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Abusive Parents: Film
  • Bill Heslop in Muriel's Wedding degrades his children at every turn, including this little gem in the middle of a restaurant where he was supposed to be impressing a pair of Japanese businessmen: "Useless. You're all useless! A bunch of useless no-hopes..."
  • Gordie's, Chris's and Teddy's fathers in Stand by Me. Gordie's father is emotionally abusive, Chris's father is physically abusive, and Teddy's father pressed Teddy's ear down on a hot stove disfiguring it, presumably during a flashback to his time in WWII. (Yet, Teddy furiously defends his father when the junk man calls him a "loony". This loyalty is something Gordie claims to never have understood.)
  • Implied in the Spider-Man Trilogy. Mary Jane's father is heard yelling at her, and we hear him mentioned, but we never lay eyes on the man. Of course, he's abusive so it's no great loss that we don't know anything more about him.
  • Darth Vader from Star Wars lops off his own son's hand in a lightsaber duel and then has the audacity to ask him to join the Dark Side.
  • In Don't Go in the House Donny's mother used to put his bare arms over the gas stove in order to "burn the evil out of him". This seemed to be a regular childhood punishment of his.
  • In House of Games, the main character Dr. Margaret Ford has a patient whose father repeatedly called her a whore during her childhood.
  • Though thankfully not shown onscreen, Zack is regularly beaten by his father (who also beats his mother) in Kindergarten Cop, and, as a result, is emotionally stunted and regularly comes to school with bruises from "falling down the stairs." When your homeroom teacher happens to be Arnold Schwarzenegger, you can bet that the child-beating brute is going to get a delightful collection of bruises of his own...
  • Welcome To The Dollhouse: Dawn Weiner has some of the worst parents in the history of film. Her mother is condescending, cruel and constantly talks down to her, while her father doesn't want to know/care she exists. When her little sister is kidnapped, she heroically runs away and tries to find her. Her sister is found, but Dawn's parents don't even care/know that she's gone. Someone call child services.
    • In the director's later film Palindromes, it is revealed Dawn committed suicide as a result of the abuse.
  • In The Alzheimer's Case it's revealed that Laddo and his brother were physically and sexually abused by their father as children, which explains Laddo's hatred of harming children as an adult.
  • Frank Abagnale Jr.'s parents in Catch Me If You Can but his father engages in emotional abuse in one of his last scenes. Frank has been trying to stop his criminal lifestyle for a while now, but can't go through with it until his father tell him that it's alright to do so. Instead Frank Sr. refuses and tries to use his son as a weapon against the government out of spite, because they didn't support him when his business went under. This part of the film did not happen in real life.
  • Frank Zito's mother in Maniac. In the original it is strongly implied that his mother regularly burnt him with cigarettes, we see the scars in the opening scene on his chest as he examines them in a mirror. There is also a scene in which he burns a little boy mannequin with a cigarette in the same place, while he has an audio flashback of his mother's psychological abuse. There are several audio flashbacks of her locking him in a closet as punishment while he begs her not to. In a scene where he talks to a victim (who he imagines as his mother) he mentions how she brought men back to the house for sex in return for money, and how he had witnessed this as a child. He also mentions how she would go out and leave him on his own. In the remake, there are visual flashbacks of him witnessing his mother having sex with her clients. He was locked in the closet and she knew he could see her having sex, so in the case she intended him to witness it. Another visual flashback is shown of his mother having sex with a client, this time outside (and at night), Frank watches them and is clearly disturbed. She is then verbally abusive to him and shouts at him to wait in the car.
  • UHF: R.J. Fletcher portrays this real well when he's first seen & heard abusing his son R.J. Fletcher Jr. for not acting intelligent enough.
  • The Butterfly Effect has Kayleigh's father. In the first timeline, he often had her strip and filmed her. In another timeline, due to Evan's interference, he left her alone but shifted the abuse to her brother. It is implied that it was physical abuse rather than sexual.
  • Michael Myers had these in the Halloween (2007) remake.
  • Hinted at with Charlie in Mystery Team.
