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The Biggest Jerks In Movies

Since the dawn of cinema, the character of the hero has been integral to telling a compelling story. And even though some of our most beloved characters are the ones that we look up to, the foils to the hero have gone on to become some of the most memorable characters in their own right. Though they may be detestable, with a few on our list even blurring the line into outright villains, the character of the jerk typically falls somewhere in between good and bad. They might have motives that don't quite come from a place of outright evil, or simply be a product of humanity's less than commendable traits. At any rate, every character we're discussing is punchable to say the least.

Below, we'll be talking about some of the most loathsome characters to ever be featured in film. We'll be covering everything from more lighthearted animated children's entries, to some of the most important works of cinema ever crafted. Keep in mind, to cover the full extent of how reprehensible some of these characters are, we'll be delving into their full stories, spoilers and all.

Biff Tannen was a stereotypical bully

Most of the less than savory characters on today's list are at least confined to a single character, but when you bring a Delorean that can traverse time itself into the equation, things get a whole lot more complex. Whether it's 1985 or 1955, the character of Biff Tannen is the typical bully, terrorizing everyone who gets in his way with a horde of lackeys at his side. A violent, womanizing scumbag, Biff nearly manages to undo Marty McFly's very existence in the first film.

Things take a turn for the more grim though, after Marty and Doc take a trip to the far "future" of 2015. When Marty recklessly picks up a sports almanac detailing the results of every major sporting event for 50 years, it winds up in Biff's hands, who goes back in time to make his past self unfathomably rich. He uses his vast wealth to carve out a dystopian 1985, in which he's the sole ruler of Hill Valley, even revealing to Marty that he killed his father some years prior. While the two are able to fix the timeline and undo Biff's reign of terror, it just goes to show that across every conceivable timeline, Biff is an undeniable jerk.

Draco Malfoy was a constant pain

While he isn't the only entry on our list from the world of witchcraft and wizardry, Draco Malfoy managed to be one of the most persistently annoying characters throughout the entire franchise. While his antics were innocent enough during the first few films, he went down a truly dark path over the events of the eight films.

Belonging to the Slytherin house, Draco was practically doomed to be a bad apple from before he even stepped foot in Hogwarts. The Malfoy family's beliefs that only those of pure blood should continue the practice of wizardry rubbed off on young Draco, and it became a prejudice he would carry for much of his life. As the battle of Hogwarts approached, Draco would find himself fully believing in the mission of the Death Eaters, becoming one himself. Even though he started to have a change of heart towards the end, by that point it was too little too late, as he still played a part in the death of Dumbledore. Even though he wasn't always the worst, you can't deny Draco was one of the most enduring jerks throughout the film series.

Sid was a young psycopath

The first feature film to have the distinction of being entirely computer-animated, "Toy Story" is both an impressive feat of artistry for the time it came out, as well as a compelling story that has endured in audience's hearts since its 1995 release. Focused on the life of a group of sentient toys led by the sheriff Woody, the entire status quo is shaken when a new toy, Buzz Lightyear, is unwrapped on their owner's birthday. As the two feud and are subsequently captured by the next door neighbor Sid, things can't get that bad, right?

Well, when the kid next door is a sadistic maniac who tears toys apart and puts them back together, things can get pretty awful. Between strapping a rocket to Buzz, burning a hole in Woody's head, and with an aggressive dog roaming the halls ready to tear the duo limb from limb, Sid's house proved to be a living nightmare. Thankfully, Woody and Buzz were able to rally the toys together and teach Sid a lesson, while also probably giving him more than a few nightmares to boot.

Man is an invisible evil

The saying "Less is More" is sometimes true when it comes to classic Disney, and it couldn't be more applicable than when talking about this character. Going unseen throughout the events of "Bambi," this character is only chillingly referred to as "Man" by the animals of the forest. While the viewer never lays eyes on him firsthand, his presence is felt and his actions seen, weighing heavily over the woodland creatures.

In an infamously brutal scene that likely scarred many a young viewer, Bambi's mother is shot dead while the two flee from a nearby hunter. As a result, Bambi is forced to adapt to a broken life, with the threat of man always lurking around every corner. As he matures, Bambi learns the rules of survival in the woods and how to avoid meeting the same fate as his mother. Despite Man never being explicitly named or seen, the character still left their mark on the cinema landscape for their unmatched cruelty, proving that "Bambi" is actually terrifying.

