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Ray (I) (2004)

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 90,439 users   Metascore: 73/100
Reviews: 418 user | 210 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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Title: Ray (2004)

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Won 2 Oscars. Another 52 wins & 42 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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Gossie McGee (as Terrence Dashon Howard)
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Storyline

Ray Charles has the distinction of being both a national treasure and an international phenomenon. By the early 1960s, Ray Charles had accomplished his dream. He had come of age musically and had made it to Carnegie Hall. The hit records "Georgia on My Mind" and "Born to Lose" successively kept climbing to the top of the charts. He had made his first triumphant European concert tour in 1960 (a feat which, except for 1965, he has repeated at least once a year ever since). He had taken virtually every form of popular music and broken through its boundaries with such awe inspiring achievements as the LP's "Genius Plus Soul Equals Jazz" and "Modern Sounds in Country & Western". Rhythm and blues (or "race music" as it had been called) became universally respectable through his efforts. Jazz found a mainstream audience it had never previously enjoyed. And country and western music began to chart an unexpected course to general acceptance, then worldwide popularity. And along the way, Ray ... Written by Crusader

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

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:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 October 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Unchain My Heart: The Ray Charles Story  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$5,482 (Iceland) (25 February 2005)

Gross:

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

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (extended)

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ray Charles died of liver failure on 10 June 2004, after filming had ended. He was able to sit through the first edit of the film before his death. See more »

Goofs

They show Ray his new recording studio, which uses fluorescent lighting throughout. Fluorescent lighting is generally not used in recording studios as it can cause a hum in recordings. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Robert De Niro/Destiny's Child (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

What Kind of Man Are You?
Written by Ray Charles
Performed by Ray Charles and Mary Ann Fisher
Courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp.
By Arrangement with Warner Strategic Marketing
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Phenomenal biographical film with intense and memorable performances
28 June 2005 | by (Vulcan) – See all my reviews

Jamie Foxx leads a brilliant cast in this powerful voyage through the life of the blind, emotionally troubled, African American genius of pop jazz, Mr. Ray Charles. Though the entire cast performs wonderfully, Mr. Foxx earned more than simply an Oscar. If it were possible to nominate an actor in consecutive years, I would consider doing so for Mr. Foxx. Foxx doesn't just play Charles, he re-creates him. CJ Sanders and Sharon Warren also deserve special mention for their portrayal of Ray's mother (the inspiration of his life) and young Ray. These two provided the strongest support in the film.

The dramas of Charles' struggles with guilt, the death of his younger brother and mother, blindness, discrimination, addiction, and success, are neatly woven into the tapestries of his music. The music is beautiful, the script is, as far as I can tell, perfect, and the acting is nothing short of legendary.

The directorial method of the film warrants discussion. Taylor Hackford

  • a director I am generally ambivalent about - had to choose what


aspects of the larger-than-life and complex life story of Mr. Charles would tell his story most honestly, dramatically, and understandably. Though some disagree (seemingly wanting a documentary instead of a dramatized biopic) I believe he selected his themes admirably. A big part of the success of this film is its consistent focus on a few persistent themes in Charles' life - his profound love and respect for his mother, his need to be loved and accepted, his addiction and guilt complex, his musical genius, and his deep-seated fear of responsibility for others. Charles is depicted as a man struggling valiantly against an army of personal demons. I learned more than I could have imagined about one of the men I used to listen to on my old turntable with my dad in his livingroom on Sunday nights while football games were on the TV. And nothing was sugar-coated in "Ray." The themes are carried forward with power and human dignity. These themes create a unifying drama which span the length of his long and illuminated life. The power of these themes, the strong script and directing, the music, and the acting make this one of the most enjoyable and evocative biographical films I have seen.

Recommended for everyone.


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