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Happy Father's Day (Movies) From Tribeca!

In honor of fathers everywhere, we’ve Tribeca-sourced our staff’s favorite movies featuring ideal, doting movie dads. How does your pops stack up?

After treating your dad to a nice breakfast in bed or a round on the golf course, why not sit back, relax and spend the rest of the day watching some appropriately themed movies? With help from the Tribeca team, we’ve gathered a nice selection of films that feature the crème de la crème of cinematic Pops.

Leading off is our co-founder Jane Rosenthal, who recommends both the 1950 and the 1991 versions of Father of the Bride. Whether you choose Spencer Tracy or Steve Martin, you can’t go wrong with these sentimental patriarchs. We dare you to watch without finding a lump in your throat.

Now, on to more staff recommendations:

Frederic Boyer, Artistic Director, Tribeca Film Festival

Father's Little Dividend (1951)
Spencer Tracy as Stanley Banks

Spencer Tracy comes to grips with the prospect of becoming a grandfather; a very warm comedy.

My Father the Hero (1993)
Gérard Depardieu as Andre

Probably one of the best and funniest roles of Gérard Depardieu.

Yi-Yi (2000)
Wu Nienjen as NJ
A masterpiece about paternity.

Jessie Callahan: manager, Strategic partnerships and brand licensing

The Lion King (1994)
James Earl Jones as the voice of Mufasa

Mufasa is a movie father figure I was always enthralled with as a kid. It's the leadership advice he passes on to Simba coupled with that legendary deep voice that makes him such a great movie dad. My dad gives similarly excellent advice but totally lacks the vocal excellence of James Earl Jones... 

Jennifer Davies: Administrative Assistant, Sponsorship & Activation

About A Boy (2002)
Hugh Grant as Will Freeman

A selfish and apathetic slacker becomes an admirable father figure to a neighbor boy, as he comes to realize the intrinsic value in caring for others.

John Q (2002)
Denzel Washington as John Quincy Archibald

Talk about commitment for family: John Q takes the ultimate risk and sacrifice to save the life of his dying son by holding the hospital staff at gunpoint and demanding they give his son the heart transplant he needs, and which the family cannot afford. He pleads for them to use him own heart.

Juno (2007)
J.K. Simmons as Mac MacGuff

Mac MacGuff is a kind-hearted, understanding father who gracefully deals with the fact that his teen daughter is pregnant. The baby daddy (played by Michael Cera) is also portrayed as a loyal and mature father-to-be, which is especially commendable given that he also a teenager.

Jason Guerrasio: Web Editor, Tribeca Film Institute

Mr. Mom (1983)
Michael Keaton as Jack

At the height of his stardom in the ’80s, Michael Keaton starred opposite Teri Garr in the madcap family comedy Mr. Mom, playing autoworker Jack who, after getting laid off and unable to find work, becomes a stay-at-home dad. It’s a great fish-out-of-water scenario (though many are going through this same dilemma today), and I’ve always loved that even while going through the hilarious mishaps (unable to work the vacuum cleaner; messing up how to drop off the kids at school), Jack eventually grows into the role of “housewife,” and in the process becomes a better father and husband.


The Bicycle Thief (1948)
Lamberto Maggiorani as Antonio Ricci

Poor Antonio thought his new bike would save his humble family from ruin, only to have it (warning, spoiler ahead) stolen, seemingly swallowed up by a cruel city. The heart of the film lies in the enduring relationship between the doomed Antonio and his loving son Bruno.

Sixteen Candles (1984)
Paul Dooley as Jim Baker

On the other side of the coin is Jim Baker in Sixteen Candles. Having forgotten his daughter Samantha’s (Molly Ringwald) 16th birthday, he makes up for that aloof injustice when Samantha tearfully opens up about her devastating first crush. Jim’s warm and honest response is a model for how any dad could navigate the alien emotional terrain of a heartbroken teenage girl.

Karen Kemmerle, Digital Content Coordinator

Jack & Sarah (1995)
Richard E. Grant as Jack

Jack (Richard E. Grant), recently widowed after losing his wife during childbirth, has a rough time coming to terms with single fatherhood. Unable to foist his daughter on his parents indefinitely, Jack is forced to take care of his baby. With the help of a recovering alcoholic butler (Ian McKellen) and a quirky American nanny (Samantha Mathis), Jack grows into his role as a father while growing close to the nanny as well. Will they become a true family? You betcha!

Kramer Vs. Kramer (1979)
Dustin Hoffman as Ted Kramer

Dustin Hoffman won his first Oscar for playing Ted Kramer, an initially reluctant but ultimately devoted father, in Kramer Vs. Kramer. Ted has fatherhood thrust upon him when his wife (Meryl Streep) leaves him and their son (Justin Henry) to find herself. Ted struggles mightily with the challenges of being a single parent, but so warms to the task that he eventually battles his ex-wife for full custody. Hoffman’s novel approach to making French toast will stay with you.

Walker Payne (2006)
Jason Patric as Walker Payne

In this TFF 2006 period gem, Jason Patric plays Walker Payne, a newly unemployed quarry worker whose only companion is his beloved dog. He loves his two daughters more than anything, but his ex-wife Lou-Ann (Drea De Matteo) won’t let him see them until his pays his child support. Stifled by the small town milieu, she offers him a deal: he can have full custody of his daughters for a one-time $5,000 payment, which will allow her to leave forever. Desperate, Walker turns to a mysterious man (Sam Shepard) with a seedy dog-fighting ring who has designs on Walker’s dog. Walker earns his father stripes by putting the needs of his children before his love for his pet. Would your father do the same?

Liz Spaulding: Marketing Coordinator, Tribeca Film

To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)
Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch

Arguably the greatest dad portrayed in cinema, the incomparable Gregory Peck as Atticus really does set the bar high for parenting. A single father raising two kids in the rural prejudiced South, he stands up for what’s right, despite the backlash and ridicule it means for him and his family. Although his actions aren’t enough to stop racism and ignorance from swaying the decision in the court case of Tom Robinson, he acts as a moral role model to his two children Jem and Scout, imparting wisdom and a sense of common good that is so invaluable.

Genna Terranova: Director of Programming, Tribeca Film Festival

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989)
Rick Moranis as Wayne Szalinski

Because accidents happen.

Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
Robin Williams as Daniel Hillard/Mrs. Euphegenia Doubtfire

Divorce is no obstacle for a father's love.

Rocky Balboa (2006)
Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa

After years of damage and sequels, all can be healed.

Who are your favorite movie dads? Tell us in the comments below! 


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