The film's story is about a girl in the 1960s who attempts to escape an asylum with her inmate friends. Development began in March 2007. The film has strong steampunk influences.
In the mid-1960s, a 20-year-old girl nicknamed "Babydoll" (whose real name is never revealed) is institutionalized by her stepfather at the Lennox House for the Mentally Insane. After the death of Babydoll's mother, Babydoll's stepfather discovers from their mother's will that his wife left everything to her two daughters. Apparently enraged that he worked so hard to marry the woman (and perhaps engineered her death) only to be left nothing, he gets a bottle of Paradise rum and drinks. And drinks some more. He gets so drunk he attacks and possibly tries to rape Babydoll as she emerges from her sleeping sister's room. She escapes him, but he still manages to lock Babydoll in her room as he then advances on his youngest stepdaughter.
Babydoll, panic-stricken, escapes her temporary "holding cell" by climbing out her window and finds her stepfather's .45 caliber pistol. Babydoll stops her stepfather as he is trying to break into the closet where her sister has locked herself. Scared at seeing Babydoll with a gun, he tries to reason with her, but she fires one round that barely clips his left arm. However the bullet ricochets off his arm, hits a steam pipe, shatters a lightbulb, and then fatally strikes her little sister.
Babydoll cries over the body of her sister, horrified at what she had done. Scared and angry, she stalks over to her stepfather who was trying to call the police. She aims the gun at him, but is so upset at what just happened she drops the gun and flees the house. Her stepfather successfully calls the police, who arrest the distraught Babydoll at her mother's grave. She is then taken to the Lennox House for the Mentally Insane.
Her stepfather has framed Babydoll for the murder of her sister, saying she killed her because she is insane, and conspires with the corrupt head orderly, Blue Jones, to forge Dr. Gorski's signature in order to have Babydoll lobotomized so that she cannot reveal the truth about the circumstances leading up to her sister's demise. There are five days before the doctor arrives to perform the surgery on her. During her time in the asylum, Babydoll retreats into a fantasy world in which she is newly arrived in a brothel operated by Blue, whom she envisions as a mobster. While there, she befriends four other inmates who also serve as dancers in the brothel's Paradise Theater: sisters Sweet Pea and Rocket, Amber, and Blondie.
Dr. Vera Gorski encourages Babydoll to perform an erotic dance like the other girls, during which Babydoll further fantasizes she is in feudal Japan, meeting the Wise Man. She tells him she wants to escape, so he presents her with weapons and tells her of five objects she needs to escape: a map, fire, a knife, a key, and an unrevealed item that will require "deep sacrifice" but bring a "perfect victory". He gives her one last piece of advice before he shoves her out the door into the waiting blades of three samurai: She must defend herself. Taking her newly acquired sword in hand, she fights. Once she bests all three warriors, her fantasy ends and she is brought back to the brothel, her dance impressing everyone including Blue.
Later she tells the girls she has a plan to escape. Rocket is all for it, but her sister flatly rejects Baby's plan, saying no one has ever managed to escape before. Blondie says the last three girls who tried died in the attempt. Nontheless, Babydoll tells them that they need to find a map, something to start a fire, a knife, and a key, all four of which she saw when she first walked into Lennox House. She tells them that when she dances, everyone will be so distracted that no one will notice the girls stealing the tools they need. After some convincing, the girls join her in her quest to acheive freedom. First they must get the map with all the exits marked on it, which Sweet Pea has volunteered to steal from Blue Jones's office. Baby begins to dance, transporting herself into another fantasy world mirroring Sweet Pea's theft. In her illusion, the Wise Man informs the girls that the map is in a German trench guarded by undead steampunk WWI soldiers. After some spectacular fighting and a timely rescue by Amber, Babydoll secures the map from a German Courier and Babydoll is brought back to the brothel once again.
Next, the girls must get a way to make fire in order to trigger the fire alarm and thus automatically open all the doors in Lennox House. The Mayor (Amber's client), has a cigar lighter that will suffice nicely. Unfortunately it is kept in the man's breast pocket, and he is not a handsome fellow by a long shot. Amber doesn't think she is brave enought to swipe it from him, but, as Blondie tells her, he is her client. Just kiss him on the neck and slip your hand down his chest into the pocket, is Blondie's advice to her. Gathering her courage, Amber agrees and Babydoll dances for the first time onstage. This time her fantasy is of an orc-infested castle guarding a young dragon. Inside the dragon's throat are two rocks that when struck will create the most awesome fire the girls will ever see. To Rocket's dismay, they'll have to slit the baby dragon's throat. The Wise Man warns them not to wake its mother and sends them on their mission. Rocket, Sweet Pea, and Babydoll storm the castle from the ground while Amber and Blondie take the sky. Once they find the little dragon and slay it, Babydoll strikes the stones together, producing a magnificent fire. Unfortunately that fire wakes up the mother dragon, and she is not happy to find her baby dead. The girls run for their lives as Amber leads the mother away with her plane. After a bit of chasing Big Momma Dragon bites off the part of the aircraft that held Blondie's gun, causing Amber to lead the dragon back to Babydoll, saying that the firebreathing lizard is all hers. Babydoll swiftly jumps the jet of flame the mother shot at her and stabs the dragon in the head, completing their mission.
