- The Road to
- This is a violent, yet powerful movie which explores the father-son theme using three sets of relationships: that between elderly Irish mob boss, John Rooney and his cold-blooded right hand enforcer, Michael Sullivan ("You are like a son to me."); that between Michael Sullivan, Sr. and his 12 year old son, Michael, Jr.; and that between John Rooney and his biological amoral son, Connor. The story dramatizes how Michael, Sr. attempts to save his son from going down "the road to perdition," (the road to Hell) that he himself has been traveling as a calculating, cold-blooded killer. His love for his boy means he will go down that road to hell in order to save his son. (Pastor Tom Koelln, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Rochester, MN)
- The Shipping
- Great movie on transformation, resurrection, clinging to the past, resisting transformation . . .Main character has experience of "drowning" in childhood with uncaring father that effects his life, is able to find new life in new place, is able to see how the past gets "drug" into everything and finally how to break free of that past. Great moive on so many themes. I plan to buy it for my collection. Watch it! (Rebecca Herring)
- Men of Honor
- We can see an image of God in Leslie "Billy" Sunday (Robert De Niro). He makes the claim to be God when the new recruits arrive at the dive camp, then proceeds to act the way many think of God in their lives--he interferes, he stymies, he causes problems. Yet in the end, he shows himself as God really is--he helps, he strengthens and encourages to overcome. (John Kuske)
- The Patriot (2000)
- Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson) is slow to become involved in the war because he is a father and has a family to care for. Even while fighting, he is first and foremost a father -- and we are reminded of the pain of parenthood at various times through the film. He also has to stuggle with the father's role vis a vis free children. He forbids Gabriel from returning to the army to which Gabriel replies, "I'm not a child!" Benjamin returns: "You're MY child!" (submitted by Darrel Manson, Artesia CA)
- The Perfect Storm (2000)
- Relationship between Murph and his son. (See review at Hollywood Jesus)
- Boiler Room (2000)
- When Seth refers to [the] relationship [between him and his father], his dad says: "Relationship? What relationship? I'm not your girlfriend. Relationships are your mother's shtick. I'm your father." (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times Review)
- (DVD ch 11) Seth tells about when he was a child and fell off his bike.
- Angela's Ashes (1999)
- Malachy (Frank's father) is entertaining and loving when sober, but abandons the family because of drink and immaturity. A complex picture of a father figure who abandons the family as opposed to many cinematic cliches of such people.
- Because of Lesra's faith in him, Hurricane Carter becomes a father-figure to Lesra.
Phantom Menace (1999)
- Darth Sidious (?) as Anakin's absent, evil father? (See review at Hollywood Jesus.)
- October Sky
- Reconciliation between Homer and his father.
- Start Cue: Homer asks his father to come and watch the launching of his last rocket. End cue:Father puts arm around Homer's shoulder as they watch rocket go up. (Larry Hustedt)
- Hope Floats (1998)
- Honoring parents: the scene where Sandra Bullock and her family come to see her father in the Alzheimers unit, continue through the dance. We followed this clip with "Kind and Generous" by Natalie Merchant. (Vivian Johnson, Windsor Crossing Community church, Chesterfield, MO)
- American History X
- In a flashback scene, Derek realizes that his father had influenced his entry into the skinhead movement. (Evil passed on through generations.)
- Simon Birch (1998)
- Smoke Signals (1998)
- This might fit in several categories -- quest is the first idea that comes to me -- Smoke Signals -- the best movie I have seen for a long time. It is set on the Coeur d'Alene reservation -- 2 young men go a trip of self discovery and reconnection with parents. Great coming to terms with relationships with fathers. (Ann Fontaine, Lander WY)
A great Father's Day film -- Smoke Signals -- based on writings of Sherman Alexi -- a young man's search for his father who died after abandoning his family. The last lines are a poem about forgiving our fathers and asked what we would do if we forgave our fathers. ANN
- Life is Beautiful (1997/1998)
- Guido as loving, humorous, encouraging father figure who sacrifices self for son. (See review at Hollywood Jesus.)
- Good Will Hunting
- Sean and Gerry as father figures for Will.
- Liar Liar (1997)
- Jim Carrey's character keeps promising his son things but never comes through, eventually his son makes a wish that his dad couldn't lie anymore. (Rick Patterson, Olathe KS)
- Devil's Advocate (1997)
- Kevin must confront his father/Satan.
- Contact (1997)
- Theodore Arroway as Ellie's father - also a mediator figure used to show her new worlds.
