21 Worst Onscreen Moms, From Norma Bates to Peg Bundy (Photos)

TheWrap looks at dysfunctional moms in honor of Mother’s Day, from Norma Bates in “Psycho” to Peg Bundy in “Married With Children” and “Serial Mom.”

Warner Bros. Pictures

“Psycho” (1960) Possibly the worst mother in Hollywood history (and now on A&E with “Bates Motel”), Norma Bates was so abusive she resulted in her murder — and those of subsequent innocent victims — at the hands of her son, Norman.

manchurian candidate angela lansbury

MC Productions

“The Manchurian Candidate” (1962) Mrs. Iselin (Angela Lansbury) is less a mother and more a secret agent intent on making her son the first puppet President in a Communist conspiracy.

United Artists

“Carrie” (1976) After emotionally and physically abusing her daughter for years, Mrs. White (Piper Laurie) tried to kill Carrie when she believed a demon was the reason her daughter had psychic powers.

mommy dearest

Paramount Pictures

“Mommy Dearest” (1981) Faye Dunaway portrays Joan Crawford as controlling and overbearing mother to adopted daughter, Christina, in the 1981 biographical cult drama.

Embassy Television

“Married… With Children” (1987-97) Peggy Bundy isn’t mean, she’s just lazy and inattentive, refusing to cook or clean and instead spending her time sat on the couch watching “Oprah.”

Orion Pictures

“Throw Momma From the Train” (1987) Mrs. Lift (Anne Ramsey) was such a terrible, overbearing mother that her son was inspired on how to kill her after watching an Alfred Hitchcock movie.

Polar Entertainment Corp.

“Serial Mom” ​​(1994) The dark comedy starred Kathleen Turner as a suburban housewife who secretly murders people over trivial of perceived slights or social faux pas.


“The Sopranos” (1999-2007) A paranoid nightmare, Livia Soprano (Nancy Marchand) tried to have her mob boss son, Tony Soprano, killed when she thought he was too weak to lead.

All Girls Productions

“Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood” (2002) Ellen Burstyn plays the abusive Southern mother to Sandra Bullock in this comedy-drama that spans 70 years of the “Ya-Ya Sisterhood.”

Warner Bros. Pictures

“White Oleander” (2002) Based on the novel by Janet Fitch, Michelle Pfeiffer plays a self-centered, cold-hearted and eccentric mother who kills and her cheating boyfriend — landing her in prison and daughter, Astrid (Alison Lohman) in a foster home.

Imagine Entertainment

“8 Mile” (2002) Jimmy “B-Rabbit” Smith Jr. (Eminem) lives with his alcoholic mother (Kim Basinger) in a Detroit trailer park while struggling to make it as a white rapper.

Imagine Entertainment

“Arrested Development” (2003-) Lucille Bluth (Jessica Walter) was never hesitant to sacrifice her children’s happiness for a gin and tonic.

Paramount Pictures

“Mean Girls” (2004) The ultimate example of lax parenting, Mrs. King (Amy Poehler) is way more concerned with looking cool than being an actual mom to her daughter.

Lionsgate Television

“Mad Men” (2007-15) Though she could occasionally show maternal instinct, Betty Draper (January Jones) was at times just as childish as her kids, and often even more selfish and needy.

Heather Graham Boogie Nights Harvey Weinstein

Warner Bros. Pictures

“The Hangover” (2009) We all remember how nice Jade (Heather Graham) was, but we always forgot that she let three complete strangers take her baby for the night in Las Vegas.



“Precious” (2009) Unemployed mother Mary (Mo’Nique) takes out all her fears and insecurities on her 16-year-old daughter, whom she blamed for getting impregnated twice by Mary’s husband after he raped her.


“The Hunger Games” (2012) Mrs. Everdeen (Paula Malcomson) emotionally shut down after the death of her husband, leaving her teenage daughter Katniss to figure out how to keep her family alive.

FX Productions

“Justified” (2010-15) Mags Bennett (Margo Martindale) runs a family of hillbilly pot growers, makes lethal moonshine and wields a hammer that she’s not afraid to use.

Brad Falchuk Teley-Vision

“American Horror Story: Coven” (2013-14) There are so many evil moms to choose from on “AHS” but Fiona (Jessica Lange) takes this dark prize as the glamorous wicked witch to belittled daughter Cordelia (Sarah Paulson).


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