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violence, bullying, movie, movies, film, screen
Half the population are bullied ... most only recognize it when they read this

Bullies in the movies

Although physical violence is portrayed often on screen, few movies have yet conveyed the nastiness of a serial bully and what it's like to live with or deal with such a person.

Rats and Bullies is a film produced by Roberta McMillan and Ray Buffer which probes the suicide of 14-year-old Dawn-Marie Wesley from Mission, British Columbia, who took her own life by hanging herself with a dog leash in her bedroom after systematic bullying and threats by three teenage girls from her school. Her suicide was discovered by her then-13-year-old brother who had come to her room prior to the family's dinner, to use her TV. The bullies were named in Dawn-Marie's suicide note which prompted an investigation by RCMP and Crown Counsel leading to two precedent setting cases by Canada's provincial court in which the bullies were held accountable for their threats.

An episode of Star Trek: Next Generation called Violation looks at the issue of mind invasion which has uncanny parallels with the way abusive people play mind games by getting inside your head and distorting your view of reality.

In the Simpsons episode Bye Bye Nerdie, Lisa Simpson discovers that the reason bullies are attracted to their targets is nerd sweat. [More | More]

In Disclosure, Demi Moore sexually harasses Michael Douglas who then has a hard time proving his innocence. Nice idea to make the harasser a female ... bullying is not a gender issues, as over 50% of 6000+ cases reported to the UK National Workplace Bullying Advice Line involve a female serial bully.

In September 1999, ITV screened Walking on the Moon, a chilling drama about a boy being bullied at school which showed the nastiness of bullying with it's tragic and inevitable conclusion.

Alfred Hitchcock was a master of chilling suspense, with the Bates Motel in Psycho a classic in horror. In Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal Lecter is the archetypal psychopath, a chilling (and for Anthony Hopkins, Oscar-winning) portrayal.

The Crucible portrays the Salem witch trials.

You could be nearer to a psycho or seriously disordered person than you think ... who does this remind you of in your life? Jekyll & Hyde nature, always controlling, abusive, compulsive liar, provocative, immature, aggressive, constantly criticizing, manipulative, deceptive, refuses to communicate and cooperate, charming when s/he needs to be - click serial bully for the full description. DSM-IV, the psychiatrists' bible, estimates the prevalence of antisocial personality disorder (one of the main personality disorders for a psychopath) in the general population at 1 in 30 for males and 1 in 100 for females. I estimate the prevalence of personality disordered and sociopathic behaviour (people who are socialised and thus express their violence psychologically rather than physically) at 1 in 30 for both males and females.

I believe half the population are bullied or harassed or abused ... click here to see how you've been bullied during your life. If you have, this site provides insight and practical information to understand an deal with it. If you haven't been bullied yet, the information on this web site will enable you to spot it and deal with it early on before the damage is done.

bullies in film, an article by write tammy ruggles   Bullies In The Movies writer tammy ruggles writes on bullies in films
By Tammy Ruggles, BSW, MA

Hollywood portrays bullies in a variety of ways: Sometimes the bullies are beaten at their own game. Sometimes they learn the error or their ways. Sometimes there is reconciliation and violence is averted. But usually bullying is presented in a white hat/black hat sort of way. Is there a bigger message Hollywood can send to audiences, about tolerance, prevention, and understanding? Little time is spent on exploring the dynamics of bullying and its consequences, and perhaps it isn’t fair to suggest that a movie should double as a PSA.

Do filmmakers have a responsibility to dig deeper into the dynamics of bullying and present it as violence that cannot go un-addressed? Should they delve into the psyche of a bully and try to understand why he picks on the ’weak’? And what about the psyche of the bullied who harbors revenge fantasies against those he believes are out to get him, and even acts on them? Is Hollywood beholden to no one except entertainment? Take a look at these bully movies--some that may make you laugh, chew your nails, cry, or think--and you decide, “Is Hollywood its bully’s keeper?”

Big Bully, starring Tom Arnold and Rick Moranis. A bully and his victim cross paths again when they become adults. 1996.

Bullies, starring Jonathan Crombie and Janet-Lane Green. A nice family moves into a new town where they are harassed by a family of long-time bullies. 1986.

The Corn Is Green, starring Bette Davis and Nigel Bruce. The story of a bully who becomes a prize student under a teacher‘s dedication and guidance. 1945.

D2: The Mighty Ducks, starring Emilio Esteves. A little hockey team is up against a bully hockey team. 1994.

First Kid, starring Sinbad and Brock Pierce. The president’s son deals with the pressures of school, the press, and a bully. 1996.

Hearts In Atlantis, starring Anthony Hopkins, Anton Yelchin, Hope Davis, and David Morse. A confrontation between an eleven-year-old and a bully is pivotal for the characters in this story of self-discovery. 2001.

.Joe Somebody, starring Tim Allen, Julie Brown, Kelly Lynch, Jim Belushi. When a father is bullied in front of his child at work, he sets out to reclaim his dignity, and regain respect from his child and co-workers. 2001.

The Magic Snowman, starring Roger More and Justin Freid. A snowman helps a little boy deal with a bully in a skating contest. 1988. (Fantasy)

Back To The Future, starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, and Thomas F. Wilson. Marty McFly’s father has always had bully trouble. 1985.

Rocky V, starring Sylvester Stallone. In a subplot, Rocky’s son confronts a bully. 1990.

Shockers: Parent’s Night, starring Liam Barr, Bryan Dick. A bullied student is pushed over the edge by his tormentor in this extreme TV horror movie. 2001. (UK)

Since You’ve Been Gone, starring Lara Flynn Boyle, David Schwimmer. A young doctor who was humiliated at his high school graduation by a bully attends his tenth-year reunion. 1998. (TV movie).

A Soldier’s Song, starring Gary Lydon. A young soldier deals with the bullying from his past, and the bullying he sees around him in his own barracks. 1997. (Ireland).

Three O’clock High, starring Casey Siezmaszko, Ann Ryan, and Richard Tyson. The class brain dreads 3 o’clock, because he‘s supposed to have a showdown with the school bully. 1987.

My Bodyguard, starring Christopher Makepeace, Adam Baldwin, and Matt Dillon. The new kid at school hires the meanest boy in town when he’s picked on by a bully. 1980. (A Tony Bill film, highly recommended).

© Tammy Ruggles 2002

Tammy Ruggles is a freelance writer and welcomes opportunities to place articles on social issues, general interest, and movie recs. Email

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