  • The monstrous Mrs. Bates in Psycho inflicted awful emotional abuse on her son, Norman. First of all, she cut him off from all other society throughout childhood, making him utterly dependent on her. All the while, she tells him that sex is evil and dirty, and that women are whores (except her). She then abandons him at age 12 when she finds a boyfriend. Unable to deal with the loss of his one companion, Norman murders them both. Wracked with guilt afterwards, he develops an identity disorder, occasionally taking on her personality to deal with his guilt and grief. Unfortunately, even the internalised Mrs. Bates is emotionally abusive, and Norman is riddled with anxieties over his sexuality and still smothered by his domineering mother.
  • In a bit of narration in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Sarah Connor reflects on the fact that every would-be father figure Sarah had chosen for John was abusive or in some way unfavorable... except the reprogrammed T-800 sent to protect John.
  • Mommie Dearest, which is based on the infamous exploits of Joan Crawford. Faye Dunaway's Crawford is painful to listen to at times.
  • In Broken Blossoms Lucy Burrows is regularly beaten by her father, who eventually kills her.
  • The entire reason two brothers attempt to build a flying machine in RadioFlyer is to escape their Wicked Stepfather. "The King", as he's called, is particularly abusive to Bobby, the younger brother, beating him over the tiniest things while in a drunken rage. At one point Bobby even needs to be hospitalized for the abuse.
  • The title character in Mikey had these as well.
  • Mr. Deeds implies that the father of one of the characters was physically abusive, as Mr Deeds' character lectures the character about swearing in front of the ladies as well as skipping school. Although he does tell the dad about skipping school, he apparently didn't tell the dad about swearing in front of the ladies, to which when he found out from Deeds, he was implied to have beaten the son with a belt. It is done for laughs. With the character being an (adult) football player.
  • One of The Joker's "scar stories" in The Dark Knight has Joker claiming that he got at least one of the Glasgow Grin scars from his drunken father as a child, after said father stabbed his mother to death right in front of him. He later implies that this particular story is his actual origin ("You know, you remind me of my father. I hated my father!")
  • In the movie Natural Born Killers there is a flashback which shows Mickey as a deliveryman who came to the house where Mallory lived with her abusive father, her neglectful mother, and her younger brother Kevin. The flashback is portrayed as an All In The Family or Married... With Children-style sitcom with a canned laughter track, the "audience" laughing hardest when Mallory is subjected to lewd comments, being molested by her father, and threatened with rape. It's implied he's raped her before, when her mother notes that Kevin was only born because her father was drunk and didn't realize he was in his own bedroom, and not Mallory's.
  • This is a plot point in Chinatown, and is the source of one of Film Noir's most shocking reveals. To make a long story short, Noah Cross raped Mrs. Mulwray and she had a daughter by him. Mulwray's protectiveness toward her drives a good amount of the plot.
  • It is implied in the film adaptation of Forrest Gump that Jenny and her sisters were frequently sexually molested by her father during their childhood.
  • Sybil, starring Sally Field. A girl is abused so badly she splits into multiple personalities to protect herself. The psychology may be dubious, but the depictions of the abuse are harrowing.
  • Eastern Promises. Semyon is physically and verbally abusive well into Kirill's adulthood. It may have gotten worse now that Kirill's a grown man, and is also, at least implicitly, because Kirill is likely gay. It comes across as worse in contrast to how Semyon treats the little girls in their family, which seems genuinely avuncular. Well, maybe not all the little girls in his family — Semyon also orders Kirill to murder one of his illegitimate children, who would be Kirill's own infant half-sister.
  • Precious - Poor, poor Clareece "Precious" Jones. An illiterate and obese teenager, she has been raped by her father and impregnated twice, and endures constant and physical abuse from her unemployed mother, Mary. To escape from her grimy reality, she often tries to imagine a world where she's loved and appreciated.
  • In A Christmas Story, Ralphie's mom asks him where he learned the "F dash dash dash" word. He decides it's a bad idea to truthfully say his dad, so he says his friend Schwartz. Ralphie's mom calls Mrs. Schwartz and notifies her. She screams "What?!" and proceeds to beat him without even hanging up.
  • The entire plot of The White Ribbon revolves around parental brutality, repression and abuse against children in a German pre-war village.
  • The title character's father in Tamara, a violent alcoholic who rapes his daughter.
  • The Breakfast Club: All five of the main characters have these.
    • Bender's father is an alcoholic who beats him for no discernable reason and his mother is timid.
    • Brian's parents emotionally treat him like a dog and live vicariously off of his academic achievements.
    • Claire's parents play mind games on her to get back at each other.
