6.8/10
52,608
146 user 234 critic
Trailer
2:08 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

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.

Director:

Richard Linklater

Writers:

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

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In 1937, a teenager is cast in the Mercury Theatre production of "Julius Caesar", directed by a young Orson Welles.

Director: Richard Linklater
Stars: Zac Efron, Claire Danes, Christian McKay
Comedy | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A grizzled little league coach tries to turn his team of misfits into champs.

Director: Richard Linklater
Stars: Billy Bob Thornton, Greg Kinnear, Marcia Gay Harden
Slacker (1990)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A day in the life of Austin, Texas as the camera roams from place to place and provides a brief look at the overeducated, the social misfits, the outcasts and the oddballs.

Director: Richard Linklater
Stars: Richard Linklater, Rudy Basquez, Jean Caffeine
Comedy | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

After being kicked out of a rock band, Dewey Finn becomes a substitute teacher of an uptight elementary private school, only to try and turn it into a rock band.

Director: Richard Linklater
Stars: Jack Black, Mike White, Joan Cusack
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

An ensemble piece examining the health risks involved in the fast food industry and its environmental and social consequences as well.

Director: Richard Linklater
Stars: Greg Kinnear, Bruce Willis, Catalina Sandino Moreno
Tape (2001)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Three old high school friends meet in a Michigan motel room to dissect painful memories from their past.

Director: Richard Linklater
Stars: Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard, Uma Thurman
Killer Joe (2011)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

When a debt puts a young man's life in danger, he turns to putting a hit out on his evil mother in order to collect the insurance.

Director: William Friedkin
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

The story of the Newton gang, the most successful bank robbers in history, owing to their good planning and minimal violence.

Director: Richard Linklater
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Ethan Hawke, Skeet Ulrich
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Black ... Bernie Tiede
Shirley MacLaine ... Marjorie Nugent
Matthew McConaughey ... Danny Buck
Brady Coleman ... Scrappy Holmes
Richard Robichaux ... Lloyd Hornbuckle
Rick Dial Rick Dial ... Don Leggett
Brandon Smith ... Sheriff Huckabee
Larry Jack Dotson ... Rev. Woodard
Merrilee McCommas Merrilee McCommas ... Molly
Mathew Greer Mathew Greer ... Carl (as Matthew Greer)
Marjorie Dome Marjorie Dome ... Townsperson
Tim Cariker Tim Cariker ... Townsperson
Fern Luker Fern Luker ... Townsperson
Jack Payne Jack Payne ... Townsperson
Sonny Carl Davis ... Townsperson (as Sonny Davis)
Edit

Storyline

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

Taglines:

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:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 June 2012 (Iceland) See more »

Also Known As:

Bernie - Leichen pflastern seinen Weg See more »

Filming Locations:

Lockhart, Texas, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$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

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Goofs

When Bernie is driving up to Mrs. Nugent's home, there is a close-up of the Texas State Registration sticker on the front windshield of the car which clearly says "12, 11" indicating that the registration will expire in December of 2011. See more »

Quotes

[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...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Before the main credits roll, photos of the real-life Bernie and Marjorie together are shown, along with a brief video of Bernie Teide talking with Jack Black. See more »

Connections

References Driving Miss Daisy (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

I've Done That Before
Written by Dale Watson
Performed by Dale Watson
Courtesy of Dale Watson Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Enthusiastically quirky
20 May 2012 | by StevePulaskiSee all my reviews

One could technically label Bernie a docudrama, as it is definitely more than meets the eye in terms of bringing facts to the table. The film is intercut with segments featuring the townspeople of Carthage, Texas discussing their relationship with the real Bernie Tiede and how his cheery eccentricities rubbed off on the town. Some of them are clearly actors, one of them being Matthew McConaughey's mother, but many are authentic folk off the street. Linklater very early on breeds variety into a film with so many unique and cute subtleties that after a while, you contemplate what you may have missed. Enthusiastically

Tiede is an assistant funeral director in Carthage, and can't be more proud of what he does. He's the man who fixes up the dead to make them look sometimes better than they did alive. Bernie is notorious for connecting deeply with his customers who have come to him after the death of a loved one, and even manages to stay in contact with many of them long after the funeral, dropping by and even bringing them flowers occasionally. He's a genial, kind soul and effortlessly brightens everyone's day. Almost like that guy on the street, at the office, on the bus, or in the neighborhood you don't know personally, don't know their history, or quite possibly even know their name, but you make the humane nuance to wave or say hello to them frequently. Tiede is an ode to that person in your life.

Bernie becomes friends with Marjorie Nugent (MacLaine), a wealthy old widow, who is mean-spirited and, after occupying a certain disdain for him, gives into his cheeriness and they begin hanging out with each other. It isn't long before Bernie grows weary of Mrs. Nugent's browbeating comments and shoots her four times in the back. Devastated at what he has done out of pure anger, he manages to conceal the body for months before the district attorney Danny Buck (played extremely well by McConaughey, whose character somewhat resembles Woody Harrelson's cold-blooded cop from Rampart), a cowboy-hatted, tall, and thin man always dapper, becomes suspicious of Bernie. He believes his nice appearance is just a put-on for the heartless deviant he really is.

The character of Bernie is played by Jack Black, in a role that is beyond any description I can helpfully provide. His character needs to be seen. Black takes a character, whose story and personality is likely unknown to many people in 2012, and invents this kind, charismatic person in the blink of an eye. Bernie is perhaps the nicest movie character I have been greeted with this year, and even after he kills an old woman, it's hard to even have harsh feelings for the sap. What he did was wrong, but it has become apparent that when a film features a cold-blooded killer, we are robbed of backstory and reason as to why he is doing this or how he got here. We learn so much about Bernie and his life before the inevitable murder that we almost can't hate the man despite his unforgivable actions.

Richard Linklater, who previously worked with Black in the impressive School of Rock, directs this black comedy with a serene bite, providing it with a rich script, and three lovable performances by three fine actors. Its deep south cinematography reminds me of the kind used in the drama Seven Days in Utopia, only more expressively used and healthier for the tone of the picture, not to mention the involving narrative carried throughout the excursion truly compliments the quiet rural nature of its setting. Bernie is one of the most enthusiastically quirky pictures of the year.

Starring: Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, and Matthew McConaughey. Directed by: Richard Linklater.


56 of 71 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 146 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed