Five Bad Dads for Father’s Day

It’s equal time here at Twenty Four Frames.  On Mother’s Day I listed five bad movie Moms. Just like with Mom’s on screen there are plenty of examples of bad male  parental behavior. Here are a few of my favorites.

The Shining Jack Nicholsen knocking

All work and no play makes Jack a very nutty dad. Nicholson’s portrayal of the alcoholic crazed Mr. Torrance who forces his family to move into a spooky empty hotel where he decides the best way to handle a disobedient family is with an ax. When his wife Wendy pleas not to hurt her, he screams out “I’m not gonna hurt you, I’m gonna bash your brains in!”

American Beauty

In American Beauty we get two wacky dads for the price of one film. Kevin Spacey Lester’s is going through a mid-life crisis and decides the cure just might be seducing his teen daughter’s girlfriend. We also have Chris Cooper’s career Colonel who collects Nazi memorabilia between bouts of beating the crap out of his son.



In Chinatown, Noah Cross may just be the poster child for bad dad behavior. In all ways Cross sees himself as above the laws of society. He raped is daughter, fathering a child, yet he sees it more as society’s problem than his own. He is a man who must always be in control.


Jerry has dreams of a Father Know Best lifestyle but when his family does not live up to his great expectations well, let’s just say things get a bit dicey. The Stepfather is the kind of clever work you usually do not expect to find in this kind of film.


Raymond Massey’s Adam Trask is a stern, frugal and religious man who favors his “good son” Aron over his troubled boy Cal. Adam’s lies, stern behavior and false values alienate him from his sensitive “bad” son Cal. Based on John Steinbeck’s novel, East of Eden is a film filled with superb performances.


7 comments on “Five Bad Dads for Father’s Day

  1. Aurora says:

    Great list of lowlife dads. They give me chills. Enjoyable post, John!!



  2. classicfilmtvcafe says:

    Some fine picks here, John. My favorite (if that’s the right word) of the bunch is Terry O’Quinn in THE STEPFATHER.


  3. doriantb says:

    Brr! John, you did a great job with your Rogues’ Gallery of evil Bad Movie Dads. They were all evil one way or another, but I’d pick Noah Cross because he raped his own daughter, the rotten so-and-so! Aren’t you glad these creeps are only fictional characters? 🙂 Hope your Father’s Day was more fun than those guys!


    • John Greco says:

      Dorian, Noah Cross was pure evil. I pity any woman who got near him especially his own. That’s said, the father who I always hated was Adam Trask who could not see the good in his sensitive son Cal (James Dean). He could do nothing right. Yet, Adam favored his other son, Aron. If you read the book you know that Adam kind of repeats the same the same mistakes his father made when he was growing up. None of these guys would make a father’ day poster child of goodness.


  4. Sam Juliano says:

    THE SHINING and AMERICAN BEAUTY are spectacular choices for sure.

    How about this one John? I NEVER SANG FOR MY FATHER (Gilbert Cates, based on the stage play by Robert Anderson) with Melvyn Douglas and Gene Hackman.


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