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Ray (2004)

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The story of the life and career of the legendary rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles, from his humble beginnings in the South, where he went blind at age seven, to his meteoric rise to stardom during the 1950s and 1960s.

Director:

Taylor Hackford

Writers:

Taylor Hackford (story), James L. White (story) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
4,118 ( 459)
Won 2 Oscars. Another 52 wins & 54 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jamie Foxx ... Ray Charles
Kerry Washington ... Della Bea Robinson
Regina King ... Margie Hendricks
Clifton Powell ... Jeff Brown
Harry Lennix ... Joe Adams
Bokeem Woodbine ... Fathead Newman
Aunjanue Ellis ... Mary Ann Fisher
Sharon Warren ... Aretha Robinson
C.J. Sanders ... Young Ray Robinson
Curtis Armstrong ... Ahmet Ertegun
Richard Schiff ... Jerry Wexler
Larenz Tate ... Quincy Jones
Terrence Howard ... Gossie McGee (as Terrence Dashon Howard)
David Krumholtz ... Milt Shaw
Wendell Pierce ... Wilbur Brassfield
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Storyline

The story of Ray Charles, music legend. Told in his adult live with flashbacks to his youth we see his humble origins in Florida, his turbulent childhood which included losing his brother and then his sight, his rise as pianist in a touring band, his writing his own songs and running his own band and then stardom. Also includes his addiction to drugs and its affect on his working life and family life. Written by grantss

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The extraordinary life story of Ray Charles. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for depiction of drug addiction, sexuality and some thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 October 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Unchain My Heart: The Ray Charles Story See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$20,039,730, 31 October 2004, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$75,331,600

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$124,731,534
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (extended)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Jamie Foxx relied on old cassettes that Quincy Jones gave him to prepare for the portrayal of a young Ray Charles. See more »

Goofs

The scene where Charles is met by a group of protesters outside the Bell Auditorium in Augusta, Georgia is a fabrication. Charles canceled his appearance after receiving a telegram from students at a local black college. The promoter successfully sued Charles for breach of contract, but he was never banned from the state of Georgia. When the Georgia state legislature honored Ray Charles in 1979, they didn't apologized for banning him because he was never banned. In the commentary, it is stated that this event actually happened, but those who looked into Georgia's legislature found no record that he was banned, just sued, and later they adopted as their state song "Georgia" - by Ray Charles. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Aretha Robinson: Always remember your promise to me. Never let nobody or nothing turn you into no cripple.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Producers wish to thank David "Fathead" Newman (Who still performs internationally and enjoys a healthy drug-free lifestyle) See more »

Alternate Versions

Universal Pictures Oscar Edition contains Extended Cut of the film. See more »

Connections

References Carmen Jones (1954) See more »

Soundtracks

As It Falls
Written by Willie Tee (as Wilson Turbinton)
Performed by Willie Tee (as Wilson "Willie Tee" Turbinton)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
'Ray' lives on
27 February 2005 | by abhishek-1See all my reviews

'Ray' lives on

Ray Dir- Taylor Hackford Cast- Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington, Regina King, Clifton Powell, Curtis Armstrong and Sharon Warren. Written by- Taylor Hackford and James L. White. Rating- ***

"Hit the road Jack, and don't come back…no more, no more, no more, NO MORE!" Who would've thought that this immortal line that has almost become a remedial mantra for broken relationships in popular culture was conceived over a lovers' brawl! Ray Charles was a genius. And if there was one thing that he knew, breathed and lived for; it was music. So in a lifetime that comprised acute poverty, a desperate struggle with darkness, guilt, drugs and painful affairs; Ray still found moments when inspiration hit him out of nowhere and words and notes took their own shape to form an instant eternal classic!

There are some lives that deserve to be transformed on the silver screen. Ray Charles's life was one of them. It almost comes as a shock to learn that this project had no studio-backing until it was completed! And that backing probably came after the initial screenings where Jamie Foxx's performance was lauded and predicted as a surefire Oscar winner in hushed voices. Jamie Foxx as Ray almost convinces us that it is indeed Ray Charles performing on screen and not an actor impersonating! From the crooked all-knowing smile to the bent gait of not so much a handicapped but a man dancing through his demons, Foxx captures every essence of the actual Ray Charles. Ray was a complicated man. He never demanded sympathy and very rarely showed it himself. An astute businessman, he ensured his success at any cost, sometimes at the price of losing his loved ones. He never apologized for his philandering ways and always maintained that he loved his family, which we are convinced he did. He liked sex; it was as simple as that! But beneath all, there also existed a Ray that was afraid of darkness. Imagine the horrors of a blind man afraid of darkness! His fear was because of his guilt. Ray was convinced that he was the reason for his brother's death, and his whole life was spent trying to redeem himself. Ray was a maverick who fused gospel with jazz, an unheard blasphemous practice in the 50's. But his intentions weren't to instigate. He was simply practicing the only way he knew of getting close to God!

It is hard to capture such an eventful life as that of Ray, and that is perhaps where the movie fails. We are never really allowed to get close to Ray as a person. We know him only as much as we see him. His relationships, especially with Margie Hendricks(Regina King), aren't explored in detail. And the script barely passes over Della Bea(Kerry Washington), Ray's wife, who everyone knows was a rock by his side. And the biggest blunder of all is the rushed, almost abrupt climax. It's as if the director suddenly realized he was out of stock and called for a pack-up! Nonetheless, 'Ray' is definitely recommended for a flawless performance from Jamie Foxx and an able stellar ensemble. The songs and age create a sense of nostalgia, and we get a genuine feeling that the film is made with sincerity.

  • Abhishek Bandekar


Note- 'Ray' is nominated in six categories at this year's Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor(Jamie Foxx).

Rating- ***

* Poor ** Average *** Good **** Very Good ***** Excellent

19th February, 2005


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