Bronco Bullfrog

Smashing...touching and piercing. A stirring and true-spirited romantic film.


Bronco Bullfrog

The debut film by “one of the forgotten heroes of British cinema” (Matthew Sweet, BBC Radio 4), Barney Platts-Mills’ Bronco Bullfrog is “remarkable” (Mollie Panter-Downes, The New Yorker), a “breathtaking time capsule” (Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian), and a “revelation” (Kieron Corless, Sight & Sound).

Seventeen-year-old Del, with no money and nowhere to go, breaks into train cars with his cool, fresh-out-of-borstal (reform school) pal Bronco Bullfrog. But one day he meets the lovely Irene, and despite an earful from his dad (and her mum), the two young lovers run away together… but to where?

Shot in London’s East End in 1969, cast with Doc Marten-wearing “suedehead” locals, and set to a dynamic soundtrack by early '70s art rock band Audience,
Bronco Bullfrog has been compared to the work of Mike Leigh and Ken Loach, but with a punk rock spirit. After a minuscule American release following its Edinburgh and Cannes premieres, this “lost gem” (Dave Calhoun, Time Out) returns over 50 years later as a cult landmark of two teens in love, in black and white and cockney—with subtitles.

Quadrophenia, before The Jam, before the Sex Pistols, there was BRONCO BULLFROG.” —Sasha Frere-Jones, Observer

“SMASHING... Touching and piercing. A stirring and true-spirited romantic film.” —Penelope Gilliatt, The New Yorker

“A REMARKABLE little film... So HONEST that watching it feels like looking straight through the windows of the new Council Estate flats... TOUCHING and FUNNY... The film is really about the tragedy of being unable to communicate the most aching emotions...The acting of these unknown people is EXTRAORDINARY. “ —Mollie Panter-Downes, The New Yorker

“Crude and defiant... Full of such angry energy... THERE IS HARDLY A MOMENT IN BRONCO BULLFROG THAT DOES NOT DISPLAY A VIGOROUS, VERY REAL TALENT.” —Jay Cocks, Time

“A FORGOTTEN TIME PIECE, A REBEL IN EXILE. Few films have highlighted the class war at the heart of British cinema (and, by implication, the nation as a whole) so pointedly as
Bronco Bullfrog... A BRISK, BRACING, SLICE-OF-LIFE DRAMA, a casual portrait of late-60s ‘suedeheads’ kicking their heels and dreaming of escape. The directing is rough and ready; the performances are a little rude and unschooled. In the end, of course, that’s all part of the appeal... To watch it now is to catch a glimpse of AN ALTERNATIVE STRAIN OF BRITISH CINEMA... Part of what makes Bronco Bullfrog so captivating is the way IT CATCHES A MOMENT IN TIME.” —Xan Brooks, The Guardian

“TENDER, POETIC, and IMMENSELY FUNNY... You would be foolish to miss it.” —Tom Milne, The Observer

“A REVELATION... Easily one of the greatest and most insightful films ever made about the British working class... It makes you wonder why someone as talented as its director Barney Platts-Mills never became a household name alongside the likes of Loach and Leigh.” —Kieron Corless, Sight & Sound
Not Rated
Comedy, Drama
English, Cockney
Barney Platts-Mills
Barney Platts-Mills
Del Walker, Anne Gooding
J. Hoberman, New York Times

An auspicious first feature, Barney Platts-Mills’s “Bronco Bullfrog” fell between the cracks — a belated example of British “kitchen sink” naturalism that arrived in 1969 before the wave of disaffected youth films by Mike Leigh and Alan Parker. Still, the writer-director Platts-Mills lived to see ...

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