Rita, Sue and Bob Too

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Rita, Sue and Bob Too
Directed byAlan Clarke
Produced byOscar Lewenstein
Sanford Lieberson
Written byAndrea Dunbar
Music byMichael Kamen
CinematographyIvan Strasburg
Edited bySteve Singleton
Distributed byChannel 4
Release date
29 May 1987
Running time
89 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Rita, Sue and Bob Too is a 1987 British comedy-drama film directed by Alan Clarke, set in Bradford, West Yorkshire about two teenaged schoolgirls who have a sexual fling with a married man.[1] It was adapted by Andrea Dunbar, based on two of her stage plays; Rita Sue and Bob Too (1982) and The Arbor (1980),[2] which was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre, London. The strapline of the film was: "Thatcher's Britain with her knickers down."[2]


Rita and Sue are two teenage girls in their final year of school who live on a run down council estate in Bradford. To earn some money, they babysit for Bob and Michelle (Lesley Sharp), a better-off couple who live in a detached house in a nicer part of town. When the couple return later, Michelle pays the girls and tells Bob to give them a lift home. Bob, however, drives them to an out of the way place to have sex with each of them in the back of his car. They nonchalantly agree, and he and the girls plan to make it a regular thing. By the time they're finished, it's 2 am.

Sue gets a part-time job at a local taxi firm, and meets Aslam (Kulvinder Ghir), a Pakistani boy who drives for the firm. He and another driver make a bet on who can get her into bed first. Sue rebuffs them. At school, Bob shows up at Rita and Sue's PE tennis class to take them for a "jump" (sex). Rita manages to get permission from the teacher to use the toilet (a ruse to see Bob); but Sue is denied and told to get back to the class. She takes her anger out on another student. Bob takes Rita to a furnished showhome on a new housing development, where they have sex.

Later on, Michelle finds a packet of condoms in Bob's trousers whilst ironing them. Bob tells her that he and his mates were blowing them up like balloons at the pub for fun, but Michelle doesn't believe him and they argue. During the argument, it is revealed that Michelle is reluctant to have sex, which frustrates Bob. It also turns out that Bob previously had an affair, discovered when Michelle found his mistress's bracelet in their bed; the mistress had also been their babysitter. Michelle goes upstairs to get ready for their planned night out, for which Rita and Sue are again babysitting. Bob warns the girls that Michelle is suspicious and will ask them questions and try to trick them. They convince Michelle that Bob isn't sleeping with either of them.

After their night out, Bob and Michelle start arguing again, this time in front of Rita and Sue who desperately try not to laugh. Michelle takes her anger out on them and tells them to stop laughing. She then storms off to bed. Grumpily, Rita and Sue make their own way home, unhappy that Bob can't take them in his car and have sex with them again. That night, Michelle decides to let Bob have sex with her to stop him going off with other women, but it goes badly.

The next day, on a school trip, Sue gets into a fight with a classmate who calls her a "slag" (British slang for a promiscuous woman) because she is rumoured to be seeing a married man. Later, Rita and Sue skip school to go and meet Bob, hoping to make up for the previous night, but Bob can't get an erection, embarrassing himself and leaving Rita and Sue unsatisfied. He takes them out to a club instead, where Michelle's best friend Mavis happens to be, and spots Bob with the girls. Bob warns the girls that Mavis will surely tell Michelle she saw them together.

The next morning, Mavis rushes around to tell Michelle what she saw, and Michelle storms over to Rita's house in Mavis's car. Michelle drags Rita out of her house and into Mavis's car, and takes her to Sue's flat to confront them both, with Bob now in tow. Michelle, Bob, Rita, Sue, and Sue's parents have a big argument in front of all the neighbours, who are all having a good laugh over the spectacle. Michelle blames the girls for being slutty, but Sue retorts that the reason Bob cheats on her is because she doesn't have enough sex with him. Michelle turns on Bob, goes home, ransacks the house, and she and their children leave in a taxi, never to return.

The next day, Sue goes to Rita's house to walk to school together. Rita tells her that she is no longer going to school, because they are due to leave school soon and Bob has asked her to move in with him. She also reveals that she is pregnant with Bob's child. When Bob arrives to take her away, Sue is enraged and tells them both to get lost.

