The full music video for “Bad” is an 18-minute short film written by novelist and screenwriterRichard Price. The video was directed by Martin Scorsese during a period of 6 weeks in the fall of 1987. The video has many references to the 1961 film West Side Story, especially the “Cool” sequence. Not only does it show a street gang dancing in an urban setting, but there are also some parts of the choreography that were influenced by it. The choreographerGregg Burge confirmed the influence, although they intended to do a more contemporary version of it. Assistant choreographer Jeffrey Daniel commented, “It’s like a train coming across the screen […] and that’s the effect I was looking for and it worked”.
In the video, Jackson plays a teenager 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 neighborhood. Daryl arrives to find his house empty (his mother is played by Roberta Flack, albeit in voiceover), but is greeted by his old friends, led by Mini Max (an emerging Wesley Snipes) and spends an evening with them. At first relations are friendly, if slightly awkward, but the situation deteriorates once the rest of the gang realize how much Daryl has changed, and in particular 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 (The Hoyt Schermerhorn Station in Brooklyn) where he attempts to mug an elderly man but changes his mind 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 color and Daryl, now dressed head to foot in black leather and joined by a crowd of dancing punks, sings “Bad” and dances his moves. His insistences that Max is headed for a fall are nearly Daryl’s undoing, but eventually his friend accepts that, and, after a final handshake, heads off leaving Daryl. The scene shifts back to black and white as Daryl, alone and back in his tracksuit, watches them leave.
The music video to the song used an audio track different from the original album recording, using another instrumental organ solo in the middle of the song. This version hasn’t been commercially released.
The video premiered on primetime on the CBS Television Network, on August 31, 1987, on the primetime special Michael Jackson: The Magic Returns.
The music video was included on the video albums: Video Greatest Hits – HIStory (long version on DVD and short version in VHS), Number Ones (short version), Michael Jackson’s Vision (long version) and the Target version DVD of Bad 25 (short version).
The music video received one nomination at the 1988 MTV Video Music Awards Ceremony. The video, alongside Jackson’s ‘”The Way You Make Me Feel” video, was nominated for Best Choreography, but lost to Jackson’s younger sister Janet‘s video “Pleasure Principle”.After Jackson’s death in June 2009, City Councilwoman Letitia James began trying to convince the agency to rename or co-name the station or to hang a plaque at the station in Jackson’s honor, but her request was denied by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York in September 2009. James commented, “Having Michael Jackson visit and moonwalk at this station was a huge deal not only for Brooklyn, but all of New York in the ’80s […] And renaming this station in his honor would put it on the map and help ensure that people don’t forget.”A source from the MTA commented that no subway stations in the MTA system are named or co-named after individuals, mostly because it could confuse riders.