Just like in the real world, movie dads come in all shapes, sizes and dispositions.
Some of them — like Anakin Skywalker or Jor-El — are larger than life. Others might feel a little too accurate.
Even the imperfect ones, though, can often teach valuable lessons and help audiences reflect on the role parents play in their children’s lives.
To celebrate Father’s Day, here’s a list of some of the best movie dads, in no particular order.
In 2003, the American Film Institute named Atticus Finch the greatest movie hero of all time. Unlike some of the other contenders, Finch didn’t earn his spot by jumping through windows or shooting up rooms full of bad guys but by setting an unwavering example of integrity and empathy, especially for his two young children. Gregory Peck’s performance as the deeply principled small-town attorney defending an accused rapist set the bar for movie dads forever.
Read and share reviews about "To Kill a Mockingbird" on ok.com.
“Cape Fear,” which was released less than a month after “To Kill a Mockingbird,” once again saw Peck playing a lawyer trying to do right by his family. But that’s where the similarities end.
Instead of fighting blind prejudice, Peck’s Sam Bowden finds himself up against a violent ex-con (played by Robert Mitchum in one of his creepiest roles) bent on personal revenge.
“Cape Fear” shows a normal man pushed to extreme measures to protect his family at all costs. Frankly, any father willing to go mano-a-mano with Mitchum’s Sam Cady deserves a spot on this list.
Read and share reviews about "Cape Fear" on ok.com.
Like all of Steven Spielberg’s best movies, it’s the human elements that really make “Jaws” work. In the case of Martin Brody, the aquaphobic chief of police on Amity Island, his primary motivation to rid the beaches of a 25-foot man-eating shark is his own children’s safety. This leads to one of the most memorable man-versus-nature showdowns in cinematic history, but not before a touching father-son moment showing Chief Brody as a loving parent.
Read and share reviews about "Jaws" on ok.com.
Will Smith earned an Oscar nomination for his performance as Chris Gardner, a father struggling to provide the best possible life for his son after losing everything in a risky investment.
“The Pursuit of Happyness,” which co-stars Smith’s real-life offspring Jaden in his first movie role (before he became either a Karate Kid or a sci-fi action star), was based on the actual Chris Gardner’s autobiographical memoir, giving things a palpable sense of authenticity that could make even grown men a little misty-eyed.
Read and share reviews about "The Pursuit of Happyness" on ok.com.
Worthwhile movies about the Holocaust aren’t at all uncommon, but Roberto Benigni’s multiple Oscar-winning comedy-drama stands out from the crowd for the way it portrays a father’s determined effort to protect his son from the atrocities all around after the two are placed in a Nazi internment camp.
Benigni, who directed and stars, also co-wrote the screenplay, which was loosely inspired by his own family history.
Read and share reviews about "Life is Beautiful" on ok.com.
Unlike another famous movie dad role voiced by James Earl Jones, Mufasa is a constant influence for good in “The Lion King” — even long after he’s passed away.
Through his strong example, selfless behavior and sage advice, Mufasa demonstrates the qualities of a good father, which, incidentally, are the same qualities needed for Simba to become a good ruler later on. Jones’ Mufasa showcases the lasting impact a parent can have on children.
Read and share reviews about "The Lion King" on ok.com.
The best movie dads go above and beyond the call of duty for their kids. In the case of Daniel Hillard in “Mrs. Doubtfire," that means dressing up like a 70-something-year-old Scottish nanny after his ex-wife is granted sole custody of their three children.
While duping family members isn’t generally a good idea, Williams’ character shows how much a father ought to cherish the time he has with his children.
Read and share reviews about "Mrs. Doubtfire" on ok.com.
Nearly every child thinks of his or her dad as a superhero. What makes Mr. Incredible a great movie dad, though, isn’t his extraordinary strength or sleek costume, but the fact that, by movie’s end, he comes to realize the importance of family over his own desires — a lesson for all dads. As if that weren’t enough to qualify him for this list, Mr. Incredible also encourages his kids’ individual abilities, teaching them that it’s OK to stand out in a world that sometimes seems to value mediocrity.
Read and share reviews about "The Incredibles" on ok.com.
If his 17-year-old daughter had listened to him in the first place and not gone to Europe, Bryan Mills never would have had to use his “very particular set of skills” to break up an international sex trafficking operation all by himself. But that’s one of the things that makes Liam Neeson’s character a standout parent: He’s always there when his daughter needs him and never says, “I told you so.”
Read and share reviews about "Taken" and "Taken 2" on ok.com.
Even the best movie dads have plenty of flaws. In the Coen brothers’ picaresque adaptation of “The Odyssey,” Clooney’s Ulysses Everett McGill hardly qualifies as an ideal father figure for the seven daughters he left when he went to jail for practicing law without a license. But in his relentless effort to reclaim the role of paterfamilias, McGill demonstrates the kind of perseverance needed for any family to work.
Read and share reviews about "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?" on ok.com.