Sue dates Aslam as a rebound to get over Bob and Rita. They go to the cinema, and then off to a grassy hillside spot where they start kissing. Afterwards they go to Sue's flat where Aslam meets her parents. Her father comes home from the pub drunk and shouts racist comments at Aslam, causing Sue to leave home and move in with Aslam and his sister.

Months later, Sue finds out that Rita has miscarried, and visits her in the hospital. On the way out, Bob approaches Sue and invites her for another escapade. Sue refuses, saying she's staying faithful to Aslam, whom she's now living with. After Bob drops Sue off at her house, Aslam attacks Sue, thinking that she was out having sex with Bob.

Later at Bob's house, he and Rita are about to have sex, when Bob accidentally says Sue's name. Angry, Rita leaves to confront Sue. When she gets there, she finds Aslam attacking Sue. Defending her, Rita kicks him in the knees, and then Sue kicks him in his groin, disabling him enough for Sue and Rita to escape. They go back to Bob's house, where Rita tends to Sue's wounds, and Aslam shows up at Bob's door. They refuse to let him in, but Aslam tries to find a way to break in, all the while trying to convince Sue to come back to him. He almost gets in through the patio doors, but Rita runs and locks them. He tries to plead with Sue, threatening suicide if she doesn't come back. The situation is interrupted by the arrival of the police, having been called by a neighbour. Aslam then runs off with the police in pursuit.

When Bob returns home, Rita tells him that she is letting Sue move in with them. They go upstairs and Bob goes to get a bath. When he goes into the bedroom he finds both girls semi-naked in his bed and the film ends with him diving onto the bed.


  • Siobhan Finneran as Rita
  • Michelle Holmes as Sue
  • George Costigan as Bob
  • Lesley Sharp as Michelle
  • Kulvinder Ghir as Aslam
  • Willie Ross and Patti Nichols as Sue's parents
  • Danny O'Dea as Paddy
  • Maureen Long as Rita's mother
  • David Britton, Mark Crampton, Stuart Googwin, Max Jackman, Andrew Krauz and Simon Waring as Rita's brothers
  • Joyce Pembroke as Lawnmower Lil
  • Jane Atkinson as Helen
  • Bryan Heeley as Michael
  • Paul Oldham as Lee
  • Bernard Wrigley as Teacher
  • Dennis Conlon as Taxi Driver
  • Black Lace (Alan Barton and Dene Michael) as themselves
  • Nancy Pute as Mavis
  • Paul Hedges as Hosepipe Harry
  • Kailash Patel as Aslam's Sister

Filming locations[edit]

Some of the filming locations around West Yorkshire include:[3]

  • Buttershaw – Rita's house; Sue's flat; the school; The Beacon pub on Reevy Road West from the very first scene - All of these have now been demolished except the Beacon pub that still stands .
  • Baildon – Bob's house (Bramham Drive); Moorland scenes.
  • Bradford – Aslam's house (Alexandra Street); Luna Radio Kars (Leeds Road).
  • Haworth – The school trip to the Bronte Parsonage.


The film gained a mostly positive reception from critics.[4][5][6][7][8][9]


  1. ^ Sheila Benson (25 April 1993). "Two Attempts at Social Comment Hit The Mark". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  2. ^ a b Liam Allen (22 October 2010). "The Arbor: In the footsteps of Rita, Sue and Bob". BBC News. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  3. ^ "Where was 'Rita, Sue and Bob Too' filmed?". British Film Locations. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  4. ^ Janet Maslin (17 July 1987). "Film: Togetherness in 'Rita, Sue and Bob Too'". New York Times. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  5. ^ Sheila Benson (20 January 2011). "Movie Review : Love's Got Nothing To Do With 'Rita, Sue & Bob'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  6. ^ Sheila Benson (9 August 1987). "3 Savage Commentaries on the British Scene". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  7. ^ "'Rita, Sue and Bob, Too' (R)". Washingtonpost.com. 22 August 1987. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  8. ^ "Rita, Sue & Bob, Too :: Reviews". Rogerebert.suntimes.com. 2 October 1987. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  9. ^ Dave Kehr (2 October 1987). "`Rita` Captures The Spirit of England's Other Side". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 16 November 2012.

External links[edit]