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The 12 Best Dads from Films

by Sabotage
16 June 2013 11 Comments

Dads in general are ace, Hollywood Dads are even better...

Antonio Ricci from Bicycle Thieves

It’s Antonio Ricci, the dad from the 1948 movie Bicycle Theives. His bike has been nicked so, with the help of his son, he wanders around Rome to try and find it. It’s a simple story which manages to brilliantly show the complexities of a father-son relationship. Scene where treats his son to a slap-up meal. Yeesh.

By Tom Law

Gil in Parenthood

There aren’t many better film dads than Gil, as played by Steve Martin in 1989’s Parenthood. Acutely aware of the failings of his own workaholic father, Gil doesn’t want to be the proverbial apple that doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Stressed by his own job and realising that his young son is having emotional difficulties, Gil makes the conscious effort to spend more time with his boy, including the memorable ‘Cowboy Gil’ scene, where he has to stand in for the absent entertainer at his son’s birthday party.

Gil’s got it sussed. Kids don’t need material things – they just need their parents to BE with them. All dads should try and be more like Gil.

By Andy Dawson

Bill from Wild Bill

Wild Bill directed by Dexter Fletcher- a truly excellent film that deals with fatherhood and the responsibilities therein. Local hard man Bill leaves prison having served 8 years for a number of crimes including GBH. Returning to his marital home in a foul tower block in Newham South East London he finds that his wife has left leaving his two sons (aged 11 and 15 ) to fend for themselves , the elder now working on an Olympic building site to support them. Of course life in such an area is never easy . Bill is asked to rejoin a local firm now run by his underlings younger brother. He refuses only to see his youngest son recruited by them to work as a crack pawn while his eldest son hates him. Quite simply, it is an excellent film about fatherhood .

By Chris Sullivan

Champ in The Champ

Firstly he’s called Champ, secondly he’s played by Jon Voight and thirdly he literally does everything for his son. That’s all kinds of awesome. On top of that it’s another cryer and boasts a scene that’s scientifically proven to be the saddest scene ever.Yup, that’s right, even sadder than when Disney stopped drawing Bambi’s mum, if something like that doesn’t endear you to a character then you’re an absolute wrong ‘un.

By Jordan Waller

George Bailey from It’s A Wonderful Life

George Bailey from It’s A Wonderful Life is the ultimate on-screen dad. He spends his whole life putting others first, providing for his family and sticking it to the man. When events take a turn for the worse he considers the unthinkable and has to face the alternate universe of what life for his friends and family would be like without him. This film is a Christmas staple in our house, yet ironically Mum and I watch it without Dad. Which is a shame, because I should probably tell him that I cry at the end of the movie when I realise what my life would be like without such an ace, real life, George Bailey for a Dad.

By Rebecca Lomax

Clifford Worley in True Romance

Clifford Worley (Dennis Hopper) buys his son Clarence (Christian Slater) some valuable time by busting mob leader Vincenzo Coccotti’s (Christopher Walken) balls, knowing that he will surely die in the process. Funny, courageous and ultimately sad.

By Andrew Woods

Clark Griswold from the Vacation Films

Whether he was clumsily going around in circles weeping “Big Ben.. Parliament”, punching a pretend Moose in the face, making a late night sex tape, or repeatedly trying to kill Eric Idle, you couldn’t argue that Chevy Chase in the Vacation movies just wanted to be a good father to his children. A touching show of dedication from the greatest actor of his time.

Darth Vader from the Star Wars Films

Break all six Star Wars films down to their bare bones, and you’re left with the simple story of an absent father making amends for going astray. In this case, the absent father is the lord of evil Darth Vader, while his son is a bisexual farm hand called Luke Skywalker. Somehow, despite having different interpretations of right and wrong, the two eventually come to accept one another for what they are – an old man in fancy dress, and a smug Jedi with mad skills. When Luke peers down at his father’s grinning baby head at the end of Return of the Jedi, entire cinemas flooded with the tears of men.

By Josh Burt

A Bronx Tale

The film I’d nominate “A Bronx Tale”. Robert De Niro’s directorial debut perfectly captures the mood of a young man torn between his work-a-day bus driving father and his adopted father figure who just so happens to be the local mafia boss. Showing that sometimes the best way to show love is through discipline and the adherence to tough principles, a towering performance by Niro as a father who wants what’s best for his son and the note perfect seductive allure of the sleazy Chaz Palmenteri make this film a contemporary classic that can be enjoyed by all generations.

