For Mother’s Day, I gave you a list of some of the worst mothers on television, but this week in honor of Father’s Day, I’m going in a slightly different direction. Below you’ll find a list of some of my favorite fathers in film! Notice here that I just said favorite (not best) because few parents are perfect, even fictional ones, but the men on this list embody some characteristics that all of the best fathers have, including my own.
Mac MacGuff from Juno (2007)
Played by the ever-delightful J.K. Simmons, Mac MacGuff is the father of titular pregnant teen, Juno. Few fathers would be able to keep their cool like Mac does when his daughter sits him down to confess that she’s pregnant. He doesn’t yell at Juno or send her to her room. He doesn’t demand she get an abortion or force her into a teenage marriage. Instead when Juno tells him that she intends to give the baby up for adoption, he listens to her and agrees to support her decision. He even goes with her to meet the adoptive parents. Of course he isn’t pleased with Juno’s situation, he even wonders if it’s his fault that she’s ended up in this position, but regardless he continues to love and support his daughter. He offers her advice and guidance without trying to control her thoughts or actions because he understands that his daughter is an individual person in charge of her own life.
Daniel Hillard from Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
I’ve mentioned before that I really love cross-dressing movies, and this won’t be the last time I mention it either because I love when traditional gender lines are blurred. Mrs. Doubtfire is one of my favorite cross-dressing movies for a myriad of reasons but one of those reasons is the strong sincere love that Daniel Hillard has for his children. I can’t imagine that most men out there are willing to go to the lengths that Daniel goes to just to have a few more hours with his kids. Not only does Daniel learn to apply prosthetics and put on makeup, he also puts in extra hours learning how to cook and clean so that his disguise is more convincing. Through this process, he also learns how to be a better father than he was before the divorce. He stops being the cool, fun dad and starts being a real parent. The fact that he had to pretend to be a woman to learn to be a better parent is a topic for another blog post.
Henry Jones from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
Henry Jones is far from a perfect father, but then Indiana Jones isn’t always the greatest son either. I love Henry Jones because he is everything that dads are in real life. He is stubborn and annoying and critical of Indiana, but as they go on their adventure finding treasure and fighting Nazis, it’s easy to see that Henry and Indiana love each other. Plus it’s so fun to see them share their passion for archeology and adventure together. Through all of their differences and petty arguments the Jones men still love each other, which is apparent when Indiana risks everything just to save his father’s life at the end of the movie.
Clark Griswold from National Lampoon’s Vacation series
Clark’s skill as a parent is certainly questionable, and he’s not necessarily a great role model for children or adults. However, when there are so many movies and TV shows that depict fathers as doing everything in their power to avoid their families, it’s so nice to see a man who so badly wants to give his family the perfect vacation. Of course everything goes wrong, and Clark is responsible for quite a few of those mishaps, but still every Vacation movie ends with the Griswold family happily together as a unit. Plus he definitely gives his kids vacations they’ll never forget.
None of these dads are perfect, but the best parts of them are characteristics that all great fathers have. They’re loving, passionate, and they respect their children, which is really all that matters to kids, and that’s what makes them my favorite fathers in film. There are so many more that I could’ve included on this list. Tell me your favorite movie dads in the comments!