital." 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 Tatort: Märchenwald (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me
Performed by Charlie Parker, Monty Alexander (Piano), Ray Brown (Bass),
John Guerin (Drums)
See more »

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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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