10 Best Father-Son Relationships In Movies
Cinema has given audiences all kinds of interesting father-son relationships. Some touching, some funny, some poignant. But one quality they share is that they’re generally quite compelling and entertaining.
A well-constructed and well-written father-son relationship in a movie, however, can be more than entertaining. It can also shed light on the value of fatherhood and explore intriguing themes of love and masculinity, such as the relationship between Guido and Giosué de Life is Beautiful explores the protection of childhood innocence, or that between David and Nic in Handsome boy examines the limits of a father’s love.
“Remember Who You Are” – Mufasa and Simba from The Lion King (1994)
Freely inspired by william shakespeareit is Hamlet1994 Disney musical The Lion King sees Simba (voiced by Matthew Broderick), the young heir to the throne, deceived by the uncle who is thirsty to become king himself.
For much of the film, we see the sweet relationship Simba has with his father Mufasa (voiced by James Earl Jones). Protective yet tender, Mufasa cares deeply for his son and tries to teach him to be a king as strong as he is. His death by a stampede, which kick-starts the film’s main plot, is often considered one of the saddest moments in all of animation.
Protected By Imagination — Guido and Giosue from Life is Beautiful (1997)
Life is Beautiful is a devastating film under the guise of innocence and passion. During the Holocaust, the Jewish father Guido (Roberto Benigni) was sent to a concentration camp with his son Giosué (Giorgio Cantarini), and must use humor and imagination to protect his child, tricking him into thinking it’s all just an elaborate game.
The vast majority of the film revolves around Guido’s relationship with his son. It’s incredibly bittersweet to watch him make Giosué laugh and smile as the horrors of a concentration camp play out off-screen, and while Guido’s eventual demise seems inevitable, it nonetheless makes it a tearjerker. .
When Love Is Not Enough – David and Nic from Handsome boy (2018)
This harrowing biopic tells the story of David Sheff (played by Steve Carell in what may well be his finest dramatic performance), including teenage son Nic (Timothée Chalamet) begins a journey of meth addiction despite her best efforts to help him.
Throughout the film, we get flashes of Nic’s loving upbringing, which makes his state in the present even more painful and confusing. Raw and realistic, the film doesn’t shy away from showing how the family deals with Nic’s horrible addiction.
Separated Adventurers Together Again – Henry and Indiana Jones from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
At the heart of the threequel to The Raiders of the Lost Ark lies the relationship between Indy (Harrison Ford) and his father Henry (Sean Connery). They argue and reminisce about the past, and they slowly rekindle their bond through their globetrotting adventure to retrieve the Holy Grail.
This father-son relationship is so fun that it’s one of the main reasons why some consider last crusade the best film in the franchise. It provides Indy with compelling backstory and complexity, and Henry becomes an equally delightful character to watch through Connery’s magnetic performance and well-written script.
“Make Me Beautiful, Darling” – James and Otis from honey boy (2019)
Shia Labeouf wrote the screenplay for this semi-autobiographical drama as part of a rehabilitation program. This is the story of Otis (played by Noah Skirt as a child and Lucas Haies as a young man), who portrays LaBeouf, and his experiences with his abusive and manipulative father, played beautifully by LaBeouf himself.
The codependent relationship between James and Otis is rough and painful to watch, but what makes it even more fascinating is that LaBeouf is the one who plays his own father with such empathy that it’s as if he’s telling him ” I forgive you”.
Somewhere Beyond the Sea – Marlin and Nemo’s The world of Nemo (2003)
After losing his wife and hundreds of his unborn children to a barracuda attack, the clownfish Marlin (Albert Brooks) raises his son Nemo (Alexander Gould) full of fear of the outside world. When Nemo is kidnapped by a diver, Marlin must cross the ocean with a forgetful fish named Dory (Ellen Degeneres) to save his only son.
Few movies show a father’s love like The world of Nemo, where Marlin faces threats of all kinds and sizes to get to his son. On his way, he and Nemo grow and learn; so when they are finally reunited, their relationship is only the better for it.
Facing ruin — Antonio and Bruno de Bike thieves (1948)
This masterpiece of Italian neorealism by the legendary Vittorio De Sica follows the unemployed Antonio (Lamberto Maggiorani), who, in the miserable economy of post-war Italy, finds a job for which he needs a bicycle. But when this bike is stolen, he has to roam the streets of Rome with his son Bruno (Enzo Staiola) looking for him.
The bond between Antonio and Bruno is sweet and completely believable, but it’s not a sweet movie. It’s a stark, grim depiction of conditions in Italy at the time, and the ending (as well as what it means for this father-son relationship) is utterly tragic.
The Father’s Crimes – Vito and Michael’s The Godfather (1972)
The Godfather requires no introduction. What is considered by some to be the greatest movie ever made follows the Corleone crime family and what happens to them after Vito (Marlon Brando), the patriarch, narrowly survives an attempt on his life, and his youngest son Michael (Al Pacino) must step in to deal with potential killers.
However The Godfather is the quintessential detective film, whose heart is the Corleones’ family drama; most notably, Michael’s refusal to become his father and his tragic transformation into the man he didn’t want to be.
Father by accident – The tramp and the child of the child (1921)
This is just a testimony to the power of Charlie Chaplintells that one of the most tender and moving father-son relationships in cinema comes from a silent film more than a hundred years old, where a tramp raises a baby abandoned by his mother.
The story of the child is a full of emotion fueled by the beautiful relationship between the Tramp (Chaplin) and his surrogate son (Jackie Coogan). No words are needed to make this tie sweet, funny and absolutely delicious.
Love and Redemption – Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker from star wars franchise
The prequel trilogy star wars follows the rise of Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christensen) and his eventual fall to the dark side, becoming Darth Vader. In the original trilogy, his son Luke (Marc Hamil) is the one who must face him and the Evil Emperor (Ian McDiarmid) to end the tyrannical Empire.
It’s perhaps the most iconic father-son relationship in all of cinema, enriched by each film in the prequels and the original trilogy. It’s tragic, it’s compelling, and it’s ultimately incredibly moving and emotional when Luke manages to bring his father back to the Light Side. When it comes to father-son relationships in movies, it’s hard to find a more entertaining one than this.
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