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Bird (1988)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama, Music  |  30 September 1988 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 8,592 users   Metascore: 78/100
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The troubled life and career of the jazz musician, Charlie "Bird" Parker.



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Won 1 Oscar. Another 8 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »



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


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


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


Biography | Drama | Music


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

30 September 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Yardbird Suite  »

Box Office


$9,000,000 (estimated)


$2,181,286 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


One of a number of jazz films, mostly documentaries, and many for television, produced or exec produced by Clint Eastwood. The titles include Bird (1988), Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser (1988), Dave Brubeck: In His Own Sweet Way (2010), Monterey Jazz Festival: 40 Legendary Years (1998) and The Blues: Piano Blues (2003). See more »


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 »


Charlie Parker: Ain't it a bitch? I go to a liver doctor and I pay him $50. And it don't help me. I go to an ulcer doctor... same thing, except I pay him $75. But I go to some little cat up in a house somewhere and pay him $10 for a bag of shit and a little peace... my ulcers don't hurt, liver don't hurt. My heart trouble is gone. And this is the man I'm supposed to stay away from? Mr. Gillespie, my comrade in arms, that is what I call... a paradox.
See more »


Featured in Eastwood on Eastwood (1997) See more »


Performed by Charlie Parker, Barry Harris (Piano), Chuck Berghofer (Bass),
John Guerin (Drums)
See more »

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User Reviews

A saxophonist who truly altered the direction of jazz history with his music…

"Bird" traces the life of Charlie Parker, a 1940's soloist jazz great whose improvisation abilities led him to become one of the most acclaimed figure in his own lifetime… However, his self-destructive behavior and association with drugs and alcohol caused him to die before he could fully comprehend the public appreciation of his genius…

Eastwood worked with a cast of relative unknown stars, and managed to create an entire period piece on the relatively low budget show…

Sensitively acted, visually designed, this dramatic story of the troubled life of a man of tremendous warmth and compassion, Eastwood delivers a compelling portrait of an artist with an ambitious presentation of love including a magnificent score, and stunning sound… (The film's sound captured an Oscar.)

Whitaker gives an excellent performance, with an especially inevitable death scene at the age of 34… Diane Venora is impressive as the wife of this great jazz musician… Their last conversation by phone presented the legend Parker's with his conscientious of his near-death, his lost effort, his feeling of loneliness, but also his kindness, his love, and his care to his entire family… A great scene not to be missed!

25 of 28 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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