Bruce MacLeish Dern (born June 4, 1936) is an Academy Award-nominated American screen actor. Dern is the father of actress Laura Dern and was formerly married to actress Diane Ladd.
Dern was born in Chicago, Illinois to John Dern and Jean (MacLeish). His paternal grandfather was George Dern, a former Utah governor and Secretary of War and his uncle was poet Archibald MacLeish. His godfather was well-known politician Adlai Stevenson and his godmother was Eleanor Roosevelt.
One of Dern's first film roles was in the Sydney Pollack picture They Shoot Horses, Don't They? in 1969. He played the enemy and killer of John Wayne's character in The Cowboys, and starred along with Jack Nicholson in The King of Marvin Gardens. Dern is generally regarded as a character actor, and has a reputation of playing unstable and villainous characters. His best-known role may be that of Freeman Lowell, the caretaker of Earth's last forests in Silent Running (1972), but other memorable roles include Tom...
Created by dipity on Feb 7, 2008
Last updated: 02/07/08 at 05:42 PM
Bruce Dern has no followers yet. Be the first one to follow.
The Astronaut Farmer is a 2007 drama film directed by Michael Polish and starring Billy Bob Thornton. Polish and his brother Mark also serve as writers and producers of the film. The film was released on February 23, 2007.Charles Farmer (Thornton) is a former astronaut in training who gave up his dream job with NASA to save his family's farm in Texas. Never having traveled into space, he decides to build his own space craft, a replica of the historic Mercury-Atlas, with his own time and materials. He encounters interference as the United States government tries to stop him.. Farmer's rocket fails to launch on his first attempt and he is wounded badly in the mishap. However, with encouragement from his family, Farmer rebuilds his rocket. He succeeds in launching the rocket on his second attempt, orbits the Earth and returns safely.The movie took place in Texas, but it was filmed in New Mexico, USA.When Thorton's character is being interviewed by Jay Leno during the credits, the...,
Believe In Me is a 2005 drama film directed by Robert Collector who has written and directed for other feature films as well. The film was released, although on a limited basis, in 2005. The film stars Jeffrey Donovan, Samantha Mathis, and Bruce Dern. The film was shot in various location in New Mexico. The film is based on the novel Brief Garland by Oklahoma author Harold Keith. The novel is about Keith's real life nephew, Jim Keith.In early 1960s Oklahoma, a time of economic distress and small town politics, high-school sports are an integral part of the town's fabric and pride. But girls' sports are an afterthought and warrant little or no attention. Clay Driscoll, a young coach with big dreams, is hired by the local superintendent to coach boy’s basketball. Clay immediately finds himself head-to-head with Ellis Brawley, the town's ultimate boss, great-great grandson of the town's founder, owner of the bank and head of the school board. Clay is crushed by the news from Brawley...,
Monster is a 2003 film about the life of female serial killer Aileen Wuornos, a former prostitute who was executed in 2002 for killing seven men in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The role of Aileen Wuornos was played by South African actress Charlize Theron, and her lover Selby Wall was played by Christina Ricci (Wuornos's lover's name was actually Tyria Moore, but her character's name, age, and appearance in the film were changed for legal reasons). The film was written and directed by Patty Jenkins.
