17 Movies That Shed a Bad Light on Dads (PHOTOS)

Margeaux Baulch Klein | Jan 11, 2016 Movies


When it comes to dreaming up a movie villain or on-screen antagonist, many screenwriters don't look futher than dear old dad. 

From Darth Vader to The Shining's Jack Torrance, click through for 17 fathers we're glad are just fictional film characters.


Image via Rodrigo Reyes Marin/AFLO/Nippon News/Corbis

  • Darth Vader in 'Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope' (1977)


    Image via Lucas Film Ltd

    Imagine finding out that Darth Vader, your evil nemesis who is bent on destroying the galaxy, is actually the father you never knew. As Luke Skywalker finds out in Star Wars, that's about as bad as it can get. 

  • Bill Welbrock in 'Boyhood' (2014)


    Image via IFC Films

    It's not just dads who get to be the abusive alcoholics who assault their wives and harshly punish their kids, it's stepdads too, like Marco Perella's character in Boyhood.

  • Mr. O'Brien in 'The Tree of Life' (2011)


    Image via Fox Searchlight Pictures

    He may be handsome, but Brad Pitt's role as the father in The Tree of Life is anything but warm and fuzzy. As the elder Mr. O'Brien, he plays a frighteningly stern and unemotional father of three boys who rules over his family with an iron fist.

  • Lester Burnham in 'American Beauty' (1999)


    Image via DreamWorks Pictures

    Having a creepy obsession with your under-aged daughter's best friend will definitely land you on a "worst movie dads" list. But Kevin Spacey's Lester Burnham isn't the only bad father in American Beauty. His neighbor, played by Chris Cooper, is a strict, abusive parent to his own son.

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  • Mr. Wormwood in 'Matilda' (1996)


    Image via TriStar Pictures

    Poor Matilda. As the villain of the movie, her father, Mr. Wormwood, played by Danny Devito, neglects her, rips up her books, and calls her names.

  • Royal Tenenbaum in 'The Royal Tenenbaums' (2001)


    Image via Touchstone Pictures

    Royal's kids in The Royal Tenenbaums may be grown up when he tries to reconnect with them, but he learns that they haven't let go of their childhood resentments. Among his many faults: He favors son Richie over the other two; he forgets daughter Margot's middle name and always points out that she's adopted; and he intentionally shot his son Chas with a BB gun.

  • Jack Torrance in 'The Shining' (1980)


    Image via Warner Bros.

    Considered one of the scariest movies in history, Stanley Kubrick's The Shining features Jack Nicholson as an insane, alcoholic father who wants to murder his own child.

  • Wayne Szalinski in 'Honey, I Shrunk the Kids' (1989)


    Image via Buena Vista Pictures

    If you're going to keep a ray gun with the ability to shrink humans at home, it should at least be locked up and unplugged. For failing to do that and accidentally shrinking his offspring, Wayne Szalinski (played by Rick Moranis) is a terrible father in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.

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  • Dr. Evil in 'Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery' (1997)


    Image via New Line Cinema

    When you're Dr. Evil, it's apparently hard to form a close bond with your son, even with you go to therapy together. It probably doesn't also help to admit to the therapist that you are actually trying to kill your son but have so far been unsucessful.

  • Peter McCallister in 'Home Alone' (1990)


    Image via Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

    Peter McCallister (played by John Heard) is about as neglectful as a father can be when he forgets his young son at home during a family vacation in Home Alone. What's worse? He loses him again in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.

  • Daniel Plainview in 'There Will Be Blood' (2007)


    Image via Paramount Vantage

    Is Daniel Day-Lewis' character, Daniel Plainview, in There Will Be Blood the ultimate bad dad? In the movie, he adopts a child and then cruelly sends him a way when he's done using him to fulfill a business purpose.

  • Mr. Perry in 'Dead Poets Society' (1989)


    Image via Touchstone Pictures

    Of all of the harsh military dads depicted in movies, Mr. Perry (played by Kurtwood Smith) in Dead Poets Society may be the worst.

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  • Bender's Dad in 'The Breakfast Club' (1985)


    Image via Universal Pictures

    None of the parents of the high school kids in The Breakfast Club are ones to admire, but Bender's verbally and physically abusive dad (who the audience only encounters through Bender's crazy impersonation of him in this scene) wins the contest for the worst of the lot.

  • Homer Simpson in 'The Simpsons Movie' (2007)


    Image via Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

    While he may be a bumbling doofus of a father on TV, in The Simpsons Movie, Homer Simpson proves he's a thoughtful, caring dad...Just kidding! He's still in the running for World's Worst Father.

  • Peter Banning in 'Hook' (1991)


    Image via TriStar Pictures

    Not only is Robin William's dad character, Peter Banning, a workaholic who misses his son's baseball games, he also doesn't believe in magic and apparently has completely forgotten his childhood adventures as Peter Pan, which makes him kind of dumb as well.

  • Mr. Banks in 'Mary Poppins' (1964)


    Image via Walt Disney Productions

    It's a good thing that a magical nanny came to save the children in Mary Poppins, as their strict, no-nonsense father Mr. Banks likely would have eventually snuffed out their spirits and killed their sense of joy.

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  • John Milton in 'The Devil’s Advocate' (1997)


    Image via Warner Bros. Entertainment

    Spoiler alert: Keanu Reeves plays a lawyer in The Devil’s Advocate who finds out that his adversary is actually his dad John Milton, and his dad (played by Al Pacino) is literally Satan.

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