The other day I stumbled across the trailer to a new movie that I’d never heard of before called The Boys are Back. Here’s a link if you want to take a peek. It is opening today in limited release from Miramax. The movie is about a man living in Australia (Clive Owen) whose wife’s tragic death brings him closer together with his two boys that he raises in some unorthodox ways. I subsequently found a great review by Tim Thraeryn over at Dad Blogs, with whom we’re participating in Fatherhood Friday for the first time!
Great movies do something to me. They inspire, they make me laugh, and yes, I’ve been known to cry as well – I’m a bit of a sucker for sappy and sentimental movies. Watching this trailer started me thinking about some of the best movies about fathers and sons, boys and overall father figure themes. Below you’ll find 15 of my favorite. You’ll notice that most steer towards the sentimental side and some you may not know but I highly recommend them.
Clearly, depending on how you define this topic, a lot of classics could be added like The Godfather, To Kill A Mockingbird, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Empire Strikes Back, Father of the Bride, Three Men and a Baby, A Christmas Story – you could take it a lot of directions. I’m curious to see comments on what I might be missing. Here’s my list, in no particular order, with links to the trailers:
My Life (1993) – Michael Keaton learns he’s dying so makes a series of videos to introduce himself and instruct his unborn son. With Nichole Kidman
The Family Man (2000) – Manhattan powerbroker Nicholas Cage gets a glimpse at what his life could have been with a wife and kids in New Jersey
Parenthood (1989) – Ron Howard’s brilliant and realistic portrayal of the joys and trials of a large family. With Steve Martin and many others
National Lampoons Vacation (1983) – Chevy Chase is Clark Griswald in classic hilarious road trip to Walley World and all the disasters that follow
The War (1994) – Lesser known Kevin Costner portrayal of a Vietnam Vet father returning to his rural Mississippi family, with Elijah Wood
Field of Dreams (1989) – Another Costner classic…”Hey dad, you wanna have a catch?”
Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) – Dustin Hoffman as a father facing off against Meryl Streep in a divorce and learning how to raise his young son. Best Picture
October Sky (1999) – Jake Gyllenhaal as a West Virginia rural teenager who takes up science and rocketry, much to the disappointment of his hard working coal miner father, Chris Cooper.
The Natural (1984) – Legendary baseball movie with Robert Redford as slugger Roy Hobbs.
A River Runs Through It (1992) / Legends of the Fall (1994) – Two movies which run at very different paces, but similar in that they are both set in the expansive western wilderness and follow the epic story of fathers and their sons and how their varying personalities lead them down very different paths.
Mr. Mom (1983) – Micheal Keaton in ground breaking role forced into life as a stay at home dad and the trials that ensue
Dead Poets Society (1989) – One of the best – Robin Williams as an unconventional boarding school English teacher who challenges high school boys to seize the day
About a Boy (2002) – Great Hugh Grant movie about an English bachelor who befriends a 12-year old boy
Good Will Hunting (1997) – Boston Southy hidden genius Matt Damon discovers himself with the help of an off-beat therapist, Robin Williams
A Cool Dry Place (1998) – Touching small film staring Vince Vaughn as young rural Kansas father who’s wife walks out and he learns to raise his 5-year-old son.