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
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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
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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

Charlie Parker died in March, but in the movie he is buried in autumn; dead leaves are on the road. 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

Featured in Eastwood... A Star (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Parker's Mood
Performed by King Pleasure, John Lewis, Percy Heath and Kenny Clarke
Courtesy of Fantasy Inc.
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User Reviews

 
Ornithology
10 May 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Bird" will probably be most appreciated by jazz fans who come to it already familiar with Charlie Parker and his incalculable contributions to jazz and influence on generations of musicians that continues to this day. The script contains many shorthand references that might be lost on the average moviegoer -- e.g., Parker calls Dizzy Gillespie "Birks," which was his middle name, but many people probably don't know that.

But there is the music, and tons of it. There are extraordinary performances by Forest Whitaker as Parker, and Diane Venora as his common law wife, Chan. In many ways the film seems more a love story than the standard musical biopic. Chan was unfailingly supportive of Bird, despite his self-destructive drug use, alcoholism and chronic infidelity. He loved her in his own way, and I think she realized that she was in love with a genius who would forever be plagued by demons, and that she couldn't have one without the other.

Clint Eastwood's love of jazz is well-known, and in "Bird" he provides a wealth of wonderful music, beautifully performed. The actual playing of Charlie Parker is augmented by accompaniment from contemporary musicians, and Parker has never sounded better. Eastwood also provides an unflinching portrayal of the complicated lives of jazz musicians, and the addictions to which so many succumb.

Despite the mess that Bird made of his life, he remains a charming and sympathetic figure. And his music, years ahead of its time, and so complex that countless fledging saxophone players have attempted to copy his recordings note for note, will forever live on.


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