Watto was an uncaring slave owner

Being a lowlife junk seller isn't the most respectable way to make a living for anyone, but Watto manages to cross a line by also turning to human trafficking to turn a profit by enslaving young Anakin Skywalker and his mother, and forcing them to do manual labor in and around his shop. Even when Qui Gon proposes a bet for the boy's freedom during a pod racing event after young Anakin's force sensitivity is discovered, Watto opts to bet against his technologically gifted slave in the big race. Some confidence he has in him.

During the time that Watto had him working in his shop, he was anything but kind to Anakin, having him work on old droids all day, and refusing to free both him and his mother after the pod race. Come to think of it, why didn't Obi-Wan and the rest of the gang ever bother to come back and free Anakin's mom after liberating Naboo? Maybe this entry should be a double feature.

Dennis Nedry was a greedy dirtbag

While John Hammond's rationale to open a park featuring giant carnivorous dinosaurs is definitely questionable, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who could really call his kind hearted character a jerk. The sloppy, self centered computer scientist Dennis Nedry on the other hand, is pretty much universally hated by everyone who enjoyed this Spielberg classic.

Nedry's own greed winds up being the catalyst for the park's destruction. After he accepts a bribe to sneak out a number of dino embryos, he disables the park security, using it as cover to carry out his theft. It ultimately ends up biting him though, when his own reckless actions pit him against a hostile dilophosaurus and he meets an unsavory demise. His stupidity isn't just confined to getting himself killed though, as pretty much the entire failure of the park, as well as its subsequent deaths, can be pinned on this self-serving jerk.

Cal Hockley was an abusive monster

Widely considered to be one of the best films in the romance genre, one has to wonder whether Rose was really falling for Jack in "Titanic," or just trying to get away from her absolute disaster of a fiance. The well-to-do heir of a massive steel fortune, Cal Hockley managed to be the most insufferable character aboard the ill-fated ocean liner, repeatedly insulting and demeaning Rose every opportunity he was afforded. His treatment of her is so terrible it drives her to attempt suicide one night, leading to the budding romance between Rose and Jack that only aggravates Cal even further.

Not every character on this list gets what's coming to them, with even Cal bullying his way onto a lifeboat and surviving the disaster as hundreds drowned around him. It's ultimately revealed however that his wealth and status were stripped by the stock market crash some years later, with this infamous scoundrel meeting his untimely end at his own hand.

Bill Lumbergh was a caricature of bad management

Focused on the day-to-day doldrums and the insanity that results from a 9-5 job, "Office Space" has become a cultural icon since its 1999 release for everything it had to say about the American office lifestyle. At the heart of it all is Bill Lumbergh, the Division Vice President of the Initech software company, and the embodiment of your typical office drone.

Another cog in the machine, his incessant pestering of every employee at the company perfectly encapsulates the soul-crushing nature of a job we're all too familiar with. His monotone delivery of every asinine order he gives only further drives his employees away from him, with the most visible example being Peter's complete disregard for office etiquette and protocol throughout the film as a result of Lumbergh's nagging. The most dramatic reaction though comes at the climax of the film when, after repeatedly having his stapler stolen and his cubicle relocated, Milton makes good on his promise to burn the office to the ground as revenge.

Hal 9000 was a cold and calculated menace

If some of the more contemporary sci-fi flicks like the "Terminator" and "Matrix" series have taught us anything, it's that sentient robots aren't to be trusted. We collectively owe visionary director Stanley Kubrick for teaching us this valuable lesson, with his iconic 1968 film "2001: A Space Odyssey" pitting man against machine in a much more cerebral way than in the aforementioned series.

While on a mission to Jupiter under mysterious circumstances, a group of astronauts aboard the Discovery One spacecraft is led by the highly advanced AI known as Hal 9000. As the long mission progresses, it becomes increasingly clear that not all is right with Hal, as his behavior becomes increasingly erratic. After Hal cleverly discovers a plot to shut him off, he plans a methodical execution of every human on board the Discovery, succeeding in killing off all but one. If planning out the murders of your entire crew wasn't bad enough, Hal's cunning prowess combined with his flat, monotone demeanor, blurred the line between jerk and straight-up psychopath.

Ferris Bueller was a self centered jerk

Hitting theaters in 1986, this sarcastic coming of age comedy was a huge hit upon release, grossing over ten times its budget. It has since gone on to be immortalized in the hearts of everyone who's given this classic comedy a try with its free-spirited message. While a normal teen comedy would rely on the authority figure to be the one stifling everyone's fun, which Principal Ed Rooney does throughout the film, the worst offender to the friend group winds up being Ferris Bueller himself.

