Saxophone player Charlie "Bird" Parker (Forest Whitaker) comes to New York City in 1940. He is quickly noticed for his remarkable way of playing. He becomes a drug addict, but his loving wife Chan (Diane Venora) tries to help him.
The first movie Clint Eastwood directed where he did not cast himself in a role. He didn't star in Breezy (1973), but he had a cameo role as Man at Marina. See more »
When Charlie Parker goes to Dizzy Gillespie's house in the middle of the night and asks Dizzy to write down a tune, the year is 1953. The tune is "Now's the Time", published and recorded in 1945. See more »
I don't go for that shit you people play; but, over here, they are crazy about it. Now, you don't get rich, but you live. And they treat you like a man.
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Pre-titles card: "There are no second acts in American lives." - F. Scott Fitzgerald See more »
Those viewers who claim the film is flawed are missing the point. Screenwriter Joel Oliansky (who also directed the film "The Competition") attempted (quite successfully I believe) to combine the elements of jazz music with the visual medium of film. Rhythm, tone, the improvisational aspects of be-bop, all of these elements go into creating a movie unlike any produced. It is not to be viewed in the traditional sense of linear story-telling. The mood created by Jack N. Green's cinematography is completed suited to the atmosphere of the 1940's and 1950's. As for acting, let us point out Forest Whitaker's Best Actor Award from the Cannes Film Festival and Diane Venora's Best Supporting Actress Award from the New York Film Critics. This film resounds with fine filmmaking, headed by Clint Eastwood's passion for the music. And what music! Parker's original solos were cleaned up and integrated with modern musicians into a seamless flow. The picture won the Best Sound Academy Award (sadly, its only nomination). Look at this film as a tribute to a man and a music, a recollection of a brilliant yet dissipated life, and a kind of filmmaking rarely seen by today's audiences.
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