Not every one of these dads is a happy one, but here’s wishing them (and yours) a Happy Fathers Day anyway. This is by no means a list of definitive dad movies. They’re all good for a Fathers Day family screening, depending on how much of a sense of humor your dad has, and whether he and you can tolerate subtitles. (All of these films are widely available.)
MY FATHER’S GLORY (1991; France; directed by Yves Robert; subtitled) “A sweet, beautiful memory of a young boy’s favorite summer in the French countryside of the early 1900s.” –Video Hound. Followed by its equally as good companion film, MY MOTHER’S CASTLE.
THE SHINING (1980; directed by Stanley Kubrick; with Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall) Nicholson takes time to be with his family, including his son (Danny Lloyd) and, apparently, with other people. I’d like to see the post-trip, Trip Advisor review.
FATHER OF THE BRIDE (1950; Spencer Tracy, Elizabeth Taylor; directed by Vincent Minnelli) The Steve Martin remake is OK, but the original bride is irreplaceable. Tracy is the walking definition of the word, “curmudgeonly”.
RIVER OF NO RETURN (1954; Robert Mitchum, Marilyn Monroe; directed by Otto Preminger) “Wilder then river fury, wilder than all the savage wilderness of America, was the savageness of their love!” Dad Robert Mitchum has more than he can handle with both his son (Tommy Rettig, co-star of the TV show Lassie) and frontier showgirl Marilyn, not to mention the raging river and several, money-grubbing bad guys.
BIGGER THAN LIFE (1956; James Mason, Barbara Rush, Walter Matthau; directed by Nicholas Ray) Father thinks he knows best, but he doesn’t–it’s the drugs talking. In a way, Mason’s portrayal of a dad is scarier than Nicholson’s in THE SHINING.
DEKALOG IV (1988; Poland; directed by Krystof Kieslowski; subtitled) There’s a lot going on under the surface in this 55-min. movie. It’s thought-provoking and fun trying to figure it all out–and you might not, until the end. Part of a series of ten films, all very loosely (and mostly not all that religiously) based on the Ten Commandments, this concerns the close relationship a young woman has with the architect father she’s living with.
REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE (1955; James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, Jim Backus, Dennis Hopper; directed by Nicholas Ray) Yes, another Nicholas Ray film. But no one had a better hand on the pulse of 1950s American suburban life. Backus is out of touch with his pessimistic son, who refuses his dad’s advice to wait “ten years!” for his life to change and get better.