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Ray film poster
Directed by Taylor Hackford
Produced by Taylor Hackford
Stuart Benjamin
Howard Baldwin
Karen Baldwin
Written by James L. White
Starring Jamie Foxx
Music by Craig Armstrong
Ray Charles (songs)
Cinematography Paweł Edelman
Editing by Paul Hirsch
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) October 19, 2004
Language English
Budget $40,000,000 (estimated)[1]

Ray is a 2004 biographical film focusing on 30 years[2] of the life of rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles. The independently produced film was directed by Taylor Hackford and starred Jamie Foxx in the title role; Foxx received an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance.

Charles was set to attend an opening of the completed film, but he died before its premiere.[3]



Born on a sharecropping plantation in Northern Florida, Ray Charles Robinson went blind at the age of seven. Inspired by a fiercely independent mother who insisted he make his own way in the world, Charles found his calling and his gift behind a piano keyboard. Touring across the Southern musical circuit, the soulful singer gained a reputation and then exploded with worldwide fame when he pioneered incorporating gospel, country, jazz and orchestral influences into his inimitable style.

As he revolutionized the way people appreciated music, he simultaneously fought segregation in the very clubs that launched him and championed artists’ rights within the corporate music business. The movie provides a portrait of Charles’ musical genius as he overcomes drug addiction while transforming into one of his country’s most beloved performers.



The film's production was entirely financed by Philip Anschutz, through his Bristol Bay Productions company. Taylor Hackford stated in a DVD bonus feature that it took 15 years to make the film. He later clarified in the liner notes of the soundtrack album that it took that time to secure financing.

Charles was given a Braille copy of the film's original script; he objected only to a scene showing him taking up piano grudgingly, and a scene implying that Charles had shown mistress and lead "Raelette" Margie Hendricks how to shoot heroin.

Ray debuted at the 2004 Toronto International Film Festival.


The following songs were used in the film:



Box office

On October 29, 2004 on a budget of $40 million. The film went on to become a box-office hit, earning $75 million in the U.S. with an additional $50 million internationally, bringing its world wide gross to $125 million.

Critical reaction

The film received mostly positive reviews. Most of the praise went to Jamie Foxx's tour-de-force performance for which he was awarded the Academy Award for Best Actor. The film however did receive some bad reviews, with critics complaining that in fact a mediocre screenplay was buoyed by powerful performances.[4] Currently Ray has a certified fresh rating of 82% based on 191 reviews at[5]


Differences from noted events

As noted in the film's final credits, Ray is based on true events, but includes some characters, names, locations, and events which have been changed and others which have been "fictionalized for dramatization purposes." Examples of the fictionalized scenes include:

  • In the film, when Ray's younger brother George drowns in their mother's wash tub, he stands there and does nothing as George drowns (because he thought George was joking). In his autobiography, Charles remembers trying to pull his brother out of the tub after realizing he was drowning but was unable to save him.
  • In the studio scene where Charles is taught the "Mess Around," he is told it is in the "key of G." The "Mess Around" is actually in the key of E flat.


  1. ^ Ray (2004)
  2. ^ Director Hackford noted this focus on the years 1935-1965 in his DVD commentary for the film; the only exception to this focus is the film's final scene featuring Julian Bond and set in the Georgia State Capitol in 1979, a scene Hackford included at Charles' specific request.
  3. ^ "Legendary US singer Ray Charles dead at 73". ABC News. 2004-06-11. Retrieved 2008-10-06. 
  4. ^ Ray - Movie Reviews, Trailers, Pictures - Rotten Tomatoes
  5. ^ Ray - Movie Reviews, Trailers, Pictures - Rotten Tomatoes

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Ray is a 2004 biographical film of the legendary rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles.

Directed and produced by Taylor Hackford. Written by James L. White.
The extraordinary life of Ray Charles. A man who fought harder and went further than anyone thought possible. Taglines


Ray Charles

  • [about his love for country music] I love the stories. You know about fallin' in love and have love knock you around, and then the pressures of the world on you so tough, it makes you feel small. You just want to give your soul to God. You might as well, your ass belongs to Him.
  • George, I miss you. I miss you, George.


  • Aretha Robinson: Always remember your promise to me. Never let nobody or nothin' turn you into no cripple.
  • Della Bea Robinson: [about one of Ray's sons] He isn't my gift to you, he's your son.


Quincy Jones: Say, daddy-o, what axe you play?
Ray Charles: Uh, piano. Just blew in from Tampa, Florida. Me and my partner, Gossie McGee, came here, you know, want to fatten up our style. Cop some licks from some more experienced cats, you dig?
Quincy Jones: You know what? Why don't you let me take you inside? You know, show you around.
Ray Charles: All right. Perfect gentleman.
Quincy Jones: Yeah, this is just like my place. So, what's your name?
Ray Charles: Ray Robinson.
Quincy Jones: I'm Quincy Jones.