Much of Theron's preparation for the role is credited to Nick Broomfield's 1992 documentary, Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer, of which Theron reportedly watched clips between takes.The main characters include:
After moving to Florida, Wuornos, a prostitute, meets Selby in a bar. Selby takes to Aileen almost immediately, as she likes that Wuornos is very protective of her, even though she notices that the older woman is severely disturbed. They...,
The Glass House is a 2001 film directed by Daniel Sackheim and written by Wesley Strick.After losing their parents in a car accident, Ruby and Rhett Baker are placed under the guardianship of the Glass family, former neighbors and childless couple who live in a large glass house in Malibu. Life is great for both siblings at first. However, Ruby soon discovers that her new foster parents are after the siblings' $4 million trust fund. Ruby discovers that the car her parents died in was a BMW loaned from the Glass' company and suspects that Mr. Glass was responsible for their deaths.Overwhelmed with guilt, Mrs. Glass overdoses and dies. Shocked to find his wife dead, Mr. Glass traps Ruby and Rhett in the basement. Eventually, the two escape. After a brutal car accident due to Mr. Glass tampering with his own car in the same fashion as he did with the kids' parents, Mr. Glass kills a policeman and tries to lure Ruby and Rhett towards him. Ruby hits Mr. Glass with a police car, killing him...,
The Haunting is a 1999 horror film remake of the 1963 film The Haunting. Both films are based on the novel The Haunting of Hill House, which was written by Shirley Jackson, and was published in 1959. It was directed by Jan de Bont and was released in the United States on July 20, 1999, and in Thailand on October 1, 1999.Tagline: "Some houses are born bad"When her mother dies, Eleanor "Nell" Vance (Taylor) has been forced to leave her apartment by her sister, Jane (Virginia Madsen). But a phone call brings her attention to an experiment on insomnia. The money she earns from the experiment ($900 a week) would be enough to pay off her rent and bill arrears until she gets a more stable job, so she decides to participate. This experiment is directed by Dr. David Marrow (Neeson) and is supposed to take place at Hill House - a haunting but beautiful manor in the Massachusetts countryside.When she arrives, Eleanor is immediately drawn to the house and is captivated by its beauty. She soon...,
Mulholland Falls is an American neo-noir film released in 1996 and directed by Lee Tamahori. The film stars Nick Nolte, Jennifer Connelly, Chazz Palminteri, Michael Madsen, Chris Penn, and Melanie Griffith.
Nolte plays Max Hoover, the head of an elite group of four Los Angeles detectives (based on the real life "Hat Squad") who stop at nothing to maintain control of their jurisdiction.
Tagline:This isn't America, this is Los Angeles.This film starts in the early 1950s with the squad of super-corrupt LAPD detectives throwing Jack (William L. Petersen), a suspected organized crime figure, off a cliff on Mulholland Drive, nicknamed "Mulholland Falls" for all the men they threw off it.
Later, the men are called to investigate a suspicious death of a beautiful and alluring young lady found at a construction site, an aspiring actress with whom Max had an affair, Allison Pond (Jennifer Connelly). The evidence shows she fell from a great height, perhaps off of a cliff or from an airplane....,
Down Periscope is a 1996 comedy movie starring Kelsey Grammer as the captain of a rust-bucket submarine (called the USS Stingray) who is fighting for his career. Rob Schneider provides comic support as the uptight executive officer, and Lauren Holly as the Navy's first female submarine crewmember.
Lieutenant Commander Thomas Dodge (Kelsey Grammer), a capable US Navy officer, is about to be denied command of his own submarine for a third time because of his rather unconventional ways and a commonly known tattoo on his penis reading 'Welcome aboard!' (which he'd gotten after a crash with a Russian sub before Murmansk and a drunken rout following the incident, but is never seen in the movie). He is particularly opposed by Rear Admiral Yancy Graham (Bruce Dern). Failure to secure his command will result in him being dropped from the command program. His commander, Vice Admiral Dean Winslow (Rip Torn), manages to convince the Navy to give him a last chance: to test the Navy's defenses...,
Last Man Standing is a 1996 action film written and directed by Walter Hill, starring Bruce Willis, Christopher Walken, and Bruce Dern. It is a credited remake of the Akira Kurosawa film Yojimbo. The film is known primarily for its intense gunfights, featuring Bruce Willis's character dual-wielding two M1911 .45 caliber pistols akimbo in the style reminiscent of Hong Kong Blood OperaThe film is set during the Prohibition Era in the United States and begins with Willis's mysterious character (later identifying himself as "Johh Smith") wandering into Jericho, Texas, a town miles from the Mexican border. Gang violence between the resident Irish gang (headed by Doyle) and Italian gang (headed by Strozzi and Carmonte) has decimated the town and left few legitimate citizens remaining, aside from a car mechanic, a bartender, an undertaker and a corrupt sheriff and his deputy, all of which act as crucial agents and informants for Smith later in the film.
Smith immediately establishes a...,
After Dark, My Sweet (1990) is a neo-noir film directed by James Foley starring Jason Patric, Bruce Dern, and Rachel Ward. It is based on the 1955 Jim Thompson novel of the same name.
