My Bodyguard

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My Bodyguard
My bodyguard.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Tony Bill
Produced by Melvin Simon
Don Devlin
Written by Alan Ormsby
Starring Chris Makepeace
Adam Baldwin
Matt Dillon
Martin Mull
Ruth Gordon
Music by Dave Grusin
Cinematography Michael D. Margulies
Edited by Stu Linder
Melvin Simon Productions
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
  • July 11, 1980 (1980-07-11) (Limited)
  • August 15, 1980 (1980-08-15) (Wide)
Running time
96 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $3 million[1]
Box office $22.5 million

My Bodyguard is a 1980 American 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.

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. Clifford spends his nights with his family relaxing on the rooftop patio and spying on the neighbors through a telescope. He is the new kid at Lake View High School, where he arrives in a limousine.

Clifford becomes a target of abuse from a bully, Melvin Moody, and his gang, Dubrow, Koontz, and Hightower. Moody's gang regularly extort money from other students, allegedly to protect them from a school outcast, 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 younger brother died accidentally while playing with a gun.

Clifford works up the nerve to approach 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 nine-year-old brother a year earlier, and is slow to come out of his shell, but has been rebuilding a motorcycle that he cherishes. 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 friends from school, Carson, Shelley, and an unnamed girl, 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 comes to Clifford to ask for money, ostensibly to pay for pulling the motorcycle out of the lagoon. Feeling used, Clifford follows him and the two argue before Ricky 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 there retrieving his motorcycle. Moody notices and demands the motorcycle, which Ricky refuses. Moody summons Mike and Ricky and Mike fight, with Ricky winning. Ricky urges Clifford to fight Moody while Ricky coaches him. Clifford initially fights incompetently, but finally lands a solid punch which knocks Moody down. Moody sits on the ground, whining. Ricky retrieves his motorcycle and jokingly asks Clifford to be his bodyguard.


Release and reception[edit]

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 ranked #45 on Entertainment Weekly's list of the 50 Best High School Movies.[3]

The film received generally positive reviews, garnering an 86% "fresh" rating and the consensus "T. Bill debuts as an affectionate director, keenly aware of growing pains", on review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes.[4]


  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. ^ "Head of the Class: The 50 Best High School Movies". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on March 1, 2011. Retrieved March 1, 2011.
  4. ^ My Bodyguard at Rotten Tomatoes

External links[edit]