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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 multifaceted performance that helps provide an… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 78%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Sensitively acted, beautifully planned visually and dynamite musically, this is a dramatic telling of the troubled life of a revolutionary artist."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"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."
‑ Desson Thomson, Washington Post
"The greatest strength of Clint Eastwood's bio-pic tribute to jazz saxophone great Charlie 'Bird' Parker, is its dark and haunting mood."
‑ Urban Cinefile Critics, Urban Cinefile
"Overlong, and reeking of prestige."
‑ Jake Euker, F5 (Wichita, KS)
""a well-produced downer that moves like a funeral procession""
‑ James Sanford, Kalamazoo Gazette
"At last American cinema has done black music proud. Unforgettable."
‑ , Time Out
"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."
‑ Hal Hinson, Washington Post
"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."
‑ Brad Laidman, Film Threat
"Eastwood clearly is committed to presenting Bird to his audience with all of his complexities and contradictions intact."
‑ Jeremy Heilman,
"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."
‑ Scott Renshaw, Apollo Guide
"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."
‑ Janet Maslin, New York 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."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Eastwood made the switch from Hollywood icon to great world director with his viciously underrated Bird."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"Whitaker gives a towering performance as the tortured musical genius, and Venora is equally impressive as the independent, compassionate Chan."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
More reviews for Bird on Rotten Tomatoes