Ex-boxer Kevin "Kid" Collins is a drifter and an escapee from a mental hospital. He meets Fay Anderson, a widow, who convinces him to help fix up the neglected estate her ex-husband left. Her Uncle Bud talks them both into helping kidnap a rich boy for ransom money, and the ex-fighter must make decisions about his loyalties and what is right.
Roger Ebert in his Great films review of the movie wrote "After Dark, My Sweet is the movie that eluded audiences; it grossed less than $3 mllion, has been almost forgotten, and remains one of the purest and most uncompromising of modern film noirs. It captures above all the lonely, exhausted lives of its characters." 
Writer David M. Meyers praised the script "The screenplay, which hews closely to Jim Thompson's heartless novel, is unusually tight, spare, and...
The 'Burbs (aka The Burbs Uncut) is a 1989 black psychocomedy directed by Joe Dante and starring, amongst others, Tom Hanks, Carrie Fisher, Rick Ducommun, Corey Feldman, and Bruce Dern, and written by Dana Olsen, who also briefly appears in the movie. The film pokes fun at suburban environments (particularly in the US), and their eccentric dwellers.
In his typical "good guy" mode, Hanks plays Ray Peterson, a loving family-man with an ordinary life in a stereotypical "white bread" suburban neighborhood. This changes when a mysterious family, the Klopeks, move in next door. Ray's two neighbors (work-shy slacker Art and paramilitary nut Rumsfield) believe the Klopeks are actually a family of murderers who killed the previous owners of the house, the Knapps, and Walter, the old man in the next house over. Ray, along with the other two civilians-turned-detectives, attempt to solve the mystery.
Screenwriter Dana Olsen based the script on experiences from his own childhood: "I had an...,
That Championship Season is Jason Miller's screen version of his 1973 Pulitzer Prize winning Broadway play of the same name. For a number of years Miller attempted to bring the play to the big screen and, finally in 1982, he succeeded. As both writer and director, Miller utilized headline talent of the time and insisted on filming the exteriors on-location in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where the story takes place. His vision had the likes of Robert Mitchum, Martin Sheen, Bruce Dern, Stacy Keach and Paul Sorvino walking down West Side Scranton streets.Scranton, as other major cities in the 1980s, was suffering from a high degree of downtown urban blight. Miller was raised and educated there and his intent was to showcase the city and its people. The first quarter of the film does just that as the characters and situations unfold. Scranton locations used included Nay Aug Park (featuring a political rally using the townspeople as extras), the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad...
Tattoo is a 1981 film starring Bruce Dern and Maud Adams. Karl Kinsky (Dern) is a mentally ill tattoo artist who is hired to create temporary tattoos for some models. He becomes obsessed with one of them, Maddy (Adams), and kidnaps her in order to force her to wear "his mark". He keeps her captive as he creates his masterpiece on her body. Throughout the ensuing captivity, Maddy tries several times to escape, but her attempts are continually thwarted by Kinsky.This article contains a trivia section.The article could be improved by integrating relevant items into the main text and removing inappropriate items.At the culmination of the film, when Kinsky makes love to Maddy after finishing his tattoo on her body, she is finally is successful in escaping his captivity, by stabbing him with his tattoo needle.Of this scene, Dern was asked if he and Adams really made love for the camera. He responded that they did. Asked about this, Adams vehemently denied that it happened and accused Dern...,
The Driver is a 1978 crime film directed by Walter Hill and starring Ryan O'Neal, Bruce Dern, and Isabelle Adjani. The film is notable for its impressive car chases and no frills style of filmmaking.
The Driver (O’Neal) is a professional getaway artist who specializes in stealing cars, which he then disposes of after using them for big-time robberies. Hot on the Driver's trail is a police Detective (Dern), who has nicknamed him "Cowboy" and is determined to bring him down. “I’m gonna catch the fish that’s never been caught,” he tells the Driver early on. The Detective becomes obsessed with getting the Driver off the streets for good...sufficiently obsessed, in fact, that the Detective himself sets up a bank job in order to entice--and trap, and ultimately arrest--the Driver. Yet the Detective's plan, on which he has staked no less than his badge, blows up in his face: both he and the Driver are set up and burned by a beautiful woman known only as the Player.
