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 52 wins & 51 nominations. See more awards »



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


The story of Ray Charles, music legend. Told in his adult live with flashbacks to his youth we see his humble origins in Florida, his turbulent childhood which included losing his brother and then his sight, his rise as pianist in a touring band, his writing his own songs and running his own band and then stardom. Also includes his addiction to drugs and its affect on his working life and family life. Written by grantss

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)


$75,305,995 (USA) (11 March 2005)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (extended)

Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 »


When Ahmet suggests that Ray try playing "Mess Around," which Ahmet has just written, Ahmet describes it as being in the key of G, but Ray then plays it in E-flat. 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

The final shot of the movie contains a freeze frame of the real Ray Charles and underneath it reads the caption: "Ray Charles Robinson = 1930 - 2004" See more »


References The Moon Is Blue (1953) See more »


What'd I Say
Written by Ray Charles
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

Not a Ray fan? No problem. Cinema at its best
22 November 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

My wife wanted to see this movie and I grudgingly went along. I have never been a big fan of the biopic - believing that cinema is more exciting when it isn't structured in non-fiction. Beyond that, although I like Ray Charles' music just fine, I don't consider myself a fan of him or his music.

I expected to either suffer or coast through this movie.

I was wrong.

This is an engaging story told in a classic cinematic style. The realism is in the nuances - the tilt of a character's head after a dramatic moment or the look in their eyes while they sing. I literally discovered myself involved in this movie during the course of viewing it.

Jaime Foxx, of which much has been said, heads a cast of immaculate re-creators of not just a time, but an ERA, a LIFE that never really existed to those of us under forty. This movie sinks the audience into time without the gimmicks and grand sweeping panoramas of Titanic or other period pieces of that ilk. This movie doesn't present you with the 50's and 60's music scene, it takes you there.

This is a movie about Ray Charles, but your appreciate of it should not be limited to the story of his life. This is the kind of movie, like Saving Private Ryan or Schindler's List, that does what a movie should do - bring you to another place, another time.

192 of 252 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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