Father’s Day 2020: 10 dads from cinema and TV series

Spend Father’s Day in front of a good movie? here’s the list

Dads aren’t all heroes, not even in movies or on TV. And fiction looks more like reality than we would like, but we like it this way: imperfect, problematic and sometimes even too imprudent. Biological or adoptive, out of mind or precise, they are the dads who kept us company on small and big screens and they gave us some unforgettable pearls of wisdom. We have selected ten, not because they are the best or the most famous, but because in one way or another they have been able to bring back feelings of tenderness and nostalgia that often remain dormant somewhere deep in the heart.


A nice period drama is always good for us: available up Amazon Prime Video, the series boasts one of the most contradictory breadwinners in the history of TV. He’s a lord, Robert Crawley (Hugh Bonneville, interpreter of Hugh Grant’s adorable chubby friend in Notting Hill), yet the mother-matron Lady Violet (the immense Maggie Smith) dictates the law. Not so much, if he managed to marry an American – which for a peer of the Kingdom is still a kind of anathema, as Prince Harry knows well – and raised three very different daughters. One “even” became a nurse during the war and married the driver, a deadly combo for any English nobleman (or of the world). In fact, the father got very angry, stung his feet, almost disinherited her … but the young woman died prematurely leaving her husband and daughter. And Crawley not only accepted – after many grievances – the son-in-law as if he were the male child he never had, but somehow he sketched the idea that the other daughter, Edith, had a baby girl out of wedlock, and that the divine After the widowhood, Mary allowed herself some promiscuous pastime. Son of his era, firmly convinced of the importance of birth rights, however, he managed to be molded and modernized by his offspring by showing that paternal love changes you deeply.

Lord Robert Crawley, head of the family in Downton Abbey

Lord Robert Crawley, head of the family in Downton Abbey

© Nick Briggs


Here things get complicated because time travel is in between there are two fathers, the biological one and the “adoptive” one. Outlander (on FoxLife with the fifth season), born from the bestselling saga of the same name by Diana Gabaldon – a string of novels whose end is still unknown – connects two worlds through the portals of Scottish stones two hundred years apart. This is how Londoner Claire (Caitriona Balfe) meets Jamie Fraser (Sam Hughan): she lives in the times of the Second World War, he in eighteenth century Scotland. Although she already has a husband in her time, she marries the handsome highlander to save her life, but then the passion breaks out that becomes love and becomes pregnant. To protect her, man sends her “back” into the present and for twenty years knows nothing about her. Brianna is born, a baby girl with a red mop who leaves little doubt about who the biological father is, but Frank (Tobias Menzies, who is now Fr.Prince Philip of The Crown) he welcomes her as his on condition that until his death he doesn’t know the truth. In the new episodes that little girl who is now a woman follows her mother in the past and knows her biological father for the first time. They resemble each other in appearance and stubbornness but must learn to know each other. In short, a poetic fresco on blood ties and heart ties.

© © 2018 Starz Entertainment, LLC


Nothing unites a father and son more like doing a nice robbery together? He must have thought of something like Moscow, which is partnering with his boyfriend, codenamed Denver, in the Professor’s mad but profitable undertaking to steal the Spanish state mint. The cult series returns to Netflix April 3 with the fourth season. After the tragic death of Moscow, now Denver is the father of his partner Monic’s sona, (aka Stockholm), already pregnant when they met or better when he took her hostage during the blow. Although these are the least suitable circumstances to bring out paternal feelings among alpha males, this is exactly what happens. A little on the margins of history, of course, but this does not mean it is less important: the link between Moscow and Denver it remains rude, hasty, without many words, but you can see that there is a deep connection between them, mixed with respect. They are handed down from father to son a shady profession, but with a sort of honor among thieves that says much more about fatherhood than expected.

Moscow and Denver, father and son in the paper house


The most classic of family TV dramas (available on Amazon Prime Video) sees how householder (and also chief of police in New York) Tom Selleck (remember Magnum P.I.?). An old-fashioned Irishman, who gathers offspring around the Sunday table: a widower, still lives with his father, also a former boss, but he holds the ranks of the whole city and his children with an iron fist covered in velvet. Integerrimo and compassionate, extraneous to compromises until the ultimate sacrifice, he saw a son die in uniform (and also his daughter-in-law nurse). With a district attorney daughter, a detective and a sergeant – just married to a fellow agent – he can be said to be largely satisfied: justice is a family affair. Among so many dysfunctional nuclei, it is sometimes good to find yourself looking a “clean”, positive and encouraging story, capable of rediscovering faith in humanity and perhaps looking with nostalgia and tenderness towards the times when it really is a patriarch of sound principles he managed to keep all the household pieces together, in spite of any adverse force.


