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15 Movies to Watch at Home on Father’s Day

Celebrate dads near and far with these comedies and dramas


spinner image Steve Martin holding a child upside down in the film Parenthood; Steve Guttenberg, Tom Selleck and Ted Danson together holding a baby in Three Men and a Baby; Robin Williams stars in Mrs. Doubtfire
(Left to right) Steve Martin in "Parenthood"; Steve Guttenberg, Tom Selleck and Ted Danson in "Three Men and a Baby"; Robin Williams in "Mrs. Doubtfire."
Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection; Allstar Picture Library Ltd/Alamy Stock Photo; 20th Century Fox/Getty Images

I can’t count the number of times that my father and I sat down together to watch The Godfather when I was growing up. And while we managed to steer clear of organized crime as a family business, movies remain one of our common languages to this day — a way to bond without, you know, talking about how we were bonding. Which is why I can think of no better way to celebrate Father’s Day (June 18) than by streaming — with Dad if possible — one of these 15 father-forward films.

Top Gun: Maverick (2022)

There’s a chance that your dad was your age when Tom Cruise’s star-making, need-for-speed original soared into theaters back in 1986. That classic about a young, cocky fighter pilot had a G-force impact on American pop culture, so making a follow-up seemed like a fool’s errand. But thanks to Cruise’s note-perfect wrestling-with-the-ghosts-of-the-past performance, Maverick is the rare blockbuster sequel that manages to top its predecessor. It was well worth the 36-year wait.

Where to watch: Prime Video, Paramount+

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Minari (2020)

It’s easy to see why Steven Yeun was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar in Lee Isaac Chung’s modest and gentle indie comedy about a Korean-American family that moves from California to a small Arkansas farm in search of the elusive American dream. The Walking Dead actor’s performance is sincere, bittersweet and full of heart. As financial worries and marital tension weigh on him, Yeun’s Jacob struggles to find small moments of joy amidst the hardship and share them with his family.

Where to watch: Prime Video, YouTube

Sr. (2022)

All too often, sons don’t get the chance to share how much their fathers have meant to them until it’s too late. In this wonderfully poignant and often hilarious love letter of a documentary, actor Robert Downey Jr., 58, turns the camera on his iconoclastic father, the late pioneering experimental filmmaker Robert Downey Sr., to examine their battles in Hollywood, their unusual bond and how close the apple wound up falling from the tree.

Where to watch: Netflix

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Has there ever been a wiser, kinder and more morally upright on-screen father than Gregory Peck's small-town Southern lawyer Atticus Finch? Never mind that this film (adapted from Harper Lee's novel) is a masterpiece regardless when you watch it, Peck's open-hearted love for his two pint-sized kids, Scout and Jem, is a timeless primer for doing the right thing and a blueprint for parenting through deeds rather than words.

Where to watch: Prime VideoVudu

Father of the Bride (1950)

The 1991 Steve Martin remake is excellent, but if forced to choose we'll tilt toward the Spencer Tracy original about an overwhelmed, overextended and overprotective father wrestling with the emotional and financial anxiety of planning the wedding of his young daughter (Elizabeth Taylor). It's a comedy — and a darn good one — but Tracy makes his character's sense of loss both bittersweet and palpable.

Where to watch: Prime VideoGoogle PlayApple TV

Parenthood (1989)

Ron Howard's multigenerational dysfunctional family comedy is very much an ensemble movie. But the more you watch it (or, as a father, the more I watch it), the more I can't take my eyes off the performance of Steve Martin, now 77, as an overwhelmed father of three (soon to be four) who constantly doubts his abilities as a dad. Afraid of repeating the mistake of his own distant father, Martin's Gil steals the movie (and my heart) after a cowboy performer fails to show up at his son's birthday party and he turns a bath mat into a pair of chaps and improvises a Wild West routine to wow the kids and save the day.

Where to watch: Prime VideoGoogle PlayApple TV

RELATED: Bryce Dallas Howard Directs Her First Documentary, 'Dads'

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Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

After the disappointing and surprisingly dark Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, director Steven Spielberg, 76, put the Raiders franchise back on track with this fun and fizzy third installment, which soars thanks to the addition of a perfectly cast Sean Connery, as Indy's bookish and stubborn archaeologist dad. The globe-trotting quest for the Holy Grail is almost beside the point. After all, the movie is really about a son trying to win the approval of his father and that father finally giving it to him.

Where to watch: Prime VideoGoogle PlayApple TV

Three Men and a Baby (1987)

The only-in-the-'80s trio of Tom Selleck, 78, Ted Danson, 75, and Steve Guttenberg, 64, play three bachelor pals who join clueless forces to take care of a baby left by one of their former lovers. Which one does the baby actually belong to? It doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of this light comedy directed by Leonard Nimoy. What makes the film outlast its decade is that they all become better and less selfish men when confronted with the unexpected challenge of caring for someone other than themselves.

Where to watch: Prime VideoApple TV

Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

Made in an era when the divorce rate in America was going through the roof, this best picture Oscar winner stars a note-perfect Dustin Hoffman, 85, as a divorced ad exec father (his ex is played by Meryl Streep, 73) forced to become a loving, caring single dad to his young son (Justin Henry) overnight. What at first seems like a burden soon becomes a poignant, three-hankie drama about how two heartbroken souls manage to navigate loss and fix one another.

Where to watch: Prime VideoGoogle PlayApple TV

Paper Moon (1973)

Real-life father and daughter Ryan, 82, and Tatum O'Neal, 59, costar in director Peter Bogdanovich's charmingly barbed black-and-white road movie about a pair of con artists who banter and bicker while fleecing unsuspecting bumpkins in Depression-era Kansas. As you might expect, the pair's feisty chemistry is a delight, especially when their love for one another manages to peek through. Still, it's the sassy, sour-faced 9-year-old Tatum who steals the show, nabbing a best supporting actress Oscar for the role.

Where to watch: Prime VideoGoogle PlayApple TV

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The Godfather (1972)

Is Marlon Brando's Don Corleone a good father? By any traditional metric, of course not. But if you squint hard enough and strip away all of the mob violence and bloody horse-head threats, you'll find a very American saga about an immigrant parent wanting a better life for his children — especially 83-year-old Al Pacino's Michael. Sure, Father's Day is a great excuse to throw on this Francis Ford Coppola masterpiece, but honestly it's a perfect movie to watch (or rewatch) any day of the year. My dad will be happy you did.

Where to watch: Prime VideoVudu

RELATED: How well do you know this and the other great films of the 1970s? Take our quiz.

Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)

A story about the lengths that loving fathers will go to to stay connected to their children, director Chris Columbus’ suspend-your-disbelief comedy stars Robin Williams as a divorced dad who hatches an elaborate plan to disguise himself as an elderly British woman and get hired by his ex (Sally Field, 76) to be his children's nanny. Think of it as Mary Poppins meets Tootsie. The movie is crammed with hilarious slapstick, but by the end you'll be choking back tears as Williams learns how to be a better dad.

Where to watch: Prime VideoHuluApple TV

Finding Nemo (2003)

Most of the best animated movies wrestle with the relationship between kids and their parents in one way or another. But few do it with as much heart, humor and sheer eye-popping creativity as this deep-sea Pixar gem about a young clown fish named Nemo who's separated from his nervous, overprotective father, Marlin (Albert Brooks, 75). Under the surface, Finding Nemo taps into every parent's worst fear. And the emotion would be too much to bear were it not for Marlin's forgetful, comic-relief partner on his quest, 65-year-old Ellen DeGeneres’ Dory. What may seem like a harmless kiddie adventure on its surface turns out to be deceptively deep.

Where to watch: Prime VideoApple TV

Mr. Mom (1983)

After being fired from his job as a manager in an auto factory, Michael Keaton, 71, becomes a stay-at-home dad while his wife (Teri Garr, 78) goes back to work. With three wild kids at home, Keaton fights a losing battle with laundry, diaper duty and putting dinner on the table (not to mention the addictive nature of daytime soap operas on TV). As his sanity slowly begins to slip away, Keaton's Jack discovers how lucky he really is. Beyond that, it's also a giddy reminder of the pre-Batman Keaton's chops as a whirling dervish comic actor.

Where to watch: Google PlayApple TV

The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

It's rare to see Will Smith, 54, play a character who isn't cool, confident and completely in charge. Maybe that's why The Pursuit of Happyness isn't better known. Well, it deserves to be. Smith plays a single father who, with his young son (played by Smith's real-life son Jaden) is evicted from his apartment and has nowhere to go. Living in a shelter and unable to make ends meet after taking a job as an intern at a financial firm, Smith's Chris Gardner is proof that there is no sacrifice too big for a father to make to provide a better life for his child. Be warned: Have a box of Kleenex nearby.

Where to watch: Prime VideoGoogle PlayApple TVNetflix

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