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  • Joel Ryan

Favorite Fictional Dads: #1-5

Updated: an hour ago



In continuation of my previous ranking of my Favorite Fictional Dads, here is next group of incredible dads to make the Top 5. If you haven’t read about the first five, please click on the link below or head back to the main page once you've finished here.


So without further ado, here are the awesome dads to make the Top 5:


5. George Banks – Father of the Bride


Father of the Bride is at heart a story about the unique bond that exists between a father and his daughter. George Banks, the ultimate father of the bride, takes us through the joys and trials of fatherhood as he prepares to face his toughest challenge yet: letting go of his little girl. Despite his fears, frustrations, and the financial burden of planning one of the most expensive weddings in film history (okay, Crazy Rich Asians wins this one), George Banks steps up to make sure his beloved Annie has everything she needs for her big day and beyond. Now married, I know just how emotional a father’s hand off of his daughter can be. Watching my father-in-law cry his eyes out during the father-daughter dance at our wedding was a powerful reminder of the beautiful yet bittersweet emotions fathers must face on their daughter’s wedding day. It also reminded me of the responsibility I had just inherited, one my father-in-law knew better than anyone.


4. Daniel Hillard – Mrs. Doubtfire


While it’s easy to get lost in the hilarity of Daniel Hillard’s antics as lovable yet assertive British nanny Euphegenia Doubtfire, Mrs. Doubtfire surprised a lot of people with its willingness to address the topic of divorce and explore the emotional impact it has on families. In the wrong hands, it would have been easy for Mrs. Doubtfire to slip into comedic farce, settling for cheap man-in-drag jokes or painting a picture of the film’s parents, Daniel (Robin Williams) and Miranda (Sally Field), as a one-dimensional loser and unsympathetic villain. Instead, the writers (and actors) gave us a sympathetic mom and dad who both love their children and want what’s best for their family, but ultimately struggle to work out their differences or find common ground as a married couple. Just because parents aren’t always willing to fight for each other doesn’t mean that they won’t fight for their children. Daniel/Mrs. Doubtfire fights for his children in a way that only he can. He makes us laugh, he makes us cry, and he makes us appreciate parents who are willing to go to the ends of the earth to be with their kids.


3. Marlin – Finding Nemo


Speaking of going to the ends of the earth … how could I write about great fictional dads and not include Marlin of Finding Nemo? When it comes to Finding Nemo, Pixar gave us one of the best father-son stories in film history and one of their most beautiful films to date.


As a father, Marlin starts out overprotective of Nemo, but who can blame him? Nemo is all he has. Marlin takes his responsibility as Nemo’s father very seriously and is afraid to even let Nemo go alone to school, the edge of the reef, or anywhere dangerous. And how many parents can relate? But If you know me, you know that I will always praise a story that’s willing to force its main character to face their greatest fear. Marlin’s greatest fear is confronted head on when Nemo is taken by a scuba diver and whisked away to Sydney, Australia. While Nemo discovers his independence, resourcefulness, and how much his dad loves him over the course of his adventure, Marlin learns to push through his parental fears and learns to trust his son, letting him take risks and make his own choices. Animation may appeal to children, but stories like Finding Nemo speak to adults, particularly fathers.


2. Edward Bloom – Big Fish


I have yet to encounter an adaptation of Big Fish that I haven’t adored. That’s what happens when you have a story that’s this good. It translates well across multiple mediums. So why does Edward Bloom, the father in Big Fish make this list?


He’s a storyteller.


Fathers are natural storytellers. We all grow up hearing our dads tell ridiculous tales of their past adventures. For most of us, our dad’s stories can be charming. In Big Fish, however, William Bloom has always felt a disconnect between his father’s tall tales and the man himself. But as Will prepares to say goodbye to his father, he discovers that there is an element of truth in every tall tale. When it comes to the stories our fathers tell, Will realizes, as most of us do, that, “you’re not necessarily supposed to believe them… you’re supposed to believe in them.” We often see see our dads as superheroes and giant slayers when we’re little. Somewhere along the way, time and reality wither this illusion, but after they’ve passed, it’s the stories our dads tell and the stories about them that make them legends.


As Big Fish and Edward Bloom so poignantly remind us:


“Remembering a man’s stories makes him immortal.”


1. Atticus Finch – To Kill a Mockingbird


I would put Atticus Finch at the top of several lists for being one of the greatest heroes in all of literature! He fights for justice, stands for the oppressed, and speaks for those who aren’t given an equal voice in society. In everything he does, Atticus risks his reputation and personal safety for the sake of others, and he does it all in front of his children.


As a father, Atticus does more than just talk the talk. To teach a child what is right, you also have to walk the walk, and Atticus Finch models the lessons and leadership that you want a child to learn early. He is attentive, intelligent, just, courageous, and wise, and he teaches his children to do what is right even when it’s not popular or easy. For this reason, he takes top honors as my favorite fictional dad, a crown he will probably wear for a very long time!


That’s all for now. Thanks for reading. If you have a favorite fictional dad you feel I missed, I would love to hear about it. Feel free to message me or comment below.

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Until Today, Storytellers