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Burke & Hare

4.1 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

William Burke (Simon Pegg, Shaun of the Dead) and William Hare (Andy Serkis, Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Lord of the Rings trilogy) luck into some easy money when they discover they can sell a fresh cadaver to Dr. Knox (Tom Wilkinson, Michael Clayton, The Ghost Writer) at Edinburgh Medical College for dissection.  After somehow producing another corpse to sell, Burke and Hare suddenly find themselves in a lucrative if unsavory business.  However, the next cadaver is not quite so easy to obtain, and when word gets out of how profitable the trade is, the duo find themselves blackmailed and in dire need of more bodies.  Murder is not a laughing matter, but then again, this is the 1820's.  Co-starring Isla Fisher (Wedding Crashers) and directed by John Landis (An American Werewolf in London, Animal House), who returns to feature films after more than a decade to helm this dark, grisly comedy, based on an entirely true story.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis, Isla Fisher, Tom Wilkinson, Jessica Hynes
  • Directors: John Landis
  • Writers: Piers Ashworth, Nick Moorcroft
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: December 20, 2011
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005NHZAE6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,642 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
"I have got enough money put aside to start our new business...funeral parlors." This is the very funny true story about Burke (Pegg) and Hare (Serkis). They started off as simple grave robbers trying to make a living in Scotland in the 19th century. When an opportunity that is more lucrative comes along they jump at the chance. The job - providing cadavers to "teachers" around the city. The thing that gets them into trouble is how they find the cadavers. This is an extremely dark comedy that makes you laugh at things you should not laugh at. The plot of the movie deals with two guys who go around killing people for money. The fact that Simon Pegg is the main star is the reason I watched this to start. The supporting cast is also fantastic, but the movie on it's own is pretty entertaining and worth a watch. While not as funny as "Shaun Of The Dead", it does have that type of should I laugh at this quality to it. The best way I can describe it would be a comedy along the lines of "Sweeney Todd". If you like that movie you will like this one, no singing and more laughs. Overall, worth a watch, unless you are easily offended. I give it a B.

*Also try - Lucky & Sweeney Todd
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Format: DVD
Attention to detail is usually a quick indicator of overall quality in a product and this rendition of the infamous 1820s Burke and Hare, Edinburgh murders began with quality performances from a great cast and continues with the authenticity of the setting, costuming and props. You truly feel as if you are a cohort with our medical supply entrepreneurs as they roam those streets looking to supply the local medical institutions. Historically accurate as their business was particularly lucrative given the increased demand for, and declining supply of - their product.

It is a comedic interpretation in every way possible from slapstick to high humor to incompetence. It is also dark given the people chosen to be dispatched with and the methods used. At times you feel sympathetic toward Burke and Hare and at times disgust at the complicity at all levels of society - with money often the source of "looking the other way".
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I was amazed at the broad range of cast in this film. So many of my favorite British actors made a cameo. I loved Tim Curry as a conniving doctor. The comedy of Burke and Hare is enough to make you have to rewind because you missed a joke or your drink decided that your nose was an exit. Highly recommended.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
Very much in the tradition of classic, sly, gentle and darkly funny Ealing comedies, "Burke & Hare" takes a genuine point in history and plays with it, all the while remaining tongue in cheek, true to its premise, delightfully unpredictable and profoundly human. Anyone that still thinks fondly of the very original "The Ladykillers", "Kind Hearts and Coronets", "The Lavender Hill Mob" or others from Ealing's golden age will be more than pleased to see that style arrive refreshed, updated, carefully written -- the multiple plot lines add considerable depth, bringing this humour noir / period comedy in line with 21st century expectations -- and wonderfully produced and performed. We'll see if "Burke & Hare" manages to stand the test of time as well as those earlier films, but it easily surpasses any requirements needed to engage your interest and your humor for a near pitch-perfect 90 minutes.
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Format: DVD
Before watching BURKE AND HARE, I had never heard of the notorious murderers and grave robbers, Burke and Hare. I rented the movie because it stars Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis, and Isla Fisher, and marks John Landis return to movie directing (he hadn't directed a major motion picture since 1998). Pegg plays William Burke and Serkis portrays William Hare. Burke and Hare are a couple of immigrants to Scotland from Ireland. They've done all sorts of odd jobs to stay afloat, but are running out of money. After their latest scheme fails, they return home, excited at the prospect of collecting the rent money from one of their boarders. However, upon returning home Hare's wife, Lucky, informs him that they won't get any money because the boarder died. They attempt to dispose of the body, but then learn that Dr. Robert Knox (Tom Wilkinson) at the Edinburgh Medical College is in need of bodies for his work. So, Burke and Hair bring the body to the College and are a paid a nice sum with the promise of more if they can bring more bodies. Knox is a great surgeon but all the "sanctioned" bodies are being used across town at Edinburgh's other medical school by Dr. Monro (Tim Curry) so Knox is in great need. Hare thinks they've found their next business because Edinburgh is full of people just waiting to die, but who just need a little help. Burke isn't so sure and is conflicted by the whole enterprise. Then Burke meets Ginny Hawkins (Isla Fisher), a performer who wants to launch the first full-female cast of Shakespeare's MacBeth. Sensing a possible way to keep meeting Ginny, Burke agrees to finance her production and, thus, the killings continue.

BURKE AND HARE is a dark satirical comedy. The title characters are murderers, but the script really makes one sympathize with them.
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Format: DVD
A macabre, darkly humorous tale directed by the long-dormant John Landis and starring Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis and Isla Fisher, with deft (daft?) supporting roles provided by the wonderful duo of Tom Wilkinson and Tim Curry.

The film chronicles the 1828 exploits of Mssrs. Burke and Hare, who turned the provision of dead bodies for medical research into a demented and starkly illegal Shark Tank opportunity well ahead of its time. As a period piece Burke and Hare survives minimally, but the dialog is a stitch and the goofy interplay between Pegg and Serkis, as well as the sight gags, make for a truly fun entertainment interrupted occasionally by scatological humor including gross visuals of rotting or dismembered humans.

Some reviewers upset at the "trivialization" of murder are indeed missing the point. Whereas "Burke and Hare" spends little dramatic energy focusing on the true consequences of such heinous pursuits, it's not the first time a movie or play took on the macabre- Sweeney Todd anyone?

At times broadly comedic, the last third of the movie invokes both conscience and a budding romantic relationship (which fuels the murderous indiscretions). While not necessarily a "happy" ending in the true sense, it's nevertheless an enjoyable and heartfelt ride.
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