Happy Father's Day: Our Dads' Favorite Movies

Happy Father's Day: Our Dads' Favorite Movies

In celebration of Father's Day, the TFS staff asked their dads what their favorite movies are. A mix of classic, expected choices, and some more surprising ones. Enjoy these picks and happy Father's Day!

north by northwest hitchcock cary grant

North by Northwest (1959)

Some of my fondest childhood movie memories are of the Hitchcock films on which my parents raised me. One of my dad’s favorite movies of all time, North by Northwest, was one of those great movies that was often playing in our house. It’s a movie he finds completely gripping and fascinating. Its realistic depictions of espionage through the eyes of the everyman character, Roger Thornhill, evoke a more grounded version of a spy thriller, before things take off into some really elevated, crazy set pieces. These elements create an exciting and intriguing mystery, especially for someone like my dad, who worked for the government during the constant paranoia of the Cold War. The expertly crafted narrative with its slower, building pace is something he really loves and can’t find in most modern movies. But in North by Northwest, Hitchcock executes this all in a phenomenal way that my dad absolutely loves. (Callie Smith)

django unchained tarantino foxx waltz

Django Unchained (2012)

One day over lunch a few years back, my dad told me he had watched a movie on Netflix a few nights prior and that it was now his new favorite movie. It was Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino’s blood-soaked story of one slave’s journey to freedom and restitution. My dad is an infectious person, able to passionately articulate his appreciation, recreate his favorite scenes, and add in his own hilarious commentary of both the movies he loves and the ones he hates. Needless to say, when he told me of his new love for Django a few years back, I immediately revisited the movie. A movie that I’d first thought to be a brutally violent and occasionally fun epic, revealed itself instead to be passionately hopeful and included Tarantino’s most sincere commentary on violence. Through the brutal violence, likable actors playing horrific characters (here’s looking at you, Leo), and the stinging antebellum southern setting, my dad saw the heart of Tarantino’s most compassionate and generous movie, one that loves its main characters slightly more than it loves blowing them up. (Reid Ramsay)


Red Dawn (1984)

Born out of Cold War paranoia, in many ways it’s unsurprising that the original Red Dawn would appeal to American dads. Though it is a window into the zeitgeist of the time, the idea of small town American kids coming together to fight off the invading commies is a patriotic one that still resonates today. Seeing Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen taking lessons learned in a rural environment and using them to impose guerilla warfare, though implausible as it is, makes for a fun watch. My dad and I have had many conversations about the likelihood of the situation and how it plays out, as well as many laughs at some of its more absurd moments (like when three Cuban troops decide to visit the mountains and act like veritable tourists) along with the 2012 remake. Turns out the Wolverines just aren’t the same in the suburbs. Director John Milius likes his guns and his ‘merica and Red Dawn gives the viewer the chance to ogle at both. (Anna Stoutenburg)


Fantasia (1940)

Growing up I could always remember my dad raving about the broom scenes in Fantasia. When we were asked to ask our dads about their favorite movie, I knew this was coming. His response when I asked him his favorite movie is this:

“As a kid growing up, TV was not the best way to watch a movie. I was lucky enough to see Fantasia in the movie theatre. Back then, I loved to draw and color with pencil and, after seeing the movie, I thought that being able to combine the cartooning with classical music was awesome. How Disney was able to transition between each musical rendition was fascinating. My mom had given me a 2 album set (78 speed) of 'The Sorcerer’s Apprentice', and to be able to see it come alive in front of my eyes on a big screen was the best ever. I wish I still had that album. The colors and music to this day, for me, is just timeless.” (Rachael Hauschild)


Pretty Woman (1990)

It’s been five years since my father passed, and there are loads of songs, books, and movies that remind me of him - one of those is Pretty Woman. My dad grew up in the 50s and was a typical “tough-guy” father, so the Roy Orbison song was a big part of his growing up and the business world that the story lived in (including snakes like the Jason Alexander character) resonated greatly to him. But above all, my dad thought the world of Julia Roberts in that film. She made such a big impression that when my parents went to see America’s Sweethearts years later, he stood up in the middle of the film and groused, “I’m not gonna watch a movie where Julia plays second fiddle to that Welsh broad.” When guests would come over to the house, he would cue up the scene from Pretty Woman (on VHS) in which Vivian goes to the stuffy Rodeo Drive boutique and says “Big mistake. Huge.” He was thrilled every time he watched this underdog character serve up some sweet comeuppance to those terrible ladies who were previously mean to her. According to my father, that moment is what watching movies are all about. (Joey Aucoin)


My Cousin Vinny (1992)

Often named as one of the best legal movies ever made, My Cousin Vinny is a major classic in my family. My dad loves this movie a lot and will usually watch it whenever it comes on TV (my parents actually do not own a physical copy of it, and if I bought it for them they would say “why? It’s on TV all the time”). My dad likes Joe Pesci’s Vinny, a wisecracking New York lawyer, who finds himself out of his depth defending his nephew in a murder case in Alabama. Much of the humor comes from Pesci butting heads with the stern Judge Chamberlain Haller (Fred Gwynne), among other people in the small town. Vinny’s technical incompetence but authentic talents as a trial lawyer make for much of the movie’s charm. And who could forget Marisa Tomei’s Oscar winning and star-making performance as his girlfriend Mona Lisa. Tomei’s comic timing and high sass levels are the cherry on top of this 90s classic comedy. (Manish Mathur)

This Is How You Play God: Jurassic Park III (2001)

This Is How You Play God: Jurassic Park III (2001)

'Tag' and the State of Studio Ensemble Comedies 

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