Bird (1988)

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… More

Directed By:
Rated: R
Running Time:
Genre: Drama
Release Date: October 1, 1988
DVD Release Date: January 30, 2001
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Critic Score: 78% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Variety Staff

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

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Desson Thomson
Washington Post

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.

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Urban Cinefile Critics
Urban Cinefile

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

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Time Out

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

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Hal Hinson
Washington Post

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.

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Brad Laidman
Film Threat

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.

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Janet Maslin
New York Times

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.

Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times

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.

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Jeffrey M. Anderson
Combustible Celluloid

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

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More reviews for Bird

Flixster Audience Score: 79% Flixster User Reviews
Jim Hunter
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… More
Michael Gildea
Couldn't get into it.
danny d
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… More
Cameron Johnson
I've always been talking about how sudden Clint Eastwood's jump from being a hardcore man's man with no name to a major, kind of sappy dramatic… More
Alex roy
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… More
John Ballantine
A far superior performance by Forest Whitaker than his Oscar turn in the Last King of Scotland. If you haven't seen, see it! Not all the great jazz… More