Bronco Bullfrog

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Bronco Bullfrog
"Bronco Bullfrog" (1969).jpg
Directed by Barney Platts-Mills
Produced byAndrew St. John
Michael Syson
Written byBarney Platts-Mills
StarringDel Walker
Anne Gooding
Sam Shepherd
Roy Haywood
Music byTony Connor
Keith Gemmell
Trevor Williams
Howard Werth
CinematographyAdam Barker-Mill
Edited byJonathan Gili
Release date
1969 (UK)
Running time
86 minutes [1]
CountryUnited Kingdom
Budget£20,000 [2]

Bronco Bullfrog is a 1969 British black-and-white film directed by Barney Platts-Mills. [3] It was Platts-Mills' first full-length feature film. [4]



The film follows the fortunes of a 17-year-old, Del, and his group of friends. As the film opens, four youths (Del, Roy, Chris and Geoff) are seen breaking into a cafe in Stratford, East London, but they only get away with about ninepence and some cake, and it is clear that they are hardly master criminals. Back at their hut on waste ground they mention Jo, known as 'Bronco Bullfrog' (for reasons which are never explained), who has just got out of Borstal.

Once Del and Roy (Chris and Geoff are hardly seen again in the film) meet Jo in a cafe, they link up with him to carry out a bigger robbery. Meanwhile, Del meets Irene, a friend of a cousin of Chris's and they start a relationship despite the disapproval of Irene's mother and Del's father. The remainder of the film follows Del and Irene as they attempt to escape their dead-end lives.



The film was turned down by Bryan Forbes at EMI Films. [5]

Princess Anne story

A 2010 Guardian article noted a story about Princess Anne connected with the film's release. In November 1970, a group of 200 members of the Beaumont Youth Club in Leyton jeered Princess Anne, with some throwing tomatoes, as she was going to see the London premiere of Three Sisters instead of Bronco Bullfrog. [2] A week later, Princess Anne did go to see the latter at the Mile End ABC. Sam Shepherd claims that he was arrested by police for attempting to kiss the princess's hand. [6]


The film has been described as "Mod poetry" and a "masterpiece". [7]

However, the film became obscure after its cinema run, and was only shown twice on television between 1969 and 2010. In the mid-1980s, the master negative was disposed of in a rubbish skip but was retrieved by an employee of a film laboratory who placed it in an archive. [6]

Home Media

The film has been released in the BFI Flipside series dual format edition (DVD and Blu-ray), with other films (such as 1975's Seven Green Bottles, and Platts-Mills' 1968 film Everybody's an actor, Shakespeare said) as extras. [8]

When submitted for home release, the film was originally given a 12 certificate in 2004 but this was changed to a 15 certificate in 2010. [9] The change is believed to come from the appearance of the taboo word cunt in graffiti in a very brief clip that the censors could have missed originally.

A new HD version of the film opened the ninth East End Film Festival on 22 April 2010, prior to its re-release in summer 2010. [10]

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  1. "BRONCO BULLFROG (15)". British Board of Film Classification . 8 February 2010. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  2. 1 2 Princess Anne Met by Skinhead Mob at Film Premiere Author: Keith Nurse, Arts Reporter Date: Tuesday, Nov. 3, 1970 Publication: The Daily Telegraph (London, England) Issue: 35925 p5
  3. "BFI Screenonline: Bronco Bullfrog (1969)".
  4. "BFI Screenonline: Platts-Mills, Barney (1944-) Biography".
  5. The eclipse of the moon man Malcolm, Derek. The Guardian 26 Mar 1971: 15.
  6. 1 2 Brooks, Xan (3 June 2010). "Bronco Bullfrog: the film the UK forgot". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  7. Catterall, Ali; Wells, Simon (2001). Your Face Here: British Cult Movies Since the Sixties. Fourth Estate. p. 147. ISBN   1-84115-203-X. Bronco Bullfrog is as close to pure Mod poetry as you're going to get and it's a crying shame that this masterpiece has only been seen by a handful of those in the know.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. "Two Flipside Blu-ray Titles from BFI in September".
  9. BBFC page for Bronco Bullfrog, see "Related work" section
  10. ", first with arts reviews, news and interviews - The Arts Desk".