Saying it's "probably...,
Coming Home is a 1978 film which tells the story of an injured Vietnam War veteran's difficulty in re-entering civilian life after his return from the war. It stars Jane Fonda, Jon Voight, Bruce Dern, Penelope Milford, Robert Carradine and Robert Ginty.
The movie was written by Robert C. Jones, Waldo Salt, Nancy Dowd and Rudy Wurlitzer (uncredited). It was directed by Hal Ashby.
It won Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Jon Voight), Best Actress in a Leading Role (Jane Fonda) and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen. It was nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Bruce Dern), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Penelope Milford), Best Director, Best Film Editing and Best Picture.
Black Sunday is a 1975 novel by Thomas Harris. It was the first novel by Harris, who went on to write the Hannibal Lecter novels.In 1977, a film was made based on the novel starring Robert Shaw and Bruce Dern and directed by John Frankenheimer....
Family Plot is a 1976 Universal motion picture directed by Alfred Hitchcock, his final film. It starred Karen Black, Bruce Dern, Barbara Harris and William Devane, with Cathleen Nesbitt.
The story involves a fake psychic, con artist Blanche Tyler (played by Harris), and her taxi driver boyfriend, George Lumley (played by Dern), who attempt to locate the nephew of a wealthy and guiltridden old woman, Julia Rainbird (played by Nesbitt). Julia, one of Blanche's clients, was responsible for her now-deceased sister giving up a boy for adoption years earlier and now wants to make him her heir. She will pay $10,000 if he is found.
However, the nephew and prospective heir is now a successful jeweler in San Francisco known as Arthur Adamson (played by Devane), who has a secret and lurid past, having apparently murdered his adoptive parents and faked his own death. With his girlfriend Fran (played by Black), he has successfully kidnapped an assortment of millionaires and dignitaries, returning...,
Smile is a 1975 film directed by American director Michael Ritchie, with a screenplay by Jerry Belson, about a beauty pageant in Santa Rosa, California. It is starring Bruce Dern and Barbara Feldon and introduced a number of young actresses who later went on to greater success and recognition, such as Melanie Griffith, Annette O'Toole, Denise Nickerson, and Colleen Camp. The film is a satirical comedy-drama focusing on small-town America and its peculiarities, preoccupations, and hypocrisies. It was subsequently made into a 1986 Broadway musical with songs by Marvin Hamlisch and Howard Ashman.The plot revolves around the contestants and people involved with California's Young American Miss Pageant held in Santa Rosa, California. Barbara Feldon starred as Brenda DiCarlo (the pageant's Executive Director), with Nicholas Pryor as Andy DiCarlo (Brenda's husband), Bruce Dern as Big Bob Freelander (the head judge), Geoffrey Lewis as Wilson Shears (pageant producer), and as the contestants, ...,
The King of Marvin Gardens is a 1972 American crime-drama film. It stars Jack Nicholson, Bruce Dern, Ellen Burstyn and Scatman Crothers. It is one of several collaborations between Nicholson and director Bob Rafelson.A Philadelphia disc-jockey visits his beloved fly-by-night brother in Atlantic City and finds that he has elaborate plans to rip off a mobster....,
The Cowboys is a 1972 western motion picture starring John Wayne, Roscoe Lee Browne, Slim Pickens, A Martinez and Bruce Dern. Robert Carradine makes his film debut. The film was directed by Mark Rydell.When his hired men abandon him for the lure of a gold rush, Cattle Rancher Wil Andersen (John Wayne) is forced to take collection of young school boys on a cattle drive in order to get his herd to market in time to avoid financial disaster. Under Andersen's tutelage the boys learn to do a man's job, however, neither Andersen nor the boys know that a gang of cattle thieves led by Long Hair Asa Watts (Bruce Dern) are in hot pursuit.The film is known for depicting Wayne being cold-bloodedly shot in the back by Dern's character. This resulted in co-star Dern earning a bad reputation in Hollywood that made it difficult for him to get roles. During filming of this scene, Wayne warned Dern, "They'll hate you for this."Another well known scene was that of a minor using profanity. One of the...,
Silent Running is a 1972 science fiction film directed by Douglas Trumbull and starring Bruce Dern, Cliff Potts, Ron Rifkin and Jesse Vint. It was made with a very limited budget but has since achieved a cult following. The science and technology depicted in Silent Running are not always plausible, but Trumbull's special effects are on par with those he created for 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the melancholy message is considered by some to be very powerful. Unusual for a science fiction film, the soundtrack contains two songs — "Silent Running" and "Rejoice in the Sun" — written by Peter Schickele and Diane Lampert and performed by Joan Baez.The movie depicts a future in which all plant life on Earth has been made extinct. Only a few specimens have been preserved just outside the orbit of Saturn, in enormous, greenhouse-like geodesic domes attached to a fleet of American Airlines "Space Freighters". Freeman Lowell (Bruce Dern) is one of four crewmen aboard the Valley Forge, one of the...,
They Shoot Horses, Don't They? is a 1969 film which tells the story of several contestants in a Depression-era dance marathon. The movie was adapted by James Poe and Robert E. Thompson from the 1935 novel by Horace McCoy. It was directed by Sydney Pollack.
