Bean (film)

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Bean movie poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Mel Smith
Produced by Peter Bennett-Jones
Tim Bevan
Eric Fellner
Written by Rowan Atkinson
Richard Curtis
Robin Driscoll
Based on Mr. Bean 
by Rowan Atkinson
Richard Curtis
Starring Rowan Atkinson
Peter MacNicol
Harris Yulin
Burt Reynolds
Sir John Mills
Music by Howard Goodall
Cinematography Francis Kenny
Edited by Christopher Blunden
Distributed by PolyGram Filmed Entertainment (UK)
Gramercy Pictures (USA)
Release dates UK:
  • 1 August 1997 (1997-08-01)
  • 17 October 1997 (1997-10-17)
  • 7 November 1997 (1997-11-07)
Running time 87 minutes
Country United Kingdom
United States
Language English
Budget $18 million[1]
Box office $251,212,670[1]

Bean (known as Bean: The Ultimate Disaster Movie or Bean: The Movie in promotional materials and home releases) is a 1997 British-American comedy film based on the popular ITV comedy television series Mr. Bean, which was written by and starring Rowan Atkinson as the title character. The main plot follows Bean entrusted to unveil the priceless painting Whistler's Mother, which has been bought by an American art gallery to return "the greatest" American painting to the United States. In the process, a number of unfortunate mishaps see Bean almost breaking up a marriage, annoy an American policeman and accidentally destroy the painting, although a shrewd plan results in these mistakes being rectified or concealed.

The film was written by Atkinson and Richard Curtis and was directed by Mel Smith, all of whom originally worked together on Not the Nine O'Clock News. Its working title was initially Dr. Bean, based on a misunderstanding which forms part of the plot of the film.[2] It was given a PG-13 by the MPAA for "moments of risque humour", and an uncut PG by the BBFC, as well as the IFCO.


Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson) is a security guard at the Royal National Gallery in London, though his reputation for sleeping on the job compels the board of directors to attempt to fire him, though they are thwarted by the chairman (Sir John Mills) who is sympathetic with him. In order to rid themselves of Bean, the board send him to Los Angeles to represent them at the unveiling of the portrait Whistler's Mother, which has been purchased for $50 million by the fictional Grierson Art Gallery with a grant from General Newton (Burt Reynolds), and the visit is arranged by the gallery's curator, David Langley (Peter MacNicol), who is impressed with the National Gallery's false profile of "Dr. Bean" and agrees to accommodate Bean in his house for two months, much to the chagrin of his wife Allison (Pamela Reed), son Kevin (Andrew Lawrence) and daughter Jennifer (Tricia Vessey), who subsequently leave for Allison's mother's house.

After some initial mishaps with the airport police and leaving the gallery's owner, Mr. Grierson (Harris Yulin) slightly doubtful about Bean's intelligence after meeting him in person, David begins to question his decision, and his worst fears are realised when Bean accidentally ruins the painting shortly after it arrives. Fearing that he will lose his job and possibly face criminal charges for the damage, David becomes despondent and gets drunk, even though his family returns out of pity. Bean, however, comes up with a plan to save David's career by sneaking into the gallery at night and replacing the damaged painting with a poster that he alters to make it resemble a genuine painting with egg whites and Allison's perfume. The plan works and the painting is a success, but Bean is unexpectedly called to give a speech about the painting with General Newton, countless journalists and reporters watching. Bean, however, manages to give a sentimental and deep monologue about the painting and wins the crowd's praise and approval.

