Most dads are big teddy bears when it comes right down to it. Check out these movies featuring awesome dads to watch with your own pop on Father’s Day!


Enjoy these Father’s Day movies with dad

There are many Father’s Day activities you can do with your dad to celebrate his big day. You can read up on the history of Father’s Day together, go out to eat, watch him open the perfect Father’s Day gift you got him, or simply spend the day hanging out and watching the best movies that perfectly depict your special bond. If you’re looking for movie recommendations, these Father’s Day movies, ranging from classic family movies to riveting dad dramas, will surely tug at his heartstrings—and make you appreciate your relationship.

Finding Nemo

Released: 2003

Rated: G

Director: Andrew Stanton

This is one of those cartoons that’s sure to make you tear up in the first five minutes. Once you make it past the scene where Nemo and his dad end up alone together, you’re in for the beloved search-and-rescue tale. This family favorite is all about what dads will do for the love of their kids.


Released: 1989

Rated: PG-13

Director: Ron Howard

Steve Martin shines in his dramatic turn as the ultimate super dad. He’s dealing with work stress and kid problems, but he still finds the time to coach little league and dress up as a cowboy to come through for his family. This sentimental ensemble drama is all about the strong bonds across generations, and it’s sure to make you laugh, cry, and then laugh some more.

The Champ

Released: 1979

Rated: PG

Director: Franco Zeffirelli

This emotional drama stars Jon Voight and little kid Ricky Schroder as the ultimate father-son ragtag team working toward goals! Voight plays a boxer looking to score another win, and Schroder’s the kid who looks up to him no matter what. Spoiler alert: Beware the tragic scene near the end that makes it one of the saddest movies of all time.

Air Force One

Released: 1997

Rated: R

Director: Wolfgang Petersen

Harrison Ford is the president of the United States, and the bad guys have hijacked the plane and captured his wife and daughter. No problem! Ford’s action hero president is every dad who is committed to his job but still puts family first, and no one furrows their brow with as much emotional intensity as Ford. This film came out in 1997 but still packs a punch.

Old Yeller

Released: 1959

Rated: G

Director: Robert Stevenson

This sentimental Disney classic follows two brothers in the post–Civil War West who learn how to be men with the help of a brave and loyal yellow dog. After their cowboy Pop takes off for work, big brother Travis (Tommy Kirk) has to tend and defend the farm while he keeps his rascally little bro Arliss (Kevin Corcoran) out of never-ending trouble. Old Yeller keeps them both in check until tragedy strikes right before Dad’s return. It’s the perfect movie about growing up that’s sure to turn on the waterworks.

The Lion King

Released: 2019

Rated: PG

Director: Jon Favreau

This epic Disney musical is loosely based on the story of Hamlet, and it’s basically about how to live up to the image of a great father. Little Simba loses his dad early in a heartbreaking scene and has to learn how to become king. Just the circle of life! Hakuna matata! (No worries!) This modern take on a ’90s classic is endlessly watchable.

Kramer vs. Kramer

Released: 1979

Rated: PG

Director: Robert Benton

Dustin Hoffman plays a devoted dad in this weepie about the trauma of a custody battle. This window into a painful divorce is made bearable by the great performances, including Meryl Streep as the mom and wife who takes off and then wants back in. You’ve got drama, heartbreak, and a really cute little kid (Justin Henry).

Superman 2

Released: 1980

Rated: PG

Directors: Richard Lester, Richard Donner

No scene tugs at the father-son heartstrings quite like Christopher Reeve and Marlon Brando in Superman 2. Clark Kent (aka, Kal-El) hits a low point, so he heads to the Fortress of Solitude and has a final convo with his dad, Jor El. Later in the film, in a heartrending scene about the circle of life, he learns that his dad died to restore his powers. Fathers watching today will have fun with the awesome retro special effects.


Released: 2008

Rated: PG-13

Director: Pierre Morel

Liam Neeson became a screen action idol in this movie about the kind of dad the bad guys should never mess with. When human traffickers kidnap his teenage daughter and her friend, Neeson embarks on a rescue mission for the ages. (Just like your dad would!) Look for Neeson’s famous phone call to the villains where he talks about his “particular set of skills.” This is the perfect action film to watch with your own hero father.

Dirty Dancing

Released: 1987

Rated: PG-13

Director: Emile Ardolino

Nobody puts baby in a corner…except maybe Jerry Orbach. He plays the ultimate doting dad in this ’80s classic about love and romance. Jennifer Grey woos Patrick Swayze, but her father is always in the background giving her advice and lectures and then saving the day right when her friends need it. And by the end, even this amazing dad has to finally let his daughter grow up. It’s not easy, but Orbach’s awesome performance lessens the blow.

The Pursuit of Happiness

Released: 2006

Rated: PG-13

Director: Gabriele Muccino

This is one of those movies that shows how far a father will go for his children. Based on the true story of Chris Gardner, a struggling single dad trying to create a better life for his son, the rags-to-riches story stars Will Smith alongside his real-life son, Jaden Smith. Smith’s raw portrayal of Gardner will leave an impression on any parent watching as he handles life’s ups and downs along with the pursuit of happiness.