Ray Charles: Could you do me a favor and close that bag?
Quincy Jones: What's wrong with you? You got two hands. You can close it yourself.
Ray Charles: I got two feet too. Could you close that bag?
Quincy Jones: [chuckling] I got it.

Gossie McGee: [about Jack Lauderdale] You need watching out for and he ain't got time to look after you the way I been looking after you.
Ray Charles: Is that what you been doing, Gossie, watching out for me? Is that why you get paid double what I do?
Gossie McGee: Who told you that?
Ray Charles: Well it's true, ain't it? You and Marlene been gaming me since I got here.
Marlene Andres: Ray, baby, listen...
Ray Charles: I ain't got to listen to you!
Gossie McGee: Listen Ray, I been meaning to talk to you about that.
Ray Charles: Then why aren't you talking?
Gossie McGee: Look Ray, let's do nothing stupid.
Ray Charles: I might be blind but I ain't stupid!

[Jerry and Ahmet listen to Ray perform "I Got a Woman".]
Jerry Wexler: Ahmet.
Ahmet Ertegun: Yeah?
Jerry Wexler: We gotta get this on wax.
Ahmet Ertegun: Oh, yeah.

Ray Charles: I hear like you see. Like that hummingbird outside the window, for instance.
Della Bea Robinson: [astonished] I can't hear her.
Ray Charles: You have to listen.
Della Bea Robinson: [closes her eyes and hears the hummingbird] Yes!
Ray Charles: Yeah. Yes, you can... Uh-oh. Did you hear that?
Della Bea Robinson: What?
Ray Charles: Her heart just skipped a beat.

Ray Charles: Miss Antoine, it's been two weeks.
Della Bea Robinson: It's been three.
[They kiss and she pushes him inside]
Ray Charles: Well, where's the preacher at and the wife?
Della Bea Robinson: They're in Dallas till Monday.
Ray Charles: Well, hallelujah!

[After Ray and Della Bea finish making love]
Ray Charles: I want you to promise me something. Promise me you're gonna always tell me the truth just like you did before. Don't feel sorry for me just because I'm blind.
Della Bea Robinson: How can I pity someone I admire?

George Robinson: I'm a giant! [falls into a washtub]
Young Ray Robinson: Some giant.

Aretha Robinson: Somebody'll fetch you when the bus gets to St. Augustine. When your there, show 'em this. [shows Ray a name tag] Tell them your name is Ray Charles Robinson. An' them sandwiches I made, don't eat them all at once... ya hear me?
Young Ray Robinson: [starting to cry] Mama... please don't make me go away. I'll keep up with the normal kids. I'll be good, just like George.
Aretha Robinson: This ain't got nothin' to do with George... I've taken you as far as I can, baby. The teachers at St. Augustine know things I can't teach you. An' you need an education in this world.
Young Ray Robinson: I don't want no education!
Aretha Robinson: Shh! don't say that!
Young Ray Robinson: I don't! I wanna stay here with you!
Aretha Robinson: Stop it, Ray! I won't have you livin' hand to mouth like me, you hear? [Ray nods] Now... If you wanna do something to make Mama proud, promise me you'll never let nobody turn you into no cripple... You won't become no charity case. An’ you will always stand on your own two feet.
Young Ray Robinson: I promise.
Aretha Robinson: I love you baby... I'm so proud of you.

Ray Charles: I have a question for all of you: How would like to go on the road with me?
Margie Hendricks: Um, how much are you gonna pay us?
Ray Charles: Ahmet takes care of all of that.
Margie Hendricks: You mean he don't listen to you?
Ray Charles: You better know he does. Don't worry about it. Brother Ray will take care of all of you.
Margie Hendricks: Well my mama taught me to take care of myself, honey.
Ray Charles: Well is your mother here?
Margie Hendricks: No she's not, but I speak for us.
Ray Charles: Okay Speak For Us, how about $20 a week?
Margie Hendricks: We'll take $40. Each.
Ray Charles: $40 each?
Margie Hendricks: You heard me.
Ray Charles: Naw! How about $25?
Margie Hendricks: We'll take $30.
Ray Charles: I better say yes before you talk me out of my drawers.
[The Cookies cheer and laugh]
Ray Charles: Is it a deal?
Margie Hendricks: Oh! Yeah!
Ray Charles: From now on you guys are gonna be called the Raylettes.
Margie Hendricks: Does that mean we have to "let Ray"?
Ray Charles: Oh, what am I gonna do with you?
Margie Hendricks: I'm sure you'll think of something.

