Bad Boy Bubby

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Bad Boy Bubby
Bad boy bubby.jpg
Directed byRolf de Heer
Produced byRolf de Heer
Giorgio Draskovic
Domenico Procacci
Written byRolf de Heer
StarringNicholas Hope
Claire Benito
Ralph Cotterill
Carmel Johnson
Music byGraham Tardif
CinematographyIan Jones
Edited bySuresh Ayyar
Distributed byRoadshow Entertainment
Umbrella Entertainment
Release date
  • 28 July 1994 (1994-07-28) (Australia)
Running time
114 minutes[1]
Box officeA$808,789[2]

Bad Boy Bubby is a 1993 Australian-Italian black comedy drama film written and directed by Rolf de Heer. It stars Nicholas Hope and Carmel Johnson.


Bubby is a 35-year-old man who has never set foot outside his mother's dingy apartment in the back of a printing press in an industrial area of Adelaide. In addition to beating and sexually abusing him, she confines him to the apartment, telling him that the air outside is poisonous and telling him he will die if he tries to leave. Bubby eventually escapes, joins up with a rock band, and embarks on a confused but nihilistic journey of self-discovery and shocking mayhem.


  • Nicholas Hope as Bubby
  • Claire Benito as Mam
  • Ralph Cotterill as Pop
  • Carmel Johnson as Angel
  • Paul Philpot as Paul (singer)
  • Mark Brouggy as Mark (roadie)
  • Todd Telford as Little Greg
  • Paul Simpson as Big Greg
  • Stephen Smooker as Middle Greg
  • Peter Monaghan as Steve
  • Rachael Huddy as herself

Production background[edit]

Shortly after he had graduated from film school, Rolf de Heer and Ritchie Singer collaborated on the idea of what would eventually become Bad Boy Bubby. For most of the 1980s, de Heer collected ideas and wrote them on index cards. In 1987, he took a hiatus from making Bubby index cards, but in 1989 he resumed work. Sometime between 1989 and 1990, he saw the short film Confessor Caressor starring Nicholas Hope (which would eventually be included on the bonus DVD when Bad Boy Bubby was first released on DVD in 2004) and tracked him down. In 1991, he began work on the actual script.

After he heard a rumour about the reintroduction of the death penalty to Australia, de Heer was angered and rewrote the ending so that Bubby would be executed at the end of the film. This ending was scrapped when the rumour proved to be false.

The people with cerebral palsy Bubby meets at the 1 hour 30 minute mark are not actors, but actual disabled people. Hope, a devout Catholic, found the scenes where Bubby curses God in front of Angel's parents difficult to film.

Audio and visual innovation[edit]

Director de Heer describes the film as one large experiment, especially in the method used to record the dialogue: binaural microphones were sewn into the wig worn by leading actor Nicholas Hope, one above each ear. This method gave the sound track a unique sound that closely resembled what the character would actually be hearing. The film also used 31 individual directors of photography to shoot different scenes. Once Bubby leaves the apartment a different director of photography is used for every location until the last third of the film, allowing an individual visual slant on everything Bubby sees for the first time. No director of photography was allowed to refer to the work of the others.[3]


Award Category Subject Result
AACTA Awards
(1994 AFI Awards)
Best Film Giorgio Draskovic Nominated
Domenico Procacci Nominated
Rolf de Heer Nominated
Best Direction Won
Best Original Screenplay Won
Best Actor Nicholas Hope Won
Best Cinematography Ian Jones Nominated
Best Editing Suresh Ayyar Won
Seattle International Film Festival Golden Space Needle Award for Best Director Rolf de Heer Won
Valenciennes International Festival Audience Award Won
Venice Film Festival FIPRESCI Prize Won
Grand Special Jury Prize Won
Special Golden Ciak Won
Golden Lion Nominated


On 23 April 2007, Eureka Entertainment released Bad Boy Bubby on DVD for the UK market with all scenes intact. On the Blue Underground DVD, director Rolf de Heer claims that Bubby was the second highest-grossing film in Norway in 1995, second only to Batman Forever. In the UK, it was cut for cruelty to a cat.[4] The film was released on DVD in April 2005 by the Blue Underground company, and a special Two Disc Collectors' Edition was also released in June 2005 by Umbrella Entertainment.

Box office[edit]

Bad Boy Bubby grossed $808,789 at the box office in Australia.[2]


David Stratton, film critic for The Movie Show praised Bad Boy Bubby. He awarded the film five stars out of five, remarking, "I really think this is one of the finest and most original of all Australian films that I've seen. I really think it's a milestone in Australian cinema".[5] It also holds an 83% approval rating on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes based on 6 reviews, with a weighted average of 6.75/10.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "BAD BOY BUBBY (18)". British Board of Film Classification. 19 August 1994. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Film Victoria – Australian Films at the Australian Box Office" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 February 2011. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
  3. ^ de Heer, Rolf (1993). "Directors Statement – London Film Festival". Archived from the original on 4 March 2008. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
  4. ^ IMDb – Bad Boy Bubby
  5. ^ "Bad Boy Bubby: Review". SBS Movies. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  6. ^ "Bad Boy Bubby". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 8 July 2019.

External links[edit]