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15 Memorable Movie Dads

by gremlinmiller
fact checked by Alex Hanton

Father’s Day is a celebration inaugurated in the early twentieth century to complement Mother’s Day in celebrating fatherhood and male parenting, and to honor and commemorate fathers and forefathers. Father’s Day is celebrated on a variety of dates worldwide and typically involves gift-giving, special dinners to fathers, and family-oriented activities. In celebration of all the fathers on Listverse and the fathers of the listversers, here is our homage to fathers – as portrayed in the movies.


Rodney Dangerfield
Natural Born Killers

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Seeing Rodney Dangerfield, not as a comedian or a slapstick goof, but as a child molesting, wife beating drunkard makes this a once in a life time, memorable role for Dangerfield. He may not have been father of the year, but he is permanently branded on my brain.


Gregory Peck
To Kill a Mockingbird


Atticus Finch stands up for what is right and is not afraid to let his children see it. No matter how socially unacceptable it was at the time. I think most Dads could learn a lesson from this character.


Hugo Weaving
Lord of the Rings trilogy


Elrond lies to his daughter so that she nearly sails off to immortality rather than stay and marry the man she loves. Sure, it was selfish, but he must want to keep his daughter awful bad to tell such a big lie. Daughters are hard for fathers to let go of. We all know this.


Lee Cobb Jr
12 Angry Men


This guy is ANGRY! Angry at Henry Fonda! Angry at Jack Klugman! He even gets mad at the little guy who does the voice of Piglet! But, really, we find out he is mad at himself for being a failure as a Father. He nearly sends someone to the chair to deal with his anger.


Kevin Spacey
American Beauty


Lester Burnham teaches us all a valuable lesson. Look Closer. You think you are unhappy and ready to leave your wife? Look closer. Think your life sucks and you just want to end it all? Look closer. Life really has some beautiful things in it if we just take the time to look for them.


Bob Parr (Mr. Incredible)
The Incredibles


Mr. Incredible is a hero, but sadly only to himself and a few old timers who remember his glory days. Glory days which he cannot stop reliving. Finally though, he realizes what is important in life, his family. Eventually, he becomes a true hero again, along with the rest of his family.


Jack Nicholson
The Shining


Jack Torrance is 31 flavors of crazy. Throw in a psychic son and an Olive Oylish annoying wife and we’ve got a bloodbath! This film gave me serious nightmares as a kid. Yeesh.


Robert Duvall
Sling Blade


Barely more than a cameo, Robert Duvall stunningly portrays a backwoods, heathen sonofabitch better than anyone I could imagine. In his 4 or 5 minutes of screentime, I could totally envision the horrible abuse put upon poor Carl at the hands of this menace. Poor little feller….


James Cromwell
Revenge of the Nerds


A loving, caring man but still a total nerd. With his cruise control set at a steady 35 MPH, he does his best to instill courage in Louis when getting ready to face a new and scary situation, college. He even does his best to help poor Gilbert, whom we are never told, but it is hinted, has lost his Father to an early death.


The Lion King


Mufasa has a lot of responsibilities. He has to watch over and lead the pride, keep the hyenas at bay, and keep all the other animals in the jungle in line. Yet he still finds time to play with his kid. Even in death, he comes back to give advice. Nice Kitty.


George Bailey
It’s a Wonderful Life


George is typical. Big dreams that went to squat because his family would suffer is he pursued them. So, he gets married, has kids and settles down. One could say, the wife and kids tie him down. In fact, George even loses his cool and starts destroying stuff and yelling because he is feeling these very same feelings. He is facing jail time and under considerable stress though, so we will cut him some slack. In the end, he learns how truly blessed he is to have his family and friends.


Don Vito Corleone
The Godfather


The “Don” gets shot because his scruples about drugs make him a deadly enemy. He barely survives and passes onto his son, the duty of leading “the family” in a mob war. A duty his son Michael does not want.


Mr. Levenstein
American Pie

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Eugene Levy has been around forever, but this role launched him to superstar status. Hilarious yet touching, this character reminds all of us how no matter how stupid we are, Dad will still love us.




Talk about wanting a son, yeesh. Hasn’t Geppetto ever heard of an orphanage? They were all over in those days weren’t they? But anyway, Geppetto is a trusting father who keeps having faith in Pinnochio even after he has lied on numerous occasions. More than I can say for myself! Pinnochio finally sheds his wooden body and gets a real one. Dad’s faith paid off in the end.


Darth Vader
Star Wars series


Definitely the most memorable cinematic dad of all time. “Luke, I am your father!” being one of the most wrongly quoted Star Wars lines says something for that (it was actually “No, I am your father”). Not exactly the kind of Dad who gave piggy-back rides around the back yard, he still manages to show his love for his son in the end.

fact checked by Alex Hanton