Throughout cinematic history, Hollywood has delivered a medley of terrible on-screen bosses. From micromanagers and aggressive bullies to their neurotic meltdowns and snarky insults, evil bosses have paraded their tyrannical ways across the silver screen for the entertainment of movie-goers for years. There’s nothing more satisfying than watching a crooked manager and their middle school lunch money stealing ways get what they deserve.
We all fantasize about pulling an epic stunt like Lester Burnham in American Beauty, but let’s not forget that these are fictional characters. While there’s no doubt that the inspiration for these dreadful bosses was derived from somewhere, we hope there are no poor souls out there suffering under this kind of cruelty. But hey, if you are, maybe there will be a movie about you one day!
Below, we’ve rounded up a list of the 4 worst bosses to have hit the silver screen.
Bobby Pellit (Colin Farrell): Horrible Bosses
Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers
Kudos to the most glaringly obvious title on our list. While this flick has multiple offenders, slacker and cocaine-junkie, Bobby Pellit, takes the cake, with arrogance oozing from his pores. After gaining ownership of Pellitt Chemicals due to the sudden and untimely death of his father, this hedonistic sleazeball exploits the company for his own financial gain. Not only does he threaten to unlawfully fire handicapped and overweight employees, but he sanctions the improper disposal of the company’s chemical waste - opting to chuck the radiation-laden waste in residential areas because of its cheaper price. His reign over the company’s employees is so monstrous that he becomes one of the main targets in the protagonists’ plot to snuff their bosses. His incompetence later lands him in handcuffs, restoring the company to its original, prosperous roots.
Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep): The Devil Wears Prada
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Supposedly based on the real-world editor of Vogue magazine, The Devil Wears Prada follows the grueling plight of Andy Sachs, played by Anne Hathaway, as she attempts to please her boss and Editor-in-Chief, Miranda Priestly. Priestly is the archetype of a dreadful boss, demanding some pretty outlandish tasks, like procuring copies of the new Harry Potter book for her twins before its actual release date.
Besides barking insults at her employees, Miranda dishes endless tongue-lashings about how incompetent her staff is. Little by little, she drains Andy’s sanity, sending her on countless personal errands, berating her about her weight, and wrecking havoc on her love life. Priestly did earn some redemption at the film’s close, revealing a tender, more human side of herself and penning a raving review for Andy, who left the magazine to pursue another opportunity.
Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock): The Proposal
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Whenever Margaret Tate enters the room, her employees immediately lose their cool - avoiding eye contact, feigning that they're hard at work, and firing instant messages to each other with the warning: “the witch is on her broom.” Tate has no qualms about insulting her coworkers and her apathetic attitude has left her life void of any personal relationships or friends. Her closest relationship is with her assistant, Andrew Paxton, played by Ryan Reynolds, who begrudgingly obeys her every demand in hopes of advancing his career.
Margaret’s crowning moment comes after news that she’s facing deportation due to an expired visa. In a desperate effort to keep her job, she formulates a plot to marry Andrew, threatening to blacklist him from every publishing agency in the area if he doesn’t help her commit fraud. While I wish life was like a rom-com, this highly illegal situation would likely earn you a one-way ticket to jail versus a loving husband/wife.
Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas): Wall Street
Photo courtesy of Tenor
The narcissistic and ruthless broker, Gordon Gekko, lives by the motto “greed is good.” This remorseless leader values making a quick buck and is no stranger to trading illegal information or scamming workers into helping him secure his next big deal. Gekko expertly manipulates Bud Fox, played by Charlie Sheen, by promising to buy and expand his family’s company. In reality, however, he plans to dissolve the company, enjoy a hefty payday from selling off their assets, and leave the entire staff unemployed. Bud winds up discovering Gekko’s true intentions and engineers a plot to derail his evil plan, which he successfully pulls off.
What movie or tv character do you think is a terrible boss? Share your thoughts in the comments below!