Bullying behavior is often portrayed in mainstream films, and it’s easy to see why Hollywood loves scenes and plots that are built on the bullying dynamic—from the comic book villains of the Bond franchise to the revenge of the lowliest nerd, they all involve a power imbalance and violence or the threat of violence. And if you have a power struggle and violence, you have two thirds of the trifecta for a Hollywood blockbuster.
Fortunately, several mainstream films that include scenes involving bullying behavior contain insightful and constructive messages. What Ten Famous Films Teach Us About Bullying is a Time online article that includes clips and commentary from these famous films:
Each scene/film on the list portrays an aspect of bullying that can be instructive in a fundamental way. The clip from Mean Girls involves the intoxication of popularity and how easy it can be to flip-flop and play the bully-victim, which is to switch from victim to bully, and back again. The excerpt from Heathers speaks to the arbitrary cruelty of the clique and the violent retaliation of a deeply disturbed victim. Other themes include the ineptitude or even complicity of school administration (Elephant), and the insecurity and fear of the bully (Boys Don’t Cry).
These examples will likely stimulate your memory and bring to mind other scenes and films that have important things to say about bullying behavior. At the least, they prove that not every movie involving a power-mad bully need end up with him attempting to arm a satellite laser with a laptop in the backseat of an invisible Bentley.