Father's Day is once again upon is and, as a tribute to all things paternal, we have constructed a list of the best father figures Hollywood has to offer. We present to you the top ten movie dads.
One thing you can bet on: when he grows up, Damien Thorn is going to spend some serious money on shrink time. "Yeah, I always get the feeling my dad never really loved me," he'll say. "He was pretty nice to me at first: we'd go for walks along the river, and he'd lavish money on huge birthday parties. But then he got really cold, and distant - almost treating me as if I wasn't really his. Oh yeah, and there was this one time when he went berserk, dragged me onto hallowed ground and tried to stab me in the heart with seven ancient daggers. I'll be honest, I harbored a lot of resentment towards him after that."
*Fatherly advice:* Don't destroy the world. Don't bump anyone off, even those who find out you're really the son of the Devil. And for pity's sake, hold still you little bastard, so I can stab you to death!
*See also:* Jack Nicholson in The Shining. Not so much of the trying to save the world, but plenty of the trying to kill his son.
"Together we can rule the galaxy, as father and son" - way to go with the expectations, Dad. Sure, he's going on about the 'together' stuff, like it'll be a real bonding exercise to overthrow the Emperor, but this is just a classic example of father using the son to achieve what he never could. And what kind of father lops off their son's hand? Therapy of galactic proportions required; put the lightsaber down, get out in the back yard and kick a ball around with your kids - and no using the Force!
*Fatherly advice: *"Give yourself to the Dark Side. It is the only way you can save your friends."
*See also: *Glen Whitehouse in Affliction, Wade Gustafson in Fargo, maybe Odin in Thor, definitely Dr Evil in the Austin Powers series.
Walter Stratford's methods may seem a little bizarre - banning his daughters from dating; insisting that, should they go out to a social event, that they practice wearing a pregnancy belly first - but his heart's in the right place. All he wants is to ensure that his little darlings don't turn into the sort of pregnant, drug-addict crack-whores he deals with every day in his (apparently rather low-rent) career as an obstetrician. In the end, he finally loosens up enough to let his elder daughter go away to a feminist college (perhaps hoping she'll decide she's a lesbian?), and his younger to date Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Fatherly advice: "I'm down, I've got the 411, and you are not going out and getting jiggy with some boy. I don't care how dope his ride is. My mama didn't raise no foo'!"
See also: Dan Hedaya's touching concern for his daughter's clothing in Clueless; Stanley Tucci's cool dad in Easy A.
When it comes to placing his son's needs above his own, dads don't come much better than Jor-El. Not only did he figure out in the nick of time that his home planet of Krypton was about to blow up, but he also built a nifty playpen-come-spacecraft and set it off on a course for the non-explosive Earth - where his son would gain nifty superpowers. That said, he loses a few points for not having sufficient foresight to build a bigger craft so the whole family could take the trip. Jonathan Kent would never have made that mistake.
Fatherly advice: "Live as one of them, Kal-El, to discover where your strength and your power are needed. Always hold in your heart the pride of your special heritage. They can be a great people, Kal-El, they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you... my only son."
See also: The self-sacrificing heroics of Kurt Russell in Poseidon and Harvey Keitel in Little Nicky.
The Ultimate Family Man. Godfather to many, father to five, there is literally nothing Don Corleone wouldn't do for his kids. Sure, he was a man who made his share of mistakes: getting his sons into the family business was probably the biggest, and organised crime in general probably isn't the safest environment in which to bring up children. But he also reaped the benefits, living to a ripe old age and dying peacefully in the bosom of a loving family. Bless.
Fatherly advice: "Whoever comes to you with the Barzini meeting - he's the traitor. Don't forget that."
See also: Vengeful father John Matrix in Commando, Liam Neeson and his particular set of skills in Taken and the similarly no-nonsense Chingachgook in Last Of The Mohicans.
An eccentric Scottish bookworm who dedicated more of his life to finding an artifact that may not exist than to bonding with his son... at first glance Henry Jones Sr. may not seem like the greatest dad in the world. But a late-in-life quest for the Holy Grail allows him to finally address all those absentee dad issues. But be warned: beneath the cuddly exterior lies a formidably fiery heart. After all, this is probably the only man on the planet who, whether it be with a well-timed slap or an imposing order to count backwards in Greek, can scare the crap out of Indiana Jones.
Fatherly advice: Pay attention to the smallest details; they might prove important. Write everything down, so you won't have to remember it. Use your head, rather than your fists. Never blaspheme.
See also: Nigel Powers, father of Austin Powers and Dougie Evil, from Austin Powers in Goldmember, and maybe Howard Stark from Iron Man.
If we're giving points for enthusiastic parenting then Clark Griswold scores big. This is a man so determined to make his family enjoy their vacation that he hi-jacks an entire theme park at (squirt)gunpoint. Of course, some might argue frog-marching your reluctant children across America, not to mention getting them shot at, robbed and arrested, is actually frowned upon by the NSPCC. But hey, at least he's trying.
Fatherly advice: "I'm gonna have fun and you're gonna have fun. We're all gonna have so much fucking fun we'll need plastic surgery to remove our goddamn smiles. You'll all be whistling 'Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah' out of you're assholes!"
See also: Bernie Focker from Meet the Fockers, Gil Buckman in Parenthood and Tom Baker (Steve Martin again!) in Cheaper By The Dozen.
Number 3 for Jimmy Stewart in the ultimate Christmas movie, you cry! Sure, he might be held up as the pinnacle of fatherhood with his bell-ringing, angel-loving, crowd-pleasing ways and that "aw shucks" drawl. But let's not forget that the guy was planning to kill himself - on Christmas Eve! - and leave his family destitute. Now, we're sorry, but we just don't think that's very festive.
Fatherly advice: It's OK to speak to strangers as long as they tell you they're messengers from God and are just after a pair of wings.
See also: Tim Allen in The Santa Clause movies. He saves Christmas for everyone. Three times!
Like Woody Allen with gills, he's too neurotic to even leave his anemone home without breaking into a sweat (or whatever fish do when they're nervous - dry out?). But when his plucky little son is fishnapped by a diver he fearlessly braves jellyfish, sharks and Ellen Degeneres to get him back. And he accomplishes all this with only a seven second memory.
Fatherly advice: Don't judge a book by its cover, or a shark by its big sharp scary teeth. And don't smoke anything a turtle offers you.
See also: Mufasa from The Lion King. Only with added death.
God love him, but for all the cringeworthy chats, awkward moments and bungled attempts at sex education, Jim's dad is, without a doubt, top of the pops. Who else would calmly council his horny offspring after catching him in flagrante with a pudding? Or whisk him off to casualty without judgement after an unfortunate hand/cock/superglue encounter? Sure, it's a little weird when your old man talks about 'petting the one-eyed snake', but for the most understanding, well-meaning father in film, you need look no further.
Fatherly advice: "Don't forget your penis cream."
See also: No, there's no one quite like Jim's Dad, but Julius Levinson in Independence Day might have made a good substitute in his youth.