Die Hard (1988)
The Dad: John McClane
The Awesome: John may have fallen out with his wife, but he’s going to do everthing he damn well can to get home in time to celebrate Christmas with his family. Yes, even if that means single-handedly stopping a crew of cunning terrorists who’ve taken over an LA high-rise.
If He Was Bad: He’d yell “Yippee-kay-aye motherfucker” while shoving his wife’s head into the oven.
Finding Nemo (2003)
The Dad: Marlin
The Awesome: Marlin’s a complete scaredy-cat (scaredy-fish?) – but, then, wouldn’t you be if your wife and babies had been eaten by a grinning barracuda? Even so, Marlin braves an entire ocean full of enemies (and frenemies, and anenomes) in order to find his missing son.
If He Was Bad: He’d be the one responsible for his family getting guzzled up by the barracuda. 'Malicious Marlin' has a certain ring to it.
Its A Wonderful Life (1946)
The Dad: George Bailey
The Awesome: Just because Bailey’s having a crisis of faith doesn’t mean he’s a bad father. Sure, he considers suicide (until an angel handily intervenes), but the only thing stopping him from taking the plunge is the thought of his beloved brood.
If He Was Bad: He wouldn't hesitate in packing up, leaving his wife and kids, and searching out a new fortune.
The Way (2010)
The Dad: Thomas Avery
The Awesome: Thomas doesn’t exactly approve of his son Daniel’s trek along the Camino de Santiago. But when Daniel unexpectedly dies on the trip, Thomas decides to undertake the walk himself, completing what his son couldn’t and scattering his ashes along the way.
If He Was Bad: He’d dump the ashes in the nearest bin on his way back home.
Father Of The Bride (1991)
The Dad: George Banks
The Awesome: He may not be happy that his beloved (and only) daughter is getting hitched to a man she’s only known for three months, but George ends up supporting the happy couple and ensuring they have a beautiful day. After a lot of spying, suspicions and general buffoonery, of course.
If He Was Bad: He’d find a way to ruin Annie’s wedding. Bomb in the wedding cake ought to do it.
Life Is Beautiful (1997)
The Dad: Guido Orefice
The Awesome: Confined to a concentration camp with his son during World War II, Guido seeks to protect young Giosu by pretending that all the horror happening around them is really one big game. Every bin is a hiding place, every beating a jolly farce. Guido lives to protect his son, and he does it beautifully.
If He Was Bad: He’d surrender Giosu to the Nazis without a second thought, then claim a reward for his bounty.
Star Wars Episode VI: Return Of The Jedi (1983)
The Dad: Anakin Skywalker
The Awesome: Hmm, yes, true that Anakin was responsible for the deaths of millions, torturing his own daughter and cutting off one of his son’s hands. But in the end he comes around and confronts/kills the evil Emperor, redeeming himself and earning a place next to Obi Wan and Yoda in the Jedi afterlife.
If He Was Bad: He’d be Darth Vader. Oh...
Kramer Vs. Kramer (1979)
The Dad: Ted Kramer
The Awesome: What’s most impressive about Ted is his transformation from an absentee father who barely knows his kid to a devoted daddykins who’d do anything for him. Not only that, but Ted manages to take care of Billy as a single parent with little outside help.
If He Was Bad: He’d carry on being the useless waste of space he was beforehand.
True Romance (1993)
The Dad: Clifford Worley
The Awesome: Recovering alcoholic cop Clifford may have let his son down in every way possible throughout the years, but he makes amends for all that when he refuses to give Worley Jr. up to a gang of mobsters. Despite taking the mother of all beatings.
If He Was Bad: He’d not only give up his son’s whereabouts, but pop a cap in his skull himself.
The Pursuit Of Happyness (2006)
The Dad: Chris Gardner
The Awesome: Even though he’s homeless, destitute, jobless and has a young son to look after, Gardner does everything in his power to make a better life for his family. As luck would have it, he’s ridiculously bright, and lands a top-earning job at a brokerage firm. Ah, we do like a happy ending.