To be fair, almost everyone who's been to high school has likely lied to get out of class at least once, but Ferris doesn't stop at just truancy. He convinces his best friend Cameron into letting them take his father's Ferrari for a joyride around Chicago, and promptly lets him take a backseat to the time Ferris spends with his girlfriend. And while Ferris isn't the one who straight up kicks the priceless car through a glass window at the end of the film, if he had just been a little more considerate of his friends none of that would have happened.

Iceman was overly smug

Actor Tom Cruise would be the star of the quintessentially '80s action classic "Top Gun" after his success in "Risky Business" and "Legend," playing a naval fighter pilot who goes by his call sign Maverick. The macho personalities and unending bravado needed to be a fighter pilot are on full display throughout the events of the film, and no one has a greater sense of confidence than the top student at the titular TOPGUN Naval Fighters Weapons School.

While Iceman might be justified in some of his actions, it doesn't change the fact that his smug self-satisfaction kinda makes you hate his guts, and it's only worse that he tends to be right most of the time. While the majority of the entries on our list never find themselves getting any kind of redemption arc with those they've wronged. "Top Gun" bucks the trend, with both Maverick and Iceman seeing eye to eye by the end of the film.

Nurse Ratched was downright evil

Whether it's politicians, law enforcement, or even teachers, in a perfect world, those in a position of power should be role models. That probably couldn't be more true than for those in healthcare, as we entrust the people who care for us and our loved ones to be kindhearted, virtuous, and understanding souls. None of the above are apt descriptors of Nurse Ratched, who shouldn't be anywhere near the role of healthcare provider, especially with patients as vulnerable as those residing in a mental institution.

When Jack Nicholson's character of Randle McMurphy finds himself in a mental institution after being found guilty of a crime, he integrates himself with the rest of the patients, all at the mercy of the vindictive Nurse Ratched. Her ward resembles a prison with herself as the warden, as she torments the patients by playing off their weaknesses. She frequently rations patients' cigarettes and plays mind games with them to break their spirits. McMurphy, ever rebellious, is determined to topple her reign over the institution, and does what he can to turn the population against Ratched. He nearly succeeds too, until an ultimate act of cruelty by Nurse Ratched drives one patient to commit suicide, leading McMurphy to violently lash out in retaliation.

Kevin McCallister was an attempted murderer

Sure, Kevin might be the star of this iconic 1990 comedy in the role that would make child actor Macaulay Culkin a household name, and sure, he was justified in defending his home from an attempted burglary, but it doesn't make his treatment of the two thieves that tried to break in any less sadistic. And while his older brother Buzz McCallister was a bully, at least he didn't gamble with an attempted murder charge on a couple of low-life crooks.

Whether he was setting fires, leaving nails on stairs, or hurling paint cans at the wet bandits' heads, Kevin definitely crossed the line on what's acceptable self-defense more than a few times. He never even looks all that scared, even when Harry and Marv are inside the family house, instead deriving some sick pleasure from watching the pair fall victim to another one of his traps. When he finds himself once again being pursued by the bandits in New York city, he launches bricks at Harry and even winds up electrocuting him at one point. How he didn't get anyone killed is a mystery.

Gendo Ikari was a terrible father

Hey, we might be cheating a bit by putting Gendo on the list, given the fact that the franchise his film appearance came from is probably best known for the hit mid '90s anime series "Neon Genesis Evangelion." Still though, his disregard for the well being of anyone around him and downright terrible attitude towards his son, Shinji Ikari, all come to a head in the 1997 film "Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion." As an aside, if you're not a fan of this '90s anime, things are about to get a little complex.

After putting the pieces for human instrumentality into place and thereby bringing about an end to mankind as we know it, NERV headquarters are raided by SEELE, with the majority of its employees gunned down. Not afraid to partake in the killing himself, Gendo fatally shoots Ritsuko after she tries to put a stop to his plan. Finally alone with Rei and ready to finish what he came to do, he's betrayed at the last second, only realizing his mistakes and how terrible of a father he was in his dying moments. Jeez, all that bloodshed just to see his wife again.

Veruca Salt was a snot nosed brat

Adapted from the classic Roald Dahl children's novel of the same name, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" has become a cinema classic since its release. The beloved Gene Wilder would steal the show, as his character of Willy Wonka would take a group of children, each with their own distinct personalities, down a rabbit hole of the bizarre in this 1971 film.