Back in their dressing room, the girls celebrate Amber's bravery in getting the lighter and taking one more step closer to freedom. Blue breaks in on their little celebration, asking why they are so happy. Sweet Pea explains that they are glad Babydoll did so well on her first time onstage, which can be frightening. Blue is all smiles but is not convinced, instead lightly-but-threatingly accusing the girls, specifically Sweet Pea and Amber, of messing with his stuff and stealing little trinkets from clients. He advances towards Babydoll, saying that if she wasn't about to make him lots of money dancing for a man they call the High Roller (a rich man who will buy Babydoll's virginity in her fantasy, in reality the doctor who will perform the lobotomy)... Blue leaves the threat hanging. Babydoll's dance sceneAdded by Zak1403With only a few days left, Babydoll knows they must hurry. The next item up is the Cook's kitchen knife. Sweet Pea and Rocket agree to do this, even though the large, temperamental cook had previously harmed Rocket physically and threatened to rape her before Babydoll came to her rescue. Amber, Rocket, Sweet Pea, and Babydoll all work in the kitchen waiting for Blondie and Madame Gorski to set up the music. As the clock ticks and the two don't show, the girls start anyway. Rocket sits on the cook's lap to seduce him as the others tune his personal radio to more suitable music, spilling a drink near the radio wire in the process. Baby starts to dance once more, creating another illusion. This time the mission is to deactivate and capture a massive bomb set to go off when the train its on reaches city limits. Sweet Pea, Rocket, and Babydoll handle this mission, shooting every robot set to guard the bomb. They successfully manage to deactivate the bomb with four minutes to go, hook it up to Amber's helicopter, and are nearly ready to go when a robot that was blasted in half regains use of its arms and presses the big bad button overriding the deactivation procedure. Suddenly brought back to the kitchen, Babydoll sees that the radio wire had shorted out in the spilled liquid, messing with the radio, turning it off and back on in quick bursts. The Cook snaps back to attention just as Sweet Pea grabs the knife from his belt. He shoves Rocket off of him and angrily takes out another knife, intending to stab Sweet Pea, but before he can Rocket knocks her aside, taking the blade meant for her sister in the ribs. As the knife comes down Babydoll suddenly snaps back to the bomb on the train. She has managed to get on the helicopter's ladder, but Sweet Pea and Rocket are still down below. There is no more time to try to deactivate the bomb again, so Rocket presses a button on her elder sister's jacket, activating what looks like a jet pack to send her off into the sky and safety while Rocket stays behind to see if there is anything she can do. Sweet Pea screams her little sister's name as the huge bomb explodes. Back in the kitchen, Sweet Pea takes her mortally wounded sister in her arms as the others are frozen with shock. With her dying breath Rocket asks her sister that, when Sweet Pea gets home, to tell their mother that Rocket loves her. Sweet Pea promises, and Rocket dies somewhat peacefully. Blue Jones bursts in at that moment and, seeing one of his girls dead, angrily shouts at the "inbred" cook, snaps at his bodyguards to lock the hysterical Sweet Pea in a closet, and yells at the remaining girls to get ready for their show. Despite all this Amber manages to claim the knife.
Meanwhile Blondie is crying in the dance room. Madame Gorski finds her sobbing on the ground and tries to comfort her, asking Blondie to tell her what's wrong. Before she can, Blue interrupts. He interrogates the badly upset Blondie, and finds out about the the girls' plan to escape.