By Richard Lewis

The Day After Tomorrow

The Day After Tomorrow may not be everyone’s idea of a blockbuster, but Jack Hall, portrayed by Dennis Quaid, goes to extraordinary lengths to ensure his son’s safety, walking for hours across an icy America to help him. I can’t particularly relate to this specific situation as a son, since the ice age hasn’t come back around yet, but it’s easy to appreciate the commitment and love demonstrated by Quaid’s character.

By Sam Drew

Jim’s Dad From American Pie



The two most memorable film dads that come to mind are probably not the two best examples of great parenting: Jack Nicholson in The Shining and Darth Vader. So if I was going to pick one of the all-time great movie dads I’d have to plump for Jim’s dad in American pie, as portrayed by Eugene Levy.

Whether Jim was making love to baked goods or setting up illegal webcams to film foreign exchange students disrobe, his dad had his back and was prepared help cover up for him. Jim’s dad’s cringy but touching speeches add a bit of warmth and humour to the films. You’d be lucky to have a man like that fighting your corner.

By Periwinkle Jones

Mr Incredible from The Incredibles

Pixar are consistently brilliant at representing families, nowhere more so than in The Incredibles. Mr Incredible is essentially that guy from your town who probably could have been a professional footballer, but then had a kid around 18 and had to jack in all his ambitions faced with the challenge of fatherhood. He loves his wife and family, but when it comes down to it, not as much as being a superhero. Mr Incredible’s journey in the film is essentially finding out that being a Dad is akin to being a superhero, which as all of us know, it totally is.

By Harry Harris

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image descriptionCOMMENTS

Karuna 8:30 am, 17-Jun-2012

You should have made it twelve and included Guido Orefice (Academy award best actor) in "Life is beautiful". Here, dad is head of a family that had been committed to a concentration camp. With a wicked sense of humour and a rapid quick-thinking wit, he convinces his son to remain hidden by pretending that the whole experience is a game. Even to the end he retains his sense of humour and you're left with a belief in the power of one dad's ability to protect his kid from the evils of the world.

Nigel 8:45 am, 17-Jun-2012

Travis Henderson (Harry Dean Stanton) in Paris, Texas. Not your archetypal great dad, but he does OK in the end.

Sar 10:24 am, 17-Jun-2012

Life is beautiful missing. From an angle, it is a story of dad.

Carl 11:35 am, 17-Jun-2012

Atticus Finch - To Kill A Mockingbird Sonny Koufax - Big Daddy Dr.Sledge - The Pacific Tom Oakley - Goodnight Mr Tom (not his real dad but nevermind)

David L 5:53 pm, 17-Jun-2012

Atticus Finch, absolutely: "He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning". Plus Colm Meaney as Rabbitte Sr in the Barrytown films, especially for his rabid devotion to Elvis in The Commitments, and for how inordinately pleased he looks with himself, celebrating the birth of his grand-daughter over a pint of Guinness in The Snapper.

Tom 8:17 pm, 17-Jun-2012

what about the dad from Big Fish?

R Slicker 6:28 pm, 25-Apr-2013

Tackleberry from Police Academy. Or Hightower at a push.

Steven Doohan 6:33 pm, 25-Apr-2013

Even though you never even see him, the father of Bitch (Bruce Willis) in Pulp Fiction went above and beyond the call of duty by hiding a bulky pocket watch up his ass in a Vietnam POW camp so that it could one day be passed to his son. Butch recognised and appreciated this sacrifice so much that he put his own life in mortal danger to retrieve said timepiece. Strangely touching.

Bennett 9:54 pm, 25-Apr-2013

Colonel John Matrix, Commando. I love reading these piss-ant suggestions. They make me laugh. If Matrix was here, he'd laugh too.

mickp 2:48 pm, 27-Apr-2013

Ditto Colm Meaney in the Barrytown Trilogy. Tom Hanks in The Road to Perdition Mufasa in the Lion King A couple of father figures; Clint Eastwood in Million Dollar baby Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth in the Batman Trilogy

mike 2:09 pm, 18-Jun-2013

Marlon Brando the godfather, & Gerard Depardieu my father the hero

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