Big Bully (film)

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Big Bully
Big Bully.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed by Steve Miner
Produced by Gary Foster
Lee Rich
James G. Robinson
Gary Barber
Dylan Sellers
Written by Mark Steven Johnson
Starring Rick Moranis
Tom Arnold
Carol Kane
Music by David Newman
Cinematography Daryn Okada
Edited by Marshall Harvey
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
  • January 26, 1996 (1996-01-26)
Running time
91 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $15 million
Box office $2,042,530

Big Bully is a 1996 American comedy-drama film starring Rick Moranis and Tom Arnold. The film was directed by Steve Miner and featured guest stars such as Don Knotts.


Growing up in Hastings, Minnesota, young David Leary (Justin Jon Ross) was constantly bullied by Roscoe Bigger (Michael Zwiener), nicknamed "Fang" because of a pointed tooth. David is ecstatic when his parents announce they're moving to Oakland. Before leaving, David informs teachers about Fang stealing a moon rock being shown at their school. As the Learys leave town, Fang is arrested.

Twenty-six years later, David (Rick Moranis) is divorced and raising his troubled son Ben (Blake Bashoff) as a single parent. Not having much success as a writer, David's old school offers him a job teaching creative writing. Things go well at first, meeting some "too friendly" neighbors Art and Betty Lundstrum (Jeffrey Tambor and Faith Prince), and rekindling a relationship with his old flame Victoria (Julianne Phillips). He also encounters the school librarian Mrs. Rumpert (Norma MacMillan) who is still waiting for David to return Green Eggs and Ham to the library. After Ben begins picking on a little kid named Kirby (Cody McMains), David meets the boy's father Ross Bigger (Tom Arnold) when both of them are called to the office of Principal Kokelar (Don Knotts) revolving around both their sons' actions. Despite a friendly first meeting, David soon discovers that the mild-mannered shop teacher is his old enemy "Fang". Following a fire drill, David meets with his old friend Ulf (Tony Pierce) who is a firefighter. When meeting with Ulf, Alan (Harry Waters, Jr.), and Gerry (Stuart Pankin) at a bar, David learns from them that after Ross got out of juvenile hall, Ross' parent's skipped town which eventually led to him growing up in an orphanage.

When Ross learns who David is, he reembarks on his old routine of bullying him to make himself feel better. Ross drops his mild-mannered attitude and begins taking charge in his classroom and his own home. In a twist of irony, David's son begins bullying the old bully's son. Although after a discussion with Ben, they become fast friends. Ross begins to intimidate him more and more until David becomes paranoid, and begins freaking out another teacher named Clark (Curtis Armstrong) who thinks he is on crack. David gets to his last straw after Ross humiliates him in front of Victoria at the prom. When David brings Ross' actions to Principal Kokelar after a recent pranking, David is told by Principal Kokelar that Ross has been a teacher longer than David has and even states that he had gotten some complaints from Clark about David and that if David can't straighten up his act, he will get another teacher to cover for him for the remainder of the school semester. The only comment that David could make was that he was the town hero.

Later that night, they meet at the old see-saw where Ross reaffirms that David has never stood up for himself at which point David admits snitching to get Ross put in Juvenile hall. After a game of cat-and-mouse in the school after hours (in which Ross reveals details of his stint in juvenile hall), David flees to his hiding place he used when he was a child which was a cave. Ross chases him onto a waterfall and tells David that he always thought of him as a friend, before an enraged Ross attacks him. David hits him with a piece of driftwood causing Ross to fall into the river. Fearing that he has killed his enemy, David tries to turn himself over to the police only to find that the cops are out. Ulf drives David to his home while he tries to find Ross' body. After a talk with Art, David attempts to go to sleep only to discover Ross alive and well. The two men fight once again until Kirby and Ben come in and reveal that they've made up and encourage their fathers do the same. During this, Ross reveals he stole the moon rock because he wanted to be an astronaut. It was also shown that during their recent fight, Ross' "fang" was chipped.

With nothing left for him in Hastings, David begins to pack up and move to New York. He has Victoria return Green Eggs and Ham to the school library for him. Ross arrives and as a goodbye present for David, Ross gives him an Evel Knievel action figure identical to the one David had as a child before Ross threw it into a river. David tells them to visit whenever, and the changed family leaves. Ross hooks up his mobile home to his truck, and follows David telling his family that they have been "invited" to come to New York.



The film was a box office bomb, grossing only $2,042,530 from an estimated $15 million budget.[1] It was also a critical failure, currently holding a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes.[2]

Tom Arnold tied with Pauly Shore for a 1996 Razzie Award in part for his role in Big Bully as well as for Carpool and The Stupids.


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