Bad is an 18-minute-long short film written by novelist and screenwriter Richard Price and starring Michael Jackson. Jackson portrays a boy named Daryl who has just completed a successful term at an expensive private school. He returns to the city by subway, arriving in a derelict neighbourhood.
Daryl arrives to find his house empty, but is greeted by his old friends, led by Mini Max (Wesley Snipes) and spends an evening with them. At first relations are friendly, but the situation deteriorates once the rest of the gang realise how much Daryl has changed and how uncomfortable he has become with their tendencies towards petty crime. In an attempt to show his friends he is still bad, Daryl takes the gang to a subway station where he attempts to mug an elderly man but chickens out at the last minute. Mini Max berates Daryl and tells him that he's no longer 'bad'.
After more abuse from Mini Max, the video jumps from black and white to colour and Daryl, now dressed head to foot in leather and joined by a crowd of dancing punks, sings "Bad" (it's at this point that the video generally starts when it is played). His insistence that Max is heading for a fall, but eventually Max accepts that "that's the way it goes down", and, after a final handshake, heads off with his gang. The scene shifts back to black and white as Daryl, alone and back in his tracksuit, watches them leave.