Bad Boys (1982) - Rotten Tomatoes

Bad Boys (1982)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Following magnetic performances in Taps (1981) and Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), young actor Sean Penn sealed his reputation as one of his generation's most gifted performers with his gritty star turn in Bad Boys (1983), an entertaining tale of teen hoodlums in juvenile lock-up. Penn plays Mick O'Brien, a Chicago street tough who's planning on ripping off drug dealer Paco Moreno (Esai Morales). When the scam goes bad and his partner Carl (Alan Ruck) is slain, Mick flees from the cops in his car and accidentally runs over Paco's little brother, killing the boy. Sent to juvenile hall, Mick encounters a violent prison society run by the murderous trustees Viking (Clancy Brown) and Tweety (Robert Lee Rush). After Mick defends himself by savagely beating Viking, he becomes the facility's new top dog. On the outside, however, Paco seeks revenge by raping Mick's girlfriend J.C. (Ally Sheedy). Enraged, Mick escapes with the help of his brainy roommate Horowitz (Eric Gurry), but Mick is captured by compassionate guard Ramon (Reni Santoni). When Paco is arrested and unwisely sent to the same jail holding Mick, a showdown between the two old rivals is inevitable.more
Rating: R (adult situations/language, nudity, violence)
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By: Richard Di Lello, Richard Dilello
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 15, 2000
HBO Video


Sean Penn
as Mick O'Brien
Reni Santoni
as Ramon Herrera
Jim Moody
as Gene Daniels
Eric Gurry
as Horowitz
Ally Sheedy
as J.C. Walenski
John Zenda
as Wagner
Alan Ruck
as Carl Brennan
Lawrence Mah
as Ricky Lee
Ray Ramirez
as Mr. Moreno
James Donald
as Black Gang Leader
Jane Alderman
as Woman Victim
Robin Coleman
as Squad Car Cop
Tony Mockus Jr.
as Warden Bendix
David Barrett
as Mess Hall Supervisor...
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Bad Boys

Critic Reviews for Bad Boys

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (4)

Director Rick Rosenthal does a topnotch job of bringing to life the seedy, hopeless environment of a jail for juvenile offenders and has gotten some terribly convincing performances from his young cast, notably topliner Sean Penn.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

An oxygenated, thoughtful alternative to the usual run of gangs-in-the-slammer movies.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

"Bad Boys" misses its chance at greatness, but it's saying something that this movie had a chance. I have a notion it will stand as one of those bench-mark movies that we'll look back at for the talent it introduced.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

It eventually becomes nothing but ugly and sustains that quality to the bitter end.

Full Review… | August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

A searing and gut-wrenching film, Bad Boys is to the 1980s what The Blackboard Jungle was to the 1950s.

Full Review… | March 11, 2015
TV Guide's Movie Guide

An underrated but excellent near masterpiece...

Full Review… | December 5, 2012
Cinema Crazed

Audience Reviews for Bad Boys


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

Bad Boys is a solid teenage, juvenile prison drama, that contains two really food performances from Sean Penn and Esai Morales. For Sean Penn, this was his third major role. He had already starred in TAPS in a small role and as the iconic Spicoli in Fast Times At Ridgemont High. His role here as Mick O'Brien; a street tough who lands himself in a Juvenile Prison is the first time we see just how powerful a dramatic actor he was going to become. We got glimpses of it in TAPS, but he didn't have a big role. Here, he's the star and he does shine bright.

The drama revolves around O'Brien and Moreno(Morales). Both are punks who attend the same school. One night while Moreno has a drug deal going down, O'Brien tries to steal everything. His plans backfire and it results in him being in a car chase with the cops. The chase ends with O'Brien hitting Moreno's brother and killing him. Now this is just the setup because soon after, O'Brien and Moreno find themselves in the same prison.

I completely love this movie and it is really overlooked. It's also not widely known or very accessible. Even with how much I love this movie; I'm not going to say it's flawless. The movie contains some pretty awful acting from some of it's supporting actors. It contains a huge editing error and the last fight scene. A camera man is easily visible in front of the crowd of cheering kids. It's music score is really a complete waste and I can't say it's aged too well. 

As a movie that really gives us a really good plot and performance from Sean Penn; it's worth a look. If your a big fan of Penn, like me, you owe it to yourself to watch this. It really does show signs of what he would become. 

Melvin White

Super Reviewer


It's the teen drama from hell. You couldn't ask for more of a rough and mature content. Sean Penn gives his best early performance as the sociopath Mick O'Brien. Chalk full of John Hughes favorites, it's sort of interesting to see them play such different characters. I really think the story is revolutionary for it's time and opened the flood gate for better and more sophisticated coming-of-age stories.

Conner Rainwater

Super Reviewer


This is one of the best teen dramas I've seen. Strong performances by Sean Penn, who shows what a huge talent he is, and Esai Morales.

The film is gritty, raw and works on so many levels. The story moves along on a good pace, avoiding clichés and delivering an unforgettable movie experience.

Jani H

Super Reviewer

Bad Boys Quotes

– Submitted by Jeff P (3 years ago)

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