7.7/10
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Ray (2004)

The story of the life and career of the legendary rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles, from his humble beginnings in the South, where he went blind at age seven, to his meteoric rise to stardom during the 1950s and 1960s.

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(story), (story) | 1 more credit »
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Won 2 Oscars. Another 52 wins & 54 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Gossie McGee (as Terrence Dashon Howard)
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Wilbur Brassfield
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Storyline

The story of Ray Charles, music legend. Told in his adult live with flashbacks to his youth we see his humble origins in Florida, his turbulent childhood which included losing his brother and then his sight, his rise as pianist in a touring band, his writing his own songs and running his own band and then stardom. Also includes his addiction to drugs and its affect on his working life and family life. Written by grantss

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The only thing more extraordinary than the music is the man behind it: Ray Charles. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for depiction of drug addiction, sexuality and some thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 October 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Unchain My Heart: The Ray Charles Story  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$20,039,730, 31 October 2004, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$75,331,600

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$124,731,534
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (extended)

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During the scenes where Ray refuses to play in Georgia because of Jim Crow laws, which were actually filmed outside of the Municipal Auditorium in New Orleans, you will notice Mounted Police Officers. They were actual members of the New Orleans Police Department Mounted Unit. See more »

Goofs

During a montage of the band traveling in the 1950s, modern TTX railcars can be seen crossing a bridge over the road. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Aretha Robinson: Always remember your promise to me. Never let nobody or nothing turn you into no cripple.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The final shot of the movie contains a freeze frame of the real Ray Charles and underneath it reads the caption: "Ray Charles Robinson = 1930 - 2004" See more »

Connections

Features The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

I Got a Woman
Written by Ray Charles
Performed by Jamie Foxx
Piano by Ray Charles
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Jamie IS Ray
19 December 2004 | by See all my reviews

If someone had nudged me about 15 minutes into 'Ray' and asked what I thought of Jamie Foxx in the title role, it would have been time for a blank stare. After all, what is this (fictitious) person talking' about? That wasn't Jamie Foxx up on the big screen. That was Ray Charles. This is one of the best performances by anybody in recent years. Like the soundtrack, Jamie as Ray is flat-out brilliant.

The blind Genius of Soul (who took a revolutionary step of mixing gospel with R&B) died during production. The movie about his troubled life is good, not great. Taylor Hackford's direction and James L. White's script follow the well-worn biopic outline. Super-talented youngster battles adversity, achieves greatness while also self-destructing, then picks himself up out of the gutter for a happy ending. The film shows Charles' flaws (heroin abuse, chronic womanizing, persistent bastard-fathering) even as it sucks you in with his beautiful music.

Kerry Washington and Regina King play the main women in Ray's life, one his long-suffering wife and the other his longtime mistress. Both actresses match Foxx stride for stride. What takes him to a different level, though, is his deep understanding and uncanny impersonation of the great musician. The entire cast is effective, especially Sharon Warren as his headstrong mother and Curtis Armstrong as a music exec. Hackford's stars are likely to be rewarded with trophies and---better yet---more starring roles.

I was not a Ray Charles aficionado before 'Ray'. Apparently, the film has left out a lot (as do all biopics), but this picture functions as both an old-fashioned crowd pleaser AND a dark investigation of a brilliant/troubled man. For those who whine that Foxx doesn't actually sing (as if that somehow diminishes his performance), take a hike. No mere actor can sing like Mr. Charles anyway. You can't have everything. What the talented star does in this picture is about as close to "everything" as we'll probably see for a while.


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