No father is perfect, that's for sure, and that's why Chevy Chase's classic portrayal of the family-loving, totally inept Clark Griswold became cinema's favorite father to a whole generation of movie audiences,beginning with this first Vacation hit in 1983. We'll have to wait until next month to judge Clark's parenting skills when his now-grown son, Rusty (Ed Helms), takes his own family on a brand new cross-country trek to Walley World in Vacation which hits theaters on July 29.


Stanley Banks - Father of the Bride (1950)

Spencer Tracy gives a timeless performance as Stanley Banks, the exasperated loving father of bride-to-be Elizabeth Taylor in this Vincente Minnelli cinematic treasure. Throughout the disorganized chaos of the wedding plans and payments, Banks attempts to hold it all together. Ultimately, as his wallet empties of cash, his heart fills with a father's joy.

Sheldon Kornpett - The In-Laws (1979)

Alan Arkin is Sheldon Kornpett, the father of the bride and a mild-mannered dentist. His future son-in-law's father (Peter Falk) is a whole other story. He may or may not be part of the CIA, but either way Kornpett is soon on the run with his future in-law. You can also check out the 2003 remake with Albert Brooks and Michael Douglas.

 

Fathers on a Mission

John Archibald - John Q (2002)

Denzel Washington give a riveting performance as a father who cannot get the medical treatment to save his son's life because of the bureaucracy, so he takes matters into his own hands.

Thomas Hacklin - Hide in Plain Sight (1980)

James Caan plays Thomas Hacklin, a divorced father, who lives for his visitation time with his kids until one day he arrives to find that his ex-wife, her gangster boyfriend and his children are gone. Vanished into the Witness Protection Program. Caan gives a powerhouse performance as he takes on the government to get his children back.

Keller Dover - Prisoners (2013)

Hugh Jackman is electrifying as Keller Dover, a father tormented by the kidnapping of his daughter and the release of the prime suspect in the crime. As with John Q, Prisoners begs the question: How far would you go to protect your family?

Father/Child Estrangement

Joseph Palmer - The Judge (2014)

Oscar winner Robert Duvall snared an Oscar nomination for his role as Judge Joseph Palmer, who, following the death of his wife and his arrest for murder, is forced to accept legal help from his estranged son (Robert Downey, Jr.). As the dysfunctional family's secrets are revealed, will the bonds of family be strong enough to hold them together?

Gus Lobel - Trouble with the Curve (2012)

For the father/daughter crowd, Clint Eastwood is aging baseball talent scout Gus Lobel who has a tepid relationship with his daughter (Amy Adams). But when she gives up her rapidly rising legal career in order to save his, things are going to come to a boil as they are forced to spend time together for the first time in years.

Adam Trask - East of Eden

Two sons (James Dean and Richard Davalos) struggle to gain the acceptance of their hardened father Adam Trask (Raymond Massey) in John Steinbeck's iconic take on the tale of Cain and Abel. The emotional fireworks never stop and it's no surprise that the L.A. Times described the fiery Dean/Massey on-screen interaction as "the paradigmatic generational conflict in all of American film."

Sci-Fi Dads

Jor-El/Jonathan Kent - Man of Steel (2013)

The Man of Steel known as Superman and Clark Kent was lucky enough to have two fathers—Jor-el (Russell Crowe) and Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner)—each of whom would give up their own lives for the safety of their son (natural and adopted). The ultimate love of a father.

Frank Sullivan - Frequency (2000)

Through a freak set of circumstances John Sullivan (James Caviezel) discovers that he can talk to his father (Dennis Quaid) through an old ham radio. No big deal, right? Except that his father has been dead for 30 years! In this top-notch sci-fi thriller, we all get the chance to change the past but discover that shifting the future comes with a price.

Ted Arroway - Contact (1997)

An all-star cast fueled this intense sci-fi thriller about extraterrestrial life that also delved into politics, religion and family. David Morse is the late father of Jodi Foster (playing the scientist who receives the first communication from outer space) who returns to her in a moving climactic scene. Most likely everyone would love a chance to revisit with their departed father one more time, even if he's an alien in disguise.

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