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Bad Boys (1983)

Chicago crime kid Mick O'Brien is sent to reform school after accidentally killing a rival's kid brother.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Eric Gurry ...
Robert Lee Rush ...
John Zenda ...
Tony Mockus Jr. ...
Warden Bendix (as Tony Mockus)
Erik Barefield ...
Dean Fortunato ...
Lawrence Mah ...


Chicago crime kid Mick O'Brien (Sean Penn) has been sent to a juvenile prison for vehicular manslaughter. Most unfortunately, the person he kills is the kid brother of his nemesis Paco Moreno (Esai Morales), who vows revenge by raping Mick's girlfriend (Ally Sheedy). Paco is caught and sent to the same prison where he reworks his revenge plan, and Mick has no choice but to defend himself. Written by watzdabigdeal

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Life Has Pushed Him Into A Corner... And He's Comin' Out Fighting. See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

25 March 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Anilika katharmata  »

Box Office


$9,200,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The passage written on the board in the classroom is from Jack London's 'Call of the Wild'. Presumably, this is also the novel O'Brien and Horowitz read and discuss while sitting in their room during a later scene. See more »


Position of Paco when leaning up against the locker. See more »


Horowitz: What are you afraid of?
Mick O'Brien: I ain't afraid of anything.
Horowitz: Hey, after what you did to Viking and Tweety, you're IT!
See more »


References Rocky III (1982) See more »


Tonight's The Night
Written by Theophilus Coakley (uncredited)
Performed by T-Connection
Courtesy Capitol Records, Inc.
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User Reviews

Strong performance from Penn; albeit a somewhat disappointing movie
8 June 2011 | by (Ireland) – See all my reviews

"Life Has Pushed Him Into A Corner... And He's Comin' Out Fighting."

I had high hopes for "Bad Boys" as Sean Penn is my all-time favourite actor and as he's well renowned for his aggressive and usually powerful performances it looked interesting to see him in his youth in a prison movie. Penn plays Mick O'Brien, a 16 year-old Irish-American hood from Chicago who attempts to rip off a local hoodlum named Paco. Everything goes pear-shaped, and Mick ends up killing Paco's kid brother in an accident. The courts are sick of Mick, and finally decided to clamp down on him and give him a prison sentence. However, since he is under 18, he is sent to Rainford Juvenile Correctional Facility - which sees most of it's young inmates passing out to state prisons when they have finished, rather than be reformed, as Mick will find out, life inside is extremely tough and only serves to make you more aggressive, hard and crazy. Things become somewhat interesting when outside, Paco rapes Mick's girlfriend and is sent to the Facicilty as well. A showdown of course is inevitable.

On the surface, this may look like America's answer to Britain's 1979 film "Scum" starring Ray Winstone. If that's the case, "Bad Boys" falls short in many departments. Sean Penn's performance is one of the movie's strong points, but the film never amounts to the violence or brutality that "Scum" portrayed, and after awhile "Bad Boys" feels like some sort of soap opera thanks to some unrealistic and flamboyant characters such as Mick's cell mate Horowitz and the two bullies Viking and Tweety.

Despite a good performance, I'd never rank "Bad Boys" up there with Sean Penn's best. He's very young in this, so if your a fan of Penn it might be worth checking it out just to see him in one of his earliest films. But if your looking for a hard-hitting prison drama, I recommend you avoid this and watch "Scum".

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