The mixed spin-1/2 and spin-1 Blume-Capel Ising ferrimagnetic system is studied on the Bethe lattice by using the exact recursion equations. Exact expressions for the magnetization, the quadrupolar moment, the Curie temperature and the free energy are found and the phase diagrams are constructed on the Bethe lattice with the coordination numbers q = 3, 4, 5 and 6. The existence of a tricritical point is investigated for different values of q. The results are compared with those of other approximate methods and with the exact result on the Bethe lattice by using a discrete nonlinear map and also the exact results that are available for the case of the honeycomb lattice. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.