MovieChat Forums > BurglarĀ (1987) Discussion > Differences from the Movie and Books

Differences from the Movie and Books

I have read and enjoyed all of the Bernie Rhodenbarr novels and I have decided to compile a list of all the differences between this movie and the books. For those of you who have not yet seen the movie or plan to read the books should read no further unless you really don't care.

I know the first two have been mentioned several times already but this list wouldn't be complete without me mentioning them.

1. In the book the main character is Bernard Rhodenbarr who is a 6'2" white guy who was for some reason changed into a 5'5" black woman named Bernice Rhodenbarr.

2. In the book Bernie's best friend is Carolyn Kaiser, a 5'0 lesbian woman. More jokes were made about her size then about her sexuality. In the movies her character is Carl Heller, played by Bobcat Goldthwait a 5'7" white guy. Also his character isn't gay but instead very crazy.

3. In the books Ray Kirschman was never a retired cop but still working for the NYPD.

5. Another gender change for the movie was that Detective Todras was a man in the novels.

4. Two more gender changes made for the movie involved Dr. Cynthia Sheldrake and her ex-husband. In the novel Dr. Sheldrake was a male dentist who hired Bernie to steal the jewels from his ex-wife.

6. Although the movie showed Bernie waving a gun a few times, in the novels Bernie was morally opposed to using guns even when it would have been necessary for him.

7. In the novels, even though Bernie did have a secret hiding place in his apartment to hide his burglar tools and the things he steals, he never had a large room that hidden behind a wall where he could hide in. Although that was pretty cool.

8. The book was mostly based on the novel Burglar in the Closet, the second in the series boooks. The character Carolyn Kaiser didn't show up until the third novel.

9. Even though Carson Vernill did commit the murders, the reason for them was not like the book. He didn't have a homosexual affair with anyone in the novel and killed his gay lover in a jealous rage, he was however involved with the dentists ex-wife and did business with one of her other lovers whom he killed and killed them both because all three were involved in a counterfeit money scam and Carson wanted to keep all the money.

10. In the book Carson Vernill killed himself when it was revealed that he was the killer to avoid going to jail, whereas in the book Bernie fought him and knocked him out.

I can't think of anything other differences at this time, but I will come back to update them when I think of more.


I only watched the first 15 minutes so can't provide much.

1. When Bernie broke into a place he wore gloves with the palms cut out. In the opening burglary her gloves are not cut.

2. Name of the Bookstore was changed.

3. I believe the movie wasn't placed in New York but the books are.


You are right about the gloves and bookstore. But I do believe its placed in New York. It may have been filmed in different areas, but its definitely supposed to be new york.


The movie's set in San Fransisco.

Get off your arse lieutenant, there's a war going on!


I haven't read the book, but I think I'm safe to assume that Bernie didn't tackle Ray Kirschman to the ground in a remote park (to have sex? to box?) after the killer was apprehended.