Father’s Day is celebrated every year to honour the pops, dads, babas, abahs, etc. who have dedicated so much of their lives to raising and shaping us to become the individuals we are today. The amount of hard work and sacrifice they have put into their families is immeasurable and we cannot thank them enough.
If you’re thinking of doing something special with your dad this Father’s Day, why not take a look at some fun (ahem, and tearjerking) movies to celebrate the occasion. There have been a great many daddies in cinema, a sprawling list in fact. Nevertheless, today, we’re going to take a look at some family-friendly picks with paternal themes.
Ready? Let’s go!
The Lion King (1994)
Simba, the heir to the Pride Lands, and son of Mufasa, is an ambitious lion cub who just can’t wait to be king. Nonetheless, his uncle Scar has other treacherous motives, as he plans to usurp the throne for his personal gain. When Mufasa is murdered by his brother during a stampede, young Simba is forced to fend for himself in the wilderness, only to return back to his kingdom as an adult to claim his rightful place as king.
This 1994 Disney animated classic has been a longtime advert for tissue corporations. Mufasa and Simba’s father-son relationship is brilliantly executed with Mufasa’s stern impartations of wisdom and clarity to young Simba. Indeed, it’s such a gut-punching moment when the elder eventually bites the dust. Nonetheless, Mufasa’s commitment to shaping his son to become a fair and just ruler exceeds death itself as he appears to Simba via the cloud to remind his son of his true nature.
This animated masterpiece might summon the three-ply midway but its timeless messages and relationships portrayed on screen are to be revered. Just don’t opt for the soulless 2019 live-action remake. It’s a dark, shadowy place. You must never go there Simba.
Despicable Me (2010)
After a pyramid heist is successfully carried out by an anonymous force of villainy, the proclaimed criminal mastermind, Gru, decides that it is time to go big or go home. With the help of his little yellow Twinkie shaped associates, Gru literally shoots for the moon as he devises a strategy to steal the Earth’s lone satellite. However, his plans are all placed in jeopardy when a trio of cookie-baking orphans show up at his doorstep. Can Gru continue his dream of becoming the most wicked supervillain of all time, or will he lay aside the cookie jar for the sake of raising these young girls?
It’s amazing to think that this movie is going to be a decade old come July. Since its release in 2010, we’ve seen a couple of sequels and a spinoff subfranchise from this series in the form of Minions. Nevertheless, the original will always be special for introducing Felonius Gru as the reluctant parent, attempting to juggle his endeavours with “evil” minions and Dr. Nefario, while having to entertain three little kids who look up to him and intend to adopt him as their dad. Steve Carrell brilliantly snorts the Gru out of his voice to create a lovable bumbling father figure in this dastardly heartwarming tale of ambitions and family.
The year is 2067. A blight has rendered all crops extinct save for maize. In order to save humanity from the dying planet, NASA sends a last-ditch effort to relocate the human race to another system through a wormhole near Saturn. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a single dad of two leaves his home and joins a team of scientists (and a robot) to serve the cause.
Alright. Alright. Alright.
Despite the amount of actual corn present in the film, Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar is not littered with dad jokes. It aptly hones in on its sciencey cerebral nature and might be a tad heavy to absorb at times. Nevertheless, the overarching theme is clear. Nolan’s script excellently portrays the distance created between a father and daughter. Love transcends the vast emptiness of space… and even time itself bends to its will.
Mrs Doubtfire (1993)
The evergreen Robin Williams plays Daniel Hillard, a father to three children: Lydia, Chris and Natalie. After quitting his job and subsequently getting divorced, custody of the kids is awarded to his wife as he is not deemed a suitable guardian due to his unemployment.
Nonetheless, not to be bested by the system, Hillard ideates an ingenious plan to get to his children. After his wife sends out a call for a housekeeper, he poses as a nanny with a particularly enchanting moniker: Euphegenia Doubtfire. He gets the job, but is soon thrown into a particularly murky circumstance when his secondary and real-life roles intersect.
The late Robin Williams brilliant breath of life into the nanny is what makes this film work so well. Charming, and aptly comical, no doubt, this is fire.
Ant-Man may be a miniature Avenger, but he certainly has one of the biggest hearts in the entire MCU. A former convict, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) hits rock bottom when he is unable to slip back into society due to his past. His estrangement from his family only worsens his situation. So, when he is given a chance at redemption by Dr. Henry Pym (Michael Douglas), Scott jumps at the opportunity. Unbeknownst to him, his life was about to shrink… in the best way possible!
Yea, it may be a formulaic MCU flick but Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas both nail their parts as two distinctive fathers in similarly chaotic circumstances. Both try their utmost best to win over the hearts of their daughters and family. What the film lacks in size, makes up for it with a whole lot of heart.