If He Was Bad: He’d use his intellect to con millionaires out of their fortunes.
American Pie (1999)
The Dad: Noah Levenstein
The Awesome: Remember those shameful-awkward discussions you wish you’d never had with your parents? Noah excels at them. He means well, though, attempting to teach teenage son Jim about the ways of the world. No topic’s too taboo; he even strikes up a casual chat about pornography and the art of self-pleasure. Legend.
If He Was Bad: He’d post all of Jim’s naked baby photos around the high school and laugh. Laugh until it hurts.
A Boy Called Dad (2009)
The Dad: Robbie
The Awesome: Robbie’s only 14 years old, but he’s a father. Determined that he won’t end up like his own unreliable, irresponsible pops, Robbie takes full responsibility for his baby son. Yes, that includes going on the run with the child, but his intentions are entirely selfless.
If He Was Bad: He’d let history repeat itself and choose to forget he even has a son.
Toy Story 2 (1999)
The Dad: Emperor Zurg
The Awesome: “You're a great dad. Yippee!” delights Buzz Lightyear, despite having found out that his father is really the villainous Zurg. To be fair, Zurg does an about turn when reunited with his son, and embraces the paternal side of his evil nature.
If He Was Bad: He’d want to take over the universe. Wait...
To Kill A Mocking Bird (1962)
The Dad: Atticus Finch
The Awesome: As a role model, they don’t come any better. Finch is a moral man right to his core, and sets an example for his young children in everything that he does. Even if that means it looks like he’s fighting a losing battle.
If He Was Bad: He’d still be a lawyer, just the evil variety.
The Dad: Jor-El
The Awesome: Jor-El showed what he was made of even as his world collapsed – literally – around him. Trapped on his home planet and doomed to perish alongside his family, Jor-El instead places his infant son Kal-El into a spaceship that launches him off into space – and safety. Rarely is anyone ever this selfless.
If He Was Bad: He’d have pinched that escape pod for himself.
The Godfather (1972)
The Dad: Vito Corleone
The Awesome: True, he’s a mobster, and thinks nothing of sending a man out on a kill order. But Vito’s also a family man at heart – nothing’s more important to him than his nearest and dearest. He also has the ability to feel remorse, as shown in the scene where he breaks down upon learning what ill deeds Michael has committed.
If He Was Bad: He'd use severed horse heads as threats. Oh, hang on...
The Lion King (1994)
The Dad: King Mufasa
The Awesome: We can’t imagine most kings rolling around and playfighting with their kids. Mufasa’s not just any king, though – he’s king of the Pride Lands, and shares the wisdom of his rule with young son Simba. There’s also that horrible moment of bravery when he saves Simba from a stampede. Sob.
If He Was Bad: He’d be Scar.
Mrs Doubtfire (1993)
The Dad: Daniel Hillard
The Awesome: Not that we’re condoning the kind of subterfuge that Daniel pulls off, but there’s no denying that he loves his kids. He loves them so much, in fact, that he creates an entire new identity, disguising himself as a female house keeper just so he can spend time with the wee ones. That's dedication.
If He Was Bad: He’d dress up as his mother and attack his wife in the shower.
The Dad: Mac MacGuff
The Awesome: We’re not sure many parents would be delighted to discover that their teenage daughter is up the duff. And while Mac exhibits some characteristically upset behaviour (for instance, wanting to punch the teen father in the groin), he’s also as supportive of his daughter as you’d dare to dream he would be.
If He Was Bad: He’d punch Michael Cera in the groin while wearing knuckle dusters. Repeatedly.
Grumpy Old Men (1993)
The Dad: Grandpa Gustafson
The Awesome: He may be older than time itself with a son who’s also a pensioner, but Grandpa isn’t shirking his responsibilities as a father. Continuing to advise son John (not always in the most suitable of ways), Grandpa’s been there for John his entire life and he ain’t going anywhere yet.
If He Was Bad: He'd use all of his money chasing tail (the fish variety) and not leave his son a penny.
