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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a wonderful intro to jazz
this is a beautifully made film. It is obvious that Eastwood is passionate about the subject.It is one of Forest Whitaker's finest performances.He makes you feel the pain of a man unable to cope in the world. One whose addiction inevitably consumes him but who left behind him great music and a not forgotten era. You don't have to like jazz or know a lot about the genre to...
Published on 21 Dec 2001

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Clint Eastwood's Bird
I am a jazz fan. I like films about jazz musicians. I was very lukewarm about the film by Clint Eastwood about Charlie Parker.
Clint is a massive jazz fan and his enthusiasm shows in this portrayal of Parker. Forrest Whittaker plays Parker well, but not convincingly. The action seems based heavily around an incident, whilst jamming with another band. The cymbal...
Published on 26 Oct 2010 by P. Worrell


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a wonderful intro to jazz, 21 Dec 2001
By A Customer
this is a beautifully made film. It is obvious that Eastwood is passionate about the subject.It is one of Forest Whitaker's finest performances.He makes you feel the pain of a man unable to cope in the world. One whose addiction inevitably consumes him but who left behind him great music and a not forgotten era. You don't have to like jazz or know a lot about the genre to love this film.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars See it for yourself, 18 Oct 2004
By 
Gareth Smyth "Enjilos" (County Mayo, Ireland) - See all my reviews
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Took a lot of criticism from jazz musicians who felt it overplayed Charlie Parker's lifestyle - drugs etc - at the expense of his musical genius. Personally, I found the film moving and it inspired me to dash out and buy his records (this was a time when I'd barely listened to him). So the only answer is to see it for yourself. As someone wrote, there hasn't been much played in jazz or even pop since then that hadn't been played first by Bird.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really good biopic of a culturally important musician., 8 July 2012
By 
T. S. C. (Somewhere in NW England.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bird - The Charlie Parker Story [DVD] [1988] (DVD)
I've seen this movie a few times now. For me it is a great film because it is about someone who helped shape the future of popular culture in America, and so hence the rest of the world. Charlie Parker was his name, but the world remembers him simply as 'Bird', which is also simply the title of the film.

Many of my heroes are African Americans because we should never forget that popular music for the most part and the popular culture that was conceived in the United States largely has its roots in African-American culture, history and experience. The Blues, Jazz, Soul, Funk, Rhythm & Blues and many other forms of popular music really come out of the African-American experience and their originality and creativity and their different take on life from the dominant mainstream White culture of America.

The 60's is well remembered by millions of people, and the happenings and films and music and art and photography of that deeply exciting era are still celebrated today all over the world. The 50's by contrast seem rather neglected, but it was the 50's, particularly in the United States of America, that really saw the birth of one kind of popular culture, which was Rock and Roll and all that went with that, the fast life, more egalitarianism, an eroding of race differences, fast food and that whole 'want-it-yesterday' sort of society that really could have only been born in America. Again, the music of the underclass, primarily African-American, would come to dominate American popular culture, even if the first greatest proponent of it was a poor White boy called Elvis.

Bird was the forerunner of other improvisational musicians like Jimi Hendrix, Peter Green and Eric Clapton, to name but three, who would shine in the next decade, those wonderful, heady, exciting, world-shattering 60's. Bird's playing was seat-of-the-pants and thrilling and exciting, much like the later guitar heroes of the 60's and he stands out from many of the great Jazz men of his era. His music is for me eternally nostalgic and yet fresh as the day it was made-it makes me feel good and just glad to be alive. His music hasn't dated, whereas someone like Herb Alpert, as great as he was, seems dated now.

