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Bernie (2011)

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In small-town Texas, an affable mortician strikes up a friendship with a wealthy widow, though when she starts to become controlling, he goes to great lengths to separate himself from her grasp.



(based on the article in Texas Monthly by), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
4,608 ( 286)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 10 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Rick Dial ...
Don Leggett
Sheriff Huckabee
Rev. Woodard
Merrilee McCommas ...
Mathew Greer ...
Carl (as Matthew Greer)
Marjorie Dome ...
Tim Cariker ...
Fern Luker ...
Jack Payne ...
Townsperson (as Sonny Davis)


We meet Bernie Tiede (1958- ), a chubby undertaker, who takes pride in his work. He's a Gospel-singing tenor. In a series of interviews with townspeople, mixed with flashbacks, we follow Bernie: he arrives in Carthage, Texas (pop. 7,000), where old ladies adore him; he befriends a wealthy, mean-spirited widow named Marjorie Nugent; they become companions in both daily routines and expensive vacations. Among those interviewed, only her stockbroker and Danny Buck, the local district attorney, are unsympathetic toward the sunny, sometimes saccharine Bernie. Marjorie changes from sour and alone to happy with Bernie; then she gets possessive. What will sweet Bernie do? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A story so unbelievable it must be true.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violent images and brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

22 June 2012 (Iceland)  »

Also Known As:

Bernie - Leichen pflastern seinen Weg  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$85,805, 29 April 2012, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$9,203,192, 16 September 2012
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film is based on a 1998 article in Texas Monthly which was written by Skip Hollandsworth. See more »


(at around 1 min) When Bernie is on the phone with Lloyd, there's an Apple Macbook Pro (Second Generation) in front of him. The Second Generation Macbook Pro didn't come out until late 2008 and the murder took place in 1998. See more »


[first lines]
Professor Fleming: I'm very honored to introduce our guest lecturer today. He graduated from here about 15 years ago. He's gone on to a fabulous career. I can't think of a single person who's more qualified or more adept at the final procedures you've been studying lately. Now you've learned the science. Now's your chance to learn the art. Students, Mr. Bernie Tiede...
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Crazy Credits

During the main credits, there are more commentary clips of the 'townspeople'. The last clip is of James Baker singing the song he wrote about the events. See more »


Referenced in 70th Golden Globe Awards (2013) See more »


He Touched Me
Written by Bill Gaither (as William J. Gaither)
Performed by Jack Black
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Excellent and very funny black comedy
9 December 2014 | by See all my reviews

A mortician strikes up a friendship with a rich controlling businesswoman that doesn't have good consequences.

The film is told like a documentary with interviews with people who knew the pair along with flashbacks to stages in their relationship. It's an interesting format and one that works well. The story flows well and holds your attention throughout. This is a good example of a black comedy that really works with a sparkling and very witty script with lots of well observed and funny moments but also some good dark drama.

It features a strong cast with Jack Black as a popular mortician.The stand out performance for me was by Matthew McConaughey as the charismatic cop trying to put Black behind bars.

Bernie is one of those films that you watch with low expectations but which surprises you with how good it is. It deserves a much higher rating than it's current 6.8 (36,466 votes). Highly recommended.

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