Wall Street (1987)
The Dad: Carl Fox
The Awesome: He’s everything you want from a father – understanding, supportive, possessed of salt of the Earth stuff. Even when ambitious son Bud starts working for Wall Street tycoon Gordon Gekko, Carl just wants the best for him. Their fall-out hits you right in the gut, as it should.
If He Was Bad: He’d have forced Bud into the family business from a child, keeping him from school and a social life in favour of working.
Mr Mom (1983)
The Dad: Jack Butler
The Awesome: Jack was years ahead of his time when he decided to be a stay-at-home dad in the early ‘80s. Realising that actually it isn’t as easy as all that, he has his work cut out for him in raising his baby daughter – but to his credit, he sticks with it. And probably shattered a few prejudices as well. Nice one.
If He Was Bad: He’d shove the kid in daycare and use the ‘stay-at-home-dad’ thing as an excuse to catch up on the golf.
The Dad: Harry Stamper
The Awesome: Deep-sea oil driller Harry gives his daughter’s fella a tough time, but he comes through in the end when the two are jetted out into space to stop an asteroid on a collision course for Earth. Harry stays behind on the asteroid in order to detonate the bomb, thereby saving his daughter and the entire planet from destruction.
If He Was Bad: He’d force future son-in-law AJ to be the hero, and not feel a moment of remorse.
Paris, Texas (1984)
The Dad: Travis
The Awesome: Though Travis abandoned his wife and child, Hunter, when he was just a youngling, Travis makes a huge effort to make amends. Even though Hunter is at first resistant, Travis eventually manages to win him over, and attempts to atone for his past sins. No mean feat.
If He Was Bad: He wouldn’t have left at all, and remained the controlling, wilfully mean husband he was when he first married Jane.
The Incredibles (2004)
The Dad: Bob Parr/Mr. Incredible
The Awesome: He’s Mr. Incredible! Which basically means he’d beat everybody else’s dad during sport’s day, and has the coolest job to boot. More than that, though, Mr. Incredible is nothing without his family – as proven when he’s trapped on an island with them and needs their help to escape.
If He Was Bad: He’d be Sinestro, using his superpowers to exert control over the world.
John Q (2002)
The Dad: John Quincy Archibald
The Awesome: It takes someone of true character to do what John Quincy does for his son. Discovering that his insurance won’t cover the heart transplant his kid desperately needs, John holds a hospital’s ER hostage until they agree to perform the operation.
If He Was Bad: He’d attempt to do the heart operation himself in the back garden.
Boyz N The Hood (1991)
The Dad: Jason ‘Furious’ Styles
The Awesome: “Any fool with a dick can make a baby. But only a real man can raise his children.” Styles knows what it takes to be a father, and he ain’t afraid to go all the way.
If He Was Bad: He’d make loads of babies with different women, but never offer to foot a single bill.
Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade (1989)
The Dad: Professor Henry Jones
The Awesome: Like father like son. Henry and Indiana constantly butt heads and have clashes of opinion, but they’re both fiery intellectuals. It’s not like they’re fighting over what to watch on the idiot box – these two debate the important stuff. Like how to fight Nazis and things.
If He Was Bad: He’d probably BE a Nazi.
Pretty In Pink (1986)
The Dad: Jack Walsh
The Awesome: He may be a bit of an unemployed bum, but the one area in which Jack Walsh excels is in parenting the tangle of teenage angst that is his daughter. Though he’s still reeling from the failure of his marriage, he always puts Andie first. Aahh.
If He Was Bad: He’d tell Andie how stupid she looks in that pink prom dress. Then set it on fire. And dance on the ashes.
The Dad: Damon MacReady / Big Daddy
The Awesome: Some might question the wisdom in training your 11-year-old (ish) daughter to be a pint-sized assassin, but there’s no doubt that Damon MacReady enjoys spending quality time with his daughter. And in today's world, equipping a child with the ability to fight grown men sounds like a great idea to us.
If He Was Bad: He’d use his daughter to kill off his enemies in revenge attacks. Wait...