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Sick: The Life & Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist (1997)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 7 November 1997 (USA)
Documentary about writer and performance artist Bob Flanagan who died at 43 of cystic fibrosis. His life was indicated by pain from the beginning and he started to develop sadomasochistic ... See full summary »


Kirby Dick

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3 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Kathe Burkhart Kathe Burkhart ... Interviewer
Kirby Dick ... Interviewer
Bob Flanagan Bob Flanagan ... Himself
Sheree Rose Sheree Rose ... Herself
Rita Valencia Rita Valencia ... Interviewer
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Sarah Doucette Sarah Doucette ... Herself
Richard Kopelle Richard Kopelle ... Himself


Documentary about writer and performance artist Bob Flanagan who died at 43 of cystic fibrosis. His life was indicated by pain from the beginning and he started to develop sadomasochistic practices, which he developed finally into performances. Written by Soeren Ney <SoerenNey@AOL.COM>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

7 November 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Diastrofi: I zoi kai o thanatos tou Bob Flanagan See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$86,917, 21 November 1997

Gross USA:

$116,806, 7 December 1997
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



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Did You Know?


Shot over a period of two years and compiled from over 100 hours of footage. See more »


Bob Flanagan: I want a wealthy collector to finance an installation in which a video camera will be placed in the coffin with my body, connected to a screen on the wall, and whenever he wants to, the patron can see how I'm coming along.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The 2001 UK release was cut by over three minutes. The cuts required were to two scenes showing strong sado-masochistic activity (asphyxiation, the piercing of the skin of the penis, the insertion of a large metal ball into the rectum, the hammering of a nail through the tip of the penis) which would be highly dangerous if copied and which are likely to encourage imitation in viewers with an existing interest in sado-masochistic activity. The cuts were made in accordance with the terms of the Video Recordings Act 1984 which requires the Board to have special regard to harm which may be caused to viewers or to society through the actions of viewers. In 2009 all the cuts were waived and it was passed with an uncut '18' certificate. See more »


References Cinderella (1950) See more »

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User Reviews

Extremely Graphic and Touching Documentary
7 January 2008 | by ElijahCSkuggsSee all my reviews

Going into this flick I really didn't know much about Mr. Flanagan. I knew he was obviously a super-masochist (thanks to the DVD cover), and I knew that he was involved in a Nine Inch Nails video. But that's it. When the credits began to roll, you end up with a fantastic idea on who he was and how he lived his life. It's one of the most intimate and best documentaries I've seen.

Sick: The Life & Death of Bob Flanagan is a perfect title for this documentary. You discover that Mr. Flanagan does indeed have a hobby that most would consider "sick", but also that Mr. Flanagan suffers from Cystic Fybrosis. A lung disease where the death rate is high and the people who do suffer from it, usually die at a very young age. Truthfully for me, the masochism and the torture play a second fiddle to his life long struggle with cystic fibrosis. Sure seeing his unbelievable sexual performances are truly stunning, but what is more stunning is how he lives his life. Going into this movie I really wasn't expecting such an intimate and touching piece of film. There are some incredibly graphic scenes mixed with fantastic humor, and then there are scenes that display some of the most powerful moments of emotion I've seen on film or in real life.

In a perfect world Sick: The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan would be a movie widely seen. It's definitely one of the best documentaries I've ever seen and a movie I'll be recommending for years and years to come.

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