Looking for an interesting movie to watch that celebrates the joy of fatherhood? well, from father-daughter comedies to heartbreaking art films and classic dad-bait action thrillers, here are the best movies that celebrate dads or movies you might want to watch on Father’s Day.
Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
Okay, maybe don’t watch this one with mom in the room. Robert Benton’s Kramer vs. Kramer has become a somewhat contentious movie since its 1979 release, but it’s still full of impeccable performances. Dustin Hoffman (one of the titular Kramers) initially starts off as a reluctant dad but finds fatherhood worth fighting for in a custody battle with the other Kramer, played by Meryl Streep. Hoffman and Streep are all-timers, but the kid (Justin Henry) is pretty damn good too, and earned himself an Oscar nomination at the tender age of eight.
If you had to choose a movie dad to save you from trouble, you probably couldn’t do better than Taken’s Liam Neeson, a retired government agent who must tap back into his “very particular set of skills” to track down and rescue his daughter (Maggie Grace), who’s been abducted and auctioned off into a sex trafficking ring during her Parisian vacation. Taken is the pinnacle of Neeson’s rebranding as an older action star, and the manner in which he kicks ass (remember that electrocution scene?) makes him the baddest dad in town. And why not make it a marathon with Taken 2 and 3?
The Lion King (1994)
There are so many Disney movies in which a mother is the key parental figure, but this jungle-set Hamlet adaptation is a heart-wrencher for the tragic loss of Simba’s father, Mufasa. It is impossible to watch the stampede scene without fully sobbing—a great Father’s Day activity if you ask me. But it won’t be a downer all the way through: Hakuna Matata will get you through.
Liv Tyler’s real father, Steven Tyler, makes a brief appearance in this apocalyptic film, but the heart of this asteroid-headed-for-earth story is the relationship between Liv Tyler and her movie dad, Bruce Willis. Willis, naturally, saves the day, and I’ll be damned if that last convo between father and daughter isn’t an absolute tearjerker.
Warning: This R-rated film isn’t for the softest, tenderest of dads.This 2017 X-Men movie, starring Hugh Jackman as Logan (a.k.a. Wolverine), is an action-packed adventure with a twist on the dad–daughter theme: The tired, aging superhero must protect and join forces with a young mutant who, like him, has claws and experiences waves of rage.
When the earth is dying, a father will do anything to try to save his children. Matthew McConaughey stars as Cooper, a former pilot who agrees to join a specialized team as they attempt to find another habitable planet. With a genius daughter (played by Jessica Chastain) trying to work out the problem on the ground, Cooper faces unexpected challenges, including dangerous new terrains, a devious team member, and the possibility of never seeing his family again.
Daddy Day Care (2003)
This early 2000s comedy stars Eddie Murphy as the ultimate stay-at-home dad. After losing his job, Charlie Hinton (Murphy) is conflicted about how to care for his young son, and settles on starting a home childcare center for him and other neighborhood children. He might have to deal with overprotective parents, mischievous kids, and the threat of getting shut down by the authorities, but still gets to spend quality time with his son.
The Godfather (1972)
What’s an offer your dad can’t refuse? An invitation to watch The Godfather, of course. It’s incredible to think that this Francis Ford Coppola masterpiece was a disaster in the making—with production setbacks, studio drama, and a crew who didn’t know what they were doing. The Godfather is, in many regards, a miracle. Watching it now, you’d never know it was expected to fail. But aside from the mafia violence and the decapitated horse head, it’s a film about family politics, especially of the patriarchal kind.
Air Force One (1997)
Dad + President = the biggest dad of all. At least, that’s the case in Air Force One, a plane thriller that has Harrison Ford’s President James Marshall and his family mile-high and held hostage by a group of terrorists led by Gary Oldman. When Air Force One gets hijacked, Marshall must tap into his military training to get his family to safety.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
All Indiana Jones movies are arguably dad movies, but The Last Crusade is the dad-est of them all, as it features Harrison Ford as our favorite archaeologist working side by side with his father, Professor Henry Jones, played by the equally iconic Sean Connery. There’s some good ol’ father-son rivalry as they end up sleeping with the same woman (yikes), but it’s nothing they can’t set aside to fight the big bad guys (Nazis, in this case). There’s an Indiana Jones 5 coming out in 2020, which would put Ford almost 20 years older than Connery when he played Jones’ dad.