6.2/10
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Burke and Hare (2010)

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A black comedy about two nineteenth century grave robbers, who find a lucrative business providing cadavers for an Edinburgh medical school.

Director:

John Landis
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bill Bailey ... Hangman
Tom Wilkinson ... Doctor Robert Knox
Michael Smiley ... Patterson
Tim Curry ... Doctor Monro
Paul Davis ... Patient
Christian Brassington ... Charles
Gabrielle Downey Gabrielle Downey ... Mad Maggie
Stuart McQuarrie ... Magistrate
Simon Pegg ... William Burke
Andy Serkis ... William Hare
Mike Goodenough Mike Goodenough ... Aggrieved Customer
Jessica Hynes ... Lucky
Robert Fyfe ... Old Donald
Robert Willox Robert Willox ... Gravediggers' Bouncer
David Schofield ... Fergus
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Storyline

Based on the true story about the famous murderers, 'Burke And Hare' follows the hapless exploits of these two men as they fall into the highly profitable business of providing cadavers for the medical fraternity in Nineteenth Century Edinburgh, then the centre of medical learning. The one thing they were short of was bodies. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

No Job Too Small. No Body Too Big. No Questions Asked.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexual content, disturbing images and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 September 2011 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Burke & Hare See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

£7,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£942,894 (United Kingdom), 31 October 2010, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$947, 11 September 2011, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$4,833, 15 September 2011

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$4,349,187, 15 September 2011
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

David Tennant was originally cast as William Hare, but had to drop out shortly before filming began, because NBC, for whom he had recently shot a pilot, declined to release him to shoot this movie, for fear of scheduling problems if the pilot was picked up early. See more »

Goofs

In the "multiple dissection" scene Tom Wilkinson uncovers each of the four dead bodies one at a time. But, following a quick edit to the applauding students, in a closer shot one of the bodies is covered up again. See more »

Quotes

Patterson: I'm sorry to disturb you Doctor but there are two men outside to see you. They appear to have a herring barrel with them.
Doctor Robert Knox: I have no taste for herring Patterson. Send them away.
Patterson: I believe there's something else in the herring barrel Doctor.
See more »

Crazy Credits

This is a true story. Except for the parts that are not. See more »

Connections

Remake of Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

Amazing Grace
Traditional
Words by John Newton
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Has its hit and miss moments, but mostly entertaining
1 March 2011 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

Burke and Hare is not a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, but it is not a bad film either or completely deserving of all the panning it got. It is far from talented director John Landis's best film not like Blues Brothers or An American Werewolf in London, but it is not his worst either as is the case with Blues Brothers 2000 and Beverly Hills Cop III.

Does Burke and Hare completely work? No it doesn't. Is it entertaining? On the most part yes, even with the hits and misses. The film to me was never laugh-out-loud hilarious excepting two or three scenes(Jessica Hynes's eureka moment inventing funeral parlours being one), most of the time it was still amusing. In my view, the sight gags were better than the script. The sight gags range from nicely understated such as the pot shots at Wordsworth, Lister and Greyfriars Bobby to crass slapstick such as chamber pot contents being dropped on heads. There is even a sex scene that raised a laugh, decide for yourself whether it is intentional or not, whether it was or not I personally did find it amusing. The script(the smart black humour kind) varies as well from having a good chuckle, raising a smile to where I found myself rather blank faced.

John Landis does do a credible job directing. He mixes contemporary innovation and social issue with ease, and although he doesn't quite make Burke and Hare the dark, smart, hilarious homage to Ealing comedy it strived to be or the throwback to American Werewolf(the comedy and horror elements are decent on their own but have mixed results together), there is evidence of the effort which is what mattered. The character development is very straight forward, that I do agree with, but the cast do make an effort to make us empathise with them, and I think they succeeded there. The Georgian setting is also convincing, the sets are beautifully evoked and I quite liked the costumes and cinematography too.

I do think all the cast have done better before, but I cannot deny this is a great cast. Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis are a well-matched double act. They work very well together, and both give entertaining performances in the process. I also liked seeing Christopher Lee, Ronnie Corbett, Paul Whitehouse(the scene where he is pushed down the stairs is hilarious) and Bill Bailey even if their appearances are rather brief. Isla Fisher(the love story between her and Pegg though is pretty weak and underdeveloped) and Jessica Hynes are alluring and do show at least some flair for comedy, Hynes actually is very funny, and while they should have had more screen time Tom Wilkinson and Tim Curry are suitably antagonistic and compelling. I do agree about the accents being variable, I had little problem with Pegg and Serkis and Wilkinson's was convincing, Curry just about passes, while Fisher's comes and goes and some of the cameos don't quite make it.

In conclusion, entertaining enough if somewhat hit-and-miss. With a longer length, perhaps more tighter pacing and some more care on the accents it could have been more. But the direction, setting and cast convinced me, so I enjoyed it. 7/10 Bethany Cox


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