A Pictorial Tribute to 15 Favorite Movie Dads


June 15 is Father’s Day here in America, but we can always celebrate dads and fatherhood anywhere in the world. As I mentioned in my special Father’s Day post a couple of years ago, though I didn’t grow up with a father, it doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate them in the movies. This is a follow-up to my first list, so I’m not going to include those already on that list, such as Marlin from Finding Nemo, Paul from Hotel Rwanda and of course, the ultimate movie dad ever, Atticus Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird. I also included my favorite father figure ever, Alfred from Nolan’s Batman Trilogy.

The fathers on this list may not always do the right thing, but despite their flaws or questionable decisions, they love for their child/children with all their heart. Interesting to see how many single fathers are on this list. I didn’t realize that until I picked them but I think the fact that they’re raising their kid(s) on their own just make me respect them more.

So here are 15 [additional] unforgettable fathers I wish I had.














So to all fathers or father figures out there …
Happy Father’s Day!

Thoughts on these pics? Feel free to share your own favorite movie dads!

72 thoughts on “A Pictorial Tribute to 15 Favorite Movie Dads

    1. Thanks Michael! I hope you’d check out The Machine, I’ve been re-watching it lately and it’ll be the topic of my next Question of The Week 😉

    1. Ahah, I knew someone will ask about that. Well he HAS to be in every Father’s Day list, I was thisclose to put another Greg Peck’s role here too, the one from Gentleman’s Agreement 🙂

  1. Beautiful post Ruth! Frequency always makes me bawl. Funny, when my wife and I were attending a birthing class for our first child, they asked all the fathers if there was a cinematic father they admired and the first one that came to my mind was Johnny from In America. I had this long answer as to why…and I was the only one who could think of one, since I was apparently the only cinephile in that class.

    1. Thank you Drew! I caught on Frequency quite late but wow, that made me cry too.

      I still need to see In America, have heard great things about it. Ahah yeah it seems that I’m the only cinephile amongst my friends too, it can get frustrating at times.

  2. FranK

    Agree fully with Paddy Considine as Johnny in In America. Also love Jimmy Stewart’s George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life and Sean Penn as Sam Dawson in I Am Sam? A great father figure is the projectionist Alfredo in Cinema Paradiso.

    1. Hi FranK, welcome to FC! Oh right George Bailey, can’t believe I missed him again. And yes Alfredo is a GREAT father figure indeed.

  3. Oh, I love Michael, Peter, & Jack just for how they were able to adjust to raising a young baby and get their work done. That montage to Peter Cetera’s “Daddy’s Girl” was excellent just to show how far they’ve come as dads.

    1. Oh I forgot about Peter Cetera’s song in that one. I just had to include those 3 dads, it’s such a funny & heartwarming story!

    1. Hi Anna! Great pick. Mr. Finch is my #1 pick in the Top 10 list I did last year, he really tops the lot of ’em. Such a timeless film and performance.

    1. Thanks Keith! Happy Father’s Day to you, my friend. I feel bad that I missed George Bailey though, somehow I thought I had included him on my first list.

      1. Oh yes. Good old George. He hit some rough patches but his love for his kids and the example he set was unquestionable. Absolutely love him.

        Thanks so much Ruth. Had a really good day.

        1. Yeah he’s not perfect, and neither are most of these dads on the list, but like you said the important thing is how much he loved his children.

          Glad to hear! Surely you are a wonderful dad yourself Keith, this post is dedicated to you real dads out there! 😀

            1. Your kids are so blessed! I never really knew my dad after my parent’s divorced when I was 3, I think I only met him like 2-3 times after that. But hey, I know I have the Almighty Father who loves me. I’m glad that there ARE great real dads out there so keep up the great work Keith 😀

  4. jackdeth72

    Great list, Ruth!

    Personal favorite and possible best performance for me would be Robert Duvall as Marine Cold War fighter pilot, Colonel “Bull” Meecham in ‘The Great Santini’. Transitioning from an Atlantic Fleet assignment to a squadron leader in Beaufort, North Carolina in the early 1960s.

    A very decently adapted film from Pat Conroy’s novel. Made better by Duvall’s ability to make an initially unlikeable character likeable.

  5. Great topic as always, Ruth. To me, I was really moved with Life is Beautiful. I think it is based on true story, yes? The only movie that was directed by the father in the movie. I just watched Mrs. Doubtfire last night, I think he’s such a great dad.

    1. Hi Andina, long time no *see* 🙂 Yeah Life is Beautiful is such a tearjerker indeed. I think it might’ve been inspired by a true story. Mrs Doubtfire is on my first top 10 list, he’s definitely a wonderful, loving father!

  6. Ted S.

    I don’t celebrate Father’s Day myself but I like your list there, especially Henry Jones Sr. In a way he’s sort of reminds me of my own father, he’s never really strict on me when I was growing up and we’re just not that close to each other.

