As much as our world is filled with beauty and positivity, cruelty and inhumanity still reigns over the societies we live in, more and for longer than it should. Bullying is one of the various savageries the human being keeps feeding on, bringing conflict and injustice, changing and piercing some people’s lives in the most barbaric form possible. This theme is the subject of numerous films that have been made throughout time which shed light onto this ongoing problem and expose the terrible consequences that can lead from it. Some victims of this behaviour carry on a dark fate while others succumb the pressure and win over this unfair battle. These films are usually set during teenage-hood, as children can be as cruel as adults and bullies’ attitude often come from insecurities and stress that lead to overconfidence, especially nowadays with the power of internet’s anonymity.
From the hundreds of great films which integrate bullying in their storyline, here is the list of top bullying movies ever. You might be able to find some of these best movies about bullying on Netflix or Hulu or Amazon Prime.
12. Welcome To The Dollhouse (1995)
As stated before, kids can be so mean to each other that it isn’t always easy for an eleven year-old to live through junior high school peacefully and without troubles. With classmates making fun of her at school and parents that ignore and accuse her of misbehaviours, life isn’t particularly easy for unattractive and unpopular Dawn Wiener. An amazing introspective into this little girl’s inner and outer life, that entertains and propels for thought, simultaneously. In a mix of comedy and drama, one really takes from it what one can understand, but one thing’s for sure and that’s the excellent performance of young Heather Matarazzo, which launched her acting career into the start of a great filmography.
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11. The Karate Kid (1984)
This successful classic was followed with sequels and a remake and gives this list an example of a film where the victimised character fights back and wins over his bully, literally. In this context violence is won over by opposing violence, however not in a brutal and inhuman form but in a gracious and respected karate fight. The power that strikes down one’s enemy is also not only based on physical strength and ability but takes a big part in the stability of the inner mind and the balance of the intellect. All this is taught to Daniel LaRusso by a martial arts master in order to stop the bullying he has been enduring by bully and karate-trained Johnny. A heart-warming and intelligent film that entertains and inspires.
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10. Mean Creek (2004)
“Mean Creek” explore the side of the bully and the victim in a way where the roles aren’t fixed but change throughout the happening of the events. It also takes a look at the influence when being in a group and the actions one might take together and not alone, the debate about moral values, what’s right from wrong, and finally it gives the audience the possibility to inspect the reasons for the bullying present in the characters and the inner emotions and feelings that trigger their correspondent behaviour. Intelligent and wise it follows the revenge plan of a victim and his brother and friends against the bully who has hurt him for touching and moving his video camera.
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9. Young Törless (1966)
Once more it is the young cruelty of teenagers which takes advantage of the weaker for superiority and power that hits the foreground of this German production. Set in an Austrian military academy, it revolves around the savage tortures and humiliations endured by a boy after he was caught stealing by his soon-to-be bully. It is seen from the perspective of another student, who lacks emotional involvement with everything around him, which stops him from taking part in the sadistic bullying but also from revolting against it and defending the victim. An introspective into the violence of physical bullying in between the walls of aggressive and unfeeling teenagers.
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8. Moonlight (2016)
Famous for its excellence and strong impact, this film got tons of respect and admiration and reached a milestone in film history for the oscars it received which included one for acting and one for editing, in which the editor became the first black woman ever receiving an editing oscar and Mahershala Ali the first muslim winning a Best Supporting Actor one. From the structure to the emotional transmission, the colours and cinematography, one can say this film is a masterpiece in every aspect and within the three-part story (childhood, adolescence and adulthood of the main character) we can find acts of physical and emotional bullying which influence the personality and struggled life of protagonist, Chiron on his quest for identity and meaning. Just like many other characters throughout the millions of stories written and filmed, Chiron must also face the cruelty of his school bully and will prove to the viewer how every detail from a child’s life in his growing process matter and leaves a trace, if not a scar.