Definitely, Maybe

Released: 2008

Rated: PG-13

Director: Adam Brooks

This romantic comedy-drama centers around a man named Will, played by Ryan Reynolds, who is in the middle of a divorce. One day, his young daughter Maya (Abigail Breslin) asks him how he met and fell in love with her mother. In response, Will tells her three stories about romancing three women in his life—and Maya has to guess which is her mother. You’ll be hooked as Will strolls down memory lane and shares lessons in life, love, and even politics. Plus, you’ll love the adorable relationship between Will and Maya!

Big Fish

Released: 2003

Rated: PG-13

Director: Tim Burton

Has your dad ever told a story you thought was totally made up? If so, you’ll relate to the main character in Big Fish. William is estranged from his father because he believes his dad has never told the truth about his life—to William, they’ve always just been exaggerated tales. As his father is dying, William investigates his father’s stories to determine once and for all if they’re real, fantastic, or somewhere in between. This fantasy movie will teach you lessons about life, legacy, love, and loss—and have you reflecting on your relationship with your own father.

Mrs. Doubtfire

Released: 1993

Rated: PG-13

Director: Chris Columbus

This classic comedy graces us with one of the best performances from the late Robin Williams. Williams plays an actor disguising himself as a British nanny named Mrs. Doubtfire in order to spend more time with his own children. The antics that ensue are equally hilarious and eye-opening for Williams’s character as he learns more about his kids and what it means to be their father. It’s entertaining to watch how long he keeps the act up—and how much he grows as a person and a father.

Three Men and a Baby

Released: 1987

Rated: PG

Director: Leonard Nimoy

A baby is dropped off with three bachelors in New York City…. Nope, it’s not the beginning of a joke—it’s the premise of this comedy starring Tom Selleck, Steve Guttenberg, and Ted Danson. A baby girl named Mary is left at their door, along with a letter explaining that Ted Danson’s character, Jack, is her father. The once responsibility-free trio, who spent their time womanizing and socializing, now find themselves feeding, changing, and caring for the new little lady in their lives. The movie is a hilarious classic that shows how strong the bonds of fatherhood are—and it may even take your father back to the time when he was a new dad.

Cheaper by the Dozen

Released: 2003

Rated: PG

Director: Shawn Levy

Balancing work and raising children can be tricky—especially if you have 12 kids, as Steve Martin learns in this remake of the 1950s film centered around the Baker brood, led by parents Tom (Martin) and Kate (Bonnie Hunt). Tom is a college football coach who must wrangle their rambunctious kids as Kate heads off on a book tour. What’s more, he’s trying to get a new job, which would mean moving his large family—and his kids are not happy about the idea. This movie is filled with moments that will make your dad laugh, gasp, and reflect on his own journey through fatherhood. It would also make a great addition to a last-minute Father’s Day gift.

Beautiful Boy

Released: 2018

Rated: R

Director: Felix van Groeningen

Fair warning: This movie is a real tearjerker. Beautiful Boy is based on the best-selling pair of memoirs from father and son David and Nic Sheff. The movie, which chronicles David and Nic’s relationship as Nic struggles with drug addiction, is raw, heartbreaking, and inspiring—and it shows how strong a father’s love is.


Released: 2017

Rated: PG

Directors: Adrian Molina, Lee Unkrich

Coco is an animated movie for kids, but don’t be fooled—your dad will be hooked from the beginning. It’s about a boy named Miguel who desperately tries to follow his dream of being a musician, despite his family’s protest. Along the way, he winds up in the vibrant Land of the Dead, meets an interesting skeleton named Héctor, and embarks on a journey that reveals stunning secrets about his heritage. Your father will enjoy this movie about music, redemption, and family ties—and don’t be surprised if he chokes up a bit. The one’s got a catchy soundtrack too!

Field of Dreams

Released: 1989

Rated: PG

Director: Phil Alden Robinson

“If you build it, he will come.” That’s the phrase farmer Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) hears one day. Then, he sees a vision of a baseball diamond with “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, a baseball player idolized by Ray’s estranged father, standing in the middle. With that, Ray embarks on a mission to make his cornfield into something bigger—a place where ghosts of ballplayers gather to play, and where dreams really can come true. This classic movie ties baseball, fantasy, and family together in a beautiful way any father will appreciate.


Released: 1998

Rated: PG-13

Director: Michael Bay

This sci-fi film combines action, drama, and family in a way that truly stands the test of time. Armageddon tells the story of a crew embarking on a space mission to save the world. One member, driller Harry Stamper (Bruce Willis), isn’t impressed with his daughter’s (Liv Tyler) boyfriend A.J. (Ben Affleck), also part of the crew. Sure, he’s busy saving the world, but Harry learns a lot about A.J. and himself along the way—and makes a decision that will change the course of their lives forever. Any father of a daughter will be able to put himself in Harry’s shoes at the end.

Originally Published: April 26, 2022

Molly Pennington, PhD is a writer and collage artist with a PhD in film and cultural studies from the University of Pittsburgh. Her professional astrology services and artwork are available at Baroque Moon Astrology. She covers the zodiac, books, movies, TV and culture for Reader’s Digest, and loves to talk about all the ways we make meaning.

Kelly Kuehn is an associate editor for Reader’s Digest covering entertainment, trivia and history. When she’s not writing you can find her watching the latest and greatest movies, listening to a true-crime podcast (or two), blasting ‘90s music and hiking with her dog, Ryker, throughout the Finger Lakes.

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