The President of the United States imagined by Shonda Rhimes is far from being a model father (the series is available on Amazon Prime Video). In perfect soap style, the leader of the free world – to whom he lends his face Tony Goldwyn, Patrick Swayze’s traitor friend in Ghost – falls in love with an assistant, Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) who is better than him in the Oval Office. For her she wars, as well as smashing a marriage. The unfortunate children see him in passing in the corridors of the West wing, but he often seems to forget even their existence. The major, then, is killed during a public and official release, unaware pawn of the US political chessboard. It is at that moment that we see all the fragility of Fitz, a man with little backbone but full of good intentions, an absent dad with the best justification in the world. After all, he remains a parent like many, who prefers work to domestic routine and leaves the burden of running the house to his wife. Even if his is Bianca.


“I love you 3000”: one of the most moving declarations of love in the cinema in recent months comes surprisingly from Morgan, the daughter of Iron Man, or rather Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), in the swan song of Avengers: Endgame (available in home video version and on Google Play). The playboy billionaire has put his head in place, married the assistant Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) and lives in a domestic quiet so ordinary as to seem forced. But no, he mentally made peace with his father magnate who has long since disappeared and has put aside the restlessness of youth to find a new and comforting dimension in fatherhood. And so, before leaving to save the world again with his Avengers comrades, while putting his baby to bed you hear that phrase whispering, which in turn then repeats in the vocal testament left to loved ones. Fans have tattooed it on themselves and still resounds today between lovers and between parents and children as a symbol of an infinite but tender, personal, private feeling, and precisely for this reason capable of becoming universal.

Iron Man aka Tony Stark (aka Robert Downey Jr.)


It is he who put Baby in a corner, the father who loved and adored her just moments before. On one condition, however, that she was the perfect daughter, that she behaved appropriately, that she married a distinguished man and that she did not embarrass the family. In short, a beautiful and good emotional blackmail, which in Dirty Dancing (available on Netflix) perpetuates a man in one piece, a hardworking worker and a decent person. Yet despite the proclamations of freedom and equality, he does not realize that he is class and snobbish. It resembles many dads, to those who cannot match the immaculate image of the child in their head with reality, to those who suffocate the individuality of their offspring with the excuse of too much love, to those who can only love those it is made in one’s own image and likeness. This love story, however, is not only a comedy with small feelings, but one lesson on feelings that know how to compromise.

© Copyright © 1987 Vestron Pictures, Inc. Credit: © 1987 Vestron Pictures / Courtesy: Pyxurz.


Half cartoon and half live action, Space Jam (available on Amazon Prime Video) it remains a childhood classic though dad is an NBA world champion (Michael Jordan) and must play a basketball game with Bugs Bunny and the Looney Tunes. The story of the film, which precisely follows Jordan’s career, begins with him as a child who makes a basket in the garden of his modest house, incited by his dad. And now that he has decided to retire, that myth is crumbling: his children look at him with distrust, his colleagues give him up for dead and he, without basketball, is totally disoriented. Then these crazy animated characters enter the field, which Jordan’s children love madly, with a request for help. In the end it is clear the importance of teamwork, in life as in sport. And this surreal encounter shows him how to be a champion for his children, with simple, daily, but concrete gestures.

Michael Jordan in Space Jam

© Warner Bros./Getty Images


What role does the father figure play in the first love story? In the case of Call me by your name (available on Now TV) is crucial, as you can already guess from the pages of the novel of the same name by Andrè Aciman. The father in question is also a professor and invites an American student Oliver (Armie Hammer) to the villa of Crema for a kind of summer study course. This is how his son Elio (Timothée Chalamet), a shy and insecure teenager, discovers the first heartbeats and indulges in a tender and romantic love affair with the boy, with no happy ending. In one of the most touching moments of the film, the man gives his son a precious piece of soul with words of rare poetry: “You remember that I am here. (…) In my place, a father would hope that all this would disappear, he would pray that the son would fall on his feet but I am not that type of father. We tear away so much of ourselves to heal quickly from the wounds that we end up bankrupt already in thirty years. (…) Maybe I went close, but I never had such a thing. Something has always slowed me down before, it got in the way. How you will live will be your business, but remember: the heart and body are given to us only once and, in no time, your heart is consumed and, as for your body, at a certain point no one looks at it anymore and still less is it approached. You now feel sadness, pain. Don’t kill them, just like the joy you felt. “


One of the love stories that intertwine in the mosaic of Love Actually (on Amazon Prime Video) sees protagonist Liam Neeson as a father. And so far nothing new because he spends most of his career saving abducted kidnapped children, but this time not. He has just lost the beloved wife and natural mother of the child, who is not biologically his. Destroyed by pain, he does not know how to raise a pre-adolescent by himself who also refuses to leave the room. The reason? He took the first crush on a classmate and doesn’t know how to impress her. The man then says that they serve Kate and Leo and they serve immediately. It refers to the Winslet and DiCaprio in Titanic that inspire these two to find the perfect sentimental strategy to break through the girl’s heart. Clumsy, adorable and tenacious: a strange couple of father and son absolutely perfect, a sort of Batman and Robin style Cupid that shows us how we can start again after a loss. Once again the pain is not exorcised but shared. You don’t need an instruction manual to be a good father, you just need to know how to listen and start from there, as Father Daniel confirms.

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