Happy Father’s Day! Check out Turner Classic Movies’ great line-up of movies about fathers. And here are some of my favorite movie dads.
1. Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) in “To Kill a Mockingbird” The last line of the movie says it all: “He turned out the light and went into Jem’s room. He would be there all night and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning.”
2. Jason “Furious” Styles (Laurence Fishburne) in “Boyz N the Hood” This well-named father is a fierce defender of his son, protecting him but also teaching him to believe in himself.
3. Marlin (Albert Brooks) in “Finding Nemo” A loving if over-protective little clownfish must search the entire ocean to find his lost son in this beloved Pixar classic.
4. Stanley Banks (Spencer Tracy) in “Father of the Bride” Watch Tracy’s face when his daughter (Elizabeth Taylor) explains why she has (thankfully temporarily) called off her engagement in this story of a loving father who gets caught up in pre-Bridezilla wedding drama (and trauma). See also the remake with Steve Martin.
5. Gil Buckman (Steve Martin) in “Parenthood” No film better shows the challenges, terrors, wrenching choices, and satisfactions of fatherhood than this extended family story inspired by the lives of the three men who made it and the 14 children in their lives.
6. Ted Kramer (Dustin Hoffman) in “Kramer vs. Kramer” A father who is not even sure what class his child is in discovers what it means to be a father after his wife leaves them. And then he discovers how much it matters to him when she returns and he has to fight for custody.
7. Tom Winters (Cary Grant) in “Houseboat” In one of his few roles as a father, Grant plays a man who only discovers how much he needs his children after the death of their mother — and Sophia Loren arrives as their new nanny.
8. Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks) in “Sleepless in Seattle” — Though devastated by the loss of his wife, Sam is committed to being a positive and caring father.
9. Chris Gardner (Will Smith) in “The Pursuit of Happyness” — Smith and his real-life son shine in this story about a devoted single father who went from homelessness to a career as a stock-broker.
10. Gou-ichi Takata (Ken Takakura) in “Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles” — A Japanese father shows his love for his estranged son by completing the son’s final project, a filmed version of a Chinese opera, even though he knows nothing about filming, China, or opera.