Just then, however, David is visited by Lieutenant Brutus (whom Bean had crossed more than once earlier on) and is initially perplexed with the police presence, assuming that the police might have discovered the issue with the priceless painting. Brutus however tells David that his daughter Jennifer has been in a motorcycle accident. They rush to the hospital, but Brutus and the police stop prematurely to deal with a mugging, in which Brutus is shot. David shares an uneasy reunion with Allison beside the unconscious Jennifer's bed, while Bean is mistaken for a medical doctor and forced into a theatre to help remove the bullet from Brutus's chest, which he manages to do unorthodoxly. While still in the doctor's garments, Bean comes across David, who asks him to help awaken Jennifer. Once alone with Jennifer, Bean begins fooling around the room and accidentally manages to wake Jennifer. Bean uneasily reveals himself to David and Allison and asks that he be allowed to stay with them another week, which they gladly accept. Bean goes on to spend quality time with David and his family until he leaves.

Eventually, David takes Bean to the airport for his flight home, where they part ways as friends. Once at home in London, Bean takes one last look at his room, which he has decorated with photographs with the Langleys and the original Whistler's Mother that was damaged and then stowed away, before going to bed.



Bean received a limited release in the United States on 17 October 1997, then a wide release on 7 November 1997. In the United Kingdom, the film was released on 1 August 1997.


Critical response[edit]

Bean received mixed reviews from critics. It was criticised for breaking with the programme's tradition of having Mr. Bean as the centre of attention and for the alleged Americanisation required to sell it overseas (Bean also speaks intelligibly, albeit with apparent difficulty, as opposed to his frequent mumbling in the TV show).[3]

The film currently has a 42% "Rotten" rating amongst collated reviews at Rotten Tomatoes with a 5.3/10 rating, with many critics suggesting that it was over-long and lacking in jokes.[4] Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 1–100 reviews from film critics, gave the film 52 out of 100 based on 20 reviews, indicating "Mixed or average reviews".[5]

Box office[edit]

Despite receiving generally mixed reviews from critics, Bean earned $45,319,423 in North America and $205,893,247 in other territories,[1] resulting in $251,212,670 worldwide, making it a financial success with its relatively small budget of $18 million. The film was ranked number 47 during the opening weekend when it received a limited release.[1]


It was followed by a sequel 10 years later in 2007 called Mr. Bean's Holiday.[6]


The film's original score was by Howard Goodall, who had also written the music for the television series. Other non-original songs were also featured, in particular The Beatles' "Yesterday" (sung by Wet Wet Wet).

The CD soundtrack also featured a song not used in the film, a cover of the Alice Cooper song "Elected" (from the Billion Dollar Babies album) performed by famed Iron Maiden lead singer and Heavy metal icon Bruce Dickinson which features sound dubs of Mr. Bean making campaign promises. This had been used for Comic Relief in 1992. OMC's version of "I Love L.A." appeared in the soundtrack.

Boyzone also released a song for the film, entitled "Picture of You".

List of songs performed by various artists
  1. "I Love L.A." – Randy Newman
  2. "Picture of You" – Boyzone
  3. "I Get Around" – The Beach Boys
  4. "Walking on Sunshine" – Katrina and the Waves
  5. "Yesterday" – The Beatles
  6. "Running Back for More" – Louise
  7. "That Kinda Guy" – Thomas Jules-Stock
  8. "Give Me a Little More Time" – Gabrielle
  9. "He's a Rebel" – Alisha's Attic
  10. "Stuck in the Middle with You" – Susanna Hoffs
  11. "Art for Art's Sake" – 10cc
  12. "Have Fun, Go Mad" – Blair
  13. "Can We Talk" (Pure Radio Mix) – Code Red
  14. "Bean Theme" (Mad Pianos) – Howard Goodall
  15. "Elected" – Mr. Bean and The Smear Campaign featuring Bruce Dickinson

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Bean (1997)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2 March 2012. 
  2. ^ Release information at the Internet Movie Database
  3. ^ Review at Allmovie by Karl Williams, URL accessed 29 July 2006
  4. ^ Bean at Rotten Tomatoes
  5. ^ "Bean (1997) at Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved 2 March 2012. 
  6. ^ Bean 2 at the official Mr. Bean site, URL accessed 29 July 2006

External links[edit]