Today – 22nd November – is my lovely dad’s birthday, so I thought I’d take a look at some of the greatest movie dads. None of them compare to my dad, of course!
As always, this list is subjective and I have chosen the following from only the films I have seen. Apologies if I have left out your favourite.
10. Anakin Skywalker – the Star Wars series
I did debate about putting this chap in… Arguably the most famous father in the sci-fi genre, if not in modern cinema, Anakin does ultimately redeem himself. Sure, he broke his wife’s heart. Yes, he did destroy the home planet of his daughter, who was actually adopted to protect her from him. And it is true that he did cut off his son’s hand, who was also adopted for the same reason. But, he does ultimately sacrifice himself to save his son, and the galaxy.
9. Professor Henry Jones Sr – Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
While not a huge amount is know about Professor Henry Jones Sr, he certainly seems like a very interesting man to spend time with.
Henry Sr and Indy aren’t particularly close – Henry Sr: “Did I ever tell you to eat up? Go to bed? Wash your ears? Do your homework? No. I respected your privacy and I taught you self- reliance.” Indy: “What you taught me was that I was less important to you than people who had been dead for 500 years in another country. And I learned it so well that we’ve hardly spoken for 20 years.” – but they make a wonderful double act, and have a lot in common.
The Last Crusade is a fantastic adventure film, and it’s great fun meeting the father of one of cinema’s most loved action heroes.
8. Kevin Flynn – TRON: Legacy
Completing my trio of somewhat absent fathers, Flynn does have a good excuse as to why he missed 20 years of his son’s life: he had become trapped within the Grid, a virtual reality that he had created.
My reasons for putting Flynn in my Top 10? For one, he’s Jeff Bridges! Joking aside, Flynn is seriously cool. The virtual reality he has created is visually stunning, and he is a genius for actually creating it in the first place. Like Anakin, he too makes amends for his previous actions, and makes the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of his son.
7. Mr Incredible – The Incredibles
Mr Incredible, also known as Bob Parr or simply ‘Dad’, is married to Helen Parr, the superheroine previously known as Elastigirl. Together they have three children, two of which they know have super powers: Violet, Dash and Jack-Jack. Bob possesses great strength while Helen, of course, can stretch any part of her body.
I chose Bob for my list because he is a great character and devoted to his family. However, to support my reasoning I’m going to borrow a sentence from Empire magazine, and one of its reasons behind putting Bob in its Top 20 Pixar Characters: “Every kid’s biggest hero should be their dad, and this guy fulfills the job in all senses.”
6. Damon Macready – Kick-Ass
Better known as Big Daddy, in the 2010 film Macready is a former policeman turned vigilante who has trained his young daughter to become the ruthless Hit-Girl. In Mark Millar’s comic book, published by Icon, it is revealed that Big Daddy and Hit-Girl have been on the run for many years living under false identities, and he isn’t an ex-cop but rather a comic book geek who trained his daughter to fight crime so she would be ‘different’ and ‘special’.
Perhaps an odd choice for a greatest dad list – teaching your young child to become a lethal martial artist and weapons expert is not something usually thought of as a good thing – I defend my choice as Big Daddy is utterly devoted to his daughter. The artist, John Romita Jr, apparently likened Big Daddy to “parents that turn their kids into super athletes”. I’d certainly agree to that.
While the situation is different – it isn’t clear whether Hit-Girl chose this life – their relationship does remind me of Mathilda and Léon’s relationship in Léon. Both are young girls who become highly skilled killers and seek revenge.
5. Jonathan Kent – the Superman series of films
I wanted to include a picture of Glenn Ford from 1978’s Superman but, unfortunately, I couldn’t find one. This picture of John Schneider, alongside Annette O’Toole as Martha Kent, from Smallville will have to do instead.
The adopted father of Kal-El, who is better known as Clark Kent or Superman, Jonathan is as a caring man who is devoted to his family and farm. Superman mythology explains that it was Jonathan and Martha who instilled in Clark the principles by which he lives by, including integrity and compassion.
4. Marlin – Finding Nemo
Understandably, Marlin is a rather overprotective clown fish. His wife, Coral, and all but one of their eggs were wiped out by a predator. He named the remaining egg Nemo, and this film follows Marlin as he tries to track down Nemo after he has gone missing…
In many respects, Finding Nemo is quite similar to the father that has taken the No 1 spot. Well, replace real life action for animation, and kidnappers for a fish tank, and you’re nearly there! Marlin displays every ounce of determination that my No 1 has, and his devotion to his young son takes him on an incredible journey. Finding Nemo is definitely one of my favourite Pixar films, after Toy Story and Up.
3. Peter, Michael and Jack – Three Men and a Baby
What’s better than one dad? Three, of course! Three Men and a Baby is, in my opinion, one of the sweetest, most fun films that have been released. It follows the lives of Peter (Tom Selleck), Michael (Steve Guttenberg) and Jack (Ted Danson) as they look after a baby, Mary, that was left on their doorstep.
Wonderfully 1980s, the adventure that the trio go on with Mary includes nappies, milk bottles and drug dealers. That’s right, drug dealers. Watch this film if you’re in the mood for something a little gooey and light-hearted. Fun fact, it was directed by Spock himself, Leonard Nimoy.
2. Arthur Weasley – the Harry Potter series
As many of you already know, the fantasy genre is my favourite kind of film. In lieu of a character from The Lord of the Rings – I had thought about Bilbo, Theoden and Gandalf as father figures but decided against it – someone from the Harry Potter universe had to make an appearance. That person is, of course, Arthur Weasley.
A beloved family man, Arthur is the patriarch of the Weasleys, a pure blood family made up of his wife, Molly, and their seven children: William (Bill), Charles (Charlie), Percy, Fred, George, Ronald (Ron) and Ginevra (Ginny).
When we first meet him, he is a light-hearted man working for the Ministry of Magic in its Misuse of Muggle Artefacts office who is somewhat chided by his fellow wizards, namely Lucius Malfoy, for being obsessed with all things Muggle. During the course of the eight films, however, we see his personality change. In the seven years that have passed, Arthur ends a man who has experienced both the best and very worst in the world.
1. Bryan Mills – Taken
Well, he just had to take the top spot, didn’t he?
When Bryan’s daughter, Kim, was abducted, he made a promise to her abductors: “I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.”
With gritty determination, those – extremely useful – set of skills and friends in the know, Bryan set out on a mission to find his daughter. Whether he managed to save her on not I won’t spoil but, let’s put it this way, you certainly don’t want to mess with this man…