On the eve of Babydoll's last performance, Blue decides to make examples of what happens when people try to escape and "break the foundation of trust." In the dressing room he rants on how he tries to get all his girls the good life. And he does, so he says. It breaks his heart to have his girls conspire against him. Try to escape even. Vera Gorski attempts to calm him down but he strikes her instead. To her credit, she stands right back up and continues to try to soothe him. He presses a gun to her throat and asks her what is it she does, to which she viciously replies "I teach them...to survive...you." He very nearly shoots her, but to everyone else's relief doesn't. Amber starts stammering out excuses, terrified to her very bones, but Blue calmly says that it's okay. He nonchalantly walks behind Amber and shoots her in the back of the head to the horror of the other girls and Madame Gorski. A terribly guilty and scared Blondie tells the girls she is sorry as Blue informs them that Blondie told him what was up. He appreciates her tip off but says no one likes a snitch, and kills her too. He has the bodies disposed of and sends everyone out of the dressing room except Babydoll. He comes close to Baby, and compares his job to a sandbox: he is sitting at the edge of the sandbox while everyone else gets to play with his toys. But not this time. This time he's going to take his toys, and go home. He then tries to rape Babydoll, but she grabs the knife they had stolen earlier and stabs Blue on the left side of his neck. Stunned, he sinks to the floor. She strongly tells him that he will never get her, and yanks the master key from around his neck. She runs to free Sweet Pea from the utility closet, who asks where Amber and Blondie are. Sadly, Babydoll states that it's just her and Sweet Pea. They have all the items now, and so initiate the escape plan. They create a fire using a molotov cocktail using a Paradise Rum bottle, and wait for someone to pull the fire alarm, unlocking the doors. All is going according to plan until they see a group of drivers blocking the front gate. Sweet Pea, visibly shaking, is distressed to find their way blocked and despairs, but Babydoll concludes that she is the fifth item. It is not her story after all-- it is Sweet Pea's. She tells her friend that she will walk out and create a distraction so Sweet Pea can escape. Babydoll tells her to tell her mother what Rocket said, and that Sweet Pea will have to live for all of them now-- after all, she is the only one who can fit in the outside world. Unlike Rocket, she got along with their parents and only left her life to take care of her sister. Quelling Sweet Pea's protests, Babydoll walks out into the open in full view of Blue's men. Sharing a final look with Sweet Pea as the latter sneaks out the front gate, Babydoll kicks one of the men very hard in the crotch. The lobotomized version of Babydoll.Added by Savannah StarSoon after, Baby is lobotomized. The Doctor asks Dr. Vera Gorski, "What did she do to deserve this?" Saying that the look in Babydoll's eyes just as he did it... it was almost as if she wanted it to happen. Vera Gorski says that Babydoll caused a lot of problems in the one week that she was at Lennox House, including setting a fire and stabbing an orderly, but Vera wouldn't have done a lobotomy as a solution. Confused, the doctor says that she signed the order authorizing the procedure, but Vera says that's not true. The Doctor shows Vera the signature he was given, but Vera quickly recognizes it as a forgery. Meanwhile Blue Jones and his "bodyguards" lead Babydoll to cell where she will be kept. The bodyguards are uneasy, saying they don't like hurting girls and they won't do it any longer, but Blue screams at them to put Baby in the chair and to shut the door. Alone with Baby, Blue kneels close to her. He softly complains to Babydoll that she has lost herself, and that she's not allowed to lose herself until he says so. Leaning closer, he kisses her. The kiss is broken when police bust open the door, Vera Gorski at their side. They swiftly arrest a clearly insane Blue as he yells takes care of the girls and that nothing was done to Baby-- just look at her face! He struggles and shouts that he will use the bribe the Stepfather's gave him to lower his sentence. An officer shines a light on Baby, asking if she is okay. The camera turns to Babydoll's face for the first time since the lobotomy, revealing a blank expression. But she very slightly smiles, suggesting that Babydoll is not completely lost.
Meanwhile, Sweet Pea tries to board a bus at the local bus station in order to escape, but is approached by two suspicious state troopers searching for her. The bus driver - revealed to be the Wise Man - tells them that she has been on the bus the entire day and is, therefore, obviously not who they are looking for and, as one last thing, tells them she is a joyful passenger. After the two men leave, Sweet Pea says she doesn't have a ticket. The Wise Man says that this is no problem and drives her off into the distance.
- Emily Browning as Babydoll
- Vanessa Hudgens as Blondie
- Abbie Cornish as Sweet Pea
- Jamie Chung as Amber
- Jena Malone as Rocket
- Carla Gugino as Madam Gorski
- Jon Hamm as The High Roller
- Scott Glenn as The Wise Man
- Oscar Isaac as Blue
Watch Sucker Punch trailers here.
- Warner Bros. first announced that the movie would be presented in 3D, but the format was abandoned.
- The movie's stunt work was nominated for a Taurus Award.
- Body Count: 421 (including the creatures from the girl's dreams).
- First film directed by Zack Snyder that is not an adaptation. However, the movie features motifs from Lewis Carroll's novel "Alice in Wonderland".
- Sucker Punch contains a number of references to other films – including explicitly calling out other movies with similar themes. See: Movie References.
- You Will Be Unprepared.
- A mind bending vision of reality from the director of Watchmen & 300.
- Before BabyDoll saves Rocket from the cook, she is scrubbing the floor with a brush and bucket. When they run from the kitchen back out to the hallway, you can see the brush and bucket but the floor is dry.
- In the dressing room when Sweet Pea, Rocket and Blondie talk about not helping Baby Doll, their movements not matching their mirror images. Doubles are being used. This is done so the camera can move behind them without being reflected.
- In the dressing room, when Baby Doll lists the four objects the girls must obtain to escape, she writes all four object in cursive, focusing on the last word "KEY". However, when the camera angle changes during the following conversation the list changes handwriting and the words change from cursive to "block letter". It continues to switch back and forth every time the camera angle changes during the conversation.
- During the castle raid Babydoll puts down her machine gun when approaching the baby dragon. When the mother dragon comes up and the girls retreat, Babydoll's gun is still where she left it. After the girls leave, but before the dragon climbs out of the tower, the camera angle changes and the gun is no longer where Babydoll left it.
- A man grabs an old-style metal canister fire extinguisher and immediately begins spraying the fire with it. These extinguishers had to be inverted and the charging pin on top banged on the floor to activate the chemicals and create spraying pressure.
You can find more images at the Sucker Punch Gallery page.
Behind The ScenesEdit