The worst stepfathers in cinema

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Horrible parents can be a recurring theme in movies, due to the story potential involved. Some films involve horrible stepfathers, or those who act like father figures, to evoke emotion and sympathy for a character who remains the victim of such an abusive parental relationship.



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Considering there have been plenty of great on-screen dads, there are bound to be some downright awful on-screen dads too. Movies can teach audiences a lot, and a common theme seems to be how not to be a stepdad. It’s a good guide for stepdads who want to be great with their new kids to avoid the examples below.

8 Dr. Robert Doback – Half-Brothers

Robert Doback is by no means an awful stepfather in the sense that he will try to kill his children or abuse them entirely, but Robert is not amused by the bond of child Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly . This character would certainly not see Minions: The Rise of Gru with his children.

Richard Jenkins plays Brennan Huff’s stepfather after marrying her mother, Nancy Huff. The film is a great comedy that follows the ridiculous antics of Brennan and Robert’s son, Dale. As the film progresses, Robert becomes increasingly irritated with the duo, until he forces a divorce between Nancy and Robert. The stepbrothers’ tears make Robert happy, and he asks for a photo to celebrate the moment.

seven Vernon Dursley – Harry Potter

As a Muggle, Vernon Dursley had neither the time nor the concern for magic. Technically, he was a step-uncle and “helped” raise Harry Potter. The franchise of Harry Potter features Vernon Dursley in a few scenes across the films, and each emphasizes how unwanted Harry Potter is and how bad Vernon can be to the young wizard.

Although Vernon was not a stepfather, he was Harry Potter’s male legal guardian, after his wife’s sister, Lily Potter, was killed by Voldemort. Vernon feels like a tougher Martin Short character. Vernon kept Harry Potter under a staircase and tried to destroy letters from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to show his hatred of all things magical.

6 Sheev Palpatine – Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

When fans were reintroduced into the star wars In 1999, many expressed excitement when the demonic-looking Darth Maul ignited his dual-wielding red lightsaber. How could one become so evil on the dark side of the Force? Look no further than Sheev Palpatine, future Emperor of the Galaxy Far, Far Away.

While visiting Dathomir, Palpatine sensed Maul’s potential from a young age. Palpatine took Maul and raised him in his image. He was raised in torturous environments, to grow his hatred and power for the dark side. He grew up in a heated environment, which only got worse once Obi-Wan Kenobi cut him in half.

5 Obi-Wan Kenobi – Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

After the climactic battle between Darth Maul, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Qui-Gon Jinn, the latter died at Maul’s hands. Qui-Gon was Kenobi’s Jedi Master and planned to leave Kenobi as a Jedi Knight to train a young Anakin Skywalker. Upon his death, he gave Kenobi his dying wish, a promise to raise the boy, Anakin.

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Anakin Skywalker needed a father, and what he got at Kenobi was a brother. While that was the closest thing Anakin had to a father, it wasn’t enough and he sought further advice from Palpatine’s corruption. Obi-Wan and Anakin fought on Mustafar with the destruction of the already established Jedi Order.

4 Jerry Blake – The Stepfather

Jerry Blake, a family man with a multitude of families and identities, finds himself alone after each meets a murderous end. Jerry then sets his sights on Susan, a widow, and her daughter Stephanie. Susan’s headstrong daughter mistrusts Jerry, and this tense thriller and slasher flick is bound to be a showdown.

This stepfather is literally a serial killer. The character changes identities and enjoys killing families. It’s hard enough to be a worse stepdad than Jerry Blake, given that he delights in murdering families.

3 Vito Corleone – The Godfather

As the highly respected Don of the Corleone crime family, Vito Corleone loves his wife and four children dearly. Vito’s adoration of Sonny, Fredo, Michael, and Connie is felt throughout the first film, and even in earlier moments of The Godfather Part 2. What makes Vito a poor father is not his love for his children, but his acceptance of them in his criminal enterprise.

One of these children, Tom Hagen, is a victim of Vito Corleone’s love. Tom was an orphan who was unofficially adopted by Vito. The two shared a great bond and had great intelligence together, with Vito putting Tom through the necessary schools to become a great lawyer and consigliere. Vito’s grooming of Tom in the crime business is what makes him a bad stepfather.

2 Terminator – Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

After the events of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the future was changed forever thanks to the destruction of all evidence of Terminators and Skynet. By paranoia and thanks to the lessons of his now deceased mother, Jon Connor lives from routine in Los Angeles, California. Without Sarah Connor, and with a new Terminator, the TX, hunting him down, there is only one machine that can save the day.

The terminator for Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, is again played by Arnold Schwarzenegger. However, this Terminator unit was reprogrammed to protect John Connor and is not the same one John grew up with. They share no memories and have no relationship. The only thing they know about each other is that this specific Terminator killed John Connor in the future. That’s a pretty bad idea from a father.

1 Dwight Hansen – This Boy’s Life

In this coming-of-age drama, Leonardo DiCaprio plays Tobias Wolff, a young boy whose mother, Caroline Wolff, takes them to Seattle to start a new life. Here, Caroline marries a charming mechanic, Dwight Hansen. It doesn’t take long for Tobias and Caroline to discover that Dwight is a violent and evil alcoholic.

This character is played by the talented Robert De Niro, who embodies such a horrible person. Audiences will want to jump on the screen and attack the horrible man themselves, to protect the innocent mother and son who are at the mercy of his abuse.

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