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The Boy in the Plastic Bubble Movie Review (1976 Movie)

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The Boy In The Plastic Bubble the movie


The Boy In The Plastic Bubble the movie is a 1976 movie starring famous movie actor John Travolta. This movie was filmed before he starred in one of his most famous movies, Grease.

John Travolta was 22 years old when the film, The Boy In The Plastic Bubble was made. John Travolta was playing a 17 year old movie character named Todd in the movie, The Boy In The Plastic Bubble.

The movie, The Boy In The Plastic Bubble follows the main movie character Todd from babyhood to four years old to being a teenager which is when John Travolta begins to play the character Todd.


The movie, The Boy In The Plastic Bubble begins with a couple learning that the wife is pregnant. The doctor drives up to their home, paying a home visit to share the news as the couple stands outside in front of their house to listen.

Worry and fear

The woman is overcome with worry and fear because they had experienced loss of a child before. Her husband is more joyful and hopeful to be expecting a baby and tries to comfort his worried wife.

No immune system

At the child's birth, it is determined that he (Todd) does have the same health condition of no immune system that the couple's previous child had.

Sterilized conditions

The team of doctors think that the baby Todd might have to spend his life in the hospital in sterilized conditions.

She wants her baby to be at home

One day, in an emotional movie scene, Todd's mother sweeps the grounds in front of her house while looking over at her neighbors, a mother and her young daughter that she pushes on a swing.

Todd's mother is very saddened and tells her husband that she wants her baby home.


Arrangements are made for Todd to be transported home from the hospital in a red ambulance to continue to live in a sterilized environment.

Journalists and news reporters crowd around the family's home to learn more information about this rare medical case as Todd is transported home.

By this time, Todd is four years old with dark black hair and bares a lot of resemblance to John Travolta who would play the same movie character, Todd at seventeen years old.

As Todd leaves the red ambulance in the driveway and enters the house in a special clear sterilized carrier, he gets to see the little girl around his age who is his next door neighbor. He ends up having a crush on her for his whole life until the movie's end. For several years, he is never able to leave his home but he gazes at her through his window.

Quite a Scare

Not long after four year old Todd settles into his family's home, in a very heightened scene with dramatic background music, Todd chokes on the button eye of a teddy bear and his parents save him from choking.

Todd's parents have quite a scare and they are so relieved that he is ok.

Todd as a teenager

As the actor John Travolta begins to play Todd in his teenage years, he is found reading, learning, studying, watching television, exercising and dancing all in the same sterilized room.

His parents have a dining table pulled up to his room so that he can eat dinners with them beyond a clear plastic partition.

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His doctor also pays him a visit to play chess and discuss things.

Todd is unable to experience human touch without the use of gloves, through the plastic bubble.

Todd's trusted doctor helps to set him up with remote learning with a high school class. Todd's doctor lets him know that he is building immunity and that with new medical advances, he might be able to leave his home in an astronaut spacesuit.

Todd is very hesitant and his doctor accuses him of being afraid to grow up.

4th of July

The neighbor girl that Todd has spent years being smitten with stops by and invites him to a Fourth of July party on behalf of her family. (Her Mom insisted that she go over and invite Todd.)

Surprisingly, with his parents help, Todd leaves home and goes to the 4th of July party in a clear sterilized carrier, his portable "plastic bubble".

The neighbor girl rides past on her horse and asks Todd if he likes her horse.

He says that he loves it and loves to watch her ride the horse.

She tells him that he shouldn't tell people that he "loves" things. They will think he's corny.

Later, at the 4th of July party

Later, that same evening at the 4th of July party as it has gotten dark and fireworks are being set off, Todd's neighbor comes over to him again, this time on foot.

She asks to hold his hand with the gloves. He is flattered and smitten as usual.

We quickly learn that she is just playing a trick on him with her affection. She placed a bet with a couple of mean high schoolers who apparently dared her to go hold Todd's hand.

When she walked off to collect her cash from the bet, Todd saw this and became irate when she told him, "You didn't think I was serious, did you?!" (about holding his hand).

His parents are afraid that he would hurt himself flailing about in that carrier and Todd asks them to take him to the hospital.

Todd's mother screams out to the girl, "What did you say to him!!"

What did you say to him?!

— Todd's mother to the neighbor

At the hospital

The 1976 made for television movie, The Boy In The Plastic Bubble, is just an hour and a half long but has many poignant moments.

When Todd goes to the hospital, he is not taken to the room that he usually goes to during hospital visits. He has a roommate of sorts through a clear plastic partition, a young man that is a cancer patient with his immune system compromised by the chemotherapy. For the past few months, he has been having to live the way that Todd has lived his whole life but he is still very frustrated and has lots of questions for Todd.

Todd resists until the guy literally starts crying, then Todd says he'll answer whatever questions he wants as long as he stops crying.


When Todd returns home, he understandably has difficulty trusting his neighbor.


He is eventually able to open up and have a friendship with her.


There are different moments of them having to forgive each other.

Todd eventually attends high school in person wearing the earlier suggested space suit.

There are several more dramatic moments before the movie's end and the end is quite dramatic as well!

The Boy In The Plastic Bubble Movie

© 2022 Nyesha Pagnou MPH

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