While every kid who was invited to Willy Wonka's surreal factory was at least a bit of a brat in their own way, with even Charlie Bucket being coerced into stealing one of Wonka's many wonders, it's none other than Veruca Salt that has the unenviable title of biggest jerk in this cinema classic. Her constant whining and youthful snobbery help make her a detestable character from the start, and it all comes to a head when she's deservedly thrown down a garbage chute in Wonka's golden egg room.

Walter Peck was just an idiot

Now a timeless classic in its genre, the 1984 comedy "Ghostbusters" is well known for having just about each and every one of its characters being a jerk in their own right. While Peter Venkman himself almost takes the title for worst in the film with his lust for money being his biggest motivator in life, he's edged out by Walter Peck, the EPA inspector with a grudge against Venkman starting almost the second they meet.

After he asks to see the containment device the group is using to house the captured spirits and is rebuked by Venkman, Peck returns with the law in hand. His own arrogance and distrust for the Ghostbusters lead him to order the containment unit be shut off, much to the dismay of the paranormal exterminators and even the electrician Peck brought along with him. The resulting explosion unleashes a maelstrom of ghosts upon Manhattan, with the blame resting squarely at Peck's feet.

Lotso was a tyrant

Tearing apart old toys you don't even know are alive is one thing, but sentencing the eccentric cast of characters we've all grown to love for over two decades is another thing entirely. While he tricked Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the gang at first with his endearing personality, it didn't take long for this deceptive bear to pull the rug out from under our heroes with his dictator-like style of leadership.

After attempting to let Buzz into his inner circle at the daycare, Lotso refuses Buzz's insistence that his friends be allowed to come with him. Things quickly take a turn for the worse, as Lotso shows his darker side by resetting Buzz's memory and turning him into just another one of his minions. As the plot progresses and the rest of the toys attempt to escape the prison-like daycare, they find themselves headed straight for a garbage incinerator alongside the bright pink bear. Even though they push him to safety, Lotso refuses to return the favor, effectively dooming the group to a fiery death before they're saved at the last second. 

The Grinch is an iconic jerk

While some of his actions might be less evil than the majority of jerks on our list, you'll be hard-pressed to find many characters whose names are synonymous with being a buzzkill. First appearing in the 1966 animated film "How the Grinch stole Christmas!" this yuletide menace has terrorized the Christmas spirit for over fifty years, with actors such as Boris Karloff, Jim Carrey, and even Benedict Cumberbatch all lending their talent to bring the mischievous character to life.

Created by the beloved children's author Dr. Seuss, the character of the Grinch is a mean-spirited and cynical creature who despises nothing more than the merriment and festivities of Christmas. Every rendition of the now classic story sees him living atop a nearby mountain while doing everything in his power to ruin the holiday cheer for the residents below him in Whoville. His plans reach a climax as he gathers every present and piece of Christmas cheer he can find on Christmas Eve with the intent to destroy it, before having a change of heart at the last second come Christmas morning. While most retellings of this timeless story over the years have been animated, Jim Carrey's live-action version in 2000 was memorable, to say the least.

Mrs. Carmody was a religious zealot

You could say someone's true colors only show when they're put into a stressful situation, and that couldn't be more true when your stressor is a mysterious and thick mist that no one returns from. Adapted from a Stephen King novel of the same name, the paths of people of a small town converge on a small supermarket in this 2007 horror film as a terrifying fog envelops everything in sight. From there, things turn even more bizarre, as hordes of creatures assault the small building and its occupants.

In your typical horror movie fare, the cohesion of the group is put to the test, ultimately winding up being a worse lot than the giant bugs that they're trying to fend off. One particularly wicked member of the bunch, Mrs. Carmody views the whole situation as the wrath of God, whipping her followers into a cult-like fervor and leading them into committing human sacrifice. And if you think the film doesn't get more brutal from there, just watch the rest of it.

Chet was an overbearing brother

Before he would direct "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," John Hughes would create "Weird Science" an oddball teen comedy that starred the socially awkward Gary and Wyatt as the friend duo that decides to create a real woman named Lisa, Frankenstein style. Always nearby is Wyatt's domineering older brother, Chet, whose sole purpose in life is to make Wyatt's life a living hell. While Lisa's purpose is to look over the two boys, she can't prevent much of Chet's harassment towards the duo. Not yet at least.

