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 »
10 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »

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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)
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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 »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Richard Linklater: Appears as one of the 5 deadbeat dads in the 'hand on a hardbody' competition. He's the one wearing a red shirt who attempts to run when the police arrive. In the newspaper article, his picture is the last one on the top row, farthest to the right. 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...
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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 »


Soundtracks

Turn Around
Written by Leslie Anne Sloan
Performed by Leslie Anne Sloan (as Miss Leslie)
Courtesy of Zero Label Records
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User Reviews

 
One of the best performances of Jack Black's career!
17 June 2011 | by natasha-bishopSee all my reviews

I saw the world premiere of "Bernie" last night at the Los Angeles Film Festival. I must confess, after Jack Black's run of "Year One", "Gulliver's Travels", and "Kung Fu Panda", I was starting to lose hope of ever seeing the "School of Rock" guy I fell in love with. When I heard Richard Linklater (School of Rock) and Jack Black were teaming up again, I felt a glimmer of hope. I am happy to report, I was not disappointed last night! Jack Black gives one of the best performances of his career in "Bernie." Shirley MacLaine was the icing on the cake and Matthew McConaughey was the cherry on top. I loved this movie! "Bernie" is based on the true story of Bernie Tiede, an assistant funeral director and general do-gooder, who confessed to killing Marjorie Nugent, a very rich and mean old lady. Bernie was a bit eccentric but beloved by his entire community of Carthage, Texas. Jack Black nails this performance. He really shows us what he is capable of as an actor. It was such a pleasure to watch him transform into Bernie Tiede. Great moments of physical comedy and also some twisted, dark moments of catching a glimpse into Bernie's spiraling psyche. Shirley MacLaine was Marjorie Nugent who was known as a mean, bitter lady with no friends and a family who tried to sue her for her money. You can't go wrong with Shirley MacLaine – she's just brilliant. The chemistry between MacLaine and Black was fantastic. I truly enjoyed watching them on the screen together. Even at the world premiere last night they had great chemistry in person. It seems like they truly loved working together on this film. Matthew McConaughey was great as the D.A. Danny Buck Davidson, the character didn't seem to be a huge stretch for him, but who cares – he was great! I'm not sure when it is due to be released, but I will be recommending it to my friends when it hits theatres.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 June 2012 (Iceland) See more »

Also Known As:

Bernie See more »

Filming Locations:

Lockhart, Texas, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$85,805, 29 April 2012

Gross USA:

$9,206,470

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$10,173,061
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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