- The Game (1997)
- Father has committed suicide on his 48th birthday. Emotionless son sinks into depression as he nears 48. Brother gives him a gift - The Game.
- "The greatest irony of Sling Blade is the depiction of who might be able best to fill the role of father-figure for the boy. It might be the formerly institutionalized, mentally challenged man with an institutionalized past. Or it might be the persecuted, homosexual male with little future. Both would be better than Doyle Hargraves (Dwight Yoakum)." ("The Messianic Figure in Film: Christology Beyond the Biblical Epic," Matthew McEver, Journal of Religion and Film, 1998.)
- Kolya (1996)
- Louka caring for Kolya, learning to love him and receiving the healing that Kolya brings him as he heals Kolya.
- Quiz Show (1994)
- Conversation between father and son. Charlie remembers simple things from his childhood: "I can't think of anything that would make me that happy again." Mark: "Wait until you have a son." (DVD chapter 18)
- The Adventures of
Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)
- Afraid of his son's rejection, Tick pretends to be something he's not. His son matter of factly accepts his father, and Tick is able to return home physically and internally.
- Natural Born Killers
- Rodney Dangerfield as the perverse father who perpetuates abuse and violence through his treatment of his family, all accompanied (and hidden) by "50's family" sitcom laughter and music.
- City Slickers (1991)
- Riding along on hroseback discussing the best day of my life. Characters explore deep themes including marriage and being fathers. (Alan Norton)
Silence of the Lambs (1991)
- Clarice's identity-formation in terms of negative father-figure Hannibal Lecter, positive father-figure Jack Crawford, and the specter of her dead father.
- Hook (1991)
- Robin William's character promises his son that he will make his baseball game ("My word is my bond") but continually misses. One great scene is where the dad promises that he will be at the son's big game, but gets tied up with work and instead sends an assistant to videotape it for him. When it is the sons turn to bat with the game on the line he looks for his dad but after seeing the guy videoing the game for his dad strikes out losing the game. (Rick Patterson)
- What About Bob? (1991)
- The father figure (Dr. Marvin) is unable to relate to his family, and probably to his patients in any meaningful way, but the "flawed" son figure (Bob) is able to take the "father's" theory and embody it in order to make it understandable.
of Dreams (1989)
- An Iowa farmer hears a mysterious voice borne on the wind blowing through his corn field, "If you build it, he will come!" The voice becomes more insistent, until he gives in and builds a baseball diamond, complete with lights for night games and bleachers for spectators. A host of long-dead ball players come out of the night fog of the corn to play on the ball field, one asking, "Is this heaven?" To which, the farmer responds, "It's Iowa." But the real "He" who was to come is the farmer's long estranged and now dead father. In a simple game of "catch" on the field they have a chance to talk, see life from the other's point of view, and experience forgiveness and a restored relationship. (Mark D. Johns, Instructor of Communication/Linguistics, Luther College, Decorah, Iowa)
- Look Who's Talking (1989)
- 'Look Who's Talking' contains a scene where John Travolta's babysitting character is confronted at the flat by the biological father. Travolta asks who is there and is told, 'Mikey's dad.' Travolta then challenges the title, asking questions like, 'What's his favourite cereal?', 'What's his favourite television programme?' (Although he probably asks without the 'u' in 'favourite'!) Ends with, 'You're not his dad!' or some similar line. Powerful example of relationship over pure physical contribution. (Alan Norton)
- Dad (1989)
- Jack Lemon's character is in a hopital bed and dying. He has a very poignant conversation with his son (Ted Danson) in which he tell his son he wishes he had hugged him more when he was a kid. Ends with Ted Danson laying in the bed next to his father and hugging him. (Dan Miller)
- Forrest Gump (1987)
- Forrest Gump as a father. (Closing scene)
- A son visiting his dad, a recovering alcoholic, demonstrates unconditional love by telling him he loves him. Start cue: "No school to small" End cue: "Anyway, no school this small has ever been in the state championships". (Luke Whiteside, Youth Alpha Australia)
- The Color Purple (1985)
- There is a wonderful scene in "The Color Purple" where a prodigal jazz singer returns to her estranged father in an act of repentence and reconciliation. (Bruce T. Jones)
- Yentl (1983)
- Yentl's relationship with her father as he teaches her about the scriptures.
- The Wall - Pink Floyd (1982)
- There is a piece in Pink Floyd's 'The Wall' where men are demobbing from the war and disembarking at a train station. The central character, aged about nine, is looking for his father who has been killed. He attaches himself to a stranger in the hope of finding what he is missing but is dismissed and ends alone on the platform. Very poignant. (submitted by Alan Norton)