28 user 3 critic

Bernard and the Genie (1991)

Bernard Bottle, a mild mannered art buyer, is fired by his greedy boss, abandoned by his girlfriend and discovers a genie in an old bottle. The genie immediately embraces the modern world and helps Bernard on the side.


Paul Weiland


Richard Curtis

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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lenny Henry ... Josephus the Genie
John Gabriel John Gabriel ... Wizard
Alan Cumming ... Bernard Bottle
Rowan Atkinson ... Charles Pinkworth
Denis Lill Denis Lill ... Frank Kepple (as Dennis Lill)
Beaux Bryant Beaux Bryant ... Nurse
Kevin Allen ... Kevin
Andrée Bernard ... Judy
Melvyn Bragg ... Melvyn Bragg
Janet Henfrey Janet Henfrey ... Miss Purse
Marcia Ashton Marcia Ashton ... Miss Temple
Sheila Latimer Sheila Latimer ... Bernard's Mother
Sally Geoghegan Sally Geoghegan ... Waitress
Angela Clarke Angela Clarke ... Carrie (as Angie Clarke)
Bob Geldof ... Bob Geldof


An art dealer befriends a genie whom he frees from a lamp which he has been imprisoned with by an evil wizard for 2000 years for the accidental death of the evil wizard's daughter when the art dealer is fired by his greedy and corrupt boss. Written by Daniel Williamson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Fantasy


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Release Date:

13 December 1992 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bernard and the Genie See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Inspired by "The Book of One Thousand and One Nights". See more »


Josephus is shocked to hear that Julius Caesar and Marcus Brutus are both dead, but he also claims to have been a friend of Jesus Christ. However, Caesar and Brutus both died over forty years before Jesus is said to have been born. See more »


Charles Pinkworth: Bugger ye off!
See more »


References Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A Forgotten Christmas Classic
14 December 2004 | by sebfarrellSee all my reviews

Forget 'Love, Actually' this is the ORIGINAL Christmas feel good movie by the great writer/director Richard Curtis ('Four Weddings & a Funeral', 'Notting Hill', 'Bridget Jones Diary', 'Mr. Bean', 'Blackadder' and of course 'Love, Actually') Bernard & The Genie is quite possibly one of his finest pieces of writing – despite being his first film the story delivers on every level. Commissioned by the BBC in the early 1990's to be placed in the Christmas Programming it's STILL, nearly 15 years on, better than ever, full of emotion, warmth, pathos and of course trademark Curtis laughs. Its short enough and entertaining enough to keep children hooked from the outset and seems, like many things in life, to get better with age. I was 7 when it was first shown on television, it was fantastic then and it was still fantastic when I watched it last night.

The story is simple, our hero (Bernard) is an infallible arts dealer who seems to have both success and good fortune, he's engaged to be married and has just earned his art dealing company £50 million. Then, through a series of very unfortunate events (primarily due to other peoples greed and bad will) he is left jobless, single, broke and lonely (prompting one of many exceptionally worked Christmas hit songs.) Then, while reminiscing about last Christmas he finds a present given to him by his now ex-fiancé...a lamp.

What follows is the story of a very unlikely friendship between a hapless ex-arts dealer and a street wise 2000 year old Genie – and the result is a heart warming Christmas treat. It delicately describes both the 'real' reason for and commercial side of Christmas better than any other Christmas film I've seen before or since.

The acting is superb, both Alan Cummings (X-Men 2, Spy Kids, Eyes Wide Shut) and Lenny Henry (Chef, The Lenny Henry Show) deliver both comedy and drama to great effect and there on-screen chemistry is something many big budget films fail to create. Rowan Atkinson plays the snide and malicious Charles Pinkworth masterfully, and all the other parts (plus many cameos including Bob Geldof, Melvin Bragg, Gary Lineker and Trevor McDonald) are played brilliantly, particularly Dennis Lill (Fierce Creatures, Evita) as friendly serial-lying doorman Kepple.

The music in the film fits in like an old well-loved glove; I was convinced that many of the famous songs were written specifically for the film, the breathtaking score by Howard Goodall (various comedy show themes, The Gathering Storm, Johnny English) is both atmospheric and beautiful.

If you're a fan of Christmas films, good British humour, or simply fancy being cheered up I urge you to try and find this film, look beyond some of the more dated jokes and costumes and enjoy a story which is timeless and what I'm sure will one day be recognised as a proverbial 'Christmas Classic'.

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