7.2/10
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40 user 32 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 8 wins & 10 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 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of numerous jazz films, mostly documentaries, and many for television, produced, or executively produced by Clint Eastwood. The titles include this movie, Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser (1988), Dave Brubeck: In His Own Sweet Way (2010), Monterey Jazz Festival: 40 Legendary Years (1998) and The Blues: Piano Blues (2003). See more »

Goofs

At the Jewish wedding, the first shot of the orchestra shows both horns playing, but only the trumpet is heard. The saxophone joins later on. 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!
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Crazy Credits

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

Connections

References Laura (1944) See more »

Soundtracks

Be My Love
Performed by Mario Lanza
Courtesy of RCA Vicotr Red Seal, a Division of BMG Classics
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User Reviews

Eastwood proves he's one of America's best directors. Simply brilliant.
15 November 2004 | by ztruk2001See all my reviews

A dark and atmospheric biopic on jazz legend Charlie Parker, who with his fast improvisational style formed the sub-genre of bebop. Clint Eastwood directed this movie with a heart and passion that reflects back to his own love of the music which he has carried with him all his life and played a role in all his work. Eastwood himself actually was fortunate to have seen Charlie "Bird" Parker play in when he was alive. The film chronicles his life and has a tight focus on his self destructive behavior and the music itself. Bird explores the highs and lows of his journey. Playing to a sold out house in Paris, playing alongside Dizzy Gillespie, and earning a respect that few other musicians have matched. In contrast we see his heroine addiction, his suffering and depression resulting in several suicide attempts, the death of his daughter, and his wife's loving struggle to help save a man who's ill-fate was inevitable and irreversible.

Forest Whitaker plays Bird with a lot of heart and soul. Even though I have no idea if it was an accurate portrayal in capturing the man's nuances, Whitaker's interpretation was superlative. Equally as good was Diane Venora as Bird's wife, who found enough strength for the both of them and tried to hold the family together in an un-winnable battle. There's lots of rain, lots of dark nightclubs, lots of street lamps reflecting the soaked streets, and lots of feeling in this one. Having just watched another biopic, that one on Ray Charles, it's clear to see Eastwood's was the real deal, whereas Ray was merely decent.

Grade: A+


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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
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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