In honor of Father’s Day, here is a list of MOVIEGUIDE®’s 10 favorite movies celebrating fatherhood:
1. FINDING NEMO: Quality: * * * * Acceptability: +4− 2003: FINDING NEMO is a wonderful animated adventure about a small clownfish who goes in search of his son, who’s been put into a fish tank by human beings. Every second of FINDING NEMO is beautifully animated, spectacularly directed and written with great heart and strong moral values.
2. SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON: Quality: * * * * Acceptability: +4– 1960: A rollicking good family movie adapted from a famous classic Christian novel. In accord with Johann Wyss’ story, Christian elements have been designed into the script, which centers on a family, led by a strong father and mother, stranded on an island and fighting off some pirates.
3. THE YEARLING: Quality: * * * * Acceptability: +4– 1946: Marjorie Kinnan Rawling’s sensitive, post Civil War tale of a boy attached to a young deer is a great family story about coming of age. This fine family film starring Gregory Peck as the boy’s father has a redemptive, Christian worldview.
4. CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN: Quality: * * * * Acceptability: +3– 1950: Showing how to organize a large family (be fruitful and multiply), this real-life story of the Gilbreth family has a wonderful scene where the father and mother ironically skewer a prissy, stuck-up representative from the evil Planned Parenthood. Clifton Webb plays the unforgettable father, and Myrna Loy is the strong, supportive mother.
5. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD: Quality: * * * * Acceptability: +3– 1962: Based on Harper Lee’s best selling novel, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD takes place in Macon, Georgia during the Depression. Gregory Peck, as Atticus Finch, a trial attorney and widower raising his two children, is asked to defend a black man accused of the rape of a white woman.
6. FATHER OF THE BRIDE: Quality: * * * * Acceptability: +3– 1950: Spencer Tracy gives a signature, brilliant performance as a father suffering the ups and downs of putting on big wedding for his beloved daughter, played by Elizabeth Taylor at her most beautiful. Joan Bennett gives wonderful support as the mother. See also the delightful 1991 remake starring Steve Martin as the harried father (Quality: * * * * Acceptability: -1, Caution for older children).
7. DESPICABLE ME 2: Quality: * * * * Acceptability +1– 2013: DESPICABLE ME 2 is another hilarious, heartfelt outing with Gru, his adorable adopted daughters, and their little, yellow minion helpers. A new villain has stolen a new secret formula that converts sweet little animals into horrible monsters. A secret international organization recruit Gru to catch the villain. In the process, Gru learns how to be a better father to his three little daughters, including finding a good mother for them to be his wife.
8. LES MISÉRABLES: Quality: * * * * Acceptability: -1 – 2012: LES MISÉRABLES is a movie version of the beloved musical play of Victor Hugo’s novel about an ex-convict whose life is redeemed but is hounded anyway by a legalistic policeman. The convict gives his life to God through Jesus Christ and becomes the loving father to Lisette, an orphaned girl, and her future husband.
9. ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT: Quality: * * * * Acceptability: +12012: ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT is a delightful animated family movie, with a great story about restoring the love between a father and his daughter. Manny the mammoth and his wife, Ellie, have a daughter named Peaches, who disobeys her parents to be popular, so Manny disciplines her. The continents begin to shift, separating Manny from his family. After many adventures, Manny gets home, only to find the pirates have captured his wife and daughter. Will Manny and his friends rescue Manny’s family and will Manny reconcile with his daughter?
10. INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE: Quality: * * * * Acceptability: -1– 1989: This exciting tale tells of one man’s journey toward knowing God as he searches for the Holy Grail to save his father whom he loves.
A Word About TV Programs Celebrating Fatherhood: FATHER KNOWS BEST, LEAVE IT TO BEAVER, THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW, MY THREE SONS, BONANZA: Quality: * * * * Acceptability: +3These great television shows from the 1950s and 1960s all show caring fathers in the best possible light. They are still great fun, very funny and extremely inspiring to watch. See also other and more modern shows such as THE WALTONS, LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE, THE COSBY SHOW, 7TH HEAVEN, and LAST MAN STANDING.