10 Most Overprotective Movie Parents

A split image of stills from Crazy Rich Asians, Hotel Transylvania, and Hairspray

Overprotective parents are one of the easiest ways to create conflict in a movie. The parent goes to extreme lengths to protect their child, but their child tries to break away from their mom or dad’s control. Disney parents are particularly well-known for their overprotective natures. However, these types of guardians appear in plenty of other movies as well.

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Overbearing parental figures might not realize that they’re too controlling or invasive, while others might be purposefully protective to keep their children safe. Although many movie moms and dads seem to have good intentions, it’s still a little too much.

10 Edna Turnblad Learns An Important Lesson


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Unless audiences watch Hairspray, they’re unlikely to realize how overprotective Tracy’s mother is at the beginning of the movie. Edna Turnblad doesn’t approve of Tracy being a dancer and likely wouldn’t have allowed it if her husband hadn’t pushed for it. Part of this comes from her own insecurities, but it’s also because she doesn’t want Tracy to be mocked.

Nonetheless, Tracy and Wilbur eventually change Edna’s mind and help her to become more confident. Edna goes on a great character journey compared to the other mothers in Hairspray. For example, Prudence and Velma never change their ways or allow their daughters to be their own people.

9 Walter Stratford Is Exasperating But Lovable

10 Things I Hate About You

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Walter Stratford in 10 Things I Hate About You

In 10 Things I Hate About You, Walter Stratford appears to be the stereotypical overprotective dad. He’s worried about his daughters getting pregnant before they’re 20, and he frequently embarrasses and frustrates them with his ridiculous efforts to protect them. His most frustrating rule, the one that kicks off the movie’s plot, is that Bianca isn’t allowed to date until Kat does.

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As it turns out, Walter is mostly a softie when it comes to his kids. Thankfully, he gave in to Kat’s desire to go to her dream college. After hearing how Bianca beat up a jerk at prom, he gives in completely, finally accepting that his daughters can take care of themselves.

8 Reverend Shaw Moore Has Trouble Letting Go

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Reverend Shaw Moore in Footloose

Reverend Shaw Moore was incredibly unlikeable at the beginning of Footloose, but he redeemed himself by the end. He’s a tragic character who lost his son in a terrible accident. However, he’s initially more focused on trying to cope with his own pain than helping his wife and daughter, and his coping methods aren’t healthy.

Upon the arrival of newcomer Ren McCormack, however, several confrontations ensue that make Moore realize his actions aren’t helping the way he thought they would. His change of heart doesn’t get the dance ban lifted, but it’s enough to let the kids have the fun they needed. His last scene sees him dancing with his wife for the first time in years.

7 Mrs. Livingston Lies To Her Son

Bubble Boy

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Mrs. Livingston in Bubble Boy

Everything, Everything might be the story modern audiences are familiar with, but Bubble Boy beat it to the punch. Bubble Boy follows a young man who was supposedly born without an immune system and has to live in a sterilized bubble. He goes on a wild adventure to win the love of his life, and it’s eventually revealed that his mother lied about his condition to protect him.

Everything, Everything is probably closer to what would really happen if a child discovered that their mother lied and forced them to miss out on life. However, since Bubble Boy is an absurd comedy, Mrs. Livingston is easily forgiven. She even gets a happy ending with an old flame.

6 Count Dracula Goes To Extremes To Keep His Daughter Safe

Hotel Transylvania

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Dracula, Mavis, and Johnny in Hotel Transylvania

Like many animated fathers, Count Dracula becomes extremely protective of his child after the death of his wife. He clings to his daughter, Mavis, as the only family he has left in Hotel Transylvania. He tricks and lies to her constantly just to keep her hidden in his hotel. Furthermore, his hatred of humans gets in the way of Mavis’ budding romance with Johnny.