Note: Best served with a pint of Baskin Robbins.
Finding Nemo (2003)
When Nemo gets fish-napped, dad-fish, Marlin spirals out of control into a gun-toting world of violence. He tries his fins at stand-up comedy, only to fail at it miserably and get laughed off the stage. The eventual downward spiral into madness climaxes with an appearance on live television where his ultimate persona comes to fruition. In one particularly powerful scene, the clown lights a cigarette, a manic grin lights up his visage as he trots and kicks his way down the marbled steps of Gotham City.
Hmm… that does not seem quite right. Let’s start again, shall we?
When Nemo gets fish-napped, his father, Marlin goes on a frantic hunt across the Great Barrier Reef in order to find his son. Along the way, he meets the adorably forgetful Dory, and they both embark on a perilous quest. Sharks, jellyfish, mines, and all sorts of undersea hazards are encountered.
Marlin does not clown around when it comes to his son. This 2003 PIXAR feature is one reckless if not, pure, showcase of love.
Gil Buckman (Steve Martin) is a father of three who finds himself struggling to find a balance between his work and his family. Due to his perfectionist nature, Gil finds himself pulling at his own hair due to the “incompetence” of his children, believing himself to have failed as a parent. The plot thickens when Gil’s siblings start showing up with the challenges of raising their own children, bringing the entire family unit closer to one another as they share the eccentrics, pressures, and secrets that come bundled together in a household.
Ron Howard’s piece successfully captures the essence of family and raising children within its story. The multitude of parent-child combos in this movie alone will make you burst out laughing. Yet, the timeless nature of this comedy lies within its moments of truth and relatability. Indeed, Parenthood confirms that you do not need to have a license to be a father.
Train to Busan (2016)
Now, this is a screamer.
A divorced father, Seok-woo (Gong Yoo) is constantly caught up in his work and rarely has time for his daughter Su-an. His workaholism does not bode well for his daughter as she resents his neglect. As such, for her birthday, she requests to travel to Busan to see her mother. Seok-woo reluctantly concedes to her wish with the intention of getting back to work at lunchtime. Nevertheless, what he does not know is that lunch periods will be a thing of the past as the apocalypse unfolds across the land of South Korea.
Train to Busan is a highly inventive zombie flick with a whole load of blood spurts and gore within the confined space of a KTX bullet train. Nevertheless, the thrilling mesh of teeth and flesh stays grounded with a tale of a father willing to protect his daughter at all costs. In the harshest of circumstances, lives are on the line, and Seok-woo has to do whatever he can to show his daughter that she IS indeed worthy of his care while transforming into a battle-hardened skull crushin’ dad.
The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
Christopher Gardner (Will Smith) is a man of large ambition. However, his decision to invest in selling premium “bone density scanners” has not provided sufficient returns to provide for his family. As Gardner struggles to keep food on the table, his wife walks on him and he is left to live out in the streets with his young son. The outlook seems to be bleak for the duo, but Gardner’s determination pushes him on even as his assets and bank account plunge to an all-time low.
Based on a true story, The Pursuit of Happyness is both harrowing and uplifting at the same time. Will Smith puts on his absolute best performance in this gut-punch of a drama in the very first of his collaborations with his son Jaden. Gardner’s determination to survive even when all the odds are stacked against him and his son is definitely admirable.
In a world where magic and fantasy has largely taken a backseat, two elven brothers, Ian and Barley, are presented with the opportunity to bring their dearly departed father back to life for one day. However, after the spell is disrupted midway, their reanimated pops’ is rendered topless. In a race against time, the two bros embark on a journey to rediscover what little magic the world has to offer in order to complete the spell and see their dad one last time.
As much as the plot revolves around the MacGuffin, Mr Lightfoot, Onward’s familial theme resonates throughout the film as Ian and Barley’s bond strengthen along the journey. One last moment is all they need. One perfect memory.
Bonus: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Are we placing this on the list just because of that one line that was heard across the entire galaxy? You can bet your Wookie-rump we did!
The Empire Strikes Back might not contain the best exemplification of a paternal figure. After all, Darth Vader did betray his partner, inadvertently offing her, and subsequently neglecting his twin offspring. Furthermore, Luke and Leia spent their early lives not knowing their true lineage.
BUT THAT DOESN’T MATTER if you’ve got a dad who can’t resist the power of the dark side! So, why not just GO FOR IT?! Prep for those theatrics and role-play moments and get your pops to embrace his inner bad boy! It will be fun! Search your feelings… You know it to be true..
So, there we have it! Which of these films will you be watching this Father’s Day? What other films do you think would be suitable to watch on this special day? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
All in all, we owe our dads an astronomical: