Bad Boy Bubby: Two Disc Collector's Edition (1993)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 22-Jul-2005

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Audio Commentary-Rolf de Heer (Director) And Nicholas Hope (Actor)
Alternate Audio-Binaural Audio Recording For Headphones
Theatrical Trailer
Interviews-Crew-Christ Kid, You'e A Weirdo - Interview With Rolf de Heer
Interviews-Cast-Being Bubby - Interview With Nicholas Hope
Short Film-Confessor Caressor
Featurette-Popcorn Taxi Q & A 2004
Trailer-Aussie Trailers (8)
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1993
Running Time 109:20 (Case: 112)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (52:04)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Audio Format Select Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Rolf de Heer

Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Nicholas Hope
Claire Benito
Ralph Cotterill
Carmel Johnson
Syd Brisbane
Nikki Price
Norman Kaye
Paul Philpot
Peter Monaghan
Natalie Carr
Rachael Huddy
Bridget Walters
Ullie Birve
Case Amaray-Transparent-S/C-Dual
RPI $34.95 Music Graham Tardif

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 5.1 (224Kb/s)
English Alternate Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    After a very long wait, the Aussie cult classic, and film festival darling, Bad Boy Bubby has arrived on DVD. Bad Boy Bubby manages to touch on just about every taboo in society, from incest to anal rape, and also manages to explore wider issues in our society, such as parenting, sex, religion, and death. While many have described the film as vulgar and offensive, Bad Boy Bubby is arguably one of the most intelligent, confronting, challenging, and thought provoking Australian films ever made.

   Written and Directed by Rolf de Heer, Bad Boy Bubby is definitely one of those 'love it or hate it' films. Loved by most critics (Bad Boy Bubby won Best Film at the Venice Film Festival), the film polarised the viewing audiences who flocked to see it at the art house cinemas. I personally loved it when I originally saw it theatrically, but I'm not sure if it's a film one enjoys watching. Part black comedy, and part social observation, Bad Boy Bubby is an intelligent, confronting, challenging, and thought provoking film. It certainly is an experience. On the other hand, when I had finished reviewing it, I offered to lend my review copy to a friend to watch. Their reply: "Oh my God, I couldn't sit through that again!"

    As for the story: Bubby (Nicholas Hope) has spent the first 35 years of his life imprisoned in a squalid, claustrophobic basement by his sexually and violently abusive and controlling mother (Claire Benito). Here, the audience is first tested, when exposed to almost graphic sexual encounters between Bubby and his obese, wrinkled mother.

    Having been taught since childhood that the outside air is poisonous, and that leaving home is sinful, Bubby remains cut off from the outside world. Bubby only discovers the truth when his long-absent father, Pop (Ralph Cotterill), returns to disrupt the very unhealthy and twisted bond between mother and son.

    Following a violent confrontation, Bubby is forced out into the real world. With no understanding of life or society, and obviously suffering mentally from his life of abuse, Bubby wanders about the city, stumbling into various people's lives. His conversation is limited to largely repeating overheard phrases, but as time passes, he begins to make more sense.

    However, this is no simple 'fish out of water' plot. Through Bubby's journey to self-awareness and healing, Rolf de Heer provides us with a mirror to modern society. What makes that possible is actor Nicholas Hope's engrossing and thoroughly convincing performance as Bubby. Hope manages to breathe life into a character that is both sympathetic, yet at other times very frightening.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    Overall, the transfer is pretty good. The quality does vary at times, but this is largely due to the source material. Interestingly, Director Rolf de Heer opted to use a different DOP and camera crew for each of the sections of the film (to highlight Bubby's changing perception of his world). There seem to be a number of different film stocks used, with varying results.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The sharpness of the image is reasonable throughout, and the black level is good. Some strange lighting effects have been employed, and the shadow detail is often limited, such as at 69:30.

    The colour is good throughout, and the skin tones are natural.

    While the picture often appears grainy, there are no problems with MPEG or Film-To-Video Artefacts. Film artefacts appear throughout, but they are mostly small and not disruptive.

    No subtitles are present on the DVD.

    The feature is on a Dual Layered disc, with the layer change placed at 52:04. The feature is divided into 19 chapters.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    Originally released theatrically in Dolby Stereo, the disc features a new Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. The sound design on this film is very peculiar, as it was designed to be the world's first "headphone film". Instead of recording the sound with boom microphones, Director Rolf de Heer used body microphones and other aural devices so that the audience would hear everything from Bubby's perspective.

    The following audio options are on this DVD: English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s), English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 5.1 (224Kb/s), and English Alternate Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s).

    The dialogue quality and audio sync are fine on the default English Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track. As mentioned above, instead of recording the sound with boom microphones, Nicholas Hope as Bubby, had a microphone taped over each ear, to let the audience hear exactly as he would. This does affect the recording of the dialogue, but I understood everything said.

    The musical score is credited to Graham Tardif, and the film's score features a variety of styles, including bagpipes, choral, organ, as well as a few alternative rock tunes.

    Considering the film's Dolby Stereo origins, the surround presence and activity is quite good. While the surround sound mix is quite front-heavy,  the rear speakers are used effectively to help provide ambience, such as the general hubbub in the pub at 102:46. This  maintains a nice soundfield while keeping the viewer firmly focussed on the screen. In keeping with Director Rolf de Heer's original vision, with the new surround mix occasionally voices and sounds appear out of the rears and envelop us, which is very effective and unsettling.

    Understandably, this is not an LFE-heavy film, and the subwoofer snoozed throughout.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    As a long-awaited two-disc set, there are plenty of decent and genuine extras.


    Animated with audio.

Disc One

Audio Commentary

    Rolf de Heer (Director) and Nicholas Hope (Actor) provide an interesting commentary which focuses on the budgetary constraints, and the subsequent problems with the production. The commentary is screen specific, and they also discuss some of the issues raised in the film, and the use of imagery and Port Adelaide locations. There are also a few funny anecdotes, some relating to the film's many sex and nude scenes.

Alternate Audio

    Described as "Binaural Audio Recording For Headphones", if you have a decent set of headphones, and you're watching this film by yourself, this option is highly recommended.

Theatrical Trailer (1:51)

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital stereo audio.

Disc Two

Interviews - Christ Kid, You're A Weirdo (23:57)

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital stereo audio; this is an interview with Rolf de Heer in which he discusses the ideas behind the story and script, and how the film was shot with a draft script and a lot of improvised dialogue and scenes.

Interviews - Being Bubby (14:18)

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital stereo audio, this is an interview with Nicholas Hope. Hope describes how he came to be involved with the film, and how he met de Heer. Hope also explains how he got involved in acting. Hope also talks about how he prepared for the part and the effect it had on his career. There are also a few clips from the film.

Short Film - Confessor Caressor (19:37)

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio, this is a short South Australian Student film that brought Hope to the attention of de Heer. In this mockumentary, Hope plays a childish serial killer who insists on being called the "Confessor Caressor", and shows off his collection of knives while he talks excitedly about the murders he has committed.

Featurette-Popcorn Taxi Q & A 2004 (25:27)

    Nicholas Hope, on stage, discusses the film before a live audience and answers their questions.


    A series of photographic stills.

Trailers - Aussie Trailers

    There are eight trailers, for:


    DVD Credits.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Bad Boy Bubby has been released on DVD in R1 as a single-disc edition.

    The Region 4 DVD misses out on:

    The Region 1 DVD misses out on:

    The R4 is the clear winner, and benefits from a PAL image.


    Like Brazil or Eraserhead, this is no mindless Friday night pick-me-up. Indeed, Bad Boy Bubby is a challenging and sometimes intense film, and it is certainly not for the squeamish!

    The video quality is good overall.

    The audio quality is also good.

    The extras are genuine.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayGrundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
SpeakersSony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer

Other Reviews
Digital Retribution - David MB

Comments (Add)
NTSC to PAL - Miklos (my stinkin' bio)
Re: NTSC to PAL - Sam
Video glitch - Miklos (my stinkin' bio)
Vanilla Edition? - Sam REPLY POSTED
RE: Vanilla Edition? - Anonymous