Dracula doesn’t overcome his protectiveness or clingy tendencies entirely, as evidenced by the Hotel Transylvania sequels. However, Johnny’s kind and easygoing nature help Dracula move past his fear of humans and allow Johnny and Mavis to be together. Dracula can be selfish, but at the end of the day, his family’s happiness comes first.

5 Grug Crood Puts His Family First

The Croods

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>The characters in The Croods hugging

As the leader of the Croods, Grug’s first priority is the survival of his family. However, his methods are deemed useless after a natural disaster destroys their cave, and they are forced to live in the wilderness. For most of their adventures, Grug puts his fears and insecurities before the needs of his family. His stubbornness, single-mindedness, and jealousy of Guy, an intelligent newcomer, make him fairly unlikable to the audience.

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Toward the end of The Croods, though, Grug finally stops dragging his feet and learns to work with Guy to be the co-leaders of the family. At the end of the day, his family is truly the most important thing to him.

4 Eleanor Sung-Young Is Too Focused On The Bigger Picture

Crazy Rich Asians

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Eleanor Young confronts Rachel in Crazy Rich Asians.

Many movies feature mothers who try to keep their sons close to them and prevent them from marrying “unsuitable” women. Most of the time, though, these mothers are acting out of pure selfishness rather than a genuine desire to protect their children. Eleanor Sung-Young’s actions toward her son’s new girlfriend in Crazy Rich Asians comes from a classist worldview.

However, Eleanor has a strong, if misguided, sense of responsibility. She worries about her son being taken advantage of. Her problem is that she thinks Nick and her family should uphold their reputation, rather than enjoy themselves. It’s only after Rachel proves her inner strength many times over that Eleanor begins to change her mind.

3 Mr. Bhamra Sees Himself In His Daughter

Bend It Like Beckham

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Mr. Beckham in Bend It Like Beckham

Mr. and Mrs. Bhamra from Bend It Like Beckham are both overprotective of their youngest daughter. Neither of them wants her to play soccer, but for different reasons. Mrs. Bhamra is concerned with their reputation in the British Indian community while Mr. Bhamra doesn’t want Jess to face the same discrimination that he did in his youth.

For most of Bend It Like Beckham, both Jess and the audience are frustrated by the Bhamras’ actions. Mrs. Bhamra is especially exasperating. Finally, though, Mr. Bhamra realizes that he doesn’t want Jess to hide who she is and convinces Mrs. Bhamra with a heartfelt speech to let their daughter be herself.

2 Bill Goodfellowe Protects His Daughter In A Dangerous World


<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Robyn Goodfellowe with her father, Bill in Wolfwalkers

From the beginning of Wolfwalkers, Bill Goodfellowe has a close relationship with his daughter, Robyn. That relationship becomes strained when Goodfellowe is hired by the tyrannical Lord Protector to hunt the wolves in the forest. Caught between two dangers, Bill becomes terrified for his daughter’s safety. He openly admits how scared he is and what he fears will happen if he doesn’t fall in line.

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Bill makes many mistakes that he almost doesn’t come back from, but he only ever thinks about his daughter. He doesn’t hate the wolves or have a prejudice against them, he just wants Robyn to be safe and happy. Because of this, he’s able to set things right once Robyn tells him the truth, and they leave the country with a bigger family than they had before.

1 Jay Still Has A Long Way To Go

Mississippi Masala

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Jay in Mississippi Masala

Although both Jay and Kinnu are protective of their daughter, Mina, Jay is the most stubborn. Due to his past struggles, Jay is wary of anyone and anything outside the Indian community in Mississippi. Therefore, when Mina begins dating, he is extremely against it.

Unlike many movies with overprotective parents, Mississippi Masala doesn’t end in reconciliation. Instead, Mina and her boyfriend move away to be together. Nonetheless, as the movie closes, Jay finally realizes that things can never go back to the way they were. This is the beginning of him letting go of the past and the hope that he might eventually accept his daughter’s new life.

NEXT: 10 Movie Characters Who Had A Dead Parent For No Reason


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