50 Greatest Father/Son Movie Moments

Back To The Future II (1989)

The Moment: Nothing of particular emotional resonance, but still a fun little scene that has Michael J. Fox pulling an Alec Guiness, here playing almost the entire McFly clan.

If They Were Mother And Daughter: MJF does actually play his own daughter, as well. Wonder if she's ever heard of Oedipus.

My Life (1993)

The Moment: Bob Ivanovich (Michael Keaton) is going to die, but he still wants his unborn son to have a father, so he records himself doing all the things fathers do for their kids (reading bedtime stories, teaching how to shave) for when his son grows up. Someone pass the tissues.

If They Were Mother And Daughter: It'd be leg-shaving and mascara-applying-while-on-the-tube lessons being taught.

Life As A House (2001)

The Moment: George (Kevin Kline) reconnects with his son Sam (Hayden Christensen) when the former’s diagnosed with terminal cancer. Together, they attempt to build a house, something that helps, uh, repair their damaged relationship.

If They Were Mother And Daughter: They'd still be building a house, but they might need to hire somebody to do the heavy lifting.

The War (1994)

The Moment: “In the end I killed more people’n I saved,” Stephen (Kevin Costner) tells his son Stu (Elijah Wood) of the war. They're arguing over the fact that Stu’s had to fight for his treehouse. Ah, nothing bonds men like talk of the war.

If They Were Mother And Daughter: Stephanie's perspective on the war would be quite different if she'd been a make-do-and-mend wife.

Liar, Liar (1997)

The Moment: Max (Justin Cooper) is getting on a plane with his mum, but dad Fletcher Reede (Jim Carrey) has finally gotten his priorities right and chases them, using a mobile stairway to get onto the plane. Though the 24 hour no-lying spell is over, Fletcher promises Max that he wants to spend more time with him. Ahhhh.

If They Were Mother And Daughter: The film would be retitled Knickers On Fire.

October Sky (1999)

The Moment: Homer (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a burgeoning scientist whom his coal-miner father (Chris Cooper) deeply disapproves of. Which leads to this staggering monologue:

“Dad, I may not be the best, but I’ve come to believe that I got it in me to be somebody in this world. And it’s not because I’m so different from you either, it’s because I’m the same. I mean, I can be just as hard-headed, and just as tough. I only hope I can be as good a man as you. Sure, Wernher von Braun is a great scientist, but he isn’t my hero.”

If They Were Mother And Daughter: Homer would have to be renamed Marge, naturally.

Field Of Dreams (1989)

The Moment: Magic and reality collide as Ray (Kevin Costner) meets his dead father at the end of this heart-sweller. Recognising him on the baseball field he’s created, Ray asks his pa to play catch with him.

If They Were Mother And Daughter:
They'd reunite and bond over a love for making soup instead - none of this playing catch malarky.

The Son (2002)

The Moment: Carpenter Olivier (Olivier Gourmet) becomes obsessed with the young man who murdered his son. But will he take out revenge on Francis, or end up forgiving him?

If They Were Mother And Daughter: It'd be exactly the same scenario, only with added bunny boiling and hysterics.

Red River (1948)

The Moment: Thomas Dunson (John Wayne) discovers an orphan boy and decides to adopt him as his own son. And they say blokes in the Wild West are devoid of feeling.

If They Were Mother And Daughter: It wouldn't have quite the same impact - the whole point here is that Dunson's a roughian.

Jerry Maguire (1996)

The Moment: Jerry (Tom Cruise) is heartbroken when his wife asks him for a separation. In a nicely subtle bit of heart string pluckage, Jerry says goodbye to his sleeping stepson – and we all break down in tears.

If They Were Mother And Daughter: The sentiment would be the same, but there might be a little mournful hair-stroking thrown in for good measure.

Josh Winning has worn a lot of hats over the years. Contributing Editor at Total Film, writer for SFX, and senior film writer at the Radio Times. Josh has also penned a novel about mysteries and monsters, is the co-host of a movie podcast, and has a library of pretty phenomenal stories from visiting some of the biggest TV and film sets in the world. He would also like you to know that he "lives for cat videos..." Don't we all, Josh. Don't we all.