Sixteen of the Worst TV & Movie Dads

I recently did a post on my favorite TV and movie dads, in honor of Father's Day. And being that I'm all about balance – the yin and yang… I figured I'd give the "bad" dads their dues as well. Some of these fathers are the dads we love to hate and some of them, well… we just hate. Plus, they'll make you appreciate your own dads, even more.

Here are my top sixteen worst movie and TV dads with a quote that represents just how bad they are (Warning –  some of the videos may have strong language):


Ed Wilson

In my opinion, Ed wins the "Worst" father of all time award. In Natural Born Killers, he is Mallory's dad, a wife-beater and sexual molester of his own daughter.

"Ill show her a little tenderness, after I eat. When I get up there, she won't see my face for an hour."  

Jack Torrance

The creepiest dad of all time award has to go to Jack Torrance, in The Shining. A father driven mad, by an evil presence in a hotel he and his family are caretakers at for the winter, to kill his wife and young son.

"I dreamed that I, that I killed you and Danny. But I didn't just kill ya. I cut you up in little pieces. Oh my God. I must be losing my mind."

Dwight Hansen

In This Boy's Life, Dwight is an abusive father and husband. He hates himself and his life so much that he takes it out on his son.

"I don't believe that crap, you know, I believe there is such a thing as a bad boy, bad clear through. It's gonna be my job to set you straight. That's right, to kill or cure. Kill or cure!

Jerry Blake

Obsessed with having what he thinks is a perfect family, Jerry moves around marrying different single moms and when he gets disenchanted by the new family, he kills them, in Stepfather.

"Wait a minute, who am I here?"

Darth Vader

Darth Vader won't be winning any father of the year awards, seeing that he is more than willing to kill his own son, in the Star Wars series, The Empire Strikes Back.

"He will join us or die, my master."

Old Man Dunphy

In Outside Providence, Old Man Dunphy is a cold, emotionally detached father.

"It's to prepare you for not getting your neck broke by me."

Daniel Plainview

In There Will Be Blood, Daniel Plainview is a ruthless oil prospector, driven by an intense hatred of others, by greed, and a need to see any and all competitors fail, including his own son.

"It's the truth. You're not my son. You never have been. You're an orphan. did you ever hear that word? You operated here today like one. I should have seen this coming. I should have known that under this all, these past years you've been building your hate for me piece by piece. I don't even know who you are because you have none of me in you, you're someone else's. This anger, your maliciousness, backwards dealings with me. You're an orphan from a basket in the middle of the desert. And I took you for no other reason than I needed a sweet face to by land. "

Lester Burnham

A depressed suburban dad going through a mid-life crisis with an infatuation with his daughter's friend, in American Beauty.

"Both my wife and daughter think I'm this gigantic loser and they're right, I have lost something. I'm not exactly sure what it is but I know I didn't always feel this sedated."

Peter Griffen

I know Family Guy has a huge following (my husband is one of them), but Peter is the most annoying father on this list. The only reason I guess I don't think he's the worst, is that he is an animated character. And it's also difficult to find a quote clean enough to use.

"I walked into the kitchen and sat down at the table. I looked with a grimace at the questionable meal Lois had placed in front of me. Of course I'd never tell her how disgusted I was with her cooking, but somehow I think she knew. Lois had always been full of energy and life, but lately I had begun to grow more aware of her aging. The bright, exuberant eyes that I had fallen in love with were now beginning to grow dull and listless with the long fatigue of a weary life."

George Miller

In The Butterfly Effect, the neighbor dad, is a child pornographer. Pretty sleazy.

"Take off your clothes, just like we do at bath time. You too, Evan."

Homer Simpson

Not only is The Simpsons the longest running animated series, it's the longest running prime-time comedy series in U.S. TV history. So bad dad or not… he's popular, even likable. But based purely on what kind of parent he is, he comes in as one of the worst.

"Son, when you participate in sporting events, it's not whether you win or lose; it's how drunk you get."

Archie Bunker

Ah, Archie… a sexist, bigot, uptight, and very opinionated husband and father, in All in the Family. I think Archie was a character that people (in the 70s) loved to hate. But as a father and father-in-law, he was rude and foul-mouthed.

"Whatever happened to the good old days when kids was scared to death of their parents?" "I never left Gloria alone when she was a baby. Wherever I went, I made sure Edith was with her."

Tony Soprano 

Tony Soprano was a tough, foul-mouthed New Jersey mob boss, who talked to his kids pretty much the same way he did his mobster friends, in The Sopranos. I don't doubt that Tony didn't love his kids, though. But father of the year, not a chance.

"You're a mama's boy."

Al Bundy

Al is one of the most miserable husband and father ever to grace the small screen. In Married with Children, Al the head of the dysfunctional Bundy family, is a sarcastic, smart-mouthed man. Constantly putting down his wife and kids.

"He's my son!!! Don't you think I know he stinks?!!" "This is my week off, so pack up, get the kids and I'll see you in a week."

Red Forman

The gruff and sarcastic dad in That '70s Show actually loves his kids, in the best way he knows how. But he wouldn't win any awards with the way he puts them down. 

"Eric, didn't I tell you to wash up for dinner. I know, it's difficult to hear with your head up your ass." "Damn kids today. They wouldn't know responsibility if it walked up and bit them in the ass."


Okay, I kind of wanted to put Dexter on the "good" dad list. I mean, yeah, he's a serial killer, but he rids the world of really bad people. Being a vigilante on Dexter makes him likable. However, a serial killer is a serial killer, so "bad" daddy he is.

"Dear Abby, I'm a serial killer and I need advice on how to keep my kids from taking over my life." "Wanna know a secret? Daddy kills people."

Is your favorite "worst: dad on my list? If not who do you think is the worst TV or movie dad? One things for sure, I bet these dads will make you appreciate your own dad!


  1. @Kelly – absolutely! I remember when I first saw ‘Natural Born Killers’, watching the scene with Ed Wilson, made me sick to my stomach. Rodney Dangerfield did a (too) good job portraying a child molester.

  2. Great list, if great is the appropriate adjective for such a twisted thing. One addition: Bill Maplewood from the hysterically dark comedy "Happiness." Memba him? The creepy pedophile Dad who molested his son’s friends? But, really, he meant well. Excerpt:

  3. @Pepper – I’ve never seen the movie "Happiness". But he sounds like a swell dad. 😉 If I had watched it, I guarantee you, he’d be at the top of the list.

  4. Sorry, any list like this that doesn’t include Harry Powell, played by Robert Mitchum in Night of the Hunter just doesn’t cut it.

  5. Another movie I’ve never seen. I’ll have to check out "Night of the Hunter".

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