7 Movie Bullies Who Were Actually
Unsung Heroes

It’s National Anti-Bullying Month, so naturally we’re celebrating by looking back at our favorite movie bullies to demonstrate why they weren’t all that bad.

By Matt Christensen

Bullies, Anti-Bullying Month, Back To School, Karate Kid

October is National Anti-Bullying Month, and did you know that roughly 35 percent of the workforce admits to being bullied at their jobs? Neither did we — and we think it’s time to take a stand. For the bullies, that is. You see, bullies might make our lives a living hell, but there’s always a lesson to be learned or an epiphany to be had from their incessant torments. Need proof? Take a look at some of the best bullies in movie history, see what they taught their targets, and learn what they can teach you before you go crying to HR the next time your office bully shakes you down for lunch money. 

1. BILLY ZABKA | THE KARATE KID (1984), JUST ONE OF THE GUYS (1985), BACK TO SCHOOL (1986)
The theme of Billy Zabka’s filmography from the 1980s is that he’s rich, spoiled, privileged, and always the tough-guy leader of a gang. In each role, he represents a great evil someone must overcome to become a man. Without Johnny Lawrence in The Karate Kid, Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) would never know how to wax on/wax off or experience the joyous execution of a crane kick; Greg Tolan’s harassment of the school nerds in Just One Of The Guys caused a lunchtime dork revolt against him; and as Chas Osborne, the chief assho!e on the diving team who fakes an injury to get out of a diving meet in Back To School, Thornton Melon (Rodney Dangerfield) would never have performed the magnificent Triply Lindy dive and his son Jason (Keith Gordon) wouldn’t proven how great of a diver he was to a bunch of dudes in Speedos.

2. BIFF TANNEN | BACK TO THE FUTURE (1985), BACK TO THE FUTURE PART II (1989), BACK TO THE FUTURE PART III (1990)
Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson) and his dickhead buddies pushed George McFly (Crispin Glover) around back in 1985, calling him names, making him do extra homework, and dictating where he was permitted to enjoy a refreshing chocolate milk. Finally, the milquetoast McFly loses it and KO’s Tannen outside of the Enchantment Under the Sea dance. Not only did the left hook save McFly’s future family from nonexistence, it also demonstrated that he could lead (and later forgive and forget). Case in point: In the revamped “present” of 1985, McFly hires Tannen to detail the family car …  evidently not caring that Tannen once tried to sexually assault his wife at a high school dance.

A Christmas Story, bullies

3. SCUT FARKUS and GROVER DILL | A CHRISTMAS STORY (1983)
Farkus (Zack Ward) and Dill (Yano Anaya) wanted every kid in snow pants to know who ran the show. When Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) had enough of Scut’s sh*t, he tackled him to the ground and dropped a few haymakers. Not only did Ralphie’s mom swoop in to pull her raging son from atop a whimpering Farkus while Dill fled the scene, she also distracted the Old Man (Darren McGavin) during dinner to keep him in the dark about his son’s scuffle. That move probably spared Ralphie from being on the business end of a beating, and taught him family has your back when push comes to shove (no pun intended).

TAGS: 80s movies, Back to the Future, bullies