40 user 7 critic

The Boy in the Plastic Bubble (1976)

The girl next door makes a teen born with immune deficiencies want to leave his germ-free bubble.


Randal Kleiser


Douglas Day Stewart (teleplay), Joe Morgenstern (story) (as Joseph Morgenstern) | 1 more credit »
3,775 ( 166)
Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
John Travolta ... Tod Lubitch
Glynnis O'Connor ... Gina Biggs
Robert Reed ... Johnny Lubitch
Diana Hyland ... Mickey Lubitch
Karen Morrow ... Martha Biggs
Howard Platt ... Neighbor
Buzz Aldrin ... Buzz Aldrin
Ralph Bellamy ... Dr. Gunther
John Friedrich ... Roy Slater
Kelly Ward ... Tom Shuster
Skip Lowell Skip Lowell ... Bruce Shuster
John Megna ... Smith
Vernee Watson ... Gwen
Darrell Zwerling ... Mr. Brister (as Darryl Zwerling)
P.J. Soles ... Deborah


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 <aburner@erols.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Born with no immunity against disease, he lives in a plastic prison. Inside he is protected. Outside, there is the chance of death. But the chance of love.


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


This TV movie actually became an iconic piece of the American Zeitgeist and Lexicon, and was referenced in many shows including Seinfeld, and others. A movie Bubble Boy starring then unknown Jake Gyllenhaal came out in 2001, and then another Netflix movie came out in 2019 called Eli; which is pretty much the opposite of this movie; it's Rosemary's Baby meets Bubble Boy. See more »


In the opening scenes, as the baby is wheeled down the hospital corridor in the sealed incubator the actors accidentally lift the camera side of the incubator allowing germ-filled air to enter the incubator. See more »


Johnny Lubitch: My son is not a freak!
See more »


Referenced in Gilmore Girls: A-Tisket, A-Tasket (2002) See more »


What Would They Say
Composed by Paul Williams
Sung by Paul Williams
See more »

User Reviews

That's not a ghost
9 October 2009 | by blackmarketkidneyslessSee all my reviews

They live next to a lake (Every guy who ever watched the movie remembers Gina in her bikini). It's a sailboat. You can see it turning around. Given the production value, it was probably someone who lived near the location, and they made no attempt to dissuade them, because it would look more natural.

I agree with the assessment that notes if they didn't leave it open ended, you wouldn't remember it.

Given our culture's obsession with gaining answers, and that the actors are both still alive, I'm sure someone has pitched a sequel to John and Glynnis about reprising their roles, with them deeply involved in their immunodeficiency research foundation. Or, if you prefer ironic plot twists, he's fine, and she now has HIV from a transfusion...

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Release Date:

12 November 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Boy in the Plastic Bubble See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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