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?


Clint Eastwood's seventeenth film for the Warner Brothers studio. See more »


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


Parker's Mood
Performed by Charlie Parker, John Guerin plus strings
Courtesy of S. J. Records/Ed Chalpin PPX
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User Reviews

I just love this movie...
11 December 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

There are certain movies that leave you dazed when you walk out of the theater. For me, "Bird" was such a movie.

On a nice evening in 1988 I decided to take in a movie on the spur of the moment. I walked to the nearest theater (Fine Arts, Downtown Chicago) and looked to see what was playing. I had never heard of Charlie Parker nor his music, but I was developing a love of jazz and the movie being directed by Clint Eastwood didn't hurt.

I went in, found a seat and had no way of knowing that, in a couple of hours, my life would be different.

The music penetrated my soul in ways I could never express. I was in awe and filled with emotion as the music carried me away while the visions of Charlie Parker's life flashed in front of my face. When the final credits scrolled up the screen, I could not move. I was frozen to my seat, dazed, overwhelmed, completely awed. I couldn't get the music out of my head, songs were playing back as if I'd listened to them a thousand times. My mind felt as if it were orbiting the sun.. spinning round and round, bathed in this warmth of beauty.

I didn't walk out of the the theater so much as stagger. I walked around for miles just playing over and over in my mind what I'd seen and heard and finally, hours after the movie ended I found myself in front of an all night music store where I bought the soundtrack and raced home to listen to it.

No matter that I had to get up in the morning for work... no matter that the movie had ended before 10pm but I didn't find my way home until after 2am. No matter that I was dead tired from walking dazed miles in a haze of thought.

I played that CD until I fell asleep then took it to work and played it all day... I played it constantly for weeks and then I started to buy other Charlie Parker CDs and reading everything I could about him. Charlie Parker is my favorite musician of all time, to this day, nearly 20 years later... and it began with this movie.

30 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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