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The Boy in the Plastic Bubble (1976)

TV Movie  |  PG  |   |  Biography, Drama, Romance  |  12 November 1976 (USA)
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Based on a true story, Tod Lubitch is born with a deficient immune system (which is unlike being born with AIDS). As such, he must spend the rest of his life in a completely sterile ... See full summary »



(teleplay), (story) (as Joseph Morgenstern) , 1 more credit »
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Title: The Boy in the Plastic Bubble (TV Movie 1976)

The Boy in the Plastic Bubble (TV Movie 1976) on IMDb 5.7/10

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Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Diana Hyland ...
Karen Morrow ...
Howard Platt ...
John Friedrich ...
Skip Lowell ...
John Megna ...
Darrell Zwerling ...
Mr. Brister (as Darryl Zwerling)


Based on a true story, Tod Lubitch is born with a deficient immune system (which is unlike being born with AIDS). As such, he must spend the rest of his life in a completely sterile environment. His room is completely hermetically sealed against bacteria and virus, his food is specially prepared, and his only human contact comes in the form of gloved hands. The movie follows his life into a teenager. Written by Afterburner <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

12 November 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bubble Trouble  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


During filming, John Travolta and 40-year-old Diana Hyland began dating and eventually fell in love, despite the fact that Hyland was nearly 18 years older than Travolta. She was still in the process of getting divorced from Joseph Goodson when she passed away on Sunday, March 27th, 1977, four months after their TV movie's broadcast, and while Travolta was filming "Saturday Night Fever." See more »


A boy slips an unsterilized ten-dollar bill into Tod's bubble. See more »


Dr. Ernest Gunther: May we have the air conditioning ducts and heat vents closed, please. And no movement while the air settles down. Anybody down there planning on having an itch, please scratch it now. Not later, please.
See more »


Referenced in NCIS: SWAK (2005) See more »


What Would They Say
Composed by Paul Williams
Sung by Paul Williams
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User Reviews

"What Would They Say?" (Paul Williams song from movie).
26 February 2005 | by (Phx. Arizona ("Arizona Smells Funny"!- Homer Simpson)) – See all my reviews

Indeed,what would they say? That is,the cast of this film if they could see how time has only served to treat this above par TV movie,like it's some sort of 1970's retro-joke?!

I'm sure if Robert Reed were alive today he'd be outraged! My main thought though,does Travolta know about this? ...and if he does,why hasn't he done something about it? If I were an actor I'd certainly find a way!

I bought this on VHS in 1997 after having not seen it for over 18 years. On the cover of mine is a fairly young Travolta wearing a white turtleneck. (Ick!) It was a mere $2 at Montgomery Wards and here's was a cheap knock-off recorded off FOX Channel 32 in Chicago! The stations logo briefly appearing during the scene of Todd's fist day in High School.

Okay,enough of the tirade! My opinion of the movie itself? I think it's one of the finest "movies of the week" ever made at the time and in some cases,since. I saw this in it's initial airing on Nov. 12th,1976 and never forgot it. Travolta gives us a waterfall of emotions in this film:Joy,Sadness,Anger,Fear,etc. Films about medical conditions usually would have been preachy or maudlin. This treats Todd's condition like it should be,not "oh poor Todd,he's an outcast!"

Like Robert Reed says to the reporters,"My son's not a freak!" He turns in a very good performance as well. He doesn't completely do a 360 from Mike Brady but it was a good start. The other young actors do a fine job of being exactly what kids are like when faced with something they don't understand. They talk about Todd behind his back and Gina plays a cruel joke on him at a beach outing. I wont say more about them,I don't want to ruin it for those who haven't seen it.

It's no wonder that Travolta became as big as he did! "Welcome Back Kotter" was a mere stepping stone compared to this. This was his spring- board to "Saturday Night Fever" and beyond,in my view. To all those under 30 who haven't seen this....forget that it's made in the '70s and watch it for the story alone. I know you will not be disappointed.

In closing,one amusing thing I remember. Without giving away anything,when I saw the ending back in '76 at age 8,I thought he was "all better"! (Ha-ha,talk about innocence).

9 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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