    1. Yeah Henry Jones was always so preoccupied w/ his archaeological work, but he obviously loves his son. Interesting how Indy pretty much followed his footsteps.

    1. Hi Rob! Yes The Way is a touching and heartwarming film. It’s a family endeavor as it’s directed by Emilio Estevez (who had a small role in the film) and starring Martin Sheen.

            1. Oh you’re traveling somewhere? The visuals of movies on the plane is horrible though, if you can see it on Blu-ray I highly recommend it Rob!

  7. Wow, nice to see Frequency as the first one mentioned, such an under appreciated movie and that relationship in that movie is awesome. Indiana Jones father is funny and who wouldn’t think that Guido is an awesome dad. I had a great father’s day as well yesterday, with breakfast in bed and a drawing by my youngest one.

    1. The list is by alphabetical order Nostra, but hey I’d have put it first anyway, it’s such a great example of a great father!

      What a lovely Father’s Day you had, well you deserved it!

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  9. This is a fun list for Father’s Day. I think my favorite movie dad has to be Liam Neeson in ‘Taken!’ If I’m ever kidnapped by sex slave smugglers, I want Liam Neeson to be my dad!

    1. Hi Mariah! Ahah I was close to putting him here on the list but decided w/ his character from Love, Actually instead. I’d agree that Bryan Mills is one bad-ass dad!

  10. asrap virtuoso

    Happy father’s day! Fantastic list… all great dads here. The only additions I can think of are Bryan Mills and Marty McFly!

    1. I was close in including Bryan Mills here but decided on another great father role from Neeson. Ah yes, Marty is a great pick Asrap!

  11. Hey, Ruth. I’ll stay away from Hanks’ hit man in Road to Perdition, but the rest …. I’ll take the rest. Especially Stoick. He’s a bit hard, but underneath he’s a very good father.

    1. Ahah well like I said, not all the dads here are good guys but they do love their kids. I do love Stoick, perhaps one of the best ‘father’ roles for Butler, as well as one of his best movies in recent memory!

        1. Ahah really? I thought his obvious Scottish brogue would give it away 😀 Did you know this was his first ever sequel he did? He rarely does sequels, tho he appeared in a sequel of a movie (Lara Croft 2) but he wasn’t in the first one.

  12. Victor De Leon

    Wow. This was all kinds of awesome, Ruth. Great idea for a post! Loved it. They were all incredible picks.

    One of my choices for a great movie dad would be Chief Brody from “Jaws.” That table sequence with Sean melts my heart every time.

    Brody- “Give us a kiss”
    Sean- “Why?”
    Brody- “Cause I need it.”

    1. I couldn’t help picking those three single guys caring for a baby girl. I mean how sweet is that! Kramer vs Kramer really made an impression on me when I saw it years ago.

  13. Wonderful list Ruth. Really nice to see Mr Bennet get a mention – he put up with a lot but always did the best for his daughters! Have you seen Jack and Sarah? Richard E Grant makes a wonderful dad in that one.

    1. Hi Natalie, hope you had a lovely holiday! I love Mr Bennet, esp Donald Sutherland’s portrayal. No I haven’t seen Jack and Sarah before. Did u review it?

      1. Haven’t reviewed it I’m afraid – haven’t seen it in a long time so I should give it a re-watch and write about it on the blog. Lovely holiday thanks, how about you? Did you enjoy Paris?

  14. Oh Liam Neeson is a wonderful dad in Love Actually. British men really play the best husbands and fathers…oh they’re dreamy <333

    1. Glad you think so too! Yes British guys do make lovely dads, yes very dreamy indeed! I take it your Mr. Dillane has played a number of father roles? 😉

        1. Oh I didn’t know his character Stannis has a kid, that’s very cool. Yeah he rarely smiles in the show, tho in all the pics of him in real life I saw on your blog he seems like a friendly, smiley person 😀

  15. Tom

    Really cool post Ruth, great idea. Those father figure roles definitely deserve a shout-out! 🙂

    I’ll name a couple that I didn’t see here: Bill Nighy as Tim’s father in ‘About Time,’ and I feel compelled to go with a big one: Bruce Willis’ Harry Stamper from ‘Armageddon.’

    1. Thanks Tom! I dropped the ball on mother’s day so I figure I should do the list for father’s day 🙂

      I still need to see About Time, been hearing good things about it. Oh yeah, Bruce in Armageddon is definitely one of the best dads!

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  17. Awesome post! I LOVE that you included Graham from Signs and Daniel from Love Actually. Those are great movie dads, as are Jor-El/Jonathan Kent (possibly two of the greatest movie dads ever), Mr. Bennet, Ted Kramer, Guido and Mufasa.

    1. Hi Josh! Glad you like the list. What would you include here that I missed? Since you saw a lot more movies than me I figure you’d have other picks 🙂

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