Bird Poster

Release Date: 1988

DVD Release Date: January 30th, 2001

R|2 hr 41 min

Plot Summary
Director Clint Eastwood, a noted jazz aficionado, directs this heartfelt study of pioneering bop saxophonist Charlie Parker (Forest Whitaker). Moving forward and backward through Parker's brief life before his death of a heroin overdose at age 34, the film foregrounds the saxophonist's difficult relationship with his wife, Chan Parker (Diane Venora), but also features lengthy scenes of Parker improvising on stage, lit with the neon and cigarette smoke of vintage jazz clubs.

Cast: Forest Whitaker, Diane Venora, Samuel E. Wright, Keith David, Michael McGuire, James Handy, Michael Zelniker, Damon Whitaker

Director: Clint Eastwood

Genres: Historical drama, Music, Biography

Production Co: Warner Brothers

Keywords: Cool, 1950s, Los Angeles, Doctor, 1930s, Fall, 1940s, New York City, Wife, Rise

Ratings & Reviews

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  • 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

  • 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]

  • 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

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Nominated Best Performance By an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama
Nominated Sound
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1988)
Winner Sound
Nominated Score for a Film
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1988)
Winner Best Director - Motion Picture
Nominated Best Performance By an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture