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Bernard and Doris (2006)

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Reviews: 22 user | 16 critic

The story of the twilight years of tobacco billionairness Doris Duke and her relationship with her gay butler, to whom she left her entire fortune.



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Nominated for 3 Golden Globes. Another 25 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
First Butler
Security Guard
Marilyn Torres ...
Nick Rolfe ...
Board Member
Thomas J. McGrath ...
Board Member
Gene Parseghian ...
Board Member
Henry S. Schleiff ...
Board Member (as Henry Schleiff)
Board Member
Kunnath P. Namboodiri ...


Sympathetic look loosely based on the relationship between tobacco heiress, Doris Duke (1912-1993) - think Duke University - and her shy butler, Bernard Lafferty. The icy and mercurial Duke fires her butler for serving a chilled cantaloupe; the agency sends Lafferty, formerly household staff to Liz Taylor and to Peggy Lee. He's an alcoholic, fresh out of rehab. He gradually becomes Duke's gay alter ego as she romps through life sleeping with young men, making shrewd decisions quickly, managing her fortune and orchids as Lafferty manages her New Jersey estate. With a wine cellar to die for, Bernard falls off the wagon. Can he pull himself together when Doris needs him? Written by <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

butler | gay | fortune | alcoholic | wine | See All (179) »


See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

17 October 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bernard & Doris - Complici amici  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Susan Sarandon owns the dog who plays Doris' pet. The dog's name is Penny, a Pomeranian Maltese. See more »


"She said it was important. 'Perhaps I will get the feeling back ..." It's the same body of a newspaper article for two different articles. Around 23 minutes into movie. One article had headline of Doris Duke attending opening with Leonard Bernstein. The second headline was her buying a Boeing 737 for $25 million. See more »


[first lines]
Doris Duke: Ugh! What is this?
First Butler: Cantaloupe, ma'am.
See more »


References Lawrence of Arabia (1962) See more »


I Love the Way You're Breaking My Heart
Written by Milton Drake and Louis Alter
Performed by Peggy Lee
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under license from EMI Film & Television Music
See more »

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User Reviews

Fiennes and Sarandon combine a wonderful chemistry!
10 July 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

As a gay man, I must say that I was captivated by Fiennes brilliant, gentle, and sensitive portrayal of an individual who became Doris Duke's confidante. He was not a gold-digger or a hustler but, rather, a man who had a great deal of love and respect for Doris Duke. I truly believe that he died, just a few short years after Doris Duke's death, because he was heartbroken without her. Like myself, he had no love for money. All he consistently set out to do was to make Doris Duke happy and, in her final years and right up to the end of her life on earth, he successfully achieved that goal by always 'being there' for Doris Duke. Sarandon, like Fiennes, is a top-notch actor. Like fine wine, she gets better and better with age. Was Sarandon too young to play the part of Doris Duke? Absolutely not! She captured Doris Duke's energy, youth, and zeal for life. Like "Emotional Arithmetic," I rate this movie a 9 out of 10. It is captivating. It delivers award-winning performances, and it is definitely a movie worth watching. I've done extensive research on Doris Duke, but the movie brings me much closer to her, and Doris Duke is a person I would like to have known in real life. She was a person filled with positive energy, and Sarandon shows that. Fiennes and Sarandon provide a mirror reflection of the vibrant life of Doris Duke. A gay man can deeply love a woman--but he is drawn, like a magnet, to a person of the same sex. If you will permit me to use a cliché, "a (gay) leopard cannot change his (homosexual) spots," but he has the capacity to love--not in spite of, but because of his "spots." The power to love is greater, and more powerful, than hate.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Worst.accent.ever Des-26
Sarandon wildly miscast yappyfan
Was Everyone As Bored As I Was? bettorre
This movie misrepresents the facts drp-6
No mention of adult adopted daughter yappyfan
Susan Sarandon as elderly Doris Duke???? Joshf84
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