Bully (2012)



Critic Consensus: Hard-hitting and gracefully filmed, Bully powerfully delivers an essential message to an audience that may not be able to see it.

Movie Info

Directed by Sundance and Emmy-award winning filmmaker, Lee Hirsch, Bully is a beautifully cinematic, character-driven documentary. At its heart are those with huge stakes in this issue whose stories each represent a different facet of America's bullying crisis. Bully follows five kids and families over the course of a school year. Stories include two families who have lost children to suicide and a mother awaiting the fate of her 14-year-old daughter who has been incarcerated after bringing a … More

Rating: PG-13 (for intense thematic material, disturbing content, and some strong language -all involving kids)
Genre: Documentary, Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By: Cynthia Lowen, Lee Hirsch
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 12, 2013
Box Office: $44.7M
The Weinstein Co. - Official Site


as Ja'Meya Jackson

as Kelby Johnson

as Londa Johnson

as Bob Johnson

as Alex Libby

as Jackie Libby

as Philip Libby

as Maya Libby

as Jada Libby

as Ethan Libby

as Logan Libby

as Kim Lockwood

as David Long

as Tina Long

as Teryn Long

as Troy Long

as Devon Matthews

as Barbara Primer

as Laura Smalley

as Kirk Smalley

as Trey Wallace
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Bully

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Critic Reviews for Bully

All Critics (130) | Top Critics (41)

Doesn't dig any deeper than surface-level pathos and cheap shots at school administrators.

Full Review… | May 3, 2015
Philadelphia Weekly

A crock of bull by a director more interested in exploiting the subject than exploring it.

Full Review… | June 2, 2013
The Patriot Ledger

There's no arguing with Hirsch's message, but in order for his film to make the necessary impact, it must be mandatory viewing in every school -- for faculty and administration as well as for students.

Full Review… | April 21, 2013

One of the ten best films of 2012.

Full Review… | January 27, 2013
Rage Monthly

A difficult film with no real answers to the dilemmas it poses...

Full Review… | January 7, 2013
Cinema Crazed

An intense look at bullying from the perspective of the victims.

Full Review… | December 14, 2012

Audience Reviews for Bully


One of the more corrosive deterrents to America's education system has to be bullying, which has becoming an increasingly dangerous public mental health issue in the past twenty years. With the innumerable teen suicides, the school shootings, and outcries from parental groups as well as the cyber sphere, bullying is in the forefront of everyone's mind, and yet causes more harm than adults can even imagine. For those of us who have been part of the bullied masses at some point in our lives, we know the toll that it takes, and the scars it leaves, and that's the main focus of this documentary. It deals precisely with how bullying makes a child feel, how irreparable the damage is to that child, and the oftentimes horrific steps they take in alleviating their pain. Filmmaker Lee Hirsch follows several children who have or are experiencing bullying, to a point where it makes them deeply depressed. One child has already taken his life, and the film follows his family's struggles with taking on the school board, another girl is facing felony charges after taking a weapon on a school bus to stop her tormentors, and another still faces the daily terrors of riding a school bus filled with physically and emotionally abusive bullies. These children, still so innocent at their age, are being made to grow up rather quickly, and without warrant. This Hirsch shows in-depth, just by interviewing them and showing their daily toils. Every scene is powerful, every instance of self-defense is shown as prey rising against its predator, and every child is shown love. I'll admit I even cried, and it's hard not to cry while writing this review as well. That's simply how powerful the message is. The last section of the film does meander as it tries to wrap up all the stories, and there isn't any input from the bullies themselves, but this film does show the lack of intervention of adults and lack of safeguards against these very public problems. This film is important for everyone to see, because it's not just the "weird" kids at risk, it's the helpless.

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer


An important doc focusing on an enraging matter that has always been a very serious problem in schools. Still, it could have been better edited to have those five stories put together - and after a while it even starts to become a bit redundant and repetitious.

Carlos Magalh„es

Super Reviewer

This film should be mandatory viewing for not only kids in the age group where bullying is prevalent, but EVERYONE ELSE involved or uninformed about just how emotionally wrenching it can be for the victims. Bully features 5 stories of kids who were bullied for different reasons, from being a "nerd" to openly gay, and a couple of the victims even committed suicide because they simply could not take it anymore. The parents, schoolteachers, police, and any other adult responsible for someone else's children are absolutely clueless to the situations and think there's no real problem, it's just "kids being kids". Their ignorance and lack of tolerance for what happens while they are in control of these kids is infuriating and sometimes mind-blowing. I could not believe how stupid some of them truly are. How did they even get a job as an assistant principal if they cannot properly handle these situations? The filmmakers give an unflinching look at how bullying effects more than just the victims and it just makes you want to get up an help in any way you can. As someone who was bullied (although not nearly as extensive as these kids), I can completely relate to this film. Even if you don't relate, its plea to take a deeper look is unwavering. If there is one complaint, it's that the film kind of makes you think there really aren't any answers to some of the situations, but there definitely always is a solution. Despite this minor complaint, Bully is a film I will push on anyone I can, and it should be shown in classrooms around the world as mandatory viewing.

Josh Lewis

Super Reviewer

Bully Quotes

– Submitted by Michael P (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Michael P (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Rolf J (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Evelyn V (3 years ago)

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