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20 Movies to Tug at Dad’s Heartstrings on Father’s Day

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!

collage of movies for fathers and childrenvia (3)

Grab popcorn with your pop and enjoy these movies

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 great gift you found through a Father’s Day gift guide, or simply spend the day hanging out and watching movies. If you’re looking for movie recommendations, these flicks will surely tug at your dad’s heartstrings—and you may shed a couple of tears, too.

finding nemovia

Finding Nemo

This is one of those cartoons that’s sure to make you cry—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.

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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.

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The Champ movievia

The Champ

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 scientists have deemed the saddest movie of all time!

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Old Yeller moviesvia

Old Yeller

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!

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Air Force One movievia

Air Force One

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. No one furrows their brow with as much emotional intensity as Ford. This film came out in 1997 but still packs a punch!

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the Lion Kingvia

The Lion King (2019)

This epic Disney musical is loosely based on the story of Hamlet. 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.

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Kramer vs. Kramervia

Kramer vs. Kramer

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. Meryl Streep plays 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).

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Superman 2via

Superman 2

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 gets a final convo with his dad, Jor El. He finds out in a heartrending speech about the circle of life that his dad died for him. Have fun with the awesome retro special effects.

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Taken movievia


Liam Neeson became a screen action idol in this story about the kind of dad that 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!” It’s the perfect film to watch with your own hero father.

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Dirty Dancingvia

Dirty Dancing

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.

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The Pursuit of Happynessvia

The Pursuit of Happyness

This is one of those movies that shows you how far a father will go for his children. This movie is based on the true story of Chris Gardner, who was once a struggling single father trying to create a better life for his son. Will Smith stars alongside his real-life son, Jaden Smith, as we follow Chris’ rags to riches story. Smith’s portrayal of Gardner is raw and will leave an impression on any parent watching. This story shows how far a father’s love can take you—and how to handle the ups and downs along with the pursuit of happiness.

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Definitely, Maybevia

Definitely, Maybe

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

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Big Fish movievia

Big Fish

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

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Mrs. Doubtfirevia

Mrs. Doubtfire

This classic comedy shows one of the best performances from the late Robin Williams. Williams plays an actor named Daniel who disguises himself as a British nanny named Mrs. Doubtfire and convinces his ex-wife to hire him so he can spend more time with his children. The antics that ensue are equally hilarious and eye-opening for Daniel as he learns more about his kids and what it means to be their father. It’s entertaining to watch how long Daniel can keep the act up—and how much he grows as a person and father throughout the process.

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Three Men and a Babyvia

Three Men and a Baby

A baby is dropped off at the door of three bachelors in New York City…nope, it’s not the beginning of a joke: it’s the premise of this 1987 comedy starring Tom Selleck, Steve Guttenberg, and Ted Danson. A baby girl named Mary is dropped off at the door of their loft, along with a letter explaining that Ted Danson’s character, Jack, is her father. The once responsibility-free trio who spent their free time womanizing and socializing now find themselves feeding, changing, and caring for this 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 down memory lane to the time he was a new dad.

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Cheaper by the Dozenvia

Cheaper by the Dozen

Balancing work with raising kids can be tricky—especially if you have 12 kids, as Steve Martin learns in Cheaper by the Dozen. This 2003 remake of the 1950s film centers around the Baker brood, led by parents Tom (Martin) and Kate (Bonnie Hunt). Tom is a college football coach who must wrangle in his rambunctious kids as Kate heads out on a book tour. On top of that, he’s trying to get a new job, which would mean moving his large family—and his kids are not happy about the idea of leaving their home. This movie is filled with moments that will make your dad laugh, gasp, and reflect on his own journey with fatherhood.

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Beautiful Boyvia

Beautiful Boy

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

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Coco movievia


Coco is an animated movie for children, but it’ll tug at any father’s heartstrings. The movie is about a boy named Miguel who desperately wants to be a musician, but there’s one big problem—his family forbids him from playing music. In fact, music has been forbidden in his family ever since his great-great-grandfather abandoned his family to pursue a music career. In his desperate attempt to follow his dream, Miguel 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. Coco is a movie about music, redemption, and family ties that your father will enjoy (and may even shed a tear during).

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Field of Dreams movievia

Field of Dreams

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

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Armageddon movievia


This sci-fi film combines action, drama, and family ties in a way that truly stands the test of time. Armageddon tells the story of a crew that embarks on a space mission to save the world when a deadly asteroid threatens to collide with Earth. One person on that crew is driller Harry Stamper (Bruce Willis), who isn’t impressed with his daughter’s (Liv Tyler) boyfriend A.J. (Ben Affleck), who also happens to be on his crew. Harry learns a lot about A.J. and himself on this mission, though, and later makes a decision that will change the course of their lives—and the lives of everyone on Earth—forever. Any father who has a daughter can see himself in Harry’s shoes and can understand the decision he makes at the end.

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