Five Unforgettable Movie Dads
What better way to spend time with Dad this Father’s Day than by watching a great movie with him? There have been countless representations of fathers on film, from the supportive to the distant and everything in between. These five cinematic men display the courage, dedication and love required to be inspirational, compassionate fathers. They all face difficulties ranging from poverty to emasculation, but they provide moving depictions of paternal power.
Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird (1962): Harper Lee created the ultimate inspiring dad when she wrote about heroic lawyer Atticus Finch in her novel To Kill a Mockingbird. In the film adaptation, Gregory Peck flawlessly brought Atticus to life. As the widowed father of Scout and Jem, Atticus instills lessons of integrity and acceptance. He displays these traits when he defends a black man in a Southern court. The image of Atticus and Scout talking on the porch swing is iconic and poignant.
Jack, Mr. Mom (1983): The protagonist in this John Hughes-penned film may not appear to face serious challenges, but by committing to a position as a homemaker, he proves that gender roles are not set in stone, and a stay-at-home dad should be commended, not mocked. Michael Keaton provides the right amount of humor in the lead role.
Mufasa, The Lion King (1994): Who could forget James Earl Jones’s booming voice as Mufasa, the king of a pride of lions and the father of Simba? Who could forget his spiritual conversations with his son about his ancestors? Even after his death, Mufasa’s love and support for Simba permeate this story. It’s remarkable that an animated film featuring only animals could leave such a lasting impact on an entire generation of young people.
Chris Gardner, The Pursuit of Happyness (2006): Will Smith plays Chris Gardner, a real-life dad who struggled to support and protect his son through poverty and homelessness, working his way up the corporate ladder and instilling a strong work ethic in his child. Jaden, Smith’s real-life son, plays the young boy, a casting choice which only adds to the emotional impact of this uplifting story of survival against all odds.
Matt King, The Descendants (2011): George Clooney received an Academy Award nomination this year for his moving portrayal of Matt King, a father of two daughters who discovers after his wife is injured in a boating accident that she has been cheating on him. Dealing with the prospect of being a single parent and struggling with jealousy, he strives to be the best father he can be. Matt is a modern, flawed dad to whom most fathers can probably relate.
If you’re looking for a way to say thank you to your dad this year, look no further than these inspiring, unforgettable movie fathers.