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7. Bully (2001)
Larry Clark directed this crime drama which shouts sex, drugs, abuse and murder. It depicts the true story of the murder of Bobby Kent in 1993, by a group of seven teenagers which included his best friend Marty and an ex-girlfriend. First thought on this would be that these ruthless kids bullied the young adult to death, however the true bully in the story is Bobby himself, and the year-long sexual, physical and emotional abuse on his friends is what led them to this dramatic event. The film throws a lot of raw and truthful facts at the audience by portraying the decaying, dark and troubling lives of these teenagers who are consumed by a life of meaningless sex and drug use which unbalances their common sense and lead them to wrong decisions that end up destroying the lives of many.
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6. Ben X (2007)
Instead of retreating out of the internet to escape bullying, teenager Ben finds comfort in an online fantasy game named ArchLord in order to break free from his difficult reality of being a Asperger syndrome-attained boy frequently bullied at school. On this role-playing video game he meets Scarlite, a female player whom he confides his struggle and who in response tells him to meet at a train station. Through her, he receives the confidence to strike back against the people who are burying him in his own misery and takes on a meticulous plan that might change everything. A very complete plot with a greatly constructed storyline which proves that victims can find their strength and end the cruel harassment existent in this inhuman society of ours.
5. The Mighty (1998)
This film stars Sharon Stone as the mother of a 13-year old, a highly intelligent boy who nevertheless suffers from Morquio syndrome and must therefore walk in crutches. However he soon befriends Max, an oversized but kind-hearted boy and they both form a bond and protect each other from bullies. Although the end is still far the events leading to it reveal important aspects to the characters and as the time advances, so will the audience’s attachment and sympathy. A beautiful story of friendship and impartiality towards the differences of others that encourages the pure and good-natured hearts to overcome the difficulties of life and join together in order to make it as beautiful while it lasts.
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4. Lord of The Flies (1990)
Based on the classic novel of the same name by William Golding, this story truly represents the cruelty and barbarism of youth and the influence group pressure can have on individuals. When 24 young students from a military school land on a deserted island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, due to a plane crash, they are left all alone with only one delirious and injured adult by their sides. As they try and organise themselves in order to help each other survive, we notice the birth of a clan with a decisive leader which leads to rivalry and intense bullying between the young teens. A true depiction of what a monster the human being can turn into when norms and values fail to exist within a society containing aggressiveness and power-hunger, and when under the influence of tyrannical and oppressive order.
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3. Carrie (1976)
This iconic film of horror and supernatural is based on a Stephen King novel and is the first adaptation to the screen of the many books of his who have come to visual life. It centres around a young teenage girl with telekinetic powers who’s struggle in school comes from the heavy bullying from her classmates, who make fun of her strange and awkward persona. At home things aren’t better either as her mother is a religiously fanatic woman who sabotages the normal education Carrie should receive. Things escalate and come to a gruesome and grisly end for her and the others around her. With great performances and a heavy and impactful storyline, “Carrie” is a classic for the cruel bullying of characters in film.
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2. Bully (2011)
Bullying is an ongoing problem that changes, affects and puts the lives of millions of children in danger. It is a problem for all kinds of individuals but especially kids as these are still at a stage of development and emotional interferences like these will highly influence their feelings of self-worth and identity. This 2011 documentary focuses exactly on these issues that are often given too little importance and which in some cases lead to heartbreaking suicides, as was the case of 11-year-old Ty Smalley and 17-year-old Tyler Long. It follows the lives of 5 students victims of bullying and attempts to shed light onto this matter, which it successfully does as an emotionally grabbing, powerful and sincere documentary.
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1. The Class (2007)
This Estonian film, originally named “Klass” focuses on school violence and abuse by putting teenager Joosep in the centre of aggressive and repetitive bullying by the entirety of his class. Victim of horrendous acts of beating and humiliation, his sufferings are prolonged throughout the film, only to be revolted against by one classmate named Kaspar who decides to stand aside him and face the brutality of his aggressors. Raw and brutal, it undeniably conveys anger and frustration against these unforgivable adolescent acts that seem to have no ending. Truly shocking, it’ll leave its audience shaken and touched.
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