Docudrama | English | 155 minutes


In 1939, sax-player Charlie “Bird” Parker moves to New York from Kansas City and begins performing at local jazz clubs. Soon after his relocation, Charlie meets Dizzy Gillespie, a fellow jazz trumpeter, and Chan, a beautiful singer and jazz enthusiast. Charlie and Dizzy begin playing together and quickly become popular. They develop a new style of jazz called “Bebop.” Dazzled by Chan, Charlie keeps asking her out but she rejects him each time. As his career blossoms, Charlie struggles with drug abuse. He is continuously hospitalized and later arrested. Eventually, Charlie and Chan get married and have two children. Tragically, their daughter passes away. The death of his daughter and a career damaged by addiction cause Charlie’s life to spiral out of control. He dies at the early age of thirty-four from a drug-induced heart attack.

Forest Whitaker (Charlie “Bird” Parker) / Diane Venora (Chan Parker) / Samuel E. Wright (Dizzy Gillespie)
Why Stream This Film?

 With the sure hand of director Clint Eastwood, the viewer will penetrate the mind of a true musical genius and the father of Bebop.

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 83%
  • Metacritic Score: 78
  • Academy Awards: Winner, Best Sound
  • Golden Globe Awards: Winner, Best Director (Clint Eastwood); Nominated, Best Performance by an Actor (Forest Whitaker); Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Diane Venora)
  • Cannes Film Festival: Best Actor (Forest Whitaker); Nominated, Palme d’Or
Parker 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 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

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


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