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Top 30 Fictional Dads in Movie History

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It’s nearly Father’s Day once again, and with it comes the flood of ads for dad-centric gifts: quirky golf balls, multi-functional knives, and neckties adorned with hot dogs and footballs. Maybe your dad loves that stuff, or perhaps you know a dad who does. But fathers and father figures come in all varieties and sometimes have interests that extend beyond bourbon and barbecues.

Movies often perpetuate the same tired stereotypes of dads, but there are still many impressive representations out there. These portrayals can be moving, funny, caring, and sometimes a bit flawed, yet they showcase dads doing their best. That’s all anyone can ask from a parent.

Whether you’re looking for something to do with dad this weekend or just want to spend time with the fantasy dad you never had, grab a drink, fire up the grill, and enjoy a movie featuring one of these great movie dads.

Furious Styles in Boyz n the Hood (1991)

In one of film’s most iconic dad performances, Laurence Fishburne’s Furious Styles guides his son Tre through life and adolescence in South Central L.A. during the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Furious isn’t always the cuddliest father figure, but his tough love and hard-earned wisdom help keep his son from the worst consequences of drug, gang, and police violence. Director John Singleton based the movie on his own life, and Furious on his own father, adding depth to Fishburne’s resonant performance.

Jack Spier in Love, Simon (2018)

Josh Duhamel’s Jack Spier is a pretty good dad, despite being clueless about his son’s sexuality for most of the movie. When Simon is outed to his entire school, Jack initially struggles to respond but ultimately gets it just right. His support turns what could have been a heartbreaking coming-out story into one with a happy ending.

Bryan Mills in Taken (2008)

Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) possesses a very particular set of skills that aren’t typical for parenting—unless your child is kidnapped by an Albanian human trafficking ring. Over three Taken movies, Bryan may not become a great dad, but his relentless efforts to save his family from danger certainly earn him a Father’s Day card.

George Kirk in Star Trek (2009)

Without spending a single moment with his son, George Kirk (Chris Hemsworth) sacrifices his life to save his crew, including his wife and newborn son, James T. Kirk. This act of heroism sets the stage for James T.’s rough start and eventual rise to greatness.

John Quincy Archibald in John Q (2002)

In a desperate bid to save his son’s life, John Quincy Archibald (Denzel Washington) takes a hospital hostage to secure a heart transplant. Though his plan is flawed, Washington’s portrayal of a father’s determination is compelling and heartfelt.

Hal Fields in Beginners (2010)

Christopher Plummer’s Hal comes out to his son Oliver (Ewan McGregor) late in life, leading to a more honest and fulfilling relationship between them. Hal’s journey of self-discovery and his evolving bond with Oliver highlight that being true to oneself is key to being a good parent.

Juan in Moonlight (2016)

Mahershala Ali’s Oscar-winning role as Juan, a surrogate father to young Chiron, showcases a complex character who, despite his flaws, provides much-needed guidance and support to a boy growing up in a tough environment.

David Drayton in The Mist (2007)

In Stephen King’s adaptation, David Drayton (Thomas Jane) protects his son from Lovecraftian horrors and human madness. The film’s devastating final act underscores the lengths David will go to safeguard his child.

Troy in Cowboys (2020)

Steve Zahn’s Troy, a flawed yet loving father, supports his transgender son Joe through family strife and a wilderness journey, highlighting the sensitive handling of Joe’s transition and Troy’s struggles with bipolar disorder.

Marlin in Finding Nemo (2003)

Marlin (Albert Brooks), a clownfish, embarks on a perilous quest to rescue his son, Nemo. His fierce love and determination make him a standout animated dad.

Mr. Perlman in Call Me By Your Name (2017)

Mr. Perlman (Michael Stuhlbarg) is the epitome of a supportive, understanding father. His acceptance of his son Elio’s relationship with Oliver is heartwarming and deeply moving.

Jim’s Dad in American Pie (1999)

Eugene Levy’s Jim’s Dad offers unflinching support and openness about sex, making him an unexpectedly progressive and sex-positive parent.

Chris Gardner in The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

Will Smith portrays Chris Gardner, a father who overcomes immense challenges to provide for his son. Their story of resilience and hope is both inspiring and heart-wrenching.

Sam, Harry, and Bill in Mamma Mia! (2008)

The three potential dads (Pierce Brosnan, Stellan Skarsgård, and Colin Firth) embrace fatherhood collectively, showing that family can be chosen and doesn’t always follow traditional lines.

Mike and Sully in Monsters, Inc. (2001)
Monsters Mike and Sully (John Goodman and Billy Crystal) overcome their fear of children to become protective, loving surrogate dads to Boo.

Mac MacGuff in Juno (2007)

J.K. Simmons’ Mac MacGuff offers unwavering support and a healthy dose of humor when his daughter Juno faces an unplanned pregnancy.

Jonathan Kent and Jor-El in Superman (1978)

Superman’s two dads, Jonathan (Glenn Ford) and Jor-El (Marlon Brando), instill in him the values and guidance he needs to become a hero.

Lt. Donald Thompson in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

Despite his mistakes, Lt. Donald Thompson (John Saxon) tries to protect his daughter from Freddy Krueger, showcasing his ultimate dedication and sacrifice.

Will Stacks in Annie (2014)

Jamie Foxx’s Will Stacks transforms from a politician using an orphan for publicity to a loving father figure, giving Annie a new family.

Gomez Addams in The Addams Family (1991)

Raul Julia’s Gomez is a devoted, playful dad who, along with his wife Morticia, embodies a healthy, loving relationship.

Antonio Ricci in Bicycle Thieves (1948)

Antonio (Lamberto Maggiorani) and his son search for a stolen bicycle, leading to a touching exploration of their bond in post-WWII Italy.

Frank Fisher in Hearts Beat Loud (2018)

Nick Offerman’s Frank, a vinyl enthusiast, bonds with his daughter Sam over their shared love of music, creating a heartfelt family story.

Rick Mitchell in The Mitchells vs. The Machines (2021)

Rick (Danny McBride) and his daughter Katie team up to save the world, learning to understand and appreciate each other in the process.