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The Bay Boy is a critically acclaimed 1984 Canadian film. It is a semi-autobiographical film based on director Daniel Petrie's experiences of growing up in Glace Baymarker, a mining town on Cape Breton Islandmarker, during the Great Depression. It features the screen debut of Kiefer Sutherland as the film's central character.


Donald Campbell (Kiefer Sutherland) is a sensitive teenage boy coming of age in a dark and uncertain time for both his community and life. His mother (Liv Ullman) wants him to continue his education and become a priest, but Donald is more interested in girls than the Bible, and a molestation attempt by a local priest dissuades him further from this path.

Donald spends his time helping his father (Peter Donat) with a Bootleg Pit while caring for his mentally handicapped older brother and pursuing Saxon Coldwell (Leah Pinsent), his next-door neighbor.

Donald lives a hard-working but happy life, surrounded by old friends and family. But one night he witnesses a murder by a local policemen, the father of his neighbor and object of affection. He knows speaking out might endanger his family and his relationship with the man's daughters.

The film also depicts the daily lives of the eccentric locals and tight-knit families.


The movie was filmed entirely on location in Cape Breton, and primarily in Glace Bay. Many of the extras are performed by local residents.


The film won the Genie Award for Best Canadian Film.


External links

  • Canadian Film Encyclopedia [A publication of The Film Reference Library/a division of the Toronto International Film Festival Group]
  • The AV Trust's newsletter PreserVision. Issue 7 (Spring 2006) features an article on The Bay Boy' and "losing" films.

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