10 Of The Best Movie Mothers For Mother's Day

Mothers are incredible creatures, that's a given. From your own to those of a fictional existence, all of the moms of the world each play a critical role in the story of our lives, or in the tales of our favorite pieces of media. They inspire the hero, teach them the fundamental building blocks of life, and energize them to continue on their own personal journeys – all the while being their own special brand of magical, smart individuals (or being terrifying villains of the horror sort, but that's for another list.)

So with a certain mother themed holiday having just passed, along with the momma-positive flicks Life of the Party and Breaking In now in theaters, it is definitely time to celebrate some of the best moms in cinematic history. There will be some obvious choices for sure, but there are also some underrated ladies that need their moment to shine. Whether you would put them on your own list, or choose a different movie mom to recognize, there is no denying the importance these women have within their stories, and for the legacy of moms on film as a whole. So grab your bouquet of flowers – its time to pay the 10 best movie moms some respect!

Mildred from Mildred Pierce

The 1946 Academy Awards will always go down in history not as the night The Best Years of Our Lives swept most of the major categories, but rather as the ceremony in which a "sick at home" Joan Crawford took the prize as that year's Best Actress winner. Yet you might be wondering (considering her competition that year) did she deserve such praise? Well, if you have ever watched Mildred Pierce, then you know that answer quite well.

The character of Mildred (created by author James M. Cain) is a down on her luck woman that, no matter what she tries to do, seems to sink further and further down a rabbit hole of drama. From her troubled relationship with her ex-husband and other lovers, to the tragic misfortune that falls upon her family, Mildred is quite a fighter, no matter how many ridiculous antics are thrown her way.

But it is her dramatic relationship with her oldest daughter, Veda (Ann Blyth) that cements her place in movie mom history. Why? Because if you had to raise and try to deal with that troublemaker of a young lady, then you are one heck of a mom – even if the end results aren't as perfect as one would hope. And if you can look as fabulous as Joan Crawford while doing it, then you are a true superhero of a mother.

Lucy Emerson from Lost Boys

Some moms have to battle the rebellious nature of their children, while others have to try and protect their kids from nature itself. But what does Lucy have to do? Attempt to adjust her boys to moving after her divorce, trying to get back into the swing of dating, and also defeat punk-rock vampires. You know, the usual.

Dianne Wiest might be one of the most underrated actresses of her generation, especially when you look at the collection of amazing cult-movie moms she's played over the years. But when push comes to cinematic shove, Lucy stands above the rest, simply because of all the insanity she has to go through to get her unconventional happy ending. Yeah, she might have not realized right away that she was dating an actual (non-Twilight romantic) vampire, but her willingness to do anything and everything to protect her kids from her new boyfriend is commendable.

When you combine all that, plus her awesome fashion sense, humor, and willingness to deal with all of the over-the-top men in her life (along with their strange choice in home decor – have you seen that erotic Rob Lowe poster?), then it is quite clear that Lucy Emerson is one MVP of Momdom.

Annie from The First Wives Club

Though at first a bit of a doormat, Annie from The First Wives Club ends up becoming one mom you don't want to mess with. Sure, her tiny circle glasses and perfectly 90s bangs may full you into thinking she's just another mousy individual – but underneath all of that, this is a business-savvy, smart, glamorous woman – who just also happens to be a wonderful, pasta making, supportive momma.

Annie makes it onto this list for not only being a superhero to those who have been screwed over by their ex-husbands, but she also represents a shift in culture – where mothers of the 90's were having to make the choice of accepting their kid for who they were or facing the consequences. Annie decides to take the positive route in this case, and unconditionally (in the 90s comedy way) love her lesbian daughter with open arms – even going as far as entering a gay nightclub without hesitation.

Sure, the outcome of First Wives Club might end in a fluffy, fairy tale musical number – but Annie's story of both accepting the differences of her friends and daughter, and proving that women in her situation can stand on their own two feet, proves she's a force to be reckoned with. And if that doesn't do it, her awesome cover of "You Don't Own Me" will.

The Moms of The Joy Luck Club

The Joy Luck Club is a film that represents many things to me: the importance of your origin, the incredible bond between mothers and their daughters, and most importantly, the discovery of finding your own identity from out of your parents shadow – even if their own life journey might parallel yours in the most mysterious of ways.

Standing as one of the only American produced films to showcase an almost completely Asian-American cast, The Joy Luck Club features so many dynamite women at its core, it is impossible to pick one as the best mother from the bunch. They all bring something unique and important to the Mah Jong table. An-Mei's story of knowing your own worth, Ying-Ying's tale of the losing your spirit, Lindo's lessons of retaining your strength – all of their stories (along with their daughter's) matter.

And though I (as an Irish-American individual) might not understand the struggles of the characters exactly, the brilliance of this movie and these mothers is that you don't need to be Chinese to grasp the emotions of their journeys. And regardless of how many times I (and my own mother) watch this movie, the lessons that The Joy Luck Club members teach us as an audience never goes away – making them a team that definitely needed a spot on this list.

Bambi's Mom from Bambi

I think it would be a crime among crimes for me to not include this animated beauty on the list. Not only is she a representation of some of Walt Disney's greatest animated works, but Bambi's mom also stands as a pillar of pop culture. She embodies that attachment that children (regardless of their origin) have with their mother, and the sad reality that some face of losing them at a young age.

But even before "that moment" comes into play, Bambi's mom shows the kind of warmth and affection that would embody what many children believed their mothers to be like with them. Couple that with her graceful touches, willingness to show Bambi all that is good and bad about the forest, and the interesting relationship between her and The Prince of the Forest, and you have have a recipe for the "perfect" emotional reaction.

