Theatrical release: October 14, 1988.
The film was shot in Kansas City and in Sacramento.
Estimated budget: $9.5 million.
Joel Oliansky's script was originally written with Richard Pryor in mind; this was when the project belonged to Columbia Pictures.
Actor Damon Whitaker, who plays the young Charlie Parker, is Forest Whitaker's brother. BIRD is his feature-film debut.
Diane Venora received the 1988 New York Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Clint Eastwood: "As far as I'm concerned, Americans don't have any original art except Western movies and jazz."
Eastwood is an accomplished pianist who has played professionally, and he used to play the flugelhorn and coronet.
The soundtrack features Charlie Parker's original solos. They were electronically isolated from the original recordings, and current jazz musicians were hired to play all the other parts--allowing the filmmakers to create a set of "new" Charlie Parker recordings 30 years after his death.
Chan Parker wrote a book about her life and marriage called LIFE IN E-FLAT.
Forest Whitaker was named Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival in 1988.
Clint Eastwood won the Golden Globe for Best Director (Drama) for the film.
At Clint Eastwood's suggestion, Warner Bros. made a trade with producer Ray Stark to secure the rights to Oliansky's script. Stark got the rights to a Jim Thompson story, which was eventually made into the film REVENGE, starring Kevin Costner.
Samuel E. Wright, who plays Dizzy Gillespie, was the voice of Sebastian the crab in THE LITTLE MERMAID.
The film gave special thanks to the Estate of Charlie Parker, Chan Parker, Red Rodney, Dizzy Gillespie, Leonard Feather, Nica de Koenigswater, and Buddy Jones.
Academy Awards Best Sound 1988
Cannes Best Actor 1988 Forest Whitaker American actor/director, THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND