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Top 10 Movie Dads

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Funny or crazy, serious or brave, depressed or over-protective, movie dads run the gamut – but one thing’s for sure: they always leave an impression on their kids. Some do it with some awkward fatherly advice, others do it by standing up for what they believe in, and others still do it by pulling guns on amusement park security guards. Or then there’s Darth Vader and Dr. Evil, who both want their sons to join the evil family empire, or Don Vito Corleone, who doesn’t. Ah well, at least they had a relationship with their kids. In honor of father’s day, takes a look at a few of the most memorable movie dads.

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Top 10 Movie Dads

Who’s your daddy? Welcome to, and today we’ll be taking a look at a few of the most memorable movie dads.

Top Helpful Dad: Noah Levenstein – “American Pie” series (1999-Present)

You know him better as “Jim’s Dad.” Whether he’s standing by at the hospital after an unfortunate superglue incident or offering guidance about all things sexual, Mr. Levenstein supports his son – awkward stories aside. But, Jim’s Dad’s best trait is his ability to not even raise and eyebrow when he walks in on his son in compromising positions. And what impressive eyebrows they are, too.

Top Mafia Dad: Don Vito Corleone – “The Godfather” (1972)

He may lead a powerful crime family, but his own children are his pride and joy – well, Michael anyway. We admit that letting his kids get into this particular family business was not the greatest fatherly move, but at least this mafia don values loyalty and a firm moral code – even if that code allows for corruption, bootlegging and murder. Another memorable Brando dad? Superman’s pa, Jor-El.

Top Brave Dad: Atticus Finch – “To Kill a Mockingbird” (1962)

As the single father of Jem and Scout, this lawyer tries to ensure his kids grow up in a world where everyone is considered equal. Defying public opinion to champion what is right, this gentleman displays the bravery, integrity and compassion that make him an enduring movie role model. Sure, he’s not the funniest dad, but his children know they can always be themselves, and that’s worth everything.

Top Crazy Dad: Clark Griswold – “National Lampoon’s Vacation” series (1983-1997)

This overzealous dad is driven by an almost-obsessive desire to take his troops on the vacation of a lifetime. Enthusiastic to a fault and determined beyond logic, papa Griswold spits in the face of adversity: he’ll do whatever it takes to overcome obstacles, including pulling a gun on a security guard. But seriously, if he’s such a good dad, how does he never notice his kids keep changing?

Top Estranged Dad: Henry Walton Jones, Sr. – “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” (1989)

How do you top Indy’s badass-ness? Scottish accent. Henry Jones the elder is mega-cool, but he’s so detached as a father it takes the Nazis and the Holy Grail to bring him and Junior back together. This father-son duo spends most of their time trading barbs; but mutual love and respect is obvious by the end. He clearly did something right with a son like Indiana Jones.

Top Helmeted Dad: Darth Vader – “Star Wars” saga (1977-2005)

We don’t need a spoiler alert, do we? Previously called Anakin Skywalker, Vader personifies evil as the father of twins Luke and Leia. But Darth is misunderstood as a dad: he just wants his son to succeed – mom-killing and hand-lasering notwithstanding. Vader eventually redeems himself by saving his son’s life, and isn’t that the mark of a great father? Okay, Obi-Wan or Yoda would probably be better…

Top Badass Dad: Bryan Mills – “Taken” (2008)

You gotta respect a dad who wants a stronger relationship with his teenaged daughter. Even if he’s been MIA in the CIA for most of her life. What’s even more impressive? Travelling to France to singlehandedly hunt down her kidnappers and using his unique talents to get her back when she’s – well – taken. Sure, he’s overprotective, but turns out he was right. We would not mess with him.

Top Overprotective Dad: Jack Byrnes – “Meet the Parents” (2000)

Meeting your future in-laws is stressful in the best of times – Jack takes things to a whole other level. But isn’t it a father’s job to assess, scrutinize and ultimately approve of his daughter’s potential mate? Overprotective, intimidating and impossible to please, he just wants to see her happy. The hidden cameras and lie detector may be overkill, but what do you want from the guy? He’s CIA.

Top Suicidal Dad: George Bailey – “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946)

Bailey’s an all-around great guy who’s down on his luck. Never afraid to help others – whether it’s his family or a stranger – he sacrifices his dreams to ensure others fulfill theirs. Unfortunately, that leaves him kinda bummed and he takes it out on his family – but then again, who doesn’t? Luckily he comes to appreciate what he has, and learns what his life is worth – with his family by his side.

Top Evil Dad: Dr. Evil – “Austin Powers” series (1997-2002)

Fathers and sons have power struggles. It’s a standard story: father’s frozen during his son’s formative years, wants son to take over the evil empire, son doesn’t care about frickin’ sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads – y’know. But Dr. Evil really tries to connect with Scott by showing he’s up on trends, taking him to therapy, and – when all else fails – by verbally abusing him.

Do you agree with our list? Who’s your favorite movie dad? For more top 10s about your favorite movies, be sure to subscribe to

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