And much like The Lion King earns the unfortunate pay-off of killing their hero's father, Bambi does as well – so much that some consider this animated classic to be a true horror film for that scene alone. Yet in my opinion, the passing of this wonderful motherly figure is more an example of brilliant filmmaking- the kind that many might not have guessed Walt Disney could pull off in 1942. So we'll always love you, Bambi's mom, even if you have brought audiences to tears for almost 80 years.

Sarah Connor from Terminator 2: Judgement Day

Yeah, your mom might have been in a constant struggle to make sure you got your school lunch, and made it to soccer practice on time – but I'm sure she didn't have to fight in a war between Skynet and the existence of the human race. Luckily, we got the amazing (and somewhat scary) Sarah Connor to take care of that motherly duty.

Yeah, it's impossible to do any sort of movie mother related list without talking about this iconic sci-fi heroine. She's strong, smart, intimidating, and willing to do just about anything (seriously, anything) to make sure the world is saved from the horrible future that is to come. But that doesn't make her a perfect person, nor a perfect mother, by any stretch of the imagination – especially when you look at her not so great relationship with her son, John. The two are estranged at best due to Sarah's obsession with saving the world – but deep down, we as an audience know that Sarah loves him, in her own way.

Sarah proves that mothers don't always need to be the cookie cutter sweethearts of the past to save the day, and they don't have to be necessarily "good people" by typical standards. Instead, Ms. Connor is an example of what incredible journeys a mother will go through to protect what matters to her – even if she isn't at all good at showing it, and her actions may have clouded her more traditional motherly instincts.

Queen Ramonda from Black Panther

Though her introduction in Marvel's Black Panther might not have been full of moments to get her on this list, Queen Ramonda is an amazing movie mom because of her supportive and strong nature, along with her regal beauty.

Played by one of the greatest women in all of moviedom (Angela Bassett), Ramonda is clearly the definition of royalty. Her stance is proud (even after the death of her beloved husband) and she never loses her hope in T'Challa, Shuri and the people of Wakanda (even in the bleaker moments of the film's climax.) Top that all off with the fact that she (along with Shuri and Nakia) faced the Jabari Tribe and eventually were able to give T'Challa the Heart Shaped Herb that save him, shows how willing she is to do anything to protect her family and her country.

But what makes Ramonda a mother to watch for is what lies ahead for her. In her comic book origins, Queen Ramonda has quite the arc – where she is captured by a white supremacist and kept locked away in his mansion. Maybe in the future, we'll get a version of this story on screen, and rather than letting her be taken over by such a villainous individual, this cinematic take on the Queen will have her kicking some serious butt. This is the Queen of Wakanda we're talking about – and she doesn't take no for an answer.

Sariatu from Kubo and the Two Strings

Kubo and the Two Strings might simply seem like a typical hero's journey, seen through the eyes of a young boy. But deep down, this is a movie that is very much about the bond between parents and their children, and the struggles of such figures trying to do what is best for their children rather than letting them making such decisions for themselves.

Sariatu (Kubo's mother) is in a constant battle with her father, The Moon King, for that exact reason. He wanted her life to go a certain way (including not falling in love with a human man), and also wanted to make Kubo an immortal just like him. But Sariatu stands an example of a warrior who will do anything for her child, even sacrifice the best parts of herself to him keep him safe from Kubo's enemies – her own family.

But unlike Sarah Connor, Sariatu loves her child with open arms. Even if in her various forms, she can't take care of Kubo in the traditional way that mothers do with their young children. She feels compassion and love for those she cares for, even if she is focused on finishing her goals and saving the day. And sometimes, even in that moments where we don't feel their love instantly – those are best kinds of mothers out there.

Rose from Moonstruck

Unlike many of the mothers on this list, Rose (played by the incredible Olympia Dukakis) speaks first and thinks about the emotions second. She's blunt and to the point, and will likely tell you how incredibly stupid you are for choosing that blouse or letting a schmuck put that cheap ring on your finger. But deep down, Rose has a good heart – even if it is a bit confused at times.

Throughout Moonstruck, we (the audience) are shown time and time again that Rose is the brains of her household. Her husband, Cosmo, may think he is the leader of this operation, but he would be nowhere without Rose – a lesson that takes quite a while for him to grasp. Our heroine, Loretta (Cher), also embraces the words of Rose (her mother) – even if they might not be the Hallmark greeting card type phrases she wants to hear during her realizations of true love.

Yet what makes Rose an obvious addition to this list is her resistance to let anyone ruin her life. From her turning down a younger gentlemen wanting to have an affair with her, to telling Cosmo to stop his own affair and to go to church, Rose ain't no pushover of a momma – one that everyone should take inspiration from.

Katherine from Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures might not stand-out immediately as a great cinematic example of motherhood. Yet when your mom is real life NASA hero, Katherine Johnson (played by Taraji P. Henson) – who helped in the great Space Race between the USA and the Soviet Union – it's quite obvious that this isn't just an amazing story for female empowerment, but of motherly empowerment too.

Right from the start, Katherine is a go-getter, even at a young age. This spirit is embedded onto her three young daughters, who see their momma as the mathematical super genius she is. Unfortunately, due to her busy work schedule (and being a young widow) she doesn't get a ton of time with her kids – making her personal life even more of a hurdle than it otherwise would have been. But somehow, even as a hardworking single mom dealing with sexism and racism, she helps NASA's astronauts launch into space (and finds new love along the way.)

Whether cinematically or as her real life hero, Katherine Johnson is a fantastic example of a career driven mother, who doesn't let her dreams get sidelined. She can raise three beautiful children, but also create history in more ways than one. And that is a story we all (no matter who we are) can be inspired by.


That's all for our round-up of the best movie moms. Who are some of your favorite mothers from the movies?