Today we celebrate the legendary fathers on screen who we've grown up seeing and looking up to on this special day!
Every year, 21st June is celebrated as Father’s Day around the world, where tributes are paid to Daddies who go out of the way to raise their children. In the last 35 years, Hollywood has made some movies which might not be ‘Daddy Centric’ but features a father who is more integral to the plot, than the protagonist (if he is not the protagonist, that is). Let’s meet these fathers and celebrate this Father’s Day with them, and pay a tribute to their stamina, their intelligence, and dedication to raising (or saving) their children. Read on:
Arnold Schwarzenegger as John Matrix - Commando (1985)
When they kidnapped his daughter so that he can kill a political opponent abroad, they had no clue that John Matrix would hunt them down and kill them. But being a retired United States Army Special Forces Colonel, he did exactly that and not just saved his daughter but set a pattern for Hollywood producers for the future. The film had many memorable action sequences including the jumping off a moving aircraft, the swinging in the mall and firing the rocket-launcher. At first, it might come across as an Arnie-version of Rambo, it remains one of the most-watched action flicks of all times and is still remembered by fans thirty-five years after its release.
Sean Connery as Professor Henry Jones, Sr. - Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
People found it shocking when Sean Connery was cast as Indiana Jones’ father because at that time, he was playing the ‘heroic’ roles successfully. Secondly, he wasn’t that old and the age difference between him and Harrison Ford was just 12 years. But when the film came out, his chemistry with Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones was so cool and relatable that people wanted them to return. Professor Jones was not the perfect dad but he was ‘Junior’s’ father, who tried to teach him a lot by not teaching him anything. If that means something to you, then congratulations, you are on the same track!
Robin Williams as Daniel Hillard – Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
There are two kinds of fathers in this world – those who love their kids like a normal dad and those who love their kids too much. Robin Williams’ Daniel Hillard fell into the latter category as he chose to invent a new persona to be close to his children in Mrs. Doubtfire even if it meant altering his persona and playing their nanny! The film is regarded as one of the funniest flick of all times because of Robin Williams’ performance and he dominated the movie so much that people forgot that it had Oscar-winner Sally Field and future James Bond Pierce Brosnan as his co-stars!
Jean Claude Van Damme as Darren McCord - Sudden Death (1995)
For him, saving the Vice President of the United States of America was secondary, as saving his own daughter was more important. If that doesn’t tell you about Darren McCord’s character, then nothing will. His daughter was kidnapped during the final of the Stanley’s Cup, where the US Vice President was the Chief Guest, and his children were spectators. With terrorists holding the VP hostage along with his team and many attendees, Van Damme’s Darren McCord took the Die-Hard way to save his daughter and others in the process, making him a perfect candidate to praise this Father’s Day!
James Earl Jones as Mufasa – The Lion King (1994)
Ask a friend to name the most unforgettable cinematic deaths and nine out of ten people will name Mufasa’s death in The Lion King. Voiced by James Earl Jones, both Mufasa and Simba were shown as ideal father-son where the father cared for his son and the son looked up to the father, trying to emulate him in every way. Mufasa’s character was so inspiring for kids that when he died (murdered by his own brother Scar) while saving his son Simba, everyone in the cinema or in front of their TV sets cried. Even when the film was remade as a live-action flick, the impact of Mufasa’s death was huge and hit close to the audience’s heart.
Nicolas Cage as Cameron Poe - Con Air (1997)
He may not have seen his daughter yet but whatever Nicolas Cage’s Cameron Poe did on the plane full of ‘dirty rotten scoundrels’, it was because he wanted to meet his daughter in one piece. Not just he saved the good guys in mid-air, he got rid of the really bad ones before they could wreak havoc on the land. He did have help from ‘friends’ in high places including a young John Cusack, but give him a break. He was acting as a desperate father hoping to see his daughter, not as a law enforcement agent stuck in mid-air!
Bruce Willis as Harry Stamper – Armageddon (1998)
How many fathers do you know who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their kids? Bruce Willis’ Harry Stamper gave his life to protect his daughter (Liv Tyler) and switched places with his future son-in-law (Ben Affleck) in Armageddon while leading a team of NASA recruits sent into outer space to tackle a huge asteroid! Had Harry Stamper not stayed back to manually blast the asteroid the size of Texas, who knows it might have hit Earth and we might not have been able to read this post.
Albert Brooks as Marlin - Finding Nemo (2003)
What Marlin did for his son Nemo in Finding Nemo is more or less what John Matrix did for his daughter in Commando, without the assassination plot, of course. Not only did he swim from The Great Barrier Reef to Australia in search of his son who was hampered by a lame right fin but also rescued him after making a lot of friends. Voiced by legendary actor Albert Brooks, the film was so popular that a sequel Finding Dory was released more than a dozen years later with both Marlin and Dory (Ellen DeGeneres) reprising their roles.
Will Smith as Chris Gardner - The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
He might not have been as macho as all the other dads in this list but Will Smith’s Chris Gardner was a class act. Neither his son was kidnapped nor his daughter ran away; he was himself the victim here along with his son. Despite all his hardships, he overcame all odds to provide his son with the life he deserved. He never gave up and tried his best and in the end, set an example of how a father should act.
Liam Neeson as Bryan Mills - Taken (2008)
And then there is Bryan Mills, the modern-day superhero dad who would move Heaven and Earth in search of his child. In the original Taken movie, he travels across the world, tracks down his daughter, and kills everyone who was responsible for kidnapping her when in fact she was a victim of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. And his iconic dialogue on the telephone still terrifies kidnappers around the world: 'If you let my daughter go now, that will be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you and I will kill you.’