It stars Jane Fonda, Michael Sarrazin, Susannah York, Gig Young, Red Buttons, Bonnie Bedelia, Michael Conrad and Bruce Dern.
Sydney Pollack's dark and impassioned adaptation of Horace McCoy's novel examines the limits of devotion and endurance. The intricately interwoven plot centers on a marathon dance contest that takes place in the 1930s during the Great Depression. The poverty-stricken participants struggle to keep their footing in order to survive the hard times, with hope for the cash prize the sole reason for continuing to dance.
Jane Fonda was originally uninterested in acting in the movie, saying that "the script wasn't very good." However, then-husband Roger Vadim, a fan of the leftist-themed McCoy novel, urged her to...
Support Your Local Sheriff! is a 1969 comic western film which parodies the often-filmed scenerio of an iconoclastic new arrival who tames a lawless frontier town. Starring James Garner, Joan Hackett and Jack Elam, the film was directed by Burt Kennedy and written by William Bowers.
A frontier town in the Old West springs up almost literally overnight when the rather klutzy and hotheaded Prudy Perkins discovers gold in a grave during a funeral. Her father Olly becomes mayor of the new settlement. He and the other members of the town council bemoan the twin facts that the place has become a drunken round-the-clock free-for-all, and that in order to ship out all the gold they are mining, they must pay a hefty fee to the Danbys, a family of ranchers/bandits who control the only route out of town. Most people are too busy digging to take time out to be sheriff, and those who are willing to put down their shovel quickly die.
This all changes with the arrival in town of Jason McCullough, a...,
Number One was released in 1969 by United Artists.
It starred Charlton Heston and Jessica Walter. Directed by David Moessinger. The film entails the life & times of an aging football player, as his skills continue to erode, and how parts of his life continued while he was on the field.
A 1968 Western film directed by Ted Post starring Clint Eastwood. Hang 'Em High is the story of an innocent man, Jed Cooper, who survives a lynching by nine men, and comes back as US Marshal Jed Cooper to see that justice is done, and to get his revenge.
In the film, actor Pat Hingle portrays a fictional judge that mirrors the true life Judge Isaac Parker, who was labelled "The Hanging Judge" due to the large number of men executed during his service as District Judge. The film also depicts the dangers of serving as a US Marshal or Deputy US Marshal during that period, as Judge Parker also had large numbers of Marshals killed while serving under him. In the film, the fictional Fort Grant, the base for operations for that District Judge seat, is also a mirror of the factual Fort Smith, Arkansas, where Judge Parker's court was located. This movie is given credit as the movie that brought Spaghetti Westerns to Hollywood.
Jed Cooper is a lawman turned rancher who has recently purchased a...,
Will Penny is a 1968 western film directed by Tom Gries starring Charlton Heston and Donald Pleasence. It was based upon an episode of the 1960 Sam Peckinpah television series The Westerner called "Line Camp," which was also written and directed by Tom Gries.
