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.
The project was originally intended for Richard Pryor at Columbia Pictures eight years earlier. Persuaded by Clint Eastwood, Columbia traded it to Warner Brothers for Revenge (1990), for which he was originally the director. See more »
At the Jewish wedding, the first shot of the orchestra shows both horns playing, but only the trumpet is heard. The saxophone joins later on. See more »
Charlie 'Bird' Parker:
There's going to be a Birdland in every city one day. There's gonna be a Birdland in Chicago, a Birdland in Detroit, a Birdland right across the street from Camarillo. I am the liberator of Paris and you are a motherfucking afterthought!
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Pre-titles card: "There are no second acts in American lives." - F. Scott Fitzgerald See more »
There are certain movies that leave you dazed when you walk out of the theater. For me, "Bird" was such a movie.
On a nice evening in 1988 I decided to take in a movie on the spur of the moment. I walked to the nearest theater (Fine Arts, Downtown Chicago) and looked to see what was playing. I had never heard of Charlie Parker nor his music, but I was developing a love of jazz and the movie being directed by Clint Eastwood didn't hurt.
I went in, found a seat and had no way of knowing that, in a couple of hours, my life would be different.
The music penetrated my soul in ways I could never express. I was in awe and filled with emotion as the music carried me away while the visions of Charlie Parker's life flashed in front of my face. When the final credits scrolled up the screen, I could not move. I was frozen to my seat, dazed, overwhelmed, completely awed. I couldn't get the music out of my head, songs were playing back as if I'd listened to them a thousand times. My mind felt as if it were orbiting the sun.. spinning round and round, bathed in this warmth of beauty.
I didn't walk out of the the theater so much as stagger. I walked around for miles just playing over and over in my mind what I'd seen and heard and finally, hours after the movie ended I found myself in front of an all night music store where I bought the soundtrack and raced home to listen to it.
No matter that I had to get up in the morning for work... no matter that the movie had ended before 10pm but I didn't find my way home until after 2am. No matter that I was dead tired from walking dazed miles in a haze of thought.
I played that CD until I fell asleep then took it to work and played it all day... I played it constantly for weeks and then I started to buy other Charlie Parker CDs and reading everything I could about him. Charlie Parker is my favorite musician of all time, to this day, nearly 20 years later... and it began with this movie.
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