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Film / Bully

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Bully is a 2001 drama film directed by Larry Clark, based off the true crime novel Bully: A True Story of High School Revenge by Jim Schutze. The film is very loosely based upon the real life murder of Bobby Kent, a notorious bully and jerk who was murdered by his so-called friends, who got sick and tired of his abusive treatment of them.

Bobby Kent (Nick Stahl) is an obnoxious bully who treats his so-called "best friend" Marty (Brad Renfro) like shit, physically abusing him and raping his girlfriend Lisa (Rachel Miner) after knocking Marty unconscious one afternoon. When Lisa discovers that she's pregnant and discovers that her best friend Ali has also been raped by Bobby, she gathers together a group of friends to kill Bobby in order to "free" Marty from Bobby. Marty agrees after finding out that Bobby raped Lisa and that there is a chance he is the father of Lisa's child. They recruit a "mafia hitman" (in truth, an unemployed wannabe braggart played by Larry Clark regular Leo Fitzpatrick) to help them with killing Bobby.


But despite the "Hitman" warning them to take the secret to their graves, the girls in the conspiracy start gabbing to strangers and ultimately the whole plot is exposed and the group arrested. The film ends with the group in court, meeting for the first time since their arrest, and squabbling with each other, unintentionally confessing to their crimes in full view of everyone in the courtroom as they curse out each other over who cut a deal to testify in exchange for a lesser sentence and Marty chewing out an accomplice (Michael Pitt) who delivered the fatal blow, who defiantly refuses to acknowledge doing anything wrong.

While the film reveals the ultimate sentences for those involved with the killing, it does not include in its post-script the fact that Lisa and Ali (who basically spearheaded the murder plot) ultimately had their lengthy sentences shortened and were released right before the film's release. Or the fact that Marty, sentenced to death, managed to get his sentence appealed and reduced to life in prison or that one of the defendants who cut a death for his testimony, lied on the stand and got an extra couple of years for perjury.


Not to be confused with the 2011 documentary. For the video game also named "Bully", which is unrelated to the films, go here. For the character trope, see The Bully.


  • Anything That Moves: Ali
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Bobby begs Marty for mercy during the assault and repeatedly apologizes to him for his prior abuse. It doesn't work.
  • Armoured Closet Gay: Bobby Kent is intrigued by all-things-gay and can't have sex with girls unless he's looking away from them, beating them, or watching his homemade gay porn on the nearby TV. Bobby gets aggressively jealous when girls flirt with Marty. Bobby's latent homosexuality combined with his ultra-conservative home-life form the basis of an angry, sadistic teen.
  • Asshole Victim: After everything he did, it's very difficult to feel much sympathy for Bobby when he's killed.
  • The Bully: Bobby Kent; it's in the very title of the film.
  • Bully Brutality: Bobby has no problem with breaking Marty's nose, beating him into unconsciousness, and raping two different women for kicks.
  • Bully Hunter: One does have to agree with the characters here, Bobby Kent was a bully after all.
  • Coitus Ensues: Happens often enough that several critics derided the film as borderline pornography.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Bobby.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The first time we meet Bobby, he's shown slamming Marty's head against a popcorn machine after the latter spoke to a couple of girls, telling them everything about their relationship.
  • The Dog Bites Back: The whole premise. Marty finally gets back at Bobby for his years of abusive behavior and violent actions towards others, gruesomely killing him.
  • Never My Fault: Donny does not accept any responsibility in the killing of Bobby, despite being an active and willing participant, stabbing Bobby multiple times.
  • Only Sane Man:
    • The "hitman"; even though he's a lying poser, you got to feel for him when after the murder, he tries to make the others see what deep shit they are now in and basically telling them to get their stories straight, only for everyone to start saying "I didn't kill anyone" and denying any culpability in the crime.
    • Lisa's friend Claudia, who has the misfortune of being visited by Lisa after the murder and has to listen to Lisa brag about the crime she orchestrated. Lisa tries to gangpress her into taking her to the burial sight so she can see her handiwork again and maybe move it to another location, but Claudia flat out refuses.
  • Race Lift: The real Bobby Kent was Iranian of Persian descent. The movie makes him a white American.
  • Rape and Revenge: Bobby rapes Lisa and later Ali which lead both of them to plan revenge against him with their friends.
  • Rape as Drama: Bobby raped the two girls, which was their motive for participating in the murder.
  • Rasputinian Death: Bobby is stabbed dozens of times, has his throat slashed, and has his head beaten in with a baseball bat. It's then implied he was still alive when the teens throw him in a river, drowning him.
  • Serial Numbers Filed Off: A couple of the characters play a Mortal Kombat expy, complete with digitized actors and babalities, in case you wouldn't make the connection.
  • Slashed Throat: Marty fatally injures Bobby this way.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Bobby was a horrible bully and a rapist. Those who took part in his murder are at least debatable.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Nearly every character. They loudly and repeatedly announce their ridiculous plan to kill Bobby, confess to numerous people after the act, and lack basic knowledge of how the law works (No, you don't get off after having plotted a murder just because you didn't pull the trigger). Several characters agree to help out with the murder, having never even met the victim.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Subverted in that Larry Clarke only showed their initial sentences upon their convictions, omitting the fact that the ringleaders of the plot managed to get their sentences reduced and were already back on the streets, while Marty managed to get his death sentence converted to life in prison.
  • Who Murdered the Asshole?: Bobby's treatment of his associates, especially the two girls he raped, meant that there were any number of people willing to see him dead, even if they got someone else to do the dirty work for them.


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