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My Bodyguard is a 1980 American teen comedy drama film directed by Tony Bill (his directorial debut), and written by Alan Ormsby. The film stars Chris Makepeace, Adam Baldwin, Matt Dillon, Martin Mull, and Ruth Gordon.

My Bodyguard
My bodyguard.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byTony Bill
Produced byMelvin Simon
Don Devlin
Written byAlan Ormsby
StarringChris Makepeace
Adam Baldwin
Matt Dillon
Martin Mull
Ruth Gordon
Music byDave Grusin
CinematographyMichael D. Margulies
Edited byStu Linder
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • July 11, 1980 (1980-07-11) (Limited)
  • August 15, 1980 (1980-08-15) (Wide)
Running time
96 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$3 million[1]
Box office$22.5 million

The film was the debut of both Baldwin and an uncredited Jennifer Beals, and was Joan Cusack's first major film.


Clifford Peache lives in an upscale Chicago luxury hotel with his father, the hotel manager, and his grandmother. He is a new student at Lake View High School, where he arrives each day in a hotel limousine.

Clifford becomes a target of abuse from a bully, Melvin Moody, and his gang, who regularly extort money from students, allegedly to protect them from another student, Ricky Linderman. According to school legend, Ricky has killed several people, including his own little brother. A teacher tells Clifford that the only violence she's aware of from Ricky's past occurred when his nine-year-old brother died accidentally while playing with a gun.

Clifford soon approaches Ricky and asks him to be his bodyguard. Ricky refuses, but the boys become friends after Ricky saves Clifford from a beating by Moody and his gang. Ricky has emotional issues over the death of his brother a year earlier, and is slow to trust Clifford, but shows him a cherished motorcycle that he has been rebuilding. The friendship between the two boys is strengthened as Clifford successfully helps Ricky search junkyards for a hard-to-find cylinder for the motorcycle's engine.

As Clifford, Ricky, and a few other friends from school eat lunch in Lincoln Park, Moody and his gang approach. Moody has enlisted an older bodybuilder named Mike to be his bodyguard. Mike intimidates and physically abuses Ricky and vandalizes his motorcycle before Moody pushes it into the lagoon. Ricky runs away. He later appears at the hotel and asks Clifford for money before leaving again. Clifford follows him and the two argue before Ricky finally reveals that he accidentally shot his brother while babysitting him. As a result, he is overwhelmed with guilt and remorse.

Moody and Mike return to the park to continue bullying the other children. Ricky is also there retrieving his motorcycle. Moody notices and demands the motorcycle, which Ricky refuses. Moody summons Mike; Ricky and Mike engage in a long fistfight, which Ricky wins. Ricky urges Clifford to fight Moody while Ricky coaches him. Clifford initially fights incompetently, but finally lands a solid punch which knocks Moody down and breaks his nose as well. Moody sits on the ground, bleeding and whining. Ricky retrieves his motorcycle and jokingly asks Clifford to be his bodyguard as the two leave with their friends.


Release and receptionEdit

My Bodyguard opened on July 11, 1980, in limited release, and wide release on August 15, 1980. In its limited weekend, the film opened at #3 with $178,641 and went on to gross $22,482,953 in the United States.[2]

The film was named as one of the top ten films of 1980 by National Board of Review.[3] It was also nominated by the Writers Guild of America for Best Drama Written Directly for the Screen,[4] and in his analysis of the 53rd Academy Awards, Gary Arnold of The Washington Post wrote that My Bodyguard was unfairly snubbed when it failed to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay.[5]

The film ranked #45 on Entertainment Weekly's list of the 50 Best High School Movies.[6]

The film received generally positive reviews, garnering an 83% "fresh" rating from 29 reviews and the consensus "T. Bill debuts as an affectionate director, keenly aware of growing pains", on review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes.[7]

Home video releaseEdit

The film was released on DVD in January 29, 2002 and also was released on Blu Ray in September 6, 2016.


  1. ^ Aubrey Solomon, Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History, Scarecrow Press, 1989, p. 259
  2. ^ "My Bodyguard (1980)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
  3. ^ "National Board of Review of Motion Pictures :: Awards for 1980". National Board of Review. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007.
  4. ^ "My Bodyguard (1980) - MUBI". MUBI. Retrieved April 27, 2019.
  5. ^ Gary Arnold (March 29, 1981). "Watching the Oscars". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 27, 2019.
  6. ^ "Head of the Class: The 50 Best High School Movies". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on February 27, 2011. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
  7. ^ My Bodyguard at Rotten Tomatoes

External linksEdit