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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 103,449 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?


No studio was interested in backing the film. The film was then shot independently and once it was completed, Universal stepped in to distribute it. Part of the reason Universal released it was because one of the executives of the studio used to hitchhike to Hollywood to watch Ray Charles concerts. See more »


The film shows an exterior shot of Saenger theater in Alabama when Ray is suppose to be performing in Saint Louis, MO. 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

Producers wish to thank David "Fathead" Newman (Who still performs internationally and enjoys a healthy drug-free lifestyle) See more »


Referenced in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: Episode #8.164 (2010) See more »


Written by Dizzy Gillespie (as John 'Dizzy' Gillespie) and Milton Shaw
Performed by John Thomas
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

'Ray' lives on
27 February 2005 | by (Mumbai, India.) – See all my reviews

'Ray' lives on

Ray Dir- Taylor Hackford Cast- Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington, Regina King, Clifton Powell, Curtis Armstrong and Sharon Warren. Written by- Taylor Hackford and James L. White. Rating- ***

"Hit the road Jack, and don't come back…no more, no more, no more, NO MORE!" Who would've thought that this immortal line that has almost become a remedial mantra for broken relationships in popular culture was conceived over a lovers' brawl! Ray Charles was a genius. And if there was one thing that he knew, breathed and lived for; it was music. So in a lifetime that comprised acute poverty, a desperate struggle with darkness, guilt, drugs and painful affairs; Ray still found moments when inspiration hit him out of nowhere and words and notes took their own shape to form an instant eternal classic!

There are some lives that deserve to be transformed on the silver screen. Ray Charles's life was one of them. It almost comes as a shock to learn that this project had no studio-backing until it was completed! And that backing probably came after the initial screenings where Jamie Foxx's performance was lauded and predicted as a surefire Oscar winner in hushed voices. Jamie Foxx as Ray almost convinces us that it is indeed Ray Charles performing on screen and not an actor impersonating! From the crooked all-knowing smile to the bent gait of not so much a handicapped but a man dancing through his demons, Foxx captures every essence of the actual Ray Charles. Ray was a complicated man. He never demanded sympathy and very rarely showed it himself. An astute businessman, he ensured his success at any cost, sometimes at the price of losing his loved ones. He never apologized for his philandering ways and always maintained that he loved his family, which we are convinced he did. He liked sex; it was as simple as that! But beneath all, there also existed a Ray that was afraid of darkness. Imagine the horrors of a blind man afraid of darkness! His fear was because of his guilt. Ray was convinced that he was the reason for his brother's death, and his whole life was spent trying to redeem himself. Ray was a maverick who fused gospel with jazz, an unheard blasphemous practice in the 50's. But his intentions weren't to instigate. He was simply practicing the only way he knew of getting close to God!

It is hard to capture such an eventful life as that of Ray, and that is perhaps where the movie fails. We are never really allowed to get close to Ray as a person. We know him only as much as we see him. His relationships, especially with Margie Hendricks(Regina King), aren't explored in detail. And the script barely passes over Della Bea(Kerry Washington), Ray's wife, who everyone knows was a rock by his side. And the biggest blunder of all is the rushed, almost abrupt climax. It's as if the director suddenly realized he was out of stock and called for a pack-up! Nonetheless, 'Ray' is definitely recommended for a flawless performance from Jamie Foxx and an able stellar ensemble. The songs and age create a sense of nostalgia, and we get a genuine feeling that the film is made with sincerity.

  • Abhishek Bandekar

Note- 'Ray' is nominated in six categories at this year's Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor(Jamie Foxx).

Rating- ***

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19th February, 2005

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

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