5 Classy Movies with Amazing Dads to Watch with Pops This Father’s Day

  • June 7, 2018

Share some wisdom through To Kill a Mockingbird’s Atticus Finch or spread some magic with your little ones while watching Tim Burton’s Big Fish. We’ve compiled five awesome (and incredibly classy) classic films for the ultimate Father’s Day (Sunday, June 17) movie marathon. WARNING: MILD SPOILERS AHEAD.

Ewan McGregor in Big Fish (2003)
Ewan McGregor in Big Fish (2003)

Big Fish (2003)

It’s been years since director Tim Burton has had a good movie! His 2003 fantasy-drama Big Fish is one of his best cinematic achievements. It follows the story of Edward Bloom (played as an old man by Albert Finney, and Ewan McGregor as the younger version in flashbacks), who knows he is to die soon. As his family travels home to be by his bed side, son Will (Billy Crudup), struggles to fight his baggage. He feels as if Edward has stolen his childhood by telling fantastical tales of his life joining the circus, fighting in the Korean war, and discovering love in a mythological small town. Will thinks he has been overshadowed by these amazing tales, finding himself always compared to his father’s larger than life legacy. What the young man does not realize, is that Edward’s tales were supposed to teach him a valuable lesson in life. He feels it isn’t too late to recount the tale of his magical life one more time, in an attempt to heal his son from his downward spiral. Burton’s whimsical and cartoonish style works so well in Big Fish. The story isn’t only sweet and meaningful, but the visual imagery on screen is iconic and memorable. The film is a great choice for those with younger children looking to introduce them to a world of fantasy!

Christopher Walken and Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can (2002)
Christopher Walken and Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can (2002)

Catch Me If You Can (2002)

Christopher Walken plays Frank Abagnale Sr., father of Frank Abagnale Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio), who becomes one of the richest juvenile delinquents in 1960s America by forging PANAM airline checks. Although Walken’s role is small, he leaves a rather large impression to viewers. He is the driving force to all of the motives of young Frank, and his presence is felt throughout the movie’s runtime. Walken was so powerful as the caring father that he even garnered a well-deserved Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. The rest of the movie follows Leo jet-setting the world, wearing fabulous clothing, and courting the most beautiful of women. The truth behind him: he’s absolutely broken about his parent’s divorce and is running away from facing the truth. His only comfort, knowing his father is alive and well. It may not be the ideal father and son movie (fair warning: it doesn’t end well for them), but it’s an entertaining, slick watch from classical director Steven Spielberg. The film will make you and your son want to run out, jump into an Aston Martin, and play Sinatra’s Fly Me to the Moon as loudly as the speakers can. 

RELATED READS: 20 Good Movies That Best Portray Lives of Luxury (For Better or for Worse)

Al Pacino and Marlon Brando in The Godfather (1972)
Al Pacino and Marlon Brando in The Godfather (1972)

The Godfather (1972) 

Although Michael Corleone’s (Al Pacino) reasons in following his father’s footsteps isn’t exactly the happiest of tales, it is hard to deny that Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather is one of the best movies ever made. In the center, a timeless story of father and son, set to the backdrop of the New York City gang wars of the 1940s and 1950s. Michael is the only male Corleone who didn’t follow the criminal footsteps of his father, Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando), otherwise known in the underground world as the mafia boss Godfather. When an assassination attempt for the life of the older don rocks the family’s stable structure, Michael, once a war hero and “good man”, must step up the plate and continue running “their business”. Although we don’t recommend sons to inspired to enter any form of criminal activities, The Godfather is certainly one of those films that can prove to be a bonding moment between kiddos and their dads. It is a complex viewing experience with difficult themes that will surprisingly provide wisdom in many ways. First, it’ll teach you a lot about business. The second, it shows you the heart of a true son willing to sacrifice anything for family. It’s a masterpiece!

Bill Murray and Owen Wilson in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004).jpg
Bill Murray and Owen Wilson in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)

 The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)  

Wes Anderson’s forgotten, quirky comedy The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou features a great father-son story hidden beneath a zany plot line. Zissou (Bill Murray) is an ocean explorer making a documentary about a wild beast that recently killed his partner. On his mission in search of the wild animal on the dangerous high seas he brings a pregnant reporter (Cate Blanchett), a pack of interns, a hot headed German first mate (Willem Dafoe), and his son Ned Plimpton (Owen Wilson), whose existence he had only discovered recently. Ned and Zissou are more alike than they think. They are both personally broken to a certain degree, have an unmatched spirit of adventure, and a curiosity and lust for life. Set to great music, witty writing and beautiful production design, watching their dysfunctional relationship unfold on screen feels special…and absolutely fun! If you and your kids appreciates a little art house cinema and can take a little bit of strange humor, then Steve Zissou is the one for you! 

RELATED READS: Wes Anderson: We Rank His Movies from Good to Better (Because He Doesn’t Have One Bad Film)

Gregory Peck and Mary Badham in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Gregory Peck and Mary Badham in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

No list of Great Movie Fathers would be complete without Atticus Finch, the lawyer of wisdom—a father figure to all of us as we read Harper Lee’s iconic To Kill a Mockingbird in high school back in the day. Actor Gregory Peck won a lead actor Oscar for his portrayal of Finch in the 1962 movie version. The Robert Mulligan-directed movie is one of those films that is arguably just as good as the book. The elements of the Scout’s childhood, Tom Robinson’s turbulent trial, and the mystery of Boo Radley is all finely portrayed into a cinematic classic. The star, Gregory Peck, is the entire saga’s anchor, speaking with so much knowledge and power, that it’s so hard to forget him. Teach your kids a thing or two about how the world works by seeking this movie out during your bonding time.