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Bird (1988)

HD   R Closed Captioning

Clint Eastwood

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Plot Summary

Academy Award-winning director Clint Eastwood ("Letters from Iwo Jima," "Flags of Our Fathers"), a well-known, long-standing jazz aficionado, delivers a compassionate portrait of jazz visionary Charlie "Yardbird" Parker. Eastwood, who won a Golden Globe for Best Director for this film, also paints a vivid portrait of the jazz world in all its complexity. Academy Award, Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winner Forest Whitaker ("The Last King of Scotland," "Phone Booth"), as Parker, provides a multifaceted performance that helps provide an understanding of the man's genius, and tragedy. Co-starring Diane Venora ("The Insider," "Heat"), who along with Whitaker was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance in this picture, Bill Cobbs ("Night at the Museum," "The Hudsucker Proxy"), John Witherspoon (the "Friday" movie series, TV's "The Wayans Bros.") and Tony Cox ("Bad Santa," "Epic Movie"). This music-driven film was an Academy Award-winner for Best Sound.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews

TOMATOMETER

78%
  • Reviews Counted: 18
  • Fresh: 14
  • Rotten: 4
  • Average Rating: 6.6/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: Bird is less moving as a character study than it is as a tribute and as a labor of love. The portrait it offers, though hazy at times, is one Charlie Parker's admirers will recognize. – Janet Maslin, New York Times, Dec 6, 2009

Fresh: Sensitively acted, beautifully planned visually and dynamite musically, this is a dramatic telling of the troubled life of a revolutionary artist. – Variety Staff, Variety, Jul 7, 2010

Rotten: Whitaker sweats, vomits, blows and wails as the Bird (so named for hanging around jazz clubs like a yardbird), laying in some minor-key grace to Parker's self-destruction along the way. But he never lets you into his darkest fears. – Desson Thomson, Washington Post, Dec 6, 2009

Fresh: Even though, thematically, the movie won't come clear, Eastwood has succeeded so thoroughly in communicating his love of his subject, and there's such vitality in the performances, that we walk out elated, juiced on the actors and the music. – Hal Hinson, Washington Post, Dec 6, 2009

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

A Work of Art

One of Clint Eastwood's best achievements. Music was brilliantly performed over actual performances by Charlie Parker. A must-have for any jazz fan.

Too many non-truths, too depressing

This movie is filled with half truths and fabricated events that have nothing to do with the real life of Charlie Parker. The most jarring is the scenes with Buster Smith who was in reality a father figure to Charlie. The scene where he goes see Charlie at a club where he is playing never happened nor the scene where he throughs his alto into the river. When Charlie went to New York he stayed at Buster’s apartment sleeping during the day in Busters bed while he was gone waking up late afternoon to go out to play or in the beginning go to work at some chicken shack. I find it most disturbing and disrespectful that someone would ignore Busters mentoring of Charlie and portray it thusly. The movie is dark and depressing dealing with all of Charlie’s short-comings and none of his achievements.
Forest Whitaker obviously doesn’t know how to play sax and if he ever watched Charlie play he would have noticed how little Charlie moved his fingers. I have to almost laugh when I Forester’s fingers flying around the sax like he was playing a bongo instead of the real instrument.
What a disaster when this movie could have been so much more. Nice try Clint but no cigar.

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Bird (1988)
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  • $14.99
  • Genre: Drama
  • Released: 1988

Customer Ratings