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
2,860 ( 399)
Won 2 Oscars. Another 51 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 (played by Jamie Foxx), music legend. Told in his adult life 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, him 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 only thing more extraordinary than the music is the man behind it: 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jamie Foxx remarked that the demanding role barely left him any time to sleep. His day would begin early in the morning filming for long hours, then he'd go home and stay up late practicing the piano. See more »

Goofs

At the 1965 Newport Jazz Festival, Quincy is wearing "Ray Bans" sunglasses bearing the familiar 1990 Ray Bans logo on the corner of one lens. See more »

Quotes

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

Ray Charles is survived by 12 children, 21 grandchildren, and 5 great-grandchildren. See more »

Alternate Versions

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

Connections

Referenced in Black-ish: Christmas in Theater Eight (2018) See more »

Soundtracks

Hard Times (No One Knows Better Than I)
Written by Ray Charles
Performed by Ray Charles
Courtesy of Ray Charles Enterprises
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User Reviews

Unexpectedly Brilliant Performance
29 October 2004 | by 8ofemSee all my reviews

Given that Jamie Fox's former leading credentials not that long ago were limited to the Fox comedy series In Living Color and the atrocity of film, Booty Call, this is a truly pleasant surprise break-out performance. Jamie Fox is Ray Charles in this movie. You never question it or even think of him as Jamie Fox. It truly is uncanny. He physically looks like him, especially with the glasses, but the true magic of the performance is that he acts just like him. He walks around and performs like him, smiles like him, and just does everything like him. This is the best rendering of a real-life character in film since Jim Carrey's depiction of Andy Kaufman in Man On The Moon. However, I'd venture to say that Fox's rendering of Ray is even better. The film itself is good too, though it fails to make a smooth transition in several parts of it and lulls in some parts, while not lingering long enough in others. Of course all films of this nature that are essentially biographies to some extent tend to suffer somewhat from things of this nature. It's hard to pack 70 years into 2 1/2 hrs. Thus, the script mainly traces his early days starting out in music up into the late 60's, with a few flashbacks into his childhood and a brief jump to a single event in 1979. This is the only film I have ever seen in which the entire audience, myself included, stood up and gave a standing ovation after the last scene. It's a celebration of the life of Ray Charles that must be seen by all of his fans. The film doesn't pull any punches though. Two of the main dramatic focuses of the picture are Ray's infidelity on the road and his heroine addiction. All-in-all, a good movie, a great Oscar-worthy performance, and a good way to spend 2 1/2 hrs. This movie held my attention so well throughout its entirety that I really couldn't believe it was nearly as long as a lengthy epic like Titanic. A few quick notes: Jamie Fox spent a lot of time with Ray Charles in preparing for this role. Jamie wore prosthetics during the entire filming of the movie that made him unable to see, so if you wonder why he acts like he's blind so well, it's because he was for the movie. Also, he did all the piano playing himself, as he is practically a professionally trained pianist himself. However, for the singing, Jamie lip syncs perfectly to Charles' vocals. Overall, 8/10 movie...10/10 Jamie Fox performance.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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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

Gross USA:

$75,331,600

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$123,971,376
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (extended)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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