7.2/10
11,516
42 user 33 critic

Bird (1988)

Trailer
1:48 | Trailer
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

Edit

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
Edit

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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

A sound engineer digitally and electronically isolated the solo tracks from the old recordings that Clint Eastwood got from Charlie Parker's widow, Chan Parker. Then modern day musicians, such as Ray Brown, Ron Carter, Red Rodney, Barry Harris, and Walter Davis, Jr., recorded backing tracks over the music. Dizzy Gillespie was on tour, so trumpet player Jon Faddis stepped in to do Gillespie's part. See more »

Goofs

Charlie Parker died in March, but in the movie he is buried in autumn; dead leaves are on the road. See more »

Quotes

Chan Parker: Dizzy sent you a birthday card. Seems he's back in town. Do you owe him a phone call?
Charlie Parker: I owe Dizzy everything...except a phone call.
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 »

User Reviews

Tragic story, great central performance
17 December 2001 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

The story of jazz great Charlie Parker. The film follows his rise from clubs to records and follows him across tours, drug abuse, personal loss and his eventual death. At the time of his death at 34 he was so eaten up by drugs that the coroner assessed his age at 65.

This is a well put together film about a creative but flawed artist. The plot doesn't glamorise him too much, although it maybe sympathises a little with his addiction and doesn't show it quite as harshly as it could have done. That said he is a pretty unpleasant person when he isn't performing. The film focuses on his adult life, which is good as it saves us child actors running around and it means more time is spent on the important years. The covers a lot of time, but it doesn't feel rushed. His drug addiction is honestly handled and it shows both the ups and downs of his life as a user.

The direction is pretty good, it's obvious Eastwood likes his jazz, and he uses the clubs well getting a great sense of mood. Elements are quite funny and this tempers the more tragic side of his life well. Whittaker is excellent in the lead role, but Diane Venora as his wife is not as good. She doesn't totally carry her lines in the same way - she's OK but you feel like something is missing. The rest of the cast come and go - there are good performances all round from a mostly low-key cast. The main star is the music, and it's treated with a lot of respect with Eastwood giving it plenty of time and creating a good mood for it to work in.

Overall a tragic story well told with a good central performance and great music.


23 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 42 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 September 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Yardbird Suite See more »

Edit

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 »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed