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World Boss Day: 5 bad movie bosses who will make you feel better about your job

By Kara Santos Published Oct 16, 2021 12:25 pm

We've all had to put up with bosses at a workplace we just can't stand. Maybe, it's how condescending they can be. Or maybe, your boss in real life forces you to catch up over countless Zoom meetings that could have been an e-mail. 

However, on-screen bosses bring it to a whole different level with their over-the-top personality, overbearing attitude, and management style. 

In honor of World Boss Day this October 16, we’re rounding up a few memorable bosses in movies. 

If you're feeling stressed after a long work week, rewatch these workplace classics to feel better about yourself and whoever's in charge.

The Devil Wears Prada

Meryl Streep played the role of Runway fashion magazine's editor-in-chief Miranda Priestly to perfection in the 2006 dramedy The Devil Wears Prada. Miranda's icy demeanour and cutting insults had all of the magazine's employees constanly at her beck and call.

While she may have taught Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway) important lessons about work and life, her quiet intimidation tactics and almost-impossible work demands made her a terrible boss. We're not sure if we could last a week under her employment, or if we'd just quit on our first day.

Office Space

Bill Lumbergh, played by Gary Cole in the 1999 film Office Space has influenced other on-screen bosses in film and TV like Horrible Bosses and sticom The Office. The film features one of the most realistic depictions of office-based jobs and the bosses that come with them, which makes it one of the funniest work-related comedies of all time.

As the division Vice President of the software company Initech, based in Texas, Lumbergh is one of the most passive-aggressive bosses in the way he micromanages his employees, forcing his subordinates to focus on busy work and paperwork.

Horrible Bosses

You can't make a movie list about bad bosses without including Horrible Bosses. While some bosses here aren't as bad as they sound, it's the whole premise of the film! The 2011 black comedy follows three friends who decide to murder their respective overbearing, abusive bosses. 

Accountant Kurt Buckman (Jason Sudeikis) enjoys working for a chemical company, but after his original boss unexpectedly dies of a heart attack, the company is taken over by his cocaine-addicted son Bobby (Colin Farrell), whose apathy and incompetence threaten the future of the company.

Dale (Charlie Day) is a dental assistant being sexually harassed by his boss, Dr. Julia Harris (Jennifer Aniston) who threatens to tell his fiancée Stacy that he had sex with her unless he actually has sex with her. 

But the worst boss of the bunch is the sadistic Dave Harken (Kevin Spacey), Nick's (Jason Bateman) superior at the financial firm he works in. The sociopathic company president frequently hints at a possible promotion for Nick for months, only to award it to himself.

Star Wars trilogy

Name one person you know in real life who would voluntarily want to work for Star Wars villain Darth Vader. The archetype of evil is one of the most iconic villains in popular culture and one of the greatest villains and fictional characters ever on film. But as the leader of The Empire, Darth Vader's management style is not for anyone who values their life or limbs.

The lightsaber-wielding antagonist constantly choked his own underlings if they didn't meet his ridiculously high standards. While technically, he doesn't physically touch anyone with his own hands, he pretty much kills off anyone who annoys him. In real life, this kind of ruthlessness would leave him short-staffed and cause a rebellion among the inner ranks. But hey, it's the movies! 

The Devil's Advocate

In the 1997 film The Devil's Advocate, John Milton played by Al Pacino, seemed like a great boss at first. As a representative of a New York law firm, he paid Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves) well, gave him a nice apartment in Manhattan, and seemed extremely supportive.

Unfortunately, he turned out to be literally Satan himself. Milton tormented the greedy and cocky lawyer, made his life a living hell.

Just be glad you don't work for the devil!