If you’re a Sydney-sider (or even if you’re not) chances are you’ve heard of the infamous “Bra Boys”, a close-knit, oftentimes intimidating surfie gang from the Eastern Suburbs. The boys began as just a bunch of mates from broken homes hanging out at the beach in 90’s working-class Sydney. Now they’re a “brotherhood” with numbers in the hundreds and have become part of the cultural landscape of Maroubra.
Bra Boys: Blood Is Thicker Than Water is the inside story of the gang - a documentary about how they formed, what they’re up against, and what they’re fighting for. Narrated by Russell Crowe, it’s a fascinating look at mateship, local pride and at how a passion like surfing can save your life.
But it’s also a look at it what it takes to join (and stay in) a gang: the rules you play by and the rules you’re forced to break.
Being a Bra Boy is a lifestyle- it’s not just the matching tattoos and plugging the clothing label- it’s about community activism and being proud of where you come from and trying to improve the life of Maroubra’s locals. But the flipside of hometown pride is wanting to protect your turf- something the boys are known to defend to the death. Like any gang, the Bra Boys are deeply suspicious of outsiders and have a reputation for violence with rap sheets including assault, drug smuggling and murder. This is as frank and honest a look at Sydney’s gang culture that you’re ever likely to see.
If after watching Bra Boys you’re looking for another dose of the thug life, SBS On Demand is your first port of call:
Satudarah: One Blood is a gripping doco about one of the Netherlands’ most notorious bikie gangs. Violent and feared, they have grown from a group of small-town hoodlums into an international conglomerate linked with drug trafficking, extortion and murder. This fascinating documentary takes you deep inside their terrifying inner sanctum.
In the mood for something a little more dramatic? Maybe Gangland Undercover, coming soon to SBS On Demand, is more your style. It’s a fictionalized account of the life of Charles Falco, a real-life former meth-dealer turned government informant who infiltrated three different outlaw bikie gangs in the US. This six-part series follows Charles as he gains the outlaws trust- and in doing so, gains unprecedented access- to an entire network of seriously bad dudes, helping to bring the mighty gavel of sweet justice down on their heads.
Look, I’m not advocating joining a gang anytime soon. However, if you find them mysterious, dangerous and kinda fascinating but you’re not ready to commit 100% to the lifestyle, SBS has got you covered: with On Demand you can discover a Gangsta’s Paradise from the comfort of your couch.
Bra Boys: Blood is thicker than water premieres Sunday, 16 October at 10.20pm on SBS
Satudarah: One Blood is available On Demand.