It’s Father’s Day this weekend. Here’s a look back on some of the movie dads who made such a big impression on an entire generation. And if you were maybe more of a TV kid, we’ve got you covered.
Daniel Hillard from Mrs. Doubtfire
Is it a little nuts to dress in an elaborate costume and invent a whole new character to spend time with your kids? Yes, yes, it is, and in the hands of any other actor Mrs. Doubtfire becomes a horror film. But who, besides that mean judge at the end, thinks that Robin Williams doesn’t love his kids to pieces? Also, shout out to the future stepfather, Pierce Brosnan, who puts up with all kinds of nonsense when he’s just trying to be a good guy to these kids.
Howard Langston from Jingle All the Way
Maybe Jingle All the Way isn’t the best Schwarzenegger adventure out there, but it perfectly captures the particular kind of madness you get around Christmas time. His adventure in finding his son the perfect toy leads him to a shopping stampede, infiltrating a toy counterfeiting ring, and eventually saving his son while dressed as a superhero in a functional (for some reason) jetpack. Also, Sinbad is in it.
Mufasa from The Lion King
Before Up was the go-to example of an extremely sad on-screen death in a children’s movie, there was The Lion King. Mufasa loomed large in our young imaginations, perhaps partly because of a commanding vocal performance by James Earl Jones.
Glen Greenwood from Free Willy
It takes a special kind of person to become a foster parent, and an extra-special one at that to buy into his foster son’s plan to steal and free a six-tonne killer whale, but Michael Madsen plays a really good guy. Heck, he even floods his truck in the process of getting Willy back into the ocean. Now that’s dedication to your child’s interests.
George Banks from Father of the Bride
Weddings make everyone go a little bit nutty, right? Well, no one more so than Steve Martin in this comedy. He can’t bear the fact that his 22-year-old daughter is getting married to a guy she’s only known for three months, thus causing him to come down with a severe case of Steve Martin antics. He pulls it together for the big day though.
Jason ‘Furious’ Styles Jr. from Boyz in the Hood
Sure, he spends a lot of time pontificating and spouting platitudes, but Laurence Fishburne’s character also does the most important thing a father can do: he teaches his son well enough that his son makes the right choices even when he’s on his own. Boyz in the Hood has always been a tough coming-of-age movie to watch, but it’s easier with Fishburne guiding us through.