The troubled life and career of jazz musician Charlie "Bird" Parker (Forest Whitaker).

Director:

Clint Eastwood

Writer:

Joel Oliansky
Won 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Forest Whitaker ... Charlie 'Bird' Parker
Diane Venora ... Chan Parker
Michael Zelniker ... Red Rodney
Samuel E. Wright ... Dizzy
Keith David ... Buster Franklin
Michael McGuire ... Brewster
James Handy ... Esteves
Damon Whitaker ... Young Bird
Morgan Nagler ... Kim
Arlen Dean Snyder ... Dr. Heath
Sam Robards ... Moscowitz
Penelope Windust ... Bellevue Nurse
Glenn Wright Glenn Wright ... Alcoholic Patient (as Glenn T. Wright)
George Orrison George Orrison ... Patient with Checkers
Bill Cobbs ... Dr. Caulfield
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Storyline

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.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

"There are no second acts in American lives." - F. Scott Fitzgerald

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Benny Tate: 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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Crazy Credits

Pre-titles card: "There are no second acts in American lives." - F. Scott Fitzgerald See more »


Soundtracks

Moose The Mooche
Performed by Charles McPherson, Jon Faddis, Walter Davis, Jr., Ron Carter,
John Guerin
Courtesy of Spotlite Records. England
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User Reviews

Brilliant and Moving
25 October 2001 | by hb_wichitaSee all my reviews

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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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 September 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Yardbird Suite See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$9,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$27,116, 2 October 1988

Gross USA:

$2,181,286

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,181,286
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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