10 Most Memorable Movie Moms

Now that spring has finally sprung, it's that time of year to think about how to honor mom on her holiday. No, we have no bright gift ideas for your mom either -- other than taking her to brunch or sending her flowers -- but we do have some suggestions for how you can honor her with your DVD player, by watching one of these flicks on our "Top 10 Most Memorable Movie Moms" list.

On TV, mom roles are a dime a dozen. But on the big screen, kinda like in real life, mothers can get lost in the background. But not these matriarchs. They are front and center, strong willed, and determined to either fiercely protect their offspring or torture them. Watching any one of these movie moms will most likely make you really glad you have the mom you have.

10. Beverly Sutphin, Serial Mom (1994)

Kathleen Turner's turn in this John Waters comedy shows us one of the most insanely protective mothers of all time, literally -- she's so protective that she murders any school kid or townie who insults a member of her family. Though one of Waters' more mainstream efforts, Turner plays this campy role to perfection, as equal parts June Cleaver and Jason Voorhees.

9. Sarah, In America (2002)

This little indie about a family of Irish immigrants illegally living in a dilapidated apartment in Manhattan features one of the sweetest mother roles of all time. Samantha Morton plays the young, energetic, attentive mom who, despite still mourning the loss of her toddler son back in Ireland, for the sake of two little girls tries to make the new adventure in America as fun as possible -- most often by playing make-believe with them because they can't afford to go out.

8. Erin Brockovich, Erin Brockovich (2000)

Julia Roberts brought respect to sexy, single working mothers everywhere with her Oscar-winning turn as the down-on-her-luck secretary who builds up and wins one of the biggest lawsuits ever waged against corporate greed. And by getting compensation for the families destroyed by the illnesses caused by Pacific Gas & Electric Company's dumping of deadly toxic waste in residential neighborhoods, she becomes a nurturing mom to all of mankind's underdogs.

7. Momma, Throw Momma From the Train (1987)

Anne Ramsey was nominated for an Oscar for her repulsive, abhorrent, overbearing, verbally abusive mom in this dark comedy starring Danny DeVito and Billy Crystal. No matter how hard Owen (Danny DeVito) tries to off his demanding mother she always lives on to humiliate and boss him through another day. Ultimately, he really can't kill her, 'cause he's a dutiful son who's been really well trained by his momma.

6. Mrs. Gump, Forrest Gump (1994)

In the '80s Sally Field could have been a spokesperson for Kleenex. She was the go-to casting choice to play a tear-jerking mom, from Steel Magnolias to Places in The Heart. But Mrs. Gump's ability to instill confidence and smarts in her son, despite the fact that he has disabilities, makes her the most memorable of Field's moms. Plus, she gave us all those cute and quotable life lessons, including "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get."

5. Sarah Connor, The Terminator (1984)

James Cameron's sci-fi action franchise revolves around the mother and child relationship of Sarah and John Connor. Many a movie theorist has deconstructed the film as a futuristic, dystopian spin on the Biblical tale of Mary and Jesus. We just know that Linda Hamilton is one righteously ass-kicking mother who's as much of a hero as her son would turn out to be.

4. Mrs. Flax, Mermaids (1990)

Cher's role in Mask could have made this list too. But her turn as Mrs. Flax, the unconventional single mother to two girls (Winona Ryder and Christina Ricci) in '60s-era Brooklyn is, well, less heart-wrenching than her performance as Rocky Dennis' biker-chick mom and a bit more relatable. Mrs. Flax is the iconic anti-soccer mom who abhors the thought of "settling down" and ahead of her time. She's not the type to bake bread, will likely never join the PTA, and looks fierce in the Coney Island Mermaid Parade.

3. Christine Collins, Changeling (2008)

Angelina Jolie is undoubtedly the most memorable mom in the tabloids these days, but her Oscar-nominated role in this Clint Eastwood-directed film was unforgettable too. She plays a single, working-class mom in L.A. who becomes unhinged when, after her son goes missing, an 8-year-old doppelganger is returned to her by the local cops. This mother fights against the system at all costs to get her son back; even when they call her crazy and throw her in the loony bin she won't give up.

2. Aurora Greenway, Terms of Endearment (1983)

Every girl knows how complicated mother-daughter relationships can be -- it's the strongest and most emotional bond there is. No actress has given such life to the relationship's complexities and so realistically as Shirley MacLaine, playing the proud mother who has a hard time letting go and not telling her daughter (Debra Winger) how to live her life. MacLaine won the Academy award for this one.

1. Joan Crawford, Mommie Dearest (1981)

Let's be honest: Wicked characters are more memorable than sweet ones. Hence, the quintessential bad mother of all time lands at the top of our list. Whether or not they've seen Faye Dunaway in this role, as the aging, alcoholic starlet who abuses and dismisses her daughter, many a teenager knows to get a rise out of their mother by rolling their eyes and mock-dutifully saying, "Yes, Mommie Dearest."

Honorary Mention: Jack, Mr. Mom (1983)

This iconic comedy not only acknowledged how tough it is to be a mom, but proved that staying at home to take care of the kiddos is a job in its own right. Not only was the release of this movie a pivotal moment in the women's movement, Michael Keaton broke new ground for dads everywhere making it OK to be a goofy, loving, doting dad.

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