7.2/10
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40 user 31 critic

Bird (1988)

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 »

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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

The saxophone playing is original Charlie Parker performances. The body and fingering are by Charles McPherson, who had to learn to breathe exactly like Parker did in the recordings. See more »

Goofs

When Bird is dictates the telegram to be sent to Chan, it's printed as he speaks. He says "Forgive me for not being in the hospital with you," but the telegram reads "Forgive me for not being there with you while you were at the hospital." 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

References The Son of the Sheik (1926) See more »

Soundtracks

All of Me
Performed by Charlie Parker, Monty Alexander (Piano), Ray Brown (Bass),
John Guerin (Drums)
See more »

User Reviews

Brilliant and Moving
25 October 2001 | by hb_wichitaSee all my reviews

Those viewers who claim the film is flawed are missing the point. Screenwriter Joel Oliansky (who also directed the film "The Competition") attempted (quite successfully I believe) to combine the elements of jazz music with the visual medium of film. Rhythm, tone, the improvisational aspects of be-bop, all of these elements go into creating a movie unlike any produced. It is not to be viewed in the traditional sense of linear story-telling. The mood created by Jack N. Green's cinematography is completed suited to the atmosphere of the 1940's and 1950's. As for acting, let us point out Forest Whitaker's Best Actor Award from the Cannes Film Festival and Diane Venora's Best Supporting Actress Award from the New York Film Critics. This film resounds with fine filmmaking, headed by Clint Eastwood's passion for the music. And what music! Parker's original solos were cleaned up and integrated with modern musicians into a seamless flow. The picture won the Best Sound Academy Award (sadly, its only nomination). Look at this film as a tribute to a man and a music, a recollection of a brilliant yet dissipated life, and a kind of filmmaking rarely seen by today's audiences.


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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
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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