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Ray (I) (2004)

PG-13  |   |  Biography, Drama, Music  |  29 October 2004 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 103,458 users   Metascore: 73/100
Reviews: 429 user | 207 critic | 40 from Metacritic.com

The story of the life and career of the legendary rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles, from his humble beginnings in the South, where he went blind at age seven, to his meteoric rise to stardom during the 1950s and 1960s.



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Won 2 Oscars. Another 48 wins & 47 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Gossie McGee (as Terrence Dashon Howard)


Legendary rhythm and blues singer Ray Charles' life transpires on-screen, from his humble beginnings in Georgia, where he went blind at age seven, to his pre-fame life touring the South, and on to his career as one of the most enduring, inimitable performers in modern music. Written by IMDb Editors

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The only thing more extraordinary than the music is the man behind it: Ray Charles. See more »


Biography | Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for depiction of drug addiction, sexuality and some thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

29 October 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Unchain My Heart: The Ray Charles Story  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$20,039,730 (USA) (29 October 2004)


$15,331,100 (Europe) (25 March 2005)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (extended)

Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Denzel Washington was first approached to play the title role, but passed on the project. See more »


At the end of the movie when Ray is being honored by the Georgia legislature in 1979 it shows his wife, Della Bea, standing with him. However, Ray Charles and Della Bea were divorced in 1977. See more »


[first lines]
Aretha Robinson: Always remember your promise to me. Never let nobody or nothing turn you into no cripple.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Ray Charles is survived by 12 children, 21 grandchildren, and 5 great grandchildren. See more »


Leave My Woman Alone
Performed by Ray Charles
Courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp.
By Arrangement with Warner Strategic Marketing
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Jamie IS Ray
19 December 2004 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

If someone had nudged me about 15 minutes into 'Ray' and asked what I thought of Jamie Foxx in the title role, it would have been time for a blank stare. After all, what is this (fictitious) person talking' about? That wasn't Jamie Foxx up on the big screen. That was Ray Charles. This is one of the best performances by anybody in recent years. Like the soundtrack, Jamie as Ray is flat-out brilliant.

The blind Genius of Soul (who took a revolutionary step of mixing gospel with R&B) died during production. The movie about his troubled life is good, not great. Taylor Hackford's direction and James L. White's script follow the well-worn biopic outline. Super-talented youngster battles adversity, achieves greatness while also self-destructing, then picks himself up out of the gutter for a happy ending. The film shows Charles' flaws (heroin abuse, chronic womanizing, persistent bastard-fathering) even as it sucks you in with his beautiful music.

Kerry Washington and Regina King play the main women in Ray's life, one his long-suffering wife and the other his longtime mistress. Both actresses match Foxx stride for stride. What takes him to a different level, though, is his deep understanding and uncanny impersonation of the great musician. The entire cast is effective, especially Sharon Warren as his headstrong mother and Curtis Armstrong as a music exec. Hackford's stars are likely to be rewarded with trophies and---better yet---more starring roles.

I was not a Ray Charles aficionado before 'Ray'. Apparently, the film has left out a lot (as do all biopics), but this picture functions as both an old-fashioned crowd pleaser AND a dark investigation of a brilliant/troubled man. For those who whine that Foxx doesn't actually sing (as if that somehow diminishes his performance), take a hike. No mere actor can sing like Mr. Charles anyway. You can't have everything. What the talented star does in this picture is about as close to "everything" as we'll probably see for a while.

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