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Bird (Two-Disc Special Edition) (1988)

Forrest Whittaker , Diane Venora , Clint Eastwood  |  R |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Forrest Whittaker, Diane Venora, Bill Cobbs, Tony Cox, Peter Crook
  • Directors: Clint Eastwood
  • Format: Color, Extra tracks, Special Edition, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 22, 2008
  • Run Time: 161 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0016OM3TA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #298,544 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Bird (Two-Disc Special Edition)" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

The year: 1946. The event: Oakland's "Jazz at the Philharmonic." The music streaked into the unknown, daring listeners to grab hold and fly there, too. On stage was the creator of those new sounds: Charles "Yardbird" Parker. In the crowd was the 16-year-old who would someday bring Parker's extraordinary story to the screen: Clint Eastwood. "Americans don't have any original art except Western movies and jazz," observes Eastwood. Movie fans, of course, know that few heroes sit as tall in the saddles as Eastwood. Now the legendary America icon, whose Dirty Harry films have been praised for their jazz scores, ventures deeper into that other original American art. Eastwood produces and directs Bird, a film burnished with the magic of that 1946 concert encounter between legend and future legend and honored with an Academy Award for Best Sound in its spellbinding recreation of a man and his music. Like jazz itself, Bird rings with counterpoints and embellishments. Past and future overlap as the film explores Yardbird's soaring skill and destructive excesses.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
141 of 145 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MASTERPIECE OF JAZZ AND DRUG FILM NOIR. March 7, 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Wow, I can't believe the negative reviews for this MASTERPIECE by Clint Eastwood. Being a big fan of Jazz, I've owned this film for many years in more than one incarnation, and have watched it more times than I care to tally.
Many reviewers said it's overly dark. Yep. Jazz musicians spend most of their time in dark smoke-filled nightclubs. So does BIRD. This is a great MOOD PIECE. It could also be called FILM NOIR.
Many said it doesn't establish why Charlie Parker was one of the greats of Jazz. In one particularly brilliant scene of writing in this film, Parker is talking about himself and the legend of BIRD to Red Rodney, partner in Jazz and fellow heroin addict. He talks about "going inside the melody" of Cherokee, a song he had played many times and was tired of doing. Parker decides to go around the melody with little notes and discovers his style. Thus, a whole new form of music called Be Bop is born. A superb scene.
Many reviewers said it dwelt too heavily on the negative aspects of Parker's drug abuse. This is true. However, heroin played a significant part in early Jazz music in this country. Heavily significant. A majority of the best and brightest Jazz stars were plagued by addiction for many years. Read Miles Davis' autobiography. He lists them all. Eastwood recognizes this in a scene where Parker is in Paris and is debating whether to return to the States. A fellow sideman is trying convince him to stay in France where he can make a decent living. SIDEMAN: "You can't make no living playing Jazz in the States." BIRD: "Dizz can. Duke can." SIDEMAN: "Well you ain't Dizz. And you certainly ain't Duke." BIRD: "So I kick." The Sideman laughs uproariously. BIRD: "I can kick." The Sideman laughs harder.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars not as great as "Charlie Parker" July 19, 2005
Bird, is a film about the life of jazz great Charlie "the Bird" Parker. Forest Whitaker is doing a great job as Charlie Parker and the story is generally loyal to the real life, except one is lead to believe that "Chan" was his wife (in real life, she wasn't). One negative thing I felt was that the scenes were overly dark throughout the film. I think the director wanted to create an atmosphere of reality but in my opinion he overdid it to the point of annoyance. Another criticism is for a film about Charlie Parker, his talent on improvisation, his creativity could have been, and should have been emphasized more. There is a scene where he asks a friend to write a piece that he composed just that night and the friend wants to do it in the morning but by the next morning, Charlie doesn't even remember the piece, or even the conversation that took place. This is a good example but his creativity could have been emphasized with more examples like improvisation. In real life, Charlie Parker played the same piece of music differently almost every time, with some additions here and there, giving it a new mood, new angle, new taste. This could have been shown. However, despite these minor shortcomings, I think the film is a very good one. For Charlie Parker fans, I also strongly suggest the book "Bird Lives" by Ross Russell.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
I am not usually a big fan of bio-pics about genius musicians because it is impossible to "act" them playing. And, after all, it is their playing that we care about. However, Clint Eastwood brings so much affection and integrity to this film and Forest Whitaker has such a perfectly fit genius of his own for this role that I think it comes off quite well.

