30 of the Best Father’s Day Movies to Enjoy with Dad, from ‘Parenthood’ to ‘The Godfather’
So you’ve already figured out what to get your dad for Father’s Day (after combing through several gift guides, of course). But now comes the hardest challenge: Planning a fun activity to celebrate the occasion. Should you treat your dad to an outdoor picnic? Or perhaps a beer tasting? The options are pretty much endless, but if you’re looking for a simple bonding activity that doesn’t require expert-level planning, then consider watching a great dad-themed movie together. From Parenthood to The Godfather, here are 30 titles that will definitely make your dad feel special.
1. ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ (2006)
Grab the tissues, because this poignant drama is sure to bring the waterworks. Based on the true story of Chris Gardner, a businessman who previously struggled with homelessness while raising a toddler, the movie chronicles his efforts to land a job and secure a better life for his son. Will Smith gives an Oscar-worthy performance as Gardner while Smith’s real-life son Jaden plays his movie son.
3. ‘Fences’ (2016)
Denzel Washington and Viola Davis both deliver powerful performances in this period drama film, which is inspired by August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name. Set in 1950s Pittsburgh, Washington plays Troy Maxson, a sanitation worker and aspiring athlete who grapples with a harsh reality: that he’ll never become a pro baseball player. Meanwhile, both his wife (Davis) and son have to deal with his bitterness and anger, which creates tension in the family.
4. ‘Father’s Day’ (1997)
When Collette’s (Nastassja Kinski) teenage son runs away from home, she enlists the help of two former romantic partners by telling them both that they’re both the father of her child. But it’s only a matter of time before both men (played by Billy Crystal and Robin Williams) cross paths and figure out what’s really going on.
5. ‘He Got Game’ (1998)
Prepare for hard-hitting commentary and stunning visuals in this Spike Lee joint. The film centers on Jake Shuttleworth (Denzel Washington), a jailed convict who gets released on parole on one unique condition: At the governor’s request, Jake must convince his son Jesus (Ray Allen), one of the top-ranked basketball players in the country, to attend the governor’s alma mater. His reward? A much shorter sentence.
6. ‘Big Daddy’ (1999)
At 32 years old, Sonny Koufax (Adam Sandler) is the textbook definition of a slacker, and he has no intention of changing. That is, until his girlfriend leaves him for an older man. In a desperate attempt to win her back, he decides to adopt a 5-year-old boy. But things don’t exactly turn out the way he expected.
7. ‘Father of the Bride’ (1991)
George Banks (Steve Martin) knows all too well how challenging it is for dads to let go of their precious little girls. When his daughter, Annie (Kimberly Williams), shares the news of her engagement, he’s not too thrilled about having to give her away. Come for the non-stop laughs and stay for the sweet, sentimental moments.
8. ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ (1993)
Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams) is a classic example of how far a father would go to spend more quality time with his kids. With the help of his brother, Daniel cooks up an elaborate plan where he poses as an older nanny, Mrs. Doubtfire, and tricks his ex-wife into hiring him. He manages to pull it off at first, but things get tricky for Daniel when his personal life starts to conflict with Mrs. Doubtfire’s.
9. ‘Daddy Day Care’ (2003)
Sign us up for literally any movie where Regina King is the breadwinner in the family. In Daddy Day Care, her character's husband, Charlie (Eddie Murphy), decides to open a daycare center after getting laid off from his job. However, Charlie struggles to keep the business afloat—and it certainly doesn't help that his top competitor, Gwyneth Harridan, is trying to shut them down.
10. ‘Eighth Grade’ (2021)
If there’s one lesson you’ll learn from this coming-of-age drama, it’s that parenting a teen is no easy feat. Middle school student Kayla (Elsie Fisher) is eager to be accepted by her peers during her final week of the eighth grade, causing her to obsess over social media and alienate her father (Josh Hamilton) in the process.
11. ‘Cheaper by the Dozen’ (2003)
It’s the film that’ll make your dad feel extra grateful that he doesn’t have over a dozen kids. Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt are Tom and Kate Baker, parents raising 12—yep, 12—children. But when the family moves and Kate has to go on a book tour, Tom is left to care for the kids on his own. Naturally, a series of misadventures ensue.
12. ‘The Game Plan’ (2007)
Star athlete Joe Kingman's (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) life is turned upside down when he discovers that he has an 8-year-old daughter named Peyton Kelly (Madison Pettis) from his previous marriage. Johnson and Pettis are so charming in this laugh-out-loud comedy.
13. ‘Three Men and a Baby’ (1987)
Whether you've watched it once or a million times, Tom Selleck, Steve Guttenberg and Ted Danson will always be hysterical in this classic. The film follows three successful roommates who go from being single bachelors to single dads when an abandoned baby suddenly appears on their doorstep. Although caring for the little girl proves to be extremely challenging, they all grow quite fond of her.
14. ‘Daddy’s Little Girls’ (2007)
When Monty (Idris Elba), a single dad and struggling mechanic, loses custody of his three daughters to his wife, he turns to a top-notch attorney named Julia (Gabrielle Union) for help. But as they work together to get his girls back, an unexpected romance begins to blossom between the two.