Della Bea Robinson: [just discovered Ray's drug problem] That stuff kills people, Ray. Now you've gotta stop it.
Ray Charles: I don't have to do a GODDAMN thing!

Ray Charles: Margie is drunk, Jeff. You should go home and sleep it off.
Jeff Brown: Margie, come on now, let me take you home.
Margie Hendricks: No, I'll leave when I'm good and goddamn ready to!
Ray Charles: She's good and goddamn ready right now.
Margie Hendricks: Why don't you make me leave this, sucker! Teach you to treat me like some piece of meat!

[Ray is recording "Georgia on My Mind".]
Margie Hendricks: Listen to that crap. I thought you said ABC wasn't gonna force that nothing on him.
Jeff Brown: They didn't. It was Ray's idea. Something new.
Margie Hendricks: Well, what are we then, Jeff? Something old?
Fathead Newman: Yeah, what about us? We got to eat too.

Ray Charles: You know what they're saying about me? Said I lost something. Said I've gone middle-of-the-road. They might as well say the same thing about you. You were the soul of this band, now every time you're around, you're just drunk. The drunk soul of a blind junkie. What a lovely couple. Why don't you just get outta here?
Margie Hendricks: I ain't drunk, Ray. I'm pregnant. Yeah, that's right. I'm having your baby.

Ray Charles: There's some things you're not understandin'...
Della Bea Robinson: Well, make me understand, Ray!
Ray Charles: Baby, when I walk out that door, I walk out alone in the dark! I'm trying to do something that ain't nobody ever done in music and business. But I can't do it if I'm alone everwhere I go. I don't want to be alone here, Bea. Not in my own home. Look, Bea, if you don't understand me, then who will?
Della Bea Robinson: I don't know, Ray.

Fathead Newman: Ray, this fool, Joe Adams, is trying to fine for me for being late.
Ray Charles: What time did you get here?
Fathead Newman: What? Just now. The band's still setting up. Jeff never...
Joe Adams: I'm not Jeff.
Fathead Newman: That's a fact, Jack.
Jeff Brown: Ray, you said the band was my thing.
Ray Charles: That's right, I did.
Jeff Brown: Fathead, you go on back to rehearsal.
Fathead Newman: Ray! You know how it is, you've been there.
Jeff Brown: Fathead, go on now. I'll take care of this. Ray, you want to tell me what the hell is going on.
Joe Adams: I'm not doing anything I haven't been asked to do. Ray's running a business. He shouldn't have to waste time hearing why people were late.
Jeff Adams: I'm not talking to you, Joe. I'm talking to Ray.

Ray Charles: [accuses Jeff of stealing] Promoters swear that you did side deals so that you could strip my overages. How could you do that? We've been through so much. We were like brothers.
Jeff Brown: You know, Ray... if we were like brothers, why are you paying Joe more than you're paying me?
Ray Charles: Damn all that. You broke my heart, man.
Jeff Brown: You know what, Ray? You broke mine a long goddamn time ago.
Ray Charles: Well, there it is.
Jeff Brown: [walks away] You know something, Ray? You're gonna get yours one day. And I pray to God he has mercy on you soul, you son of a bitch!
Joe Adams: [walks out of his office] Everything all right, Ray?
Ray Charles: How the hell do you think it is?

Della Bea Robinson: The only thing that can help you is God, Ray!
Ray Charles: Don't you talk about God! You have any idea how it feels to go blind and still be afraid of the dark? And every day, you stand and pray just for a little light, and you don't get nothing. Cause God don't listen to people like me.
Della Bea Robinson: Stop talking like that, Ray.
Ray Charles: As far as I'm concerned, me and God is even, and I do what I damn well please. And goddamnit, if I wanna shoot, I'm gonna shoot up.

[Della Bea talks about Ray's drug problem.]
Della Bea Robinson: You have got to stop this now.
Ray Charles: No, don't say that, Bea. You know I love more then anythin'.
Della Bea Robinson: There is something that you love more then me and them boys, more then all the women you ever slept with on the road, more then all the dope you ever took.
Ray Charles: What are you talkin' about?
Della Bea Robinson: [shouts] It's your music! And if you keep usin' that needle, they're gonna take away your music and put you in jail. [starts to cry] Is that poison worth losin' everything?

[last lines]
Della Bea Robinson: If only your mama was here.
Ray Charles: She's here. She ain't never left.

[last title card]
Title card: Ray kept his promise. He never touched heroin again.
Title card: As celebrated as he became, he never forgot his roots, contributing over $20 million to African-American Colleges and charities for the deaf and blind.


  • The extraordinary life of Ray Charles. A man who fought harder and went further than anyone could imagine.
  • The one thing more extraordinary than the music is the man behind it: Ray Charles.


External links

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