The Boys Next Door (1985 film)

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The Boys Next Door
DVD cover
Directed by Penelope Spheeris
Produced by Sandy Howard
Keith Rubinstein
Written by Glen Morgan
James Wong
Starring Charlie Sheen
Maxwell Caulfield
Music by George S. Clinton (as Geo)
Cinematography Arthur Albert
Edited byAndy Horvitch
Distributed by New World Pictures
Release date
  • October 1985 (1985-10)
Running time
91 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$5 million [1]

The Boys Next Door is a 1985 American adventure-crime drama film about two teenage boys who leave their small town home on the day of their high school graduation and embark on a crime and murder spree.



Roy Alston (Maxwell Caulfield) and Bo Richards (Charlie Sheen) are two outcasts of their high school community. Bo receives $200 as a graduation gift from his grandparents. Facing a lifetime of working blue collar factory jobs, the boys spontaneously decide to use the money to go on a vacation to Los Angeles.

During the drive to Los Angeles, Bo and Roy rob a gas station and beat the attendant (Joseph Michael Cala) with a crowbar. The next day, the boys go to a beach boardwalk, where Roy throws an empty beer bottle and it hits an elderly woman (Helen Brown) on the forehead. Three young women (Claudia Templeton, Mary Tiffany, and Marilou Conway) see this, and they chase Bo and Roy to a parking lot. The women yell at the boys and damage their car. Enraged, Roy starts the car and drives around in circles in the parking lot with the women still on the hood. After several loops, Roy throws the car into reverse, throwing one of the women from the hood of the car. After the incident, one of the women finds Bo and Roy's dog, Boner the Barbarian, and reads its ID tag, which leads to speculation of where Bo and Roy are from.

During a visit to La Brea Tar Pits, Bo expresses his wish that the world could just "go caveman" for one day, abandoning all rules and order. Roy agrees, and they spend their evening on the streets of Los Angeles.

Several additional encounters lead to more deaths, including a gay man Chris (Paul C. Dancer), a young couple (Richard Pachorek and Lesa Lee), and an older woman Angie Baker (Patti D'Arbanville) whom Roy kills while she is having sex with Bo. Eventually the duo are tracked and found by the LAPD and chased into a shopping mall. After unsuccessfully trying to steal some guns, Bo tries to talk some sense into Roy about surrendering. Roy refuses, and he orders Bo to give him the gun so he can go out in a "blaze of glory". Bo refuses and shoots Roy when he tries to take the gun away. The police surround Bo and ask him why he killed his friend. Bo replies, "Because I had to." Bo is then arrested and led away while reporters snap photos of him.


MPAA cuts

According to director Penelope Spheeris' DVD commentary, The Boys Next Door had to be cut and submitted to the MPAA ten times to get an R rating. Scenes that were cut or changed include:

Home media

The film was released on DVD on May 15, 2001, by Anchor Bay Entertainment. [2] The DVD includes commentary by director Spheeris and co-star Caulfield, a trailer and talent bios.

Critical reception

Time Out London called The Boys Next Door superior to Spheeris' previous work Suburbia (1984) in that it didn't try to sympathize with the two lead characters while still letting in a "glimmer of understanding into the murderers' feelings." [3] Vincent Canby, comparing the film to Over the Edge (1979) for its negative picture of a California teenager and to Badlands (1973) for its "lean and unsentimental" atmosphere, described it as a "very well made, disorienting movie about inarticulated despair and utter hopelessness." [4] He praised the performances of Caulfield, Sheen, and D'Arbanville in the film. [4]

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  1. The Boys Next Door (1985) - Box office / business
  2. Tribbey, Ralph (April 5, 2001). "DVD NEWS BRIEFS: Anchor Bay in May; Aguilera on DVD; Koch's VaultKoch's Vault". Archived from the original on April 18, 2001. Retrieved September 5, 2019.
  3. "The Boys Next Door". Time Out London . Retrieved 23 November 2017.
  4. 1 2 Canby, Vincent (14 March 1986). ["Screen: Spheeris's 'Boys Next Door'"]. The New York Times . The New York Times Company. Retrieved 23 November 2017.