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Culture, Film, Knowledge, Perspectives

Dad’s on Film

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James Pike
Dads on Film Liam Neeson as Bryan Mills Taken
Bryan Mills ©Twentieth Century Fox

If you’re a parent like me, you’ll know that it’s not the easiest task in the world. Striking a balance between subduing unruly behaviour and nurturing your child's endeavors can seem daunting at first – however, help is at hand. Sure, friends and family can play an active role in shaping you as a begetter, but it’s film where you’ll find the most honest life lessons in parenting. In honour of Father’s Day, I thought I’d take a look at eight different dads on film – some good, some bad, and some that aren’t necessarily making the best choices in their child’s life. Ultimately, when amalgamated, these will make one hell of a parent.

Dads on Film Big Daddy
© Lionsgate Entertainment 

Big Daddy – Kick Ass

Sometimes taking your child to work can be an invigorating experience, it’s an opportunity to showcase the ‘real’ dad in his everyday domain. In the case of Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage), training and taking you daughter along for a revenge-fueled rampage may seem irresponsible, but when the chips are down – in this instance, whilst set on fire – Big Daddy is still able to act the doting father, guiding his daughter to slice her way through a host of henchmen for one final farewell.

Dads on Film Mac MacGuff
© Fox Searchlight Pictures

Mac MacGuff – Juno

Remaining the constant calm whilst the family around you descends into chaos can prove to be very poignant in your child’s life. Mac MacGuff (J. K. Simmons) – rather than lambaste his 16-year-old daughter for getting pregnant, very much plays the supportive parent, acting as an emotional guide for his daughter whilst she goes through the adoption process, dropping a fair few ‘dadisms’ along the way. MacGuff shows us all that staying calm and real can be the best plan.

Dads on Film Henry Jones Sr
© Paramount Pictures

Henry Jones, Sr – Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

What else is there to say about Henry Jones Jr (Harrison Ford): Professor of Archaeology, adventurer and one hell of a charmer. It’s not until the franchise’s third instalment that you realise all of his traits are as a result of Henry Jones Sr (Sean Connery). Junior may feel that his father was never really there for him, but it becomes clear that Henry was a nurturing parent who allowed his son to become the man he is today off his own merits. For that, we thank you.

Dads on Film Roger Murtaugh
©Warner Bros.

Roger Murtaugh – Lethal Weapon

Detective Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) is literally days from retirement when he meets his new partner Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson). With every intention to take it easy running up to his last day on the job, Murtaugh has to contend with his partners erratic suicidal tendencies, thwart a heroin-smuggling scheme concocted by covert mercenaries and rescue his daughter whilst keeping his family safe from death threats thus proving – you are never too old for this shit.

Dads on Film Darth Vader
©Twentieth Century Fox

Darth Vader – Return of the Jedi

Quite possibly the worst dad in the entire galaxy – not only did he play an active part in the desolation of the Jedi and commit intergalactic atrocities, he also spent many years actively seeking out his children in order to turn them to the dark side. You’d think that there is no coming back from this, but he redeems himself by saving his son’s life, destroying the Emperor and in turn bringing down the Empire. Better late than never I suppose.

Dads on Film Chris Gardner
©Sony Pictures

Chris Gardner – The Pursuit of Happyness

Being a single parent can be tough – childcare, keeping a job down, bills – it’s life’s greatest juggling act. For Chris Gardner (Will Smith), all seems lost. But despite all of the false hope, he’s still able to remain positive for the sake of his young son, shielding him from single parent pressures of being a and firmly keeping his son's innocence intact. With this being a true story based on a father’s remarkable journey, perseverance prevails as Chris lands a dream job that sees him and his son being able to live their lives stress-free.

Dads on Film Daniel Hillard Mrs Doubtfire
©Twentieth Century Fox

Daniel Hillard – Mrs. Doubtfire

You could argue that Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams) is a highly irresponsible parent. Making himself up to look like a 70-year-old Scottish nanny so he can be closer to his children may seem endearing at first, but could also be reasonably psychologically damaging for them. Light-hearted fun or a cautionary tale on the mental health costs of a messy divorce? Either way there is no denying his loyalty to his children – even if his means are slightly eccentric, something us fathers can all relate to.

Bryan Mills – Taken

Ex-CIA agent Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is seeking to reconnect with his 17-year-old daughter after spending years in the field. It’s only after she is kidnapped that we get to see his ‘particular set of skills’ in action, and the extraordinary lengths he will go to get her back. You could call this a vulgar display of adoration, but we all know if this was us (especially with said skills) we would be doing exactly the same thing.

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