In 1969, Britain woke up to skinheads. They had been around for ages but in September 1969 the Daily Mirror christened the movement. At the same time a seminal British film called Bronco Bullfrog was released which would help launch the next fashion craze – suedeheads.
Bronco Bullfrog was set in the East End of London and was filmed in six weeks in and around Stratford.
Using young actors from Joan Littlewood’s acting workshop, much of the film was improvised, giving the film an authenticity lacking in most ‘youth’ movies.
The movie posters even got it right, featuring a picture of a skinhead’s bovver-boots and jeans.
The movie followed the council estate life of 17-year-old welder’s apprentice Del Quant (Del Walker) who was harassed at home and harassed by his 15-year-old girlfriend’s mother.
One day, Del meets up with Bronco (Sam Shepherd), a mate on the run from borstal, and together they pull off a job. Then the police come knocking . . .
Bronco Bullfrog was a kitchen sink drama which perfectly caught the crossover period when Skins were becoming Suedeheads. Bronco wears standard skinhead clobber, but Del (with long hair and penny collars) is where 1970 was heading.
Made by editor turned director Barney Platts-Mills on a shoestring budget of just £17,000, this slice of authentic social realism was a major achievement and is fittingly highly-praised for its understated storyline and direction.
The cast of non-professionals is led by the impressive Sam Shepherd as the eponymous Bronco.
Bronco Bullfrog (Jo Saville)