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



Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

1 win. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Colors (1988)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

An experienced cop and his rookie partner patrol the streets of East Los Angeles while trying to keep the gang violence under control.

Director: Dennis Hopper
Stars: Sean Penn, Robert Duvall, Maria Conchita Alonso
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

In 1978 rural Pennsylvania an absentee father is reacquainted with his estranged teenage sons and they become intrigued with romanticized life of crime.

Director: James Foley
Stars: Sean Penn, Christopher Walken, Mary Stuart Masterson
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The true story of a disillusioned military contractor employee and his drug pusher childhood friend who became walk-in spies for the Soviet Union.

Director: John Schlesinger
Stars: Timothy Hutton, Sean Penn, Pat Hingle
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Terry Noonan returns home to New York's Hells Kitchen after a ten year absence. He soon hooks up with childhood pal Jackie who is involved in the Irish mob run by his brother Frankie. Terry... See full summary »

Directors: Phil Joanou, Michael Lee Baron
Stars: Sean Penn, Ed Harris, Gary Oldman
Taps I (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Military cadets take extreme measures to insure the future of their academy when its existence is threatened by local condo developers.

Director: Harold Becker
Stars: George C. Scott, Timothy Hutton, Ronny Cox
American Me (1992)
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A Mexican-American Mafia kingpin is released from prison, falls in love for the first time, and grows introspective about his gangster lifestyle.

Director: Edward James Olmos
Stars: Edward James Olmos, William Forsythe, Sal Lopez
Crime | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

During the Vietnam War, a soldier finds himself the outsider of his own squad when they unnecessarily kidnap a female villager.

Director: Brian De Palma
Stars: Michael J. Fox, Sean Penn, Don Harvey
Summerspell (1983)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  

Family celebrations and tensions, Independence Day, Texas 1948

Director: Lina Shanklin
Stars: Louise Davis, Edna Wisdom, Vernon Lafon
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A group of Southern California high school students are enjoying their most important subjects: sex, drugs and rock n' roll.

Director: Amy Heckerling
Stars: Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judge Reinhold
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In 1942 California, two young men await induction into the U.S. Marines and say goodbye to their girlfriends.

Director: Richard Benjamin
Stars: Sean Penn, Elizabeth McGovern, Nicolas Cage
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A nun, while comforting a convicted killer on death row, empathizes with both the killer and his victim's families.

Director: Tim Robbins
Stars: Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn, Robert Prosky
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Based on the true life experiences of poet Jimmy Santiago Baca, the film focuses on half-brothers Paco and Cruz, and their bi-racial cousin Miklo. It opens in 1972, as the three are members... See full summary »

Director: Taylor Hackford
Stars: Damian Chapa, Jesse Borrego, Benjamin Bratt


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


In their world, if you're 17 and still alive you're a survivor [Video Australia] 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:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The reform school was actually a set built in the Naval Armory in Chicago. The cost for the set was $500,000. See more »


When Horowitz is going to solitary, his lips do not match what he's saying. See more »


Mick O'Brien: Hey. What are the odds on me now, Perretti?
Perretti: Three to two... against you. Nothing personal.
See more »


Referenced in 30 for 30: Bad Boys (2014) See more »


In The Dark
Written by Billy Squier (uncredited)
Performed by Billy Squier
Courtesy Capitol Records, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Penn At His Grittiest
26 November 2003 | by (Los Angeles, California) – See all my reviews

This is probably one of the grittiest teen flicks to ever come out. This film puts all the films in the Dead End kids to shame. Sean Penn is perfect as Mick and Esai Morales is great as Paco. Also, this film as well as the similarly themed Born Innocent pulls no punches as it shows how the juvenile justice system which is supposed to rehabilitate young offenders does just the opposite and makes them even more hardened. This truly is one of the best films of the 1980's.

26 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Anybody feel sorry for J.C.? noodlescorleone37927
'Uncut' DVD missing some molestation? OChrist
I not normally one to rip on a movie........ rock-bot
Horowitz makes the movie shiftydave77
Why was 'little dark meat' locked up? DarthAnakin
How Come O'brien becomes Barn Boss???? DavidF060564
Discuss Bad Boys (1983) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page