America has always had two themes running through it; one was that a person should be virtuous, clean living and godly; the other was that you should find your pleasures where you could, be hard living, hard drinking and a fast living kind of person always looking for the next exciting thing to come along. Bird fits into the last category; his America is the underbelly, the rootless, the fast living kind, the kind that is most interesting. I say this as a Christian who doesn't take illegal drugs and lives moderately and drinks alcohol in moderation too! But you get my point; Bird is part of that American dream, that freedom, that raw excitement that America seems to have and certainly the 1950's America had in aces. The freedom of the open road, the freedom of going where you please, the freedom of free-form Jazz with those powerful improvised solos and the wonder of America with it's long straight roads, and lonely town and villages, and big dirty dangerous and downright wonderful big cities filled with every kind of person on the make and all looking for something that will thrill them and give some meaning to their lives, and the forests and coasts and all that America had to offer; Bird's music encompasses all this and more; he wasn't the only one but he was one of the greatest exponents of explaining the freedom of America in an art-form that was originally and uniquely American, and African-American at that.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Film Changed My Life....., 10 Aug 2007
This review is from: Bird - The Charlie Parker Story [DVD] [1988] (DVD)
I was a punk rocker when my girlfriend at the time made me sit through this, but by the end my life was turned around music wise and I became a Jazz head.
Even though I later discovered that Eastwood had played around with some facts in the film, this still is a outstanding story of a man who lived a true "Jazz" sytle life, the music, the drink, the women, and the drugs which sad to say made his music so perfect and blue.
Even if your not a jazz fan you should at least give the film a chance.
One of Eastwood best todate....
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charlie Parker, 5 Nov 2010
By 
witchygirl (North Yorkshire UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bird - The Charlie Parker Story [DVD] [1988] (DVD)
Clint Eastwood directed movie of the life of Charlie "Bird" Parker. For jazz fans this is a must. Eastwood has captured the essence of Parker and the music is wonderful. The dark scenes lend themselves to this movie. One of Eastwoods best.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Clint Eastwood's Bird, 26 Oct 2010
By 
P. Worrell "Poot" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bird - The Charlie Parker Story [DVD] [1988] (DVD)
I am a jazz fan. I like films about jazz musicians. I was very lukewarm about the film by Clint Eastwood about Charlie Parker.
Clint is a massive jazz fan and his enthusiasm shows in this portrayal of Parker. Forrest Whittaker plays Parker well, but not convincingly. The action seems based heavily around an incident, whilst jamming with another band. The cymbal throwing of the drummer is well documented but is repeated in the film too many times.
Bird is portrayed as a likeable rogue who went off the rails.
I have read that he was selfish, ego-centric and manipulative man. Most of all he was a genius, but with extreme amounts of baggage, which I felt the film only touched upon.

Shot superbly well and atmospheric with original Parker on the soundtrack, a good effort but possibly hard work for the non jazz lover.
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good portrait of Charlie 'Bird' Parker, 7 Sep 2007
By 
Nobody (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bird - The Charlie Parker Story [DVD] [1988] (DVD)
"Bird"(1988) directed by Clint Eastwood (Unforgiven,1992; Mystic River,2003; Million Dollar Baby,2004) is first and foremost a great 1940s period drama. Secondly it just happens to be about one of jazz's great musicians, Charles "Bird" Parker. Bird was a great jazz innovator with the development of Bebop which really moved jazz on from just being mere entertainment toward art, drawing heavily on the music of Stravinsky and Varese. Sadly Bird died just as jazz beginning to feel the threat of Rock 'n' Roll although jazz would continue to evolve further into the 1960s.

Clint Eastwood's direction can't be faulted in this loving portrait to Bird who is performed by Forest Whitaker (Platoon,1986). The film uses stylistically a lot Film Noir elements and at times resembles films of the period. Even if you're not a jazz fan check it out because it's a good film and that really is Bird playing on the soundtrack.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars, 5 July 2014
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This review is from: Bird - The Charlie Parker Story [DVD] [1988] (DVD)
Okay
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great music, 13 April 2014
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This review is from: Bird (Amazon Instant Video)
This is a good story and great music of the time. It is worth watching if you enjoy that jazz period.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good film, 18 Nov 2006
By 
S J Buck (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bird - The Charlie Parker Story [DVD] [1988] (DVD)
I've just bought this in HMV so I don't know why Amazon can't supply it (update they can now)!

Anyway its a very good biopic of the great Jazz Alto Saxophonist Charlie Parker. This is a warts and all film, so all the bad things in Birds life (drugs etc) are covered as well as his marvellous playing. For the film his original sax playing was used, but new backing was put to it using modern musicians (such as Herbie Hancock). I imagine this was done to improve the overall sound quality.

In many ways its a very sad story, but Eastwood shows a steady hand and does a good job balancing the great music with his troubled life. Well worth getting.
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Bird - The Charlie Parker Story [DVD] [1988]
Bird - The Charlie Parker Story [DVD] [1988] by Clint Eastwood (DVD - 2006)
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