15. ‘Finding Nemo’ (2003)
The Academy Award-winning film follows Marlin (Albert Brooks), a worried clownfish who tries to find his missing son, Nemo (Alexander Gould), after he's captured by scuba divers and domesticated as a pet. Marlin goes to great lengths to reunite with his boy, proving that dads will stop at nothing to protect their kids.
16. ‘Dad’ (1989)
Based on William Wharton's 1981 novel of the same title, Dad centers around John Tremont (Ted Danson), a businessman who reluctantly decides to care for his father after his mother passes away. But as he bonds with his father, he realizes that he has been neglecting his own son. Can they develop the same kind of bond?
17. ‘Definitely, Maybe’ (2008)
Perhaps you’ve asked your dad about the first time he met your mother, but we bet he never told the story quite like this. Will Hayes (Ryan Reynolds), who’s in the middle of getting a divorce, decides to tell his daughter the story of how he fell in love with her mother. The only catch? He refuses to use real names, so his daughter has to guess which woman in the story becomes his wife.
18. ‘Parenthood’ (1989)
Meet the Buckmans, a midwestern family who knows a thing or two about dysfunction. Steve Martin, Joaquin Phoenix, Keanu Reeves and Tom Hulce all star in this feel-good comedy-drama, which follows Gilbert (Martin) and his siblings as they navigate the ups and downs of parenthood.
19. ‘Boyz n the Hood’ (1991)
When Furious Styles’s (Laurence Fishburne) son, Tre, moves to inner-city Los Angeles to live with him, Furious works hard to instill the right values, despite living in a crime-filled neighborhood. And fortunately, Tre’s upbringing keeps him out of trouble—but the same can’t be said for his close friends. The classic film offers a lot of insight into gang culture, violence and racism.
20. ‘Like Father, Like Son’ (2013)
This touching Japanese drama follows Ryōta Nonomiya, a successful architect who learns that his biological child was switched at birth. As a result, he and his wife are faced with a life-altering choice: Do they keep the son that they raised, or exchange him for their true son?
21. ‘Daddy’s Home’ (2015)
Brad Whitaker (Will Ferrell) is determined to be a good dad to his two stepchildren, but when his wife’s ex-husband, Dusty (Mark Wahlberg), comes back into the picture, it only fuels Brad’s feelings of insecurity. Can he outshine Dusty and finally win the kids’ approval?
22. ’National Lampoon's Vacation’ (1983)
Planning family vacations ain’t easy, and the Griswolds totally get the struggle. In an attempt to spend more time with his wife and kids, Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) embarks on a journey to the infamous California amusement park, Walley World. But the journey there turns out to be far from smooth.
23. ‘Taken’ (2008)
Liam Neeson plays Bryan Mills, a former CIA officer whose 17-year-old daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace), gets kidnapped by human traffickers during her trip to Europe. Knowing that she will be auctioned off in a matter of days, Bryan must track her down and rescue her before it’s too late.
24. ‘The Godfather’ (1972)
What better way to ring in Father’s Day than with the Corleone clan? Revisit the famous crime boss and patriarch, Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando), and his youngest son, Michael (Al Pacino), as he follows in his father’s footsteps.
25. ‘Imagine That’ (2009)
Pre-Grown-ish Yara Shahidi is so charming as Olivia, the young daughter of financial advisor Evan Danielson (Eddie Murphy). In a strange twist of fate, Evan learns that his daughter's imaginary friends are the key to his professional success. But as his career takes off, he realizes that it comes at a price he might not be willing to pay.
26. ‘Mr. Mom’ (1983)
When Jack (Michael Keaton), an auto engineer, gets laid off during the ‘80s recession, his wife lands a new job, making him, for the first time ever, a stay at home dad. With three young kids and zero experience with this new role, Jack struggles to deal with his new responsibilities. Meanwhile, his wife Caroline (Teri Garr) also struggles to blend in at work.
27. ‘Kramer vs. Kramer’ (1979)
Right after landing a major opportunity at his job, Ted Kramer’s (Dustin Hoffman) wife informs him that she’s leaving both him and their son. Left with no other options, Ted sacrifices his career to take care of his son as a single dad. But chaos ensues when his wife returns and demands custody of their child.
28. ‘Big Fish’ (2003)
You’ll definitely relate to this story if you’ve ever suspected your dad has told some white lies about his past. In the film, a journalist named William (Billy Crudup) travels to Alabama to spend time with his ailing father. While there, he struggles to figure out which parts of his father’s exaggerated stories are truth and which are fiction.
29. ‘Field of Dreams’ (1989)
Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) is a husband and father who’s haunted by his troubled relationship with his late father, who was a major baseball fan. But when he starts to hear a strange message from a mysterious voice, he’s inspired to build a baseball field right in his backyard. For what it’s worth, the film was nominated for three Academy Awards, including for Best Picture.
30. ‘Ode to My Father’ (2014)
We see a number of historical events unfold in South Korea through the eyes of Deok-soo (Hwang Jung-min), a man who longs to reunite with his missing father and sister after getting separated during the Korean War in 1950. It's a heartwarming tale of bravery and family, and despite mixed reviews, this movie wound up becoming one of the highest-grossing films in South Korea.