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Bird (1988)

tomatometer

86

Average Rating: 6.8/10
Critic Reviews: 7
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 1

No consensus yet.

audience

80

liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 6,011

My Rating

Movie Info

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

R,

Drama

Joel Oliansky

Jan 30, 2001

Warner Home Video

Watch It Now

Cast

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All Critics (18) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (14) | Rotten (4) | DVD (8)

Sensitively acted, beautifully planned visually and dynamite musically, this is a dramatic telling of the troubled life of a revolutionary artist.

March 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

At last American cinema has done black music proud. Unforgettable.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post | Comment (1)
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Whitaker occupies this world as a large, friendly, sometimes taciturn man who tries to harm nobody and who cannot understand why the world would not let him play his music. Neither can we.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The greatest strength of Clint Eastwood's bio-pic tribute to jazz saxophone great Charlie 'Bird' Parker, is its dark and haunting mood.

June 5, 2008 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Eastwood shows a Parker that is haunted by his boyhood addiction, and shows off the innumerable people who loved his talent who were let down by him time and again.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Eastwood made the switch from Hollywood icon to great world director with his viciously underrated Bird.

January 15, 2005 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Overlong, and reeking of prestige.

March 18, 2004
F5 (Wichita, KS)

Eastwood clearly is committed to presenting Bird to his audience with all of his complexities and contradictions intact.

January 3, 2004 Full Review Source: MovieMartyr.com
MovieMartyr.com

Whitaker gives a towering performance as the tortured musical genius, and Venora is equally impressive as the independent, compassionate Chan.

July 30, 2003 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

"a well-produced downer that moves like a funeral procession"

July 29, 2002
Kalamazoo Gazette

Reduced to the bare bones of people and plot, the film winds up dancing around the edges of questions it doesn't answer -- straight-ahead rhythm coupled with straight-ahead melody, and not quite enough depth to either one.

April 11, 2001 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

Audience Reviews for Bird

This is the biopic of jazz legend Bird Parker.
Forest Whitaker gives a tour de force performance in the titular role of this biopic. It's a complicated role for Whitaker, filled with moments when he battles segregation with strategic charm and other moments when he's so strung out that I found it difficult to sympathize with him. Whitaker handles all the acting challenges with the poise of a seasoned vet.
Clint Eastwood's direction captures the feel of jazz. Smoky nightclubs, some quick dialogue, and an ever-present brassy score bring back the environment of the time with a bygone verisimilitude.
While the narrative structure - telling the middle of the story at the beginning - works toward the start of the film, it falls apart halfway through. Also, Diane Venora can't keep up with Whitaker, and the reasons why Chan loves him become less and less clear.
Overall, you should see this film because of Whitaker, and if you like the music of the era, you're in for a real treat.
November 9, 2012
hunterjt13
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

an expertly crafted film. the direction and acting were flawless, and the music was obviously exceptional. my real criticism of the film lies in the choices made in the writing. it seems the film was dominated by parkers personal life rather than his music, and more balance was probably appropriate, and even with the focus as presented there were a few major pieces of parkers life not included in the film that really should have been. overall, an incomplete look at bird despite the films lengthy running time, but what we were given was made with precision and the film was a joy to watch.
August 16, 2010
sanjurosamurai
danny d

Super Reviewer

A biopic on Charlie "Bird" Parker, Clint Eastwood crafts this film as a labor of love. His love for Jazz music is apparent with this film, and its a well told and acted biopic. Clint Eastwood has tremendous flair in telling a great story, and he tells Charlie Parker's story with knowledge on the subject matter at hand. The film is dark and sad. Parker lived a sad life and this is what unfolds on the film. Bird is a terrific biopic on a tremendously talented musician. This is one of the best biopics I've seen seen. As a diehard fan of Heavy Metal and rock music, I thoroughly enjoyed something different such as a film about a Jazz musician. If you want a terrificbiopic on a tremendous musician, then Bird is for you.
June 18, 2010
TheDudeLebowski65
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

Couldn't get into it.
November 22, 2006
mjgildea

Super Reviewer

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

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