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

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

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

'Rating the Movies' stated that Charlie Parker's music was "digitally stripped from old recordings and mixed with newly recorded rhythm tracks - a painstaking process..." 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

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.
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Connections

Featured in The Eastwood Factor (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Why Do I Love You
Performed by James Rivers, Lennie Niehaus
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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+


13 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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