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Based on 14 Reviews
critic reviews (10)
fan reviews ( )
  • 75
    Mike Clark USA Today

    Clint Eastwood remains a competent, rather than distinctive, film maker, but he obviously respects the material. Bird is essentially factual, and we come to understand why so many other musicians thought shooting heroin might enable them to transfer [Charlie Parker]'s genius to themselves. [26 Sept 1988, p. 4D] show more

  • 100
    TV Guide

    n a remarkable directorial effort, Eastwood shows a great flair for atmosphere and composition and presents a nuanced, complex, humane portrait of Parker's talents, obstacles, virtues and failings. Whitaker gives a towering performance as the tortured musical genius, and Venora is equally impressive as the independent, compassionate Chan. show more

  • 88
    Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times

    Bird wisely does not attempt to "explain" Parker's music by connecting experiences with musical discoveries. This is a film of music, not about it, and one of the most extraordinary things about it is that we are really, literally, hearing Parker on the soundtrack. show more

  • 75
    Jay Carr Boston Globe

    It's more than a labor of love -- it's a powerful summoning of devoted craft, conveying the pain and complexity of a great musical innovator, avoiding almost totally the usual Hollywood cliches. [14 Oct 1988, p. 53] show more

  • 75
    Jay Scott The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

    At two hours and 43 minutes, Eastwood's Bird is a hypnotic, darkly photographed, loosely constructed marvel that avoids every cliche of the self-destructive-celebrity biography, a particularly remarkable achievement in that Parker played out every cliche of the self- destructive-celebrity life. [14 Oct 1988, p. C1] show more

  • 80

    A compelling mix of music and misery as Bird flushes himself down the can. show more

  • 70
    Brad Laidman Film Threat

    Forest Whitaker is the perfect guy to play Parker, Diane Venora is hotly sympathetic to Parker's genius as his last wife Chan, and Eastwood's intentions are pure and golden, but Bird is a solid base hit on a hanging curve ball that should have been knocked well out of the Park. It's a powerful Heroin parable, but it could have been so much more. show more

  • 90
    Jonathan Rosenbaum Chicago Reader

    Clint Eastwood's ambitious 1988 feature about the great Charlie Parker (Forest Whitaker) is the most serious, conscientious, and accomplished jazz biopic ever made, and almost certainly Eastwood's best picture as well. show more

  • 80
    Jack Mathews Los Angeles Times

    The film is as faithful to its subject as perhaps any film biography has been. As Eastwood said, Parker was a paradoxical character, both self-destructive and full of life, and the movie, simultaneously dark and exhilarating, takes that as its theme. [22 Sep 1988, p. 1] show more

  • 80
    Richard Schickel Time

    There is not a cheap note or a careless image, not an easy judgment or a forced emotion, in the 2 hr. 43 min. of Bird. It permits a man's life its complexity. It invites us to experience the redeeming grace of his music. And with its passionate craft, it proclaims that Eastwood is a major American director. show more

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