    • Allison's parents don't give a damn, and ignore her.
    • Andy's dad is a sociopathic bastard who pressures his son to be like him and perform perfectly in sports. Like Brian's parents, it is insinuated he gets his jollies off of this.
  • The parents in Dogtooth keep their kids in a walled-off estate and skew their perceptions of reality (by teaching them the wrong meanings of words and making them come to believe that the outside world is dangerous). When one of the daughters (none of the kids have been given names) comes into contact with some DVDs, the father tapes said DVDs to his hand and beats her brutally with them.
  • In Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael, Winona Ryder's character had an emotionally abusive adoptive mother.
  • In Heathers, J.D.'s father Bud Dean is strongly implied to be a sociopath who doesn't care about his son. He also drove his wife into committing suicide.
  • John Schneider's character Jacob, from October Baby, is a rare unintentional example of this trope. He lies to his adopted daughter, uses the borderline-suicidal passages in her diary as a pretext for further hospitalization, violates the Hippocratic Oath, pushes her out of relationship with her best friend, and threatens to pull her out of college. All for her own good, mind you.
  • Nathan Grantham in Creepshow, as well as the father of the boy who's reading the comic in the framing story.
  • In Star Trek Kirk's stepfather, Frank, is implied to have been abusive.
  • The dinner table scene in After Earth goes a bit too far with Cypher's aloofness to his son, making him seem like this instead. Especially when you learn the reason for it is that he resents Kitai leaving his sister to be killed by an ursa, when he would have undoubtedly just been killed himself if he'd stayed.
  • Stoker gives us Evelyn Stoker. This quote from the film should say it all.
    "You know, I've often wondered why it is we have children in the first place. And the conclusion I've come to is... At some point in our lives we realize things are screwed up beyond repair. So we decide to start again. Wipe the slate clean. Start fresh. And then we have children. Little carbon copies we can turn to and say, "You will do what I could not. You will succeed where I have failed." Because we want someone to get it right this time. But not me... Personally speaking, I can't wait to watch life tear you apart."
  • One of Homer Hickam, Jr.'s schoolmates in October Sky has an abusive stepfather, finally resulting in Homer Hickam, Sr. stepping in and threatening to beat the stepfather any time he sees evidence that he's been abusing the boy.
  • Jess' father, in the 2007 Film of the Book of Bridge to Terabithia, is a borderline case. He is abjectly disrespectful of his son's creativity and constantly makes sneering remarks about his son's kind heart and artistic ability. However, he begins making a Heel-Face Turn by the end of the story, brought on by Leslie's death. Jess retains his kindness and creativity, despite his father's harsh treatment.
  • In Agnes Of God, Agnes is sexually molested by her mother.
  • Trust me, you do NOT want to have a mother in Carved: The Slit-Mouthed Woman. Every child that does (except for Natsuki) was physically abused by their mothers. note 
  • Nina's mother in Black Swan is shown to be overbearing and emotionally crippling; she still lives with her twenty-eight year old daughter, constantly keeps tabs on Nina's career (by phoning in to the people at the ballet company), projects her own regrets and failures on her - at one point implying that Nina was the reason she had to give up on her dreams... to Nina's face to less, and is presented to the audience as a barrier between Nina and her sexuality, let alone adulthood in general. How much of this is the real her, and how much is a result of Nina's slowly slipping grip on reality is anyone's guess.
  • K. Roth's mother in The Living Wake is of the emotionally abusive variety. Coldly blames his father's disappearance on him (as in, tells him to his face that it was his fault. And his father disappeared when he was five), and refuses to believe him when he tells her that he only has one day left to live, and would like her to come to his funeral, which he'll be leading later that day. Once he actually does die, she does show a bit of remorse, but not nearly enough.
  • X-Men:
    • William Stryker in X2: X-Men United lobotomized his mutant son Jason and reduced him to a wheelchair-bound source of mind control serum. He even stops referring to his son by name, calling him "Mutant 143". Xavier is horrified that William would do this to his own son, but William claims that his son is already dead, just like the rest of mutantkind.
    • In The Wolverine, Shingen Yashida is seen slapping his daughter early on, and later tries to kill her.
  • In Pay It Forward, Trevor's father beats his mother, Mr. Simonet's father beat his mother and him (not to mention burning him alive), and Trevor's grandmother is implied to have been this.

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