With that special day for dads once again upon us, WOW247 has scoured cinematic history to pick out the greatest Father’s Day films.
From uplifting comedies to poignant dramas, here are 12 magnificent movies centred around dads and their kids – ideal for viewing this Sunday.
Faced with every parent’s worst nightmare but fulfilling every father’s dream of becoming an all-action hero, Liam Neeson is a ruthless CIA operative with a “particular set of skills” who goes on the rampage after his daughter is kidnapped in France.
There’s gritty subject matter for sure, but the film strikes a neat balance between silly and serious as it blusters its way through an entertaining onslaught of blistering shoot-outs and full-throttle chases.
Liar Liar (1997)
Jim Carrey is on phenomenal form in this underrated mad-cap comedy, in which his sleazy lawyer protagonist finds himself unable to tell lies for a day after his disgruntled son, tired of all his empty promises and deceptions, makes a fateful birthday wish.
The moral message is a simple yet heart-warming one, and the real winner is the mix of outrageous slapstick humour and hilarious outbursts (“see you later, dickhead!”).
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
Both a terrific adventure film and a cracking father-son buddy movie, this classic blockbuster sees Harrison Ford’s heroic Indiana Jones team up with his disapproving dad, played wonderfully by Sean Connery, to take on the Nazis and uncover the secrets of the Holy Grail.
Full of drama, action and suspense, it’s the entertaining double-act of Jones Jnr. and Snr. that elevates this even further – with their bickering, teamwork and the odd tender moment providing some of the series’ most memorable moments.
Road To Perdition (2002)
Tom Hanks turns in a sublime performance as a mob hitman forced to go on the run with his young son, in this acclaimed Depression-era crime thriller from Sam Mendes.
The complex relationship between man and boy is the crux of the compelling drama, as Hanks’s world-weary enforcer flits between frustration, sorrow and fatherly-love – and determines to ensure that his boy stays off the dark path he took in life.
To Kill A Mocking Bird (1962)
Portrayed brilliantly by Gregory Peck in this seminal adaptation of Harper Lee’s novel, lawyer Atticus Finch is undoubtedly one of Hollywood great heroes: steadfast and resilient in standing up to the rampant racism around him, as he defends a black man wrongly accused of rape.
He’s also a wonderful father – instilling values of fairness and integrity in his inquisitive children Scout and Jem. The story is in many ways a tragic one, but the bond between Atticus and his kids gives it extra heart.
National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)
Every dad can relate to the plight of beleaguered patriarch Clark Griswold in this brilliant comedy road-trip movie. Who hasn’t gone slightly mad on a long family car journey?
Driven to breaking-point by scheming con artists, motoring mishaps and hideous relatives, Clark’s increasingly desperate attempts to make a dream holiday at Walley World a reality are both scarily familiar and genuinely hilarious.
This excellent thriller is armed with an ingenious premise, whereby a man discovers he can contact his dead father via radio 30 years earlier – but things get even weirder once he helps save his dad from the fire that claimed his life.
Lent considerable weight by fine turns from Jim Caviezel and Dennis Quaid as the central pair, the twists and turns of the plot are intense and involving, and the conclusion immensely satisfying.
Finding Nemo (2003)
Pixar’s much-loved animated adventure is a family-friendly feast of sumptuous visuals and smart humour – and it’s also the tale of one dad’s unwavering determination to find his lost son.
After young Clownfish Nemo is caught by a diver – ultimately ending up in an aquarium at an Australian dentist surgery – his father Marlin heads off in hot pursuit, with his action-packed journey taking in a shark going cold-turkey, a convoy of cool turtles, and a rather forgetful new friend.
Big Fish (2003)
Tim Burton’s beautiful flight of fancy revolves around the action-packed flashbacks of a story-obsessed old-timer – whose eventful youth supposedly involved witches, werewolves and a travelling circus.
Unimpressed by what he views as his father’s ‘lies’, the elderly man’s son angrily attempts to get to the bottom of matters. The ending is a real tear-jerker, and the film is brought to superb life with eccentric sets, outrageous costumes and a fantastic ensemble cast.
Life Is Beautiful (1997)
While the events and subject-matter of this Oscar-winning Holocaust drama may be dark, hellish and dreadfully sad, Roberto Begnini’s genius is to provide a sense of energetic optimism throughout – embodied by the inspiring tomfoolery of his protagonist, Guido.
Sent to a concentration camp with his young son in World War II era Italy, Guido ingeniously hides the terrible realities from the child by turning everything into an elaborate game. The end result is an uplifting triumph of hope and human spirit – focused on the all-conquering love of Begnini’s charismatic father.
The Pursuit Of Happyness (2006)
Will and Jaden Smith may be currently getting ripped to shreds by critics for the disaster that is After Earth – but their first on-screen partnership couldn’t have been a greater success.
Based on the astonishing true story of Chris Gardner, they play a father and son fighting to cope with homelessness, while the dad attempts to land a high-flying position at a major financial company. It’s heart-warming and raw in equal measure, and both Smiths turn in excellent performances.
Father Of The Bride (1991)
One of Steve Martin’s most popular hits, the comedy legend takes centre-stage as a horrified parent forced to bear the costs and organisation of his daughter’s extravagant wedding.
Bickering with the husband-to-be and future in-laws, not to mention stressing over the cost of the occasion, will be recognisable woes to many. The end result is both funny and familiar – though dads in a similar spot may want to watch through their fingers.
What do you think of our list of the greatest Father’s Day films? Have we missed your favourite?
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