As it was father’s day yesterday, how about we have a look at that most elusive character, the movie dad. Sometimes, not much happens for these dads, they’re marginalised, pushed to the back whilst their sons or daughters steal the limelight. Every so often though, a movie dad makes a movie his own – he is the main dude, shuffling around complaining in his dressing gown, or even sometimes being a badass action hero. Here are my top ten movie dads and why. God bless these dadios!

 

#10: Lester Burnham from American Beauty (1999)

There’s something so infinitely pitiful about Kevin Spacey’s portrayal of Lester Burnham – a man who is slap bang in the middle of a heady mid-life crisis. He is a magazine writer who hates his job, and is in love with one of his young daughter’s friends. Though absolutely strange and a bit creepy in his infatuation, Lester is generally a nice kind of guy who treats his family to whatever they want, he is also intelligent and thoughtful – perhaps a bit too much so, as the final scene proves.

 

#9: Bob Parr from The Incredibles (2004)

Bob Parr is a bored, middle aged man, stuck in a job he hates. A story we’re all too familiar with in the movies, yet unlike other movie dads, Bob is an ex-superhero, his powers and abilities having been forcibly silenced by the oppressive anti-hero stance of the state. As far as superheroes go though, he is an absolute legend – the strongest man to live who used his powers to fight evil for over 20 years, and a member of a world wide crime fighting team. He even has a family of superheroes, his genes obviously being completely full of crime-busting goodness.

 

#8: Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Out of all the dads on this list – if you wanted to grow up a normal – even exceptionally moral citizen, you could do no better than having Atticus Finch. A genius lawyer, philanthropist, cool action hero (when needed), and loving father and honest and packed with integrity to a fault, Atticus is literally the go-to guy on how to be a dad. Indeed, his greatest qualities are probably those of teaching his children the values of honesty, integrity and the fact that no one can morally be proven guilty without a fair trial.

 

#7: Jack Torrance from The Shining (1980)

Anyone who’s seen even 5 minutes of ‘the top 20 scariest moments ever!’ will probably question why Jack Torrance is on this list. And if you read the intro, you’d realise I wasn’t celebrating wonderfully moral or even nice dads, and that is why he’s on here. Memorably performed by (equally manic) Jack Nicholson, Jack is genuinely an OK dad, bit wrapped up in his work maybe, and certainly a little crazy – but it’s all fine. Until the family goes to the Overlook hotel. Where Jack starts going majorly fucking crazy, in just about every way. Finally trying to kill his wife and only child.

 

#6: Darth Vader (aka Anakin Skywalker) from Star Wars (1977)

One of the most iconic dads ever, Darth reveals to Luke and Leia that he is their father. And what a revelation, imagine thinking your dad died a hero, when in actual fact he basically rose to the top of the evil food chain and constructed a tyrannical regime based on fear and hatred, all the while trying to crush every ounce of good from the world. That would be a major eye opener indeed.

 

#5: Mufasa from The Lion King (1994)

Mufasa must rank amongst the greatest leaders ever – well, in the animal kingdom anyway. His friendly and approachable style of leadership make him popular with everyone in the pride, apart from his evil younger brother – Scar. Scar has Mufasa killed and becomes king himself – letting his pride fall into disrepair. Armed with his dad’s words of encouragement and inspiration, Simba takes over Scar and becomes a Mufasa of his own. Still, the legend of that big maned beast lives on in everyone’s hearts.

 

#4: El Topo from El Topo (1970)

Another dad it would probably be shit to have, El Topo is the story of one man’s spiritual quest through the Mexican desert. Along the way we see Topo letting his son ride a horse nude, forcing him to bury pictures of his mother and his first teddy-bear, and then allowing his kid to mercy kill a dying man. Still, these are valuable life lessons, right? I literally don’t know anymore, though I know I would feel slightly uncomfortable if my dad forced me to shoot a man in the head when I was 5 in order to put him out of his misery. Topo abandons his son and catches up with him later on, to find that son of El Topo is just as badass as El Topo himself, obviously being a badass motherfucker runs in your (black leather) ‘jeans’.

 

#3: John Baxter from Don’t Look Now (1973)

Though we don’t explicitly see his parenting skills first hand, we can safely assume John (played by the always monstrously cool Donald Sutherland) really loved his kid who drowned. The grief consumes his and his wife’s life to such an extent that they up sticks and move to Venice, where they continue to be haunted by the tragedy. We can only imagine how cool John would be as a parent, probably running around, letting you play with guns, torturing animals – in fact, this is obviously while real life son Keifer is such a lunatic in 24.

 

#2: John McClane from Die Hard (1988)

In his now signature role as ‘shouting, wise cracking good guy who doesn’t go by the book but gets results’, Bruce Willis is John McClane. A man pushed to the edge by society and the square police force he works for, a man who also has basically lost the rights to see his kids, something he’s obviously not happy about. The whole Die Hard series works as a plea from John to prove his love to his estranged wife, and get his kids back. And it works, look at him, smart, powerful, and extremely good with any weapon of any sort, McClane could shoot his way out of a steel bag. Which is apparently the storyline for Die Hard 5.

#1: Don Vito Corleone from The Godfather (1972)

If you’ve ever felt worried or embarrassed about going to your dad to borrow money, or for advice, or for anything really, imagine the weight of anticipation on your shoulders if your papa was the head of a powerful Sicilian crime family. You have personally seen him order men to cut horse’s heads off, you have seen him order dozens of men’s executions, robberies, prostitution – you name it, and your dadio has been involved at some point. But you could rest assured, as Vito is not just a horrible man with a family, he’s a family man with a horrible business, and that’s fine. He will take care of you, and you will be able to wrap him around your little finger – he’s only your dad at the end of the day.

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