For the first short film for one of five consecutive record-breaking No. 1 hits from Bad, Michael Jackson and director Martin Scorsese created an epic 18-minute tale of urban and racial challenges in the 1980s. “Bad” was named the second greatest of Michael’s short films by Rolling Stone in 2014.
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Written and Composed by Michael Jackson
Produced by Quincy Jones for Quincy Jones Productions
Co-Produced by Michael Jackson for MJJ Productions, Inc.
From the album Bad, released August 31, 1987
Released as a single September 7, 1987
THE SHORT FILM
Director: Martin Scorsese
Primary Production Location: New York City, New York
Michael Jackson’s short film for “Bad” was the first of nine short films produced for recordings from Bad, one of the best selling albums of all time. The “Bad” single hit No. 1 in three countries in 1987, topping the charts in the United States, Spain and the Netherlands and reaching Top 5 in the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Australia and elsewhere. In the U.S., “Bad” was the second of five consecutive No. 1 singles from one album on the Billboard Hot 100-making Michael the first artist to achieve this milestone.
Inspired by the real-life story of Edmund Perry, a prep school graduate from Harlem whose shooting death by a plainclothes policeman galvanized New York City, “Bad” stars Michael as Darryl, a student returning to his inner-city home while on break from a prestigious academy. In the short film’s extended black and white sequence, Darryl comes into conflict with his neighborhood friends (led by actor Wesley Snipes in a breakthrough role) after showing discomfort over their attempts at petty crime. Angrily dismissed by his friends for no longer being “bad,” Darryl challenges them in an abandoned subway station. As the film suddenly transitions to color, Darryl, clad in the black leather outfit Michael wears on the Bad album sleeve, leads a troupe of dancers in a high energy performance of “Bad,” asserting his toughness without resorting to violence and ultimately earning the respect of his peers.
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