A few years ago we took a closer look at some of the top mothers in books, TV and film. As Father’s Day approaches, it’s Dad’s turn! Here are some of the best, or at least most memorable, paternal roles we’ve come to love over the years.
The All-Time Classic Dad:
Atticus Finch – To Kill a Mockingbird
No list of fathers is complete without Atticus. He’s arguably one of the greatest role models in American literature.
Honorable Mentions: Pa Ingalls – Little House on the Prairie series, Arthur Weasley – Harry Potter series
The Dad Who Puts His Kids First:
Mr. Bennet – Pride and Prejudice
Mr. Bennet isn’t the perfect father, but he comes through when it counts, backing Elizabeth’s decision not to marry Mr. Collins.
Honorable Mentions: The Man – The Road, Bob Cratchit – A Christmas Carol
The Newcomer Dad:
Ned Stark – A Song of Ice and Fire series
Ned loves all his children, even Jon Snow, his illegitimate son. His sense of honor and duty rules every aspect of his being.
Honorable Mentions: Nate Pullman – Wonder, Thomas Schell – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
The “Father Figure” Dad:
Jean Valjean – Les Misérables
Sometimes the greatest paternal influence comes from someone not related by blood, as is the case when Valjean adopts young Cosette.
Honorable Mentions: Matthew Cuthbert – Anne of Green Gables, Joe Gargery – Great Expectations
The Childhood Favorite Dad:
Critter’s Dad – Just Me and My Dad
In Mercer Mayer’s children’s classic, Critter and his dad show that sometimes the most meaningful moments come from just being together.
Honorable Mentions: Papa Bear – The Berenstain Bears series, William – Danny, the Champion of the World
The “Boss” Dad:
Tony Soprano – The Sopranos
Even a Mafia Boss dad like Tony has a heart and wants the best for his kids. “Do as I say, not as I do” has never been more true.
Honorable Mentions: Walter White – Breaking Bad, Jack Bauer – 24
The Clumsy-but-Lovable Dad:
Phil Dunphy – Modern Family
Phil, like many TV dads, has all the heart in the world. He just sometimes has trouble getting through life unscathed.
Honorable Mentions: Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor – Home Improvement, Al Bundy – Married with Children
The Voice-of-Reason Dad:
Philip Banks – The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Uncle Phil was a great role model for Will and a great dad to his own kids. He always knew what to say…and when to give a hug.
Honorable Mentions: Michael Bluth – Arrested Development, Danny Tanner – Full House
The Nostalgic Favorite TV Dad:
Jason Seaver – Growing Pains
As a therapist, Dr. Seaver is another dad who knows how (and when) to be there for his kids. He’s the ultimate ‘80s father.
Honorable Mentions: Howard Cunningham – Happy Days, Ward Cleaver – Leave it to Beaver
The Nostalgic Favorite Movie Dad:
Clark Griswold – National Lampoon’s Vacation
Clark teaches us that even when everything falls apart, the journey outweighs the reward, as long as you’re with family.
Honorable Mentions: George Bailey – It’s a Wonderful Life, George McFly – Back to the Future
The ‘90s Redemption Dad:
Daniel Hillard – Mrs. Doubtfire
A common theme in ‘90s family comedies was dads who will do anything to reconnect with their kids. And what better example than this?
Honorable Mentions: Fletcher Reede – Liar Liar, Richard Rich – Ri¢hie Ri¢h
The Kick-Ass Dad:
Bryan Mills – Taken
Don’t mess with this dad. And definitely don’t mess with his kid. Or if you do, be prepared to deal with the consequences.
Honorable Mentions: John McClane – Die Hard, Max Rockatansky – Mad Max
The Not-a-Human-but-Still-a-Role-Model Dad:
Marlin – Finding Nemo
Only Disney / Pixar can make fish so relatable. Marlin goes to the ends of the earth (or least the ocean) to locate his lost kiddo.
Honorable Mentions: Mufasa – The Lion King, Pongo – 101 Dalmatians
The Dad to End All Dads:
Vito Corleone – The Godfather
Another father I’d be remiss to forget…The Godfather himself. Nothing is more important to Vito than family.
Honorable Mentions: Darth Vader – Star Wars trilogy, Dr. Henry Jones – Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
This Father’s Day, take a moment to thank Dad, or the father figure in your life, for all he’s done. And if you’re still looking for a great gift for dear old Dad, check out HPB.com or visit your local Half Price Books store!
Jason is the Email Coordinator at Half Price Books Corporate.