Believe it or not, movies can teach us a lot about fatherhood.
How to be a good role model. How to bond with youngsters. And, most importantly, how to avoid alienating your kids. (We’re looking at you, Darth Vader.)
In honor of Father’s Day, we’ve selected 10 top pops from the silver screen. Check out our list below and be sure to suggest your own.
Atticus Finch, "To Kill a Mockingbird" (1962)
Small-town Southern attorney Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) teaches his two small children a valuable lesson about justice when he defends a black man accused of raping a white woman and confronts an angry lynch mob. He even shoots a rabid dog that’s been terrorizing the neighborhood.
Peck won an Oscar for the role, and it’s no wonder. His decent, principled dad is a great role model for kids everywhere.
Captain Von Trapp, “The Sound of Music" (1965)
Retired Austrian naval officer Captain Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer) starts out as a stern martinet — but his attitude soon softens under the influence of Maria (Julie Andrews), the spunky young novice he hires as a governess for his seven children.
The good captain imparts his kids with a love of music and a strong sense of national pride, both of which serve them well when they’re forced to escape Nazi-controlled Austria and start a new life overseas.
Ted Kramer, "Kramer Vs. Kramer" (1979)
Workaholic advertising executive Ted (Dustin Hoffman) gets a crash course in fatherhood when his wife (Meryl Streep) announces she’s leaving, forcing him to care for their young son Billy, (Justin Henry), on his own.
Things don’t go smoothly at first, as Ted struggles with even the most basic tasks. (Witness his marvelously messy first attempt at making French toast.) By the end of the movie, he’s not only a champion childcare provider but also a devoted dad who puts his son’s needs before his own.
Jason "Furious" Styles, "Boyz n the Hood" (1991)
As his name suggests, Furious (Laurence Fishburne) is a force to be reckoned with — and a supportive, loving father who encourages his son, Tre (Cuba Gooding Jr.), to be smart and take responsibility for his actions.
As Furious puts it, “Any fool … can make a baby, but only a real man can raise his children.” That’s a valuable life lesson to learn in tough South Central Los Angeles.
George Banks, "Father of the Bride" (1991)
Played by Spencer Tracy in the original 1950 film and Steve Martin in the remake, this doting dad is terrified of losing his little girl.
When his daughter Annie (Kimberly Williams) announces that she’s getting married, George doesn’t take the news well. He embarrasses himself in front of his future in-laws, argues with his wife and is driven to distraction by the extravagant wedding he’s agreed to host.
Finally, however, he finds peace with the fact that Annie is all grown up.
Daniel Hillard, "Mrs. Doubtfire" (1993)
Actor and recently divorced dad Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams) will stop at nothing to spend time with his kids — and we mean nothing.
When he discovers that his wife is looking for a housekeeper, Daniel goes undercover as Mrs. Euphegenia Doubtfire, a sweet yet strict Brit with a plummy Scottish accent.
As odd as the drag deception may be, it does allow Daniel to improve his domestic skills, bond with his family and snag a job as a children’s television host.
Guido Orefice, "Life Is Beautiful" (1997)
As a Jewish book store owner in World War II-era Italy, Guido (Roberto Benigni) somehow manages to make life magical for his beloved wife (Nicoletta Braschi) and young son, Giosué (Giorgio Cantarini).
When he and his son are taken to a Nazi concentration camp, Guido uses humor and imagination to protect Giosué from the grim realities of their situation — eventually making the ultimate sacrifice so the boy can live. Talk about a tearjerker.
Big Chris, "Lock, Stock, & Two Smoking Barrels" (1998)
At first glance, shotgun-slinging mob enforcer Big Chris (soccer player-turned-actor Vinnie Jones) doesn’t seem like ideal father material. But observe closely and you’ll notice that he teaches his son, the appropriately named Little Chris (Peter McNicholl), about swearing, wearing a seatbelt and being a good provider.
Take Your Child to Work Day was never this fun before.
Marlin, "Finding Nemo" (2003)
Overprotective dad Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks) constantly frets over his son Nemo (Alexander Gould), a cute little fish with a deformed fin.
When Nemo gets scooped up by a scuba diver, the nebbish clown fish swims out of his comfort zone and goes on a whale of a journey to find him – befriending an absent-minded fish (Ellen DeGeneres), a friendly shark (Barry Humphries) and a band of laid-back sea turtles along the way.
Bryan Mills, "Taken" (2008)
As he’s fond of reminding people, this ex-CIA operative (Liam Neeson) has a “very particular set of skills” – and he’s not afraid to use them to save his daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace), from a European sex slavery ring.
Bryan shoots, stabs and tortures his way to her rescue, leaving a trail of bloody, battered bodies in his wake. (The body count only goes up in two sequels —2012’s “Taken 2” and 2014’s “Taken 3.”)
More movie dads we love
George Bailey, "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946): George (Jimmy Stewart) sacrifices everything for his family, and, in the end, discovers that those sacrifices were well worth it.
Jor-El, "Superman" (1978): Superman’s father (Marlon Brando) is man enough to send his son to another planet in order to save him. Plus, the Fortress of Solitude is pretty sweet.
Clark Griswold, "National Lampoon's Vacation" (1983): Suburban dad Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) might be a bit of a goof, but he means well.
Professor Henry Jones, "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" (1989): Indiana Jones clearly inherited his curiosity, stubbornness and sense of adventure from his dad (Sean Connery), as well as his taste in women.
Bob Parr a.k.a. Mr. Incredible, "The Incredibles" (2004): This superhero dad (voiced by Craig T. Nelson) is the glue that holds his remarkable family together.