Movie Talk – The Best On-Screen Fathers

Trevor and special guest Zach Gross from Hand Me Down Films and the mind behind the sci-fi horror, Harmony, talk about their favorite on-screen fathers from the silver screen and TV. From fun-loving dads like Hal from Malcolm in the Middle to lightsaber-wielding supervillains from space such as Darth Vader. Come with us as we take a deep dive as to why we think these are some of the best or at least memorable father film has to offer.

Mike Sullivan: Road to Perdition

Mike Sullivan, played by Tom Hanks is a rough and tough enforcer for mobster John Rooney who is played by Paul Newman. The movie shows a shifting dynamic of what it means to be a father. Mike doesn’t start like most dads, he isn’t a good father and it takes to the end of the movie before he’s the hero of fatherhood but it’s a realistic take of what the power of family can do to a man.

Hal Wilkerson: Malcolm in the Middle

Hal is a simple man. Played by Bryan Cranston, Hal is married to Lois and is the father of Francis, Reese, Malcolm, Dewey and Jamie. He is the relaxed, sometimes ditsy “cool dad” everyone has met at least once and is the polar opposite of Lois, who is a bit wound up pretty tightly. However, he does decide to play bad cop it’s usually to get out of trouble or to support Lois. Hal is in no way a perfect dad but the honesty and trust Bryan Cranston as Hal exudes is what makes him a truly great on-screen dad.

Don Corleone: The Godfather

When you think of great fathers were sure a mob boss isn’t top of your list. Despite being a hard gangster, however, one thing that Don, played by Marlon Brando, has in common with all the dads on this list is that he loves and cares for his family. You can’t help but love the relationship Don cultivates with every member of his family, especially his boys. The duality of a loving, caring father juxtaposed with the terrifying cloak of horror that would cover any man in Don Corleones position makes for a truly memorable dad.

Darth Vader: Starwars

It might be easy to write off Darth Vader, played by Hayden Christensen and James Earl Jones respectively, as one of the worst fathers in cinema history after abandoning both of his children, committing countless acts of space genocide, and cutting off his own son’s hand moments before admitting that the galaxies most terrifying Sith lord was in fact his own father, but one thing he always had in mind was having his son rule the galaxy by his side and inevitably rule on his own. He never gave up hope that Luke would be standing hand and nub with him eventually. And bonus points for ultimately seeing that the dark side is not the way even if it was literally moments before his death. (It’s the thought that counts.)