Bullying’s devastating effect on youth is everywhere today. It’s nothing new, however the scope and tone of bullying has increased to a point where we routinely see suicides of those who were pushed to the brink. Now kids endure cyber bullying – where their torment never ends – but lives on to torture constantly online.
Hollywood dealt with bullies for years. Many movies about bullying are truly classic films.
In many ways, Carrie is Hollywood horror queen of bullying. She was created by Stephen King, then brought to life in a movie masterwork by director Brian DePalma. Sissy Spacek simply becomes the tortured title character so convincingly, that no matter how many times I watch, I always feel just as much empathy for her. She’s bullied both at school, and by a crazy mother at home. Carrie wields an awesome power enabling her to destroy those around her who are a threat. Sadly, in real life, it’s most often a bully’s victim who succumbs to the torment.
Corey Haim fleshed out bully victim Lucas, in one of his first big movie roles. Haim passed away too early, yet he leaves behind a respectable film legacy. The movie boasts a stellar cast with Winona Ryder, Charlie Sheen and Jeremy Piven in major roles. Director and writer David Seltzer is also known for penning the horror screenplay for Richard Donner’s The Omen.
Just One Of The Guys (1985)
Folks remember this as merely a ‘gender bender’ – a comedy film playing around with gender roles for comedy. However, this little overlooked gem also deals with school bullying. Joyce Hyser is Terry Griffith – an aspiring journalist who’s not getting respect for her writing. She decides to go undercover at another high school, so she can engage in the ultimate journalistic exercise – to see how the other half lives – and so that her gender won’t get in the way of her journalism dreams. The bully in the movie is played by William Zabka. He also played the bully in The Karate Kid – opposite Ralph Macchio.
My Bodyguard (1980)
Here’s a film which directly addresses bullying. Chris Makepeace is Clifford Peache, a new kid in town, who must survive the bully – played by a young Matt Dillon. He recruits Ricky(Adam Baldwin) and the two soon bond as good buddies. The cast includes Martin Mull and the always wonderful Ruth Gordon as Clifford’s wacky grandmother.
The Toxic Avenger (1984)
From intense bullying – a hero is born. Like nerdy Peter Parker, the Toxic Avenger’s alter ego is even more of a spaz. Melvin Ferd is a janitor at a health club. After a particularly bad bullying incident, Ferd lands in toxic waste to become the mighty and ugly Toxic Avenger. The wacky movie spawned a bunch of sequels, and even an animated TV show.