Wiles Films – June

Top Pops: Wiles Magazine’s 10 Favorite Fathers in Film

By John Nathan

In our humble effort to pay homage to deserving dads everywhere, we’ve compiled a list here at Wiles of our 10 Favorite Fathers in Film.  Take a look at the following big-screen fathers who’ve entertained and inspired us over the years.


10.  Idris Elba in Daddy’s Little Girls

It takes a lot to maintain a relationship with 3 daughters, keep their hot-mess of a mama in check and woo Gabrielle Union all at once.  Even with his hands completely full, “Monty” played by Idris Elba, manages to handle it all in stride.  Men all over the world can learn a lot about balancing the women in their lives from this guy!


9.  Edward James Olmos in Selena

As father/manager “Abraham Qunitanilla,” Olmos balances the role of protector, disciplinarian and businessman.  His portrayal is punctuated throughout the film with moments of pop chart success and fatherly pride as he watches his baby girl Selena ascend to the pinnacles of both Texana and mainstream pop music.



8.  Ken Watanabe in The Last Samurai

He is not simply the father of his children, he is the leader of his nation’s most fabled warriors. Ken Watanabe is the epitome of both a leading man and a “man’s man” in this period epic set in 19th Century Japan.  As Samurai leader “Katsumoto” he shines in both complex, action-filled battle scenes, as well as in poignant private moments with his family and Tom Cruise, his captive-turned-houseguest-turned protégé.


7.  Delroy Lindo in Crooklyn

In what Spike Lee has called one of his most under-appreciated films, Delroy Lindo is “Woody,” the sensitive, fun-loving husband and father set in 1970’s Brooklyn.  His is a rare and touching portrayal of a father who is both strong and vulnerable.  When his family suffers the tragedy of losing its matriarch, the relationship between father and daughter becomes all the more meaningful.


6.  Sir Ben Kingsley in the House of Sand and Fog

There are few more gripping examples of film fatherly love than that of Sir Ben Kingsley as the Behrani family patriarch begging Allah to spare his only son’s life in the House of Sand and Fog.  In typical Kingsley fashion, his portrayal is rich, layered and utterly flawless.  In perhaps one of the most underrated film father performances in history, Sir Ben Kingsley is, all at once, desperate, sorrowful, humble and powerful.


5.  Mel Gibson in Ransom

This Ron Howard-helmed classic chronicles the story of a multi-millionaire and his wife who are put to the ultimate test when their son is kidnapped and held for ransom.  But when ”Tom Mullen,” played expertly by Mel Gibson, turns the tables on kidnappers and offers their ransom as a bounty on their heads, he proves that, in a real father’s eyes, their kids’ safety is non-negotiable.


4.  Liam Neeson in Taken

In this trans-continental action flick, uber- spy-turned doting dad Liam Neeson, as “Bryan Mills,” takes the schoolyard taunt of “My daddy can beat up your daddy” to a whole new level.  After his daughter is abducted by human traffickers while vacationing in Paris, sets off on a frantic international manhunt to rescue her before she disappears forever.


3. Samuel L. Jackson in A Time to Kill

After his young daughter suffers a brutal attack, “Carl Lee Hailey,” played by Samuel L. Jackson, takes matters into his own hands.  Despite the fact that he has blood on his hands, as an audience member, you can’t help but root for him.  His thoroughly unapologetic anthem of “Yes, they deserved to die, and I hope they burn in hell!” has become, for good reason, one of the most oft-quoted screen moments in recent memory.



2.  Denzel Washington in John Q

In one of his many stellar performances, Denzel Washington proves as the titular character in John Q that there is no limit to what a real father will do for his child.  The idea of losing a child is every parent’s nightmare.  Faced with no other options, “John Quincy” holds an entire hospital under siege in a desperate attempt to save his son’s life.




1. Marlon Brando in The Godfather

It takes a special man to inspire multiple generations of dapper dons, hardcore wise guys, and pistol-packing “made men.”  “Don Vito Corleone,” played by the incomparable Marlon Brando, is an iconic film father.  Whether dancing with his daughter on her wedding day, or “making someone an offer they can’t refuse,” no one commands more patriarchal respect than the Godfather.


Did your favorite film father make our Top 10 list?  If not, please “Join the Conversation” and let us know why you think your choice for best celluloid pops should have made the cut!
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