7.2/10
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37 user 29 critic

Bird (1988)

The troubled life and career of the jazz musician, Charlie "Bird" Parker.

Director:

Clint Eastwood

Writer:

Joel Oliansky

On Disc

at Amazon

Won 1 Oscar. Another 8 wins & 9 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 Parker comes to New York in 1940. He is quickly noticed for his remarkable way of playing. He becomes a drug addict but his loving wife Chan tries to help him. Written by Anonymous

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)

Gross USA:

$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

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

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

Doctor at Nica's: [while Bird's body is being retired] Charles Christopher Parker, Junior. Preliminary diagnosis: heart attack. Stocky, male, negro. Approximately 65 years of age.
Baroness Nica: [with a sad look] He was 34.
See more »


Soundtracks

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

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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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