25 Great Movies About Terribly Dysfunctional Families


It’s almost that time of year: the holiday season, when we are forced to spend plenty of time with our crazy families. Many of us will be traveling long distances home for awkward dinners with our extended families, biting our tongues when it comes to political matters and keeping long-held secrets hidden away. But, it could be worse: you could be a member of these 25 movie families, who are most likely much more insane than your own.

Home for the Holidays

It’s the quintessential Thanksgiving movie (one of the few, really) featuring a crazy family: mother-daughter madness, homophobic sisters, obnoxious kids, and a destroyed turkey.

The Godfather Trilogy

Let’s just count these three movies as one, OK? After all, the screwed up family problems don’t end in the first movie; fratricide rears its ugly head, plus there’s Francis Ford Coppola’s own poor choice to cast his own daughter in the third film.

Margot at the Wedding

The relationship between sisters is a frequently explored cinematic trope, but rarely is it so biting than in Noah Baumbach’s Hamptons-set comedy.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DNAI9bhBFU

The Royal Tenenbaums

In this modern classic, the Tenenbaums clan is the perfect dysfunctional family: quirky, weird, estranged, yet super stylish.

Ordinary People

There’s no place quite as chilly as Lake Forest, Illinois, as Robert Redford’s dramatic tearjerker depicts a group of emotional Midwesterners trying their best to cope (or not to cope) with a death in the family.

Rachel Getting Married

Cinema’s most multicultural wedding ceremony is overshadowed by a drug-addicted sister and the most dramatic loading of a dishwasher ever captured on film.

Eve’s Bayou

If you discovered your father cheating on your mother, wouldn’t you put a voodoo curse on him? Seems totally normal to me.


A dark satire in which two Greek parents deliberately confuse their three kids about the world in a masochistic fashion ends, predictably, not well for anyone.

Flirting With Disaster

This wacky comedy about a guy finding his wacky birth parents features Mary Tyler Moore’s character showing off her perfect breasts to her son within the first 20 minutes.

The Grifters

Spoiler alert: there’s some mild incest that could either be sister-on-brother or mother-on-son, proving that a family of con artists is perhaps the worst kind of family.


Terrible fathers populate the Los Angeles of Paul Thomas Anderson, where they’re only outnumbered by the frogs that fall from the sky.

Mommie Dearest

A perennial Mother’s Day classic for Old Hollywood obsessives, gay guys, and everyone who hates wire hangers.

Grey Gardens

Just imagine how crazy your mother would drive you if you had to live with her in a dilapidated mansion in East Hampton with a few hundred cats as she constantly reminds you of how you could have married a Kennedy.

Tokyo Story

Dysfunctional families aren’t specific to the United States: this classic Japanese film proves that ungrateful children are a universal problem.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

The family that slays together stays together, but they also put themselves at risk of accidental mutilation. (Can you imagine how difficult it is to clean that place?)

Flowers in the Attic

Being locked in a small space with your siblings is bad enough, but it’s worse when it’s at the behest of your awful mother and your scary grandmother. (Per usual, incest ensues.)

The Squid and the Whale

Being a teenager is hard enough, but the awfulness is likely to be exaggerated when your parents split up and your dad is trying to sleep with the girl you have a crush on (and, meanwhile, your younger brother can’t stop masturbating in public).

Death at a Funeral

Funerals are the settings where family secrets are most likely to be spilled, but this British comedy makes your typical burial seem like a piece of cake considering the family its the center is full of jerks, drug users, and a dwarf.

The Virgin Suicides

Catholic fanaticism in ’70s-era Michigan takes a nasty turn, providing the moral that you shouldn’t lock your five daughters away from the dudes who want to make out with them.

The House of Yes

You know Thanksgiving is going to be weird when your mom announces her intention to hide the knives from your manic-depressive, Jackie O-obsessed sister who hates your fiancée.

The Family Stone

The eldest Stone brother brings his uptight girlfriend home to meet the family and ask for his grandmother’s engagement ring (get it?!), only to find that everyone in his free-spirited clan hates her.


On the one hand, you have three sisters who pretty much despise each other. On the other, a child-molesting dad who teaches his son about ejaculation. Don’t watch this with your parents.

The Ref

Denis Leary plays a criminal who is forced to spend Christmas with a bickering couple and their awful family, who he’s holding hostage.


Are the Buckmans cinemas greatest dysfunctional family? In Ron Howard’s ensemble comedy, the Midwestern clan deals with a slew of emotional issues in the worst possible ways.

The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia

This Appalachian clan of murderers, thieves, drug dealers, pill poppers, and tap dancers is not just the center of this documentary about a nearly lost group of mountain outlaws — these characters also won the hearts of an audience that has made the film a modern cult classic.