The most weird and wonderful fictional fathers

With Father's Day on the horizon (Sunday 19 June), we celebrate some of fiction and film's most lovable dads

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Sam Baldwin in Sleepless in Seattle 

Sleepless in Seattle

Grieving widower Baldwin moves to Seattle with his young son Jonah. The film centres on the never having met relationship between Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, but by far the luffliest relationship in the film is that between Baldwin and his son which is marked by its candour, humour and warmth. 

"You're my family. You're all I've got. What if something happened to you?" 


Marlin the clownfish in Finding Nemo

Finding Nemo

It would take a hard heart not be touched by Marlin's search across the ocean for his funny-finned son. 


Dr. Iannis in Captain Corelli's Mandalin 

Captain Corelli's Mandolin

The mythology-obsessed village doctor Dr Iannis's advice to his daughter is particularly poetic: 

“Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident."


Daniel Hillard (better known as Mrs. Doubtfire)

Subterfuge, creepy prosthetics and a disregard of divorce law aside, the sheer dedication of Robin Williams's depiction of a separated father has marked this film out as a Nineties classic. His speech to children of divorce at the end is well worth a watch. 


Guido Orefice in Life Is Beautiful 

Life Is Beautiful

Anyone who's seen this 1997 Italian film will be familar with the plot of the devoted Father who, when separated from his wife and put in to a concentration camp with his son, manages to keep the gravity of the situation from his child by pretending it's a game. Highly recommended if you haven't seen it - but do have a box of tissues at the ready. 

Giosué Orefice: I didn't like the train.
Guido: [to his son] Me, neither. We'll take the bus back, okay?
Guido: [to the Nazis] Did you hear that? We're taking the bus back!


Christopher Gardener in The Pursuit of Happyness 

The Pursuit of Happyness

Not strictly fictional, as the film is actually based on a true story, Will Smith acts alongside his real life son Jaden as a single father struggling with homelessness while trying to build a better life for himself and his son. 

"I met my father for the first time when I was 28 years old. I made up my mind that when I had children, my children were going to know who their father was."


Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird 

To Kill A Mockingbird

Atticus's refusal to talk down to Scout is just one of the many things that makes him one of the great literary dads of all time.

"When a child asks you something, answer him, for goodness sake. But don't make a production of it. Children are children, but they can spot an evasion faster than adults, and evasion simply muddles 'em."


Daniel in Love Actually 

Love Actually 

Recently bereaved, Daniel and his step son Sam are muddling through the mourning process when Sam develops a crush on a girl at school. Neeson proves to be the stepdad with at least some of the right answers when they count.

"I'm afraid that there's somethin' really wrong, you know. I mean, clearly it's about his mum, but Christ, he might be injecting heroin into his eyeballs for all I know."


Mr Brahma in Bend It Like Beckham 

Bend It Like Beckham

It's hard not to  warm to the quiet father of principal character Jesminder as he learns to respect his daughter's ambition, and value her talent, despite tradition. 


Mr. Bennet  in Pride and Prejudice 

Father of five girls and long-suffering husband to the loquacious Mrs Bennet, Lizzie Bennet's father bucks social convention by insisting his daughters marry for love, not convenience. 

"An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do.'' 


Walter Stratford in 10 Things I Hate About You 

10 Things I Hate About You

The seen-it-all gynaecologist obsessed with protecting his teenage daughters from the evils of sex and drugs,  Stratford's (ultimately affectionate) over-protectiveness makes for excellent viewing. 

"You know fathers don't like to admit it when their daughters are capable of running their own lives. It means we've become spectators. Bianca still lets me play a few innings - you've had me on the bench for years. When you go to Sarah Lawrence, I won't even be able to watch the game."


Phil Dunphy in Modern Family 

Phil Modern Family

The former cheerleader who loves magic tricks, can't do DIY to save his life and is, quite frankly, in thrall to his wife Claire, is currently one of television's most endearing father figures. 


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Last updated: about 19 hours ago