Father’s Day is here again, but what if you’re looking for someone that can teach you something, save your life occasionally or generally make your existence better without those pesky genetic ties? We present the best movie father figures - a celebration of the men who'll guide you, give you sensible advise and pick you up from the football... and do it all the non-biological way. They're the Homer to our Pepe; the cool-headed ying to our running-around-breaking-things yang. Today we salute the men without kids of their own who nonetheless provided a valuable guiding influence in a variety of films...
Despite his youthful reputation as a bully and general miscreant, there are few more heroic types than Sirius, who helped Harry Potter fight ol’ He Who Must Not Be Named, gave him the straight dope on his parents and watched over him even while locked up in Azkaban. He’s wise, loyal and very useful in a scrap. And though their first introduction was a little difficult (Sirius had his reasons for making Harry think he was dangerous), Black ended up giving his life for his godson. And could anyone ask for more? Well, apart from the fact that if you end up spending enough time with him, you may have to walk him at some point. Or scold him for killing the neighbour’s prized tabby.
Father’s Day Gift Recommendation: Grooming kit. He’s a raggedy man at the best of times.
Obi-Wan’s so tough that even when the first youngling he takes under his brown-cloaked wing turns out to be a maniacal whiner with mummy issues and a future allegiance to the Dark Side, he doesn’t waver. Instead, Kenobi bides his time, hiding out of sight and waiting for the inevitable father/son smackdown. He’s handy with a lightsaber and is great at tough love, even if it means leaving your protégé to burn on a lava planet. Like Sirius, he’s also willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good and does a mean line in scaring Tusken Raiders. Part detective, part wise counsel, part badass, Obi-Wan’s got it all. Plus, he gets bonus points for hanging around to advise Luke after death and pointing him towards Yoda, the world’s coolest grouchy grandfather figure.
Father’s Day Gift Recommendation: Pre-strike down? Lightsaber repair kit or alarm clock for all those early morning Jedi meetings. Post-strike down? Nothing. He’s GHOST/ENERGY/PROJECTION THING. Like, der.
Channelling the late, great and unforgettable Michael Gough, who had the role through the Burton/Schumacher years) but adding his own interpretation, Caine’s take on Alfred is the perfect father figure and foil for Bruce Wayne. And let’s face it, wouldn’t you want your archetypal dad substitute to be an ex-soldier with fascinating tales of military service who can confront villains that try to invade your home? Plus he can whip up breakfast when necessary. And when you need a paternal yet gently disapproving lecture on why your next course of action could well get you killed? He’s a master at that. Study, reliable, sarcastic, Alfred’s got it all. Plus he can keep secrets, so if you’re the sort that feels the need to fight crime dressed as a winged rodent, you can rely on him not to blab.
Father’s Day Gift Recommendation: A day off. If he won’t accept it, try a DVD of World War Two In Colour.
No disrespect to Jackie Chan’s haunted interpretation in last year’s remake, but we’re going with classic Miyagi. Not only does he help Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) figure out his life, he’s also a font of knowledge on both martial arts and how to be the world’s best handyman. So if you’re looking to beat bullies or fix up a shed, Miyagi’s the whole package. Sure, he may come across initially brusque or stern, but that’s just because he takes some time to warm up to those he helps out. And true, it’ll feel early on like he’s just slacking and getting you to do all the work around your apartment complex, but they’re stealthy lessons in the noble art of defending yourself. Or, if you prefer, kicking major ass. Just try to not ask too much about his past: while he did briefly become a father, his wife died in childbirth, so he tragically still makes the list.
Father’s Day Gift Recommendation: A new bonsai tree. But from the side of a cliff – don’t get cheap and pick the first scrappy shrub you see at Notcutts.
Raising an orphaned nephew would be enough in itself for a man to be considered a hero in the father figure stakes, but Ben Parker goes above and beyond, trying his best to raise a good man. And for the most part, he succeeds, even if it takes young Peter Parker a while to truly learn the most important lesson – you know, the one about great power and great responsibility. In fact, it takes Ben’s tragic murder to fully shake the lad up. But before a criminal cuts him down, Ben is a source of comfort and support for Peter who, with wife May, eschews spending their golden years in a retirement community and instead raises the lad as a fairly well adjusted (if ultra nerdy) teenager. And they even try to understand when his early days as a superhero make him out to either be a sexual pervert or end up putting May’s life in danger.
