Being a father, I love films which explore in some way the relationship between a father and his son, specifically ones that show the lengths a father will go to in order protect the fruit of his loin. Here’s a list of the greatest dads in the movies.

Guido Orefice

(played by Roberto Benigni)

Film : La vita è bella

Why is he such a great Dad?

So you’re stuck in a concentration camp, and in front of your safely hidden son, you are about to be led away by a Nazi to be shot in the face. Do you:

  1. Cry and soil yourself. Or,
  2. March like a clown and pull a funny face to maintain the illusion that this is all part of a fun game.

If you answered 2 you’re either lying, or you’re Guido Orefice. Despite having a surname which in English looks like a posh way to say arsehole, Guido is one hell of a dad.


The Man

(Played by Viggo Mortensen)

Film : The Road

Why is he such a great Dad?

When the apocalypse comes, this movie shows us that you are either going to become a flesh-hungry cannibalistic scavenger, or you are going to shoot yourself so you don’t get eaten by aforementioned scavengers. That is unless you are “The Man” from Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. Doing anything and everything to remain “one of the good guys”, rearing his son on his own, and taking only enough food for himself so he doesn’t keel over and die. Oh and there’s the small detail of being willing to shoot his son in the head to make sure he dies quickly, instead of being slowly stripped of his flesh by hungry road warriors. Now that’s true love. Do you love your offspring so much you could pull that trigger?


The Tramp

(Played by Charles Chaplin)

Film : The Kid

Why is he such a great Dad?

When a tramp who probably hasn’t seen food for days finds an abandoned child, the logical thing for him to do is eat it. Not this tramp, who instead decides to adopts the child and raise him as his own. When the kid is taken from him, he runs along rooftops, jumps onto the back of a moving truck and fights to rescue him in a moment that would make Rambo proud. So technically the boy isn’t his biological son, but in this dysfunctional age is that so important? He is more of a father in those 60 minutes than many men are in their entire life. That reuniting kiss is one of the most heart-wrenching scenes of fatherly love ever committed to film.


Ted Kramer

(played by Dustin Hoffman)

Film : Kramer vs Kramer

Why is he such a great Dad?

Because he’s not. He’s a real, flawed person, taking part in a story which is still being played out by millions of fathers the world over. As well as a father for little Billy, he is a hero to every Dad on the planet who is trying to make it work on his own. Despite his imperfections, everything he does is for the love of his son. Someone that any dad can relate to.


George Bailey

(played by James Stewart)

Film : It’s a Wonderful Life

Why is he such a great Dad?

Because he realises that when his family are destitute, he can save them by killing himself so they can cash in his life insurance. He is worth more dead than alive so attempts to make the ultimate sacrifice. Something to think about next time you raid your little soldier’s piggy bank for a pack of Marlboro.


Geppetto

(played by loads of people)

Film : Pinocchio

Why is he such a great Dad?

I’m sure most Dads have something to be proud about when it comes to raising their kids. The conception however, is a different story. Most kids are conceived after a 5 minute quick and dirty fumble following a few pints. Not in Geppetto’s case. This guy toiled for hours and hours, working hard manual labour to produce his boy. OK so he was carving him out of wood, but that just multiplies the awesome factor.


Some movie dad low-points:

The Last Crusade – Dr Jones Sr got the nazi babe before Jr made his play.

Pursuit of Happyness – Made his son sleep in a toilet.

Big Fish – Dad was essentially a compulsive liar, or at the very best a super-exaggerator.

So that’s my list. If anyone has any more ideas please tell me, but remember to tell me why the Dad was so awesome.

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