Charlie Parker was a tortured soul whose musicianship was so powerful that he was able to teach himself a virtuoso style of playing jazz alto saxophone that has influenced nearly every alto-sax player since. Certainly, anyone with pretensions to playing bebop jazz. The film captures his difficult beginnings, his powerful rise and artistry, his terrible drug addictions (and how this also provided an unfortunate influence on others), and his early, far too early, death.

There is the sound of his playing throughout the movie, but it is in short snippets. We get more over the closing credits. But we get enough to remember what is special and unique about his playing. Everyone talks about his speed and harmonic variety. All that is there, certainly. However, there is also so much in Parker's commitment to what he is singing through his horn that allows us to feel the music in a way that was unique to him. Without that ability to reach into the heart of an audience, no amount of virtuosity can keep an audience for generations. Parker is still winning new fans every day and that is his greatest legacy. This film is a nice tribute to him. It is just so sad that he got onto such a self destructive path and the only way off for him was to die at 34.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece July 10, 2005
This is an American film masterpiece about America's greatest art form seen through the tragic life of one of its greatest practitioners. I've seen the film many times, and read all of the reviews here on Amazon. I want to sing this film's praises, and credit Eastwood with one of his truly great triumphs (right up there with "Unforgiven"). I am a lifelong jazz and film aficionado, and I was gainfully employed in each industry in creative and business capacities for 17 years. I actually agree with the person who wrote that having some knowledge about Bird's life and music is helpful before seeing this film. But you don't need much. I agree that there is little way to cinematically pay tribute to what he achieved musically. This is a biographical film, and what actually happens in a life does not for the most part stand up to larger-than-life legend making. This film is indeed structured like Bird's playing, shot in a way that beautifully reinforces the story. It's the very courage that Eastwood showed in shooting this script that matches the artistic courage, creativity and individuality that Bird had so much of. It is an American art film, understated for a change, and it rings true in its grittiness. Forest Whitaker, Lenny Niehaus - may you always take pleasure from your peak achievements. Diane Venora - I have always loved you and never more than here. To me, your performance is the definition of what should win Best Supporting Actress. Please work more, silly though that sounds. Every time I see this film, its timeless quality emerges through its basic understatement and artfulness.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars I did like it but Eastwood's treatment emphasized the addiction rather...
I did like it but Eastwood's treatment emphasized the addiction rather than the genius. A healthier mix of both might have worked for me. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jorge Barbarosa
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Got what I ordered, I'm happy
Published 2 months ago by Jo B.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very Good Biopic!
Published 3 months ago by Alphonso
5.0 out of 5 stars Good, but read about Charlie Parker before you watch
Its the word from Bird!
Published 3 months ago by Robert A. Morrison
5.0 out of 5 stars Always Late Is Being Passive/Aggressive
1st time I saw this was in a huge round theater - in a galaxy far away & long ago. A Forrest Whitaker film is not to be taken lightly. He's the pivotal character in a movie. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Kandy Langford
5.0 out of 5 stars Good deal.
I bought this for my dad & he loves it. It came sooner than expected. Good deal.
Published 3 months ago by Nisha
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Quality
The movie didn't lag and there were no problems with the resolution. I don't really like not having physical copies of movies but this was at least decent.
Published 4 months ago by Cody Knight
4.0 out of 5 stars Tragic Jazz Greats Biopic
On its own merits this somewhat muddled biopic of the seminal saxophonist Charlie 'Bird' Parker probably does not deserve four stars. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Michael Clark
3.0 out of 5 stars Eastwood is average
I love Clint Eastwood and have nearly his entire collection. Trying to complete that collection is one of the reasons I bought this movie. Read more
Published 4 months ago by unnecessaryandnotimportant
3.0 out of 5 stars Bird, the Druggie
Clint Eastwood doesn't have a clue. He should have stuck with spaghetti-Westerns. Charlie Parker was the greatest innovator ever to express his vision via the alto (and sometimes... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Dashanzi
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