Bad bosses have been a popular theme in movies for almost as long as there have been movies: most people can identify with the image of a rude, uncaring boss. The following 10 people have been dubbed the worst bosses in film history.
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1. Buddy Ackerman (‘Swimming with Sharks’)
If you’re looking for the most obnoxious boss in cinematic history, go no farther than Kevin Spacey’s Buddy Ackerman (Frank Whaley’s Rex). When Buddy tells Rex, “You. Have. No. Brain.” at one point, he does it slowly. Rex finally snaps and kidnaps Buddy, with the final half hour showing Buddy’s comeuppance as Rex tortures his mean-spirited employer physically and emotionally. It’s a fun fantasy for anyone who’s ever wished they could do something like this to their employer. Horrible Bosses and Horrible Bosses 2 were both Spacey’s reworked versions of the role.
“You are nothing! You are nothing! You are nothing!” I wouldn’t bother flushing my toilet if you were in it. I value my bathmat more than you do!”
2. Darth Vader (‘Star Wars’)
Alderaan, the home planet of Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), was completely and utterly destroyed by Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy. Emperor Palpatine’s faithful servant, Vader, is portrayed to be an impatient and brutal boss, viciously strangling any and all underlings who fail to achieve his exacting standards of perfection. Vader doesn’t even touch his victims, instead relying on the Force to cut them off from their breath supply and causing them to gasp for air.
Your lack of faith bothers me,” he says in the best line.
3. John Milton (‘Devil’s Advocate’)
It’s a slam dunk here. New York law company leader John Milton (Al Pacino) at first appears to be a father figure to Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves), showering him with praise, guidance, and privileges. However, Kevin soon discovers that John Milton is a ruthless businessman who takes advantage of Kevin’s position. In the end, John is revealed to be nothing less than Satan himself, using his power to drive Kevin’s wife, Mary Ann (Charlize Theron), to absolute madness. Remember that your supervisor could be the Devil the next time you complain about him or her.
“It’s up to you. After being touched, it’s as if the wings of a butterfly were permanently attached to the ground: No, all I did was set the scene. “You’re in charge of your destiny.”
4. Bernie Lomax (‘Weekend at Bernie’s’)
Bernie Lomax (Terry Kiser) is a genuinely horrible manager who embezzles from his own firm long before he dies. Findings by Larry Wilson (Andrew McCarthy) and Richard Parker (Jonathan Silverman) are presented to Bernie by the film’s protagonists, unaware that the guy himself is responsible for the scam. Rather than kill Larry and Richard, Bernie arranges for a mob assassin to kill both of them, but the assassin is ordered by his boss to instead kill Bernie, which sets the film’s hilarious storyline into motion.
Most memorable line: “Vito, you have to murder them.”
5. Miranda Priestly (‘The Devil Wears Prada’)
Is it a lousy boss or a terrifying one? Meryl Streep plays Meryl Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada, and she spends most of her time tormenting and abusing her employees, but she spares Andy Sachs (Michael Douglas) the worst of her wrath (Anne Hathaway). Miranda goes farther than merely verbally abusing Andy, though, by putting her through a series of near-impossible tasks. They develop a mutual admiration and regard for one another. It appears that the abuse will continue with Miranda’s next helper.
Your incompetence is of no interest to me.”
6. Blake (‘Glengarry Glen Ross’)
Blake (Alec Baldwin) is the most memorable character in Glengarry Glen Ross, even though he appears in only one scene. Ed Harris’ Dave, Alan Arkin’s George, and Jack Lemmon’s Shelley work in a dingy office where he is assigned to “motivate” the real estate salesmen by unleashing a stream of foul-mouthed comments. After Williamson, Kevin Spacey’s character comes in a close second in the “bad boss” category.
This month’s sales contest is getting a little something extra.” First place is a Cadillac Eldorado, as you’re aware. Second prize is up for grabs. There is a second-place prize of a steak knife set. “You’re out of a job.”
7. Dick Jones (‘RoboCop’)
A ruthless Omni Consumer Products executive, Dick Jones (Ronny Cox), is attempting to replace Detroit’s cops with robots. Bob Morton (Miguel Ferrer) is Dick’s rival in the development of a new robotic officer when we first encounter him. Peter Weller’s character, RoboCop, is forced to intervene when Dick hires an assassin in an attempt to eliminate his rivals. However, he soon discovers that Dick has made it impossible for RoboCop to arrest any senior OCP executive. It’s a clever mind.
“What do you think?” is the best line. The fact that you were just a regular police officer Our goods can’t turn against us, and you’re one of them, can you?”
8. Bill Lumbergh (‘Office Space’)
Are there any more smug, arrogant movie bosses than Bill Lumbergh? Gary Cole’s character, Lumbergh, has come to represent an extremely specific type of supervisor, one who doesn’t appear to be doing any actual work but manages to pile on tasks for his long-suffering minions. Peter Gibbons is the primary target of Lumbergh, but he also makes life a living nightmare for timid employee Milton Waddams (Stephen Root), whose workplace is transferred to the basement rather than being fired, as a result.
“I’m going to need you to come in tomorrow, so please do.” When can you make it to the meeting at 9 a.m.? “Oh, and by the way, I’ll also need you to come in on Sunday, okay?”
9. Avery Tolar (‘The Firm’)
Avery Tolar (Gene Hackman) may not be as nasty as The Devil’s Advocate’s John Milton (he’s not, after all, Satan), but he’s nonetheless an awful character in his own way. The Mafia-linked law company Avery works for has made him accustomed to breaking the law for the sake of his clients’ freedom. It’s not long until Tom Cruise’s character, Mitch McDeere, finds out that Tolar’s law business is nothing but a front for a massive Ponzi scheme. To keep Mitch quiet, Avery hires a woman to have sex with him and then blackmails him with the evidence he has gathered.
10. Franklin Hart Jr. (‘9 to 5’)
A chauvinist CEO, Franklin Hart Jr., harasses Judy (Jane Fonda) and her coworkers Violet (Lily Tomlin) and Doralee (Dolly Parton) at work, so the ladies decide to kidnap and hold him hostage at his own house. The absence of Hart has allowed the three women to operate the workplace more effectively, which is the best retribution one could hope for against an incompetent superior.
There are no three dim-witted broads who can stop me from doing what I want to do!” The only way a lady can take me on is if she knows she’s going to lose. I’m going to have some fun. Even if I have to kill one of you to achieve it, I’m going to get out of here! “I will not spare a woman’s life!”