Father’s Day Gift Recommendation: Body armour. Then he might have been around to offer more homilies.
Falling more into the 'unwitting father figure' category, Will is your typical playboy type, happy to sleep around and ignore real relationships. That is, until he seemingly connects with Marcus (Nicholas Hoult), a quirky, troubled lad with bully problems and a mother (Toni Collette) whose depression leads her to attempt suicide. While Will is initially unhappy to have the lad hanging around, he does provide some valuable fashion advice (which, admittedly backfires) and tries to coach the boy on how to become a man. Who better to teach a stumbling, self-esteem-challenged lad how to behave than a cocksure cad? As it turns out, Will has more of a heart than even he thought, so he’s an ideal candidate.
Father’s Day Gift Recommendation: One of those books on understanding women. Even if he hates it, you can have fun mocking it together.
Let’s look at the pros first, shall we? He’s a giant truck, which scores immediate cool points. And he’s also a massive extraterrestrial robot, which means no human on Earth should mess with him. Teacher giving you hassle at school? Giant robot fixes it. Boss making your life a misery at work? Giant robot fixes it. Unable to get up on the roof to repair some tiles? You know where we’re going with this. Optimus is smart, dedicated and absolutely will not stop if you need his help. Even if there’s a low tunnel on a road – he’ll just transform and leap over it. Cons? Well, Decepticons, for one. Prime has some serious enemies and a nasty habit of carking it from time to time. Fortunately he usually comes back, but you might want to invest in a tin helmet in case things get rough.
Father’s Day Gift Recommendation: A tanker of Castrol GTX.
This relationship could take a little work. But so desperate was the 'good' doctor to create life that he completely bypassed the usual squelchy stuff and went straight for science. If you can overlook his driven side, he’s a solidly inspirational sort - especially if you’re chasing some dream. And let’s not forget that he succeeds in his task, albeit creating something that ends up destroying him. With the monster on hand, you’d have the coolest school assembly EVER, at least until something goes horribly wrong. Yes, okay: he’s a man who goes around stealing body parts so he can create dangerous, lumbering human-adjacent creatures. But he’s brainy, so he could help with science homework. Score!
Father’s Day Gift Recommendation: A fire extinguisher. Because you know he’ll need it when the mob turns up.
Before you spill bile on the comments or hit The Twitters to tell us that he’s a dad and this breaks the rules, we’re a) focusing on Indy in Temple Of Doom, years before Mutt is so much as a twinkle in Marion’s eye, and b) looking to forget that Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull ever existed, okay? Back in his Temple days, Indy’s main paternal interaction was with sidekick Short Round (Ke Huy Quan), who helped him out on his archaeological adventures. While he likes to come off as gruff and solitary, Indy definitely had a soft spot for the kid. And how many youngsters can claim the sort of adventure Shorty gets into? Even if child protection services would probably have something to say about him being enslaved in a mine while his alleged guardian is turned briefly into a mindless zombie by a cult.
Father’s Day Gift Recommendation: Hypnotism to cure his fear of snakes.
The kindly, paternal and crusading Professor X is much more than just a tutor to his younger mutant charges – he’s a definite father figure. He wants nothing more than to see them succeed, and while there’s the small matter of the X-team going up against Magneto’s lot or facing down angry humans - which means not everyone survives - at least you know the Prof has your back. Just don’t try to break his wheelchair so he can’t chase you if you’ve done something wrong – he’ll just reach into your noggin with his psychic powers and give your brain a squeeze. Oh, and now we’ve seen what he was like as a younger man in X-Men: First Class, we’d want to hear his stories of trying to charm the girls by talking up mutations. Even if it is a lesson in how not to chat them up...
Father’s Day Gift Recommendation: Head wax. Got to keep that bonce shiny.