Following magnetic performances in Taps (1981) and Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), young actor Sean Penn sealed his reputation as one of his generation's most gifted performers with his gritty star turn in Bad Boys (1983), an entertaining tale of teen hoodlums in juvenile lock-up. Penn plays Mick O'Brien, a Chicago street tough who's planning on ripping off drug dealer Paco Moreno (Esai Morales). When the scam goes bad and his partner Carl (Alan Ruck) is slain, Mick flees from the cops in his car and accidentally runs over Paco's little brother, killing the boy. Sent to juvenile hall, Mick encounters a violent prison society run by the murderous trustees Viking (Clancy Brown) and Tweety (Robert Lee Rush). After Mick defends himself by savagely beating Viking, he becomes the facility's new top dog. On the outside, however, Paco seeks revenge by raping Mick's girlfriend J.C. (Ally Sheedy). Enraged, Mick escapes with the help of his brainy roommate Horowitz (Eric Gurry), but Mick is captured by compassionate guard Ramon (Reni Santoni). When Paco is arrested and unwisely sent to the same jail holding Mick, a showdown between the two old rivals is inevitable.
by Karl Williams synopsis