7.2/10
10,643
38 user 30 critic

Bird (1988)

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

Director:

Clint Eastwood

Writer:

Joel Oliansky
Won 1 Oscar. Another 8 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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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 Gillespie
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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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

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Richard Pryor was actually involved in a project to portray Charlie Parker on film at Columbia Pictures in the early 1980s, but had a falling-out with studio executives and left. When Eastwood came on-board to direct, he opted for a lesser-known talent in Forest Whitaker to star. See more »

Goofs

When Bird is dictates the telegram to be sent to Chan, it's printed as he speaks. He says "Forgive me for not being in the hospital with you," but the telegram reads "Forgive me for not being there with you while you were at the hospital." See more »

Quotes

Charlie 'Bird' Parker: There's going to be a Birdland in every city one day. There's gonna be a Birdland in Chicago, a Birdland in Detroit, a Birdland right across the street from Camarillo. I am the liberator of Paris and you are a motherfucking afterthought!
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Pepe Guindo (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Parker's Mood
Performed by Charlie Parker, John Guerin plus strings
Courtesy of S. J. Records/Ed Chalpin PPX
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Not Jazzy Enough
1 June 2007 | by aerslifeSee all my reviews

I feel as though the film did not do justice to the musically phenomenal life "Bird" went through. He was one of the most influential Jazz musicians crating an entire style of music. Which i felt was not portrayed fully. As one of the comments i've heard before stated "it seemed they had a choice between Charlie Parker as a musical genius or Charlie Parker as a junkie and they chose junkie."

I felt as though the musicians playing the bird solo's did a bad job reflecting his "sound." As in Charlie Parker had a sound that filled up an entire room with complicated be-bop phrasings and with a blues background. While the musicians just had him playing fast notes most of the time which was sometimes difficult to hear over back ground noise, very "unbird like".

However i did enjoy moments of the film, that showed even Charlie Parker had to play some weird gigs.

My last point is that it felt as though Chan Parker was portrayed as a stable part of bird's life, and was one of the central idea's of the film. As in the love story between him and his wife, with a love hate relationship. Which i think could have been less focused on and centralized more around Charlie Parkers music.

i do understand that Chan actually helped the script writer to write the film so it may have been a somewhat biased perspective.


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