Will Penny (Charlton Heston) is an aging cow hand who at the end of a long trail hires on to ride the boundary of a ranch over the winter. He immediately comes across a woman (Joan Hackett), Catherine Allen, and her son using one of the remote cabins to over-winter and despite his boss's instructions gives them a week to move on. Penny runs afoul of a sadistic family called the Quints, led by Preacher Quint (Donald Pleasance) after he kills one of the Quint sons defending his comrades. While out checking the territory, he is ambushed and beaten by the Quints, who leave him for dead, but he manages to drag himself back to the cabin, where he is brought back to health by Catherine, with whom he has little choice but to stay with...,
Psych-Out is a 1968 feature film about hippies, psychedelic music, and recreational drugs, produced and released by American International Pictures. Originally scripted as The Love Children, the title when tested caused people to think it was about bastards, so Samuel Z. Arkoff came up with the ultimate title based on a recent successful reissue of Psycho.
Jenny (played by Susan Strasberg) is a deaf runaway who arrives in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district, searching for her brother Steve. She encounters the aptly named Stoney (Jack Nicholson) and his hippie band "Mumblin' Jim" in a coffee shop. The boys are sympathetic, especially when they discover that she is deaf and can only understand others through lip reading. They hide her from the police and help her look for her brother. He has left his apartment with no forwarding address; she has only a postcard from him which reads "Jess Saes: God is alive and well and living in a sugar cube". Meanwhile, the boys are trying hard to...,
The Wild Angels (1966) is a Roger Corman film, made on location in Southern California. The Wild Angels was made three years before Easy Rider and was the first film to associate actor Peter Fonda with Harley-Davidson motorcycles and 1960s counterculture.
The Wild Angels, released by American International Pictures, stars Fonda as Hells Angels San Pedro, California chapter president "Heavenly Blues", Nancy Sinatra as his girlfriend "Mike", Bruce Dern as doomed fellow outlaw "the Loser", and Dern's real-life wife Diane Ladd as the Loser's screen wife, "Gaysh."
Small supporting roles are played by Michael J. Pollard and Gayle Hunnicutt, and according to literature promoting the film, members of the Hells Angels from Venice, California. Members of the Coffin Cheaters motorcycle club also appeared.
In between sprees featuring drugs, fights, sexual assault, loud revving Harley chopper engines and bongo drums, the Angels ride out to Mecca, California in the desert to look for the...
Marnie is a 1964 psychological thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock and based on the novel Marnie by Winston Graham. The film stars Tippi Hedren and Sean Connery. The original music score was composed by Bernard Hermann.
Marnie Edgar (Tippi Hedren) is a troubled young woman who has an unnatural fear and mistrust of men, thunderstorms and the color red. She is also a compulsive thief. She uses her charms on Sidney Strutt (Martin Gabel) to get a job without references. Then late one night, she steals the contents of the company safe and disappears.
Mark Rutland (Sean Connery), a widower who owns a large printing company, is a good customer of Strutt's. He learns about the theft from the victim, and remembers the woman. So when Marnie applies for a job at his company, he is intrigued. He is robbed too, but unlike Strutt, Mark manages to track Marnie down. Instead of handing her over to the police, he blackmails her into marrying him.
On their honeymoon, he finds out about her frigidity...,
Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte (also known as Whatever Happened to Cousin Charlotte?) is a 1964 20th Century Fox gothic horror/thriller motion picture starring Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, and Joseph Cotten. Others in the cast include Agnes Moorehead, Cecil Kellaway, Victor Buono, Mary Astor, Bruce Dern, George Kennedy, and William Campbell. The film's title song was performed by Italian-American singer Al Martino.Directed and produced by Robert Aldrich, it was adapted for the screen by Henry Farrell and Lukas Heller, based on the short storyWhatever Happened to Cousin Charlotte? by Henry Farrell.The movie reunited two of the stars from Aldrich's What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Davis and Victor Buono. Joan Crawford was cast to play the de Havilland role, but dropped out (see: "Trivia" below).Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte received Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actress (Agnes Moorehead); Best Art Direction (Black-and-White) (William Glasgow Art Direction, Raphael...,
Bruce Dern was born in Chicago, Illinois, Cook County