Between his constant extortion of his younger brother, name-calling, and comically violent behavior, it's no wonder the two leads try to hide their supernatural creation from Chet. Things come to a head when he busts down a door and sticks a shotgun in Gary's face. After Chet forces Gary and Wyatt out of the house with their girlfriends in hand, Lisa decides enough is enough, and turns this tyrannical nutcase into a giant, disgusting blob monster.

Shooter McGavin was a cheat and a bad sport

In what's arguably one of comedian and actor Adam Sandler's best films to date, this 1996 comedy saw Sandler as the titular Happy Gilmore, an outsider with a huge tax bill to pay and a knack for the sport of golf. He proves his mettle at a small tournament, earning entry into a professional tour that has enough prize money to settle his financial burden.

As Happy continues barreling towards the title of champion, another professional player, Shooter McGavin, is less than pleased to see a total newbie play at his level. McGavin becomes determined to throw Gilmore off by any means necessary, hiring people to harass him and even trying to flat out buy his competitor out of the sport for good. Despite the temptation, Gilmore pushes through, determined to beat McGavin at his own game and ultimately win the title of champion from the egotistical and childish McGavin.

Angel Eyes was a remorseless killer

The final installment in what's known as "The Man with no Name" trilogy, "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" saw our nameless hero and his sidekick Tuco racing against a ruthless bounty hunter known as Angel Eyes, as the trio pursue a cache of Confederate gold. Clint Eastwood's classic western films have had a number of baddies that the legendary gunslinger has been forced to face off against, but of them, all Angel Eyes is hands down the most loathsome.

While on his own quest to find the treasure, Angel Eyes doesn't hesitate to kill anyone who poses a threat to him. He's particularly cunning too, taking advantage of the ongoing American Civil War to disguise himself as a Union soldier at one point, and using his disguise to torture Tuco into giving up valuable information on the gold's whereabouts. He isn't able to beat The man with no name to the valuables, resulting in a three-way standoff that's been remembered as one of cinema's most famous duels.

Jim was a brutish jerk

You'd think a film with a lead that sounds ready to cut a summer camp full of teens to bits would have its titular character be the biggest baddie, but those who have watched this Tim Burton classic know better than that. While the titular Scissorhands is nothing but kind-hearted towards those around him, even falling in love with a girl he lives with named Kim, her boyfriend Jim is nothing but nasty to Edward.

Jim repeatedly tries to turn the people in town against Edward, first setting him up to get arrested during a burglary and then startling him into cutting Kim with his hands. After Kim breaks up with Jim as a result of his constant harassment, things take a turn for the worse as Jim vows to get his revenge on Edward. In the final confrontation at Edward's old mansion, Jim's true colors are revealed when he slaps Kim across the face, causing Edward to finally snap and stab Jim to death, and not a moment too soon.

Dolores Umbridge was a delusional witch

Sure, for most of his time at Hogwarts Draco Malfoy was nothing but a constant thorn in the side of Harry and pretty much everyone else who he interacts with, but at least he's a kid so he gets a pass on at least a few things. This cat-loving and sickeningly pink shrew, on the other hand, doesn't get any forgiveness from us. Her smug, self-righteous attitude only does more harm than good, as she rises to become the Headmistress of Hogwarts during Harry's fifth year.

During her reign she was unusually harsh, enacting strict punishments on students left and right, a prime example of which is when she tortured Harry by forcing him to write an apology into his own flesh. To make matters even worse, she weakened the entire student body by crippling their study of defense against the Dark Arts, helping to set up the disasters that would soon befall the school. Her snooty, controlling, and unbelievably cruel attitude only made it that much more satisfying watching her get dragged into the woods by Centaurs.

Scar was a power hungry traitor

Since its 1994 release, "The Lion King" has become a modern classic. While it's probably best known for its catchy, upbeat songs throughout the film, it's equally remembered for its truly tragic first act. The Lion King Mufasa rules over the African Pride Lands, teaching his son Simba the ways of the world in preparation for his eventual succession to the title of king. Everything is uprooted, however, when his brother Scar enacts his own plan to usurp the throne from the family.

Between letting his own brother fall to a grisly death, and ordering his hyena servants to tear a young Simba apart, Scar managed to be one of the most despicable Disney villains in history. His newly found rule is equally terrible, as he allows the Pride Lands to fall into a state of ruin. When an adult Simba returns to avenge his late father, Scar's own cutthroat personality proves to be his undoing, as he's brutally mauled by his hyena underlings after betraying them in front of Simba.