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Barney Platts-Mills’

Must End Thursday

4:00 & 8:35

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(1970) 17-year-old welder’s apprentice and petty thief Del (Del Walker), a product of London’s overcrowded East End slums, relieves the boredom by helping his fresh-out-of-Borstal pal “Bronco Bullfrog” (Sam Shepherd) clean out an idle freight train. But what he really longs for is some impossible-to-find time alone with his 15-year-old girlfriend (Anne Gooding). Largely improvised by a cast of non-pro teens (cast from the legendary workshops of Joan Littlewood, “the Mother of Modern Theatre”), Platt-Mills’ long-unseen debut foreshadows the Punk Rock ethos of the 1970s. Approx. 87 mins.

Restored from the original 35mm negative by the British Film Institute, under the supervision of director Barney Platts-Mills.



“A RAW AND SENSITIVE DRAMA ABOUT WORKING CLASS LONDON TEENS… On-location filming depicts their narrow and perilous world with a documentary-like authority and the cast of nonprofessional actors invest the milieu with their shambling energy and poignant presence.
– Richard Brody, The New Yorker

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

“A BREATHTAKING TIME CAPSULE. There is freshness and life and as a historical record it’s pure gold.”
– Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

“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

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

“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

“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

“A VERY, VERY GOOD FILM INDEED, not just promising but a promise fulfilled… It has a very personal kind of poetic quality that is so unusual in British films.”
– Lindsday Anderson

“A CLASSIC OF ITS KIND… The performances are rough-and ready, a fascinating timepiece.”
– Sukhdev Sandhu, The Telegraph

“LOVELY… If you were to take the tough urban environment that constitutes the imaginary world of A Clockwork Orange and put real and rather decent people into it, you might come up with the preconditions for Barney Platts-Mills’s Bronco Bullfrog…You are witnessing a love story, free from the rhetoric of love or love stories.”
– Roger Greenspun, The New York Times

“It sends your heart leaping.”
– Alexander Walker, London Evening Standard

“A LOST GEM… The crime is petty; the petting is coy… The locations are as real as the behavior; and the feeling is of youngsters acting out their lives.”
– Dave Calhoun, Time Out

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