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20 of the Best Movies To Watch This Father’s Day
Every Dad is special, and so are the movies about them. So whether yours is Dad, Daddy, Pop, Pop-Pop or Gramps, there’s a great movie to celebrate this important man in your life.
“Coming 2 America”
The sequel to Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall’s hilarious 1988 comedy tells a story of fathers and daughters and illegitimate sons (oh my!). The newly crowned King of Zamunda must decide who will be the next heir to his throne and learns a little about parenting in the process. As in the original, Murphy and Hall don the wigs, weight and makeup to take on eight scene-stealing characters.
Where to stream: Prime Video
How far will a father go to be with his kids? Really, really far! Robin Williams plays a divorced dad slash out-of-work actor who wriggles back into his children’s lives by pretending to be a female British nanny and becomes a better father in the process. Featuring Harvey Fierstein, Sally Field and Pierce Brosnan (victim of the unforgettable “run-by fruiting”).
“Father of the Bride”
In this endearing father-daughter classic, Steve Martin plays a dad struggling hilariously with the fact that his baby girl is all grown up. With wedding preparations driving him mad, Martin has a meltdown in a grocery store, assaults a bag of hot dogs and butts heads with a European wedding planner played by Martin Short—who delightfully mispronounces the word cake.
“What a Girl Wants”
In search of the perfect father-daughter relationship, New Yorker Daphne (Amanda Bynes) travels to England to find her father, Lord Henry Dashwood (Colin Firth), a member of British nobility running for political office, who doesn’t know she exists. They are fish out of water in each other’s lives, and watching dad and daughter learn to connect is completely enchanting.
Robin Williams and Nathan Lane star as a gay cabaret owner and his drag queen domestic partner who are willing to do anything for their son, including playing it straight to convince his fiancée’s conservative parents to let him marry their daughter. From legendary comedy duo Elaine May and Mike Nichols, this heartwarming and hysterically funny 90’s romp includes memorable comic turns by Gene Hackman, Dianne Wiest and Hank Azaria.
Dramas and tearjerkers
Fresh from its Oscar win for Best Supporting Actress and its six nominations, including Best Picture, this wise and warm-hearted film tells the story of an immigrant dad trying to build a better future for his Korean-American family and is based on the director’s real life upbringing in rural Arkansas.
“He Got Game”
Father-son relationships can be complicated. Here, Denzel Washington plays a tough and troubled dad given a week’s parole from prison to convince his basketball star son to attend the governor’s alma mater. Spike Lee’s searing film is both a great sports story and a heartbreaking look at the power of forgiveness.
“The Pursuit of Happyness”
Grab the tissues! This tearjerker stars real life father and son Will and Jaden Smith as a dad and his boy, evicted from their home and struggling to survive. Despite being forced into homeless shelters and other hardships, their bond remains strong with Smith’s character determined to build a better life for himself and his five-year-old son.
If you’ve ever questioned your dad’s tall tales or wanted to know if the fish he caught was really that big, then this film is for you. Edward Bloom (played by Albert Finney and by Ewan McGregor in flashbacks) and his son, Will (Billy Crudup), have a tense relationship because Will has never believed his dad’s elaborate stories about his life. But with Edward fallen ill, Will traces his father’s journeys to find the truth and discovers there’s more to his dad than he believed.
Father doesn’t always know best, but give him credit for trying. George Clooney, in full bumbling dad mode, plays a father attempting to reconnect with his two adolescent daughters and be a better father after his wife falls into a coma. The movie takes place in Hawaii, also stars Shailene Woodley (“Big Little Lies”) and includes a masterful scene of Clooney running in loafers.
This film, among other things, sheds compelling light on the relationship of a single dad and his teenage daughter. When 13-year-old introvert Kayla (Elsie Fisher) endures her last awkward week of eighth grade, her fumbling dad (Josh Hamilton) tries to help her through this tricky time in her life. An authentic and sweetly moving coming-of-age story.
In this wistfully funny and deeply emotional drama, Christopher Plummer plays an elderly man dying of cancer who finally comes out to his shocked son (Ewan McGregor) while pursuing a younger man. The role won Plummer a long-deserved Oscar, and the bond between father and son is complex and inspiring.
The father of all difficult daddy films, Francis Ford Coppola’s 1972 masterpiece created an iconic figure in Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando), the mafia don whose youngest son, Michael (Al Pacino), reluctantly succeeds him, carrying on the family’s cycle of violence and betrayal. Regarded as one of the greatest films of all time, this mob drama rightly takes its place in the pantheon of stories about powerful fathers and the difficult legacies they leave.
Any John Wayne Western is great dad bait, but this film in particular stars the Duke as a father figure to a group of teenage boys that he leads across country during a cattle drive, showing them the ways of the world.
“Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?”
If you’ve ever had to change your dad’s mind on an important issue, this film is worth a watch. Starring some of cinema’s greatest actors (Spencer Tracey, Katherine Hepburn and Sidney Poitier), it tells the story of a young woman who brings her fiancé, a Black man, home to meet her conservative parents in 1967.
Action and adventure
“Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”
There’s nothing wrong with a little friendly father-son rivalry, right? “The Last Crusade” pairs our favorite archeologist (Harrison Ford) with his father, senior archeologist Professor Henry Jones (the late, great Sean Connery). The duo outsmart the Nazis, banter charmingly and compete with each other for women and ancient relics.
If your pops is a science buff, check out this space mystery starring Matthew McConaughey as a pilot who disappears during a mission to find another habitable planet. Back on Earth, his genius daughter (Jessica Chastain) discovers a mysterious set of clues he’s left behind to help her bring him back. This edge-of-your-seat thriller by Christopher Nolan (“Inception,” “The Dark Night” trilogy) captures the powerful bond between a daughter and her dad.
This one isn’t warm and fuzzy, but it does have a dad willing to kill for his kid. Liam Neeson plays a former spy who uses his impressive black ops skills to save his teenage daughter when she’s kidnapped by baddies.
Why have one dad when you can have three? In this cheerful Abba-infused musical, Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) invites her three charming potential fathers to her wedding in hopes of discovering which dad is the real deal, to the surprise of cool mom, Donna (Meryl Streep). Watch for the songs, the costumes and the sweetness of three dads competing hilariously for a daughter’s love.
Remember Daddy Warbucks? In this 2014 reboot, Jamie Foxx shows off his musical theater skills as the eponymous orphan’s adopted pops, while teaching her the true value of love. Also starring Oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”) as Annie and Cameron Diaz as a deliciously drunk and inappropriate Miss Hannigan.
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