It's Father's Day this Sunday, and in celebration Indiewire has decided to offer a few picks for the best cinematic dads. Clearly there's many notable examples missing from the list, but here's the movie fathers that six of our staffers felt most warranted inclusion. Feel free to use the comments section to offer up your favorites.
Antonio Ricci, "The Bicycle Thief"
Vittorio De Sica's heartbreaking neorealist work won Sight & Sound's top films poll just two years after its release for one very prominent reason: It's the best movie about paternal instincts ever made. The continuing efforts of Antonio Ricci (Lamberto Maggiorani), struggling with unemployment in post-WWII Italy, to find the stolen bicycle that could theoretically help him find a new job, derives much of its power from the relationship between Antonio and his young boy (Enzo Staiola). As Antonio's efforts to recover the bicycle grow increasingly desperate, culminating in a series of humiliations, his son never grows disappointed in his father's efforts. It's the ultimate testament to the way parental care goes both ways -- the final scene shows the son comforting the father, having learned from his elder that perseverance is the best antidote when things don't go the way they should. [Eric Kohn]
Darth Vader, "The Empire Strikes Back"
Can any list of movie dads be complete without mentioning dear old Darth? Ok, so he might not be the best father there ever was, but Darth Vader is certainly one of the most memorable. While in the first "Star Wars" film he just seemed to be a big, scary villain with severe respiratory problems, the climactic ending of "The Empire Strikes Back" reveals Vader's true motivation: he really just wants to be reunited with his kids. He spends the entirety of the film hunting down Rebels so he can find and convince his son Luke to join him on his power-hungry quest to rule the galaxy. Maybe Vader has anger issues, a warped idea of quality family time and a predilection for chopping off limbs, but don't all dads have their flaws? [Devin Lee Fuller]
Jason "Furious" Styles, "Boyz In The Hood"
“Any fool with a dick can make a baby, but only a real man can raise his children.” That's one the philosophies of Jason "Furious" Styles (Laurence Fishburne), a voice of responsibilty and reason in the crime-fueled world of John Singleton's "Boyz N The Hood." He takes in his troubled 10 year old son Tré (Desi Arnez Hines II) when he soon-to-be-ex-wife (Angela Bassett) becomes concerned he's not getting the discipline he needs from her. And discipline Furious gives. But he does so while retaining the core values he believes can transform people, showing just how rare a father figure he is in a community where most of Tré's peers have no such figure to speak of. When Tré grows up in the latter part of the movie (and is then played by Cuba Gooding Jr.), it's clear Furious's styles were effective. Though he ends up dabbling in gangs after a horrifying incident with an LAPD officer makes him reasonably question what side of the law is the right one, his is one of the few happy endings in "Boyz" and that's in large part due to his father. [Peter Knegt]