Based on the life of Charlie “Bird” Parker, this film was directed by Clint Eastwood and made to show just how this famous sax player made his way through the world of music while interacting with fellow players such as Dizzy Gillespie, Red Rodney, and a few others. It showcased his life as a child all the way up to his early passing at the age of 34. Like a lot of musical pieces it shows the hardships and the struggle that had to be pushed through to achieve a dream that surprisingly few ever think is worth the effort. Strange how those few become many when the gamble actually pays off.
A lot of people might not know about him, but Charlie “Bird” Parker was still considered to be great.
10. Clint Eastwood won an Academy award for Best Sound thanks to this movie.
The film also won a Golden Globe and two awards at the Cannes Film Festival, one of which went to Forest Whitaker.
9. Eastwood approached Parker’s wife to obtain recordings that helped with the movie.
Eastwood had been a big fan of Parker’s since he watched him play in 1945.
8. The film was supposed to be for Richard Pryor 8 years earlier.
Eastwood managed to convince Columbia Pictures to trade this film over to Warner Bros. since he wanted so badly to make this film.
7. The sound of the saxophone is Charlie Parker, the movements are a body double.
Charles McPherson is the person on the sax and he had to learn how to breathe just like Parker by listening to the recordings.
6. Forest Whitaker was the first person to play Charlie Parker onscreen.
Obviously he did a good job if he was remembered for this role. He’s played troubled and conflicted characters before though so it might be that this is his niche.
5. Forest’s nephew plays the young Charlie Parker.
This was fortuitous it would seem since you would think there would be enough family resemblance that it could be played off a little better.
4. The opening title card is a quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald.
The quote reads as “There are no second acts in American lives”.
3. The film was shot in 52 days.
That seems like a short amount of time to make a film but consider the lack of any big effects or change of venue and it’s a little more possible.
2. This was the second time that Eastwood directed a film but didn’t star in it.
Eventually this trend would continue though he would go on to star in a few of those films that he directed as well.
1. Forest Whitaker won the Best Actor award at the Canne’s Film Festival.
Surprisingly though he wasn’t even nominated for the same award at the Academy awards when the time came.
Jazz is something you need to be into in order to really understand, but anyone can enjoy it. Clint Eastwood has been a jazz fan for a long time, which was why he was so adamant about making this film.