50 Fictional Fathers

For many people around the world, but not me, this Sunday is Fathers’ Day. This gives me an opportunity to do something I enjoy: make a list. Below is a list of 50 fictional fathers. It wasn’t an easy list to make. Initially I wanted to list 50 great dads, men like Atticus Finch and John Walton. But I couldn’t find 50 awesome fathers.

To pad out my list of 50 I had to include a few dodgy fathers (eg: Darth Vader, Homer Simpson). And this has given me something to think about.

If art mirrors society, where are all the good fathers?

Hollywood makes 600 movies a year and a million books are published every year. Finding good fictional fathers should be easy. But it’s not.

A few years ago I wrote an article entitled “Fatherless fiction.” In it I shared my observation that many great characters in literature, from Oliver Twist to Batman, grew up without knowing the love of a father. In many children’s stories the moms and dads are either absent or negligent. Parental abandonment is a common trope in children’s literature, and the absence of dads prompted me to write my own children’s story, The Big House.

So what? Why does it matter that good dads are missing from our stories? It matters a great deal!

Jesus came to reveal our good Father in heaven, but much of our world doesn’t know him. This ignorance is reflected in our stories. Jesus told stories about fathers, but we don’t.

I’m not here to complain. I’d rather celebrate the good fathers we do have, and I trust that’s what you’ll be doing this weekend.

But if you are a reader of books or a watcher of movies, I challenge you to name ten fictional fathers who remind us of our heavenly Father. If you can do 10, try and do 50. I couldn’t do it, but maybe you can. Then let me know who I missed below.

1. Darth Vader (Star Wars)
2. Vito Corleone (Puzo)
3. Atticus Finch (Lee)
4. Jack Ryan (Clancy)
5. Darryl Kerrigan (The Castle)
6. Bryan Mills (Taken)
7. Clark Griswold (National Lampoon)
8. John Quincy Archibald (John Q)
9. Jonathan Kent (Superman)
10. Daddy Warbucks (Annie)
11. Joseph Cooper (Interstellar)
12. Jay Pritchard (Modern Family)
13. Marlin (Finding Nemo)
14. Bob Parr (The Incredibles)
15. Daniel Hillard (Mrs Doubtfire)
16. George Banks (Father of the Bride)
17. Mufasa (Lion King)
18. Benjamin Martin (The Patriot)
19. Graham Hess (Signs)
20. Jean Valjean (Les Mis)
21. Phil Dunphy (Modern Family)
22. Cameron Poe (Con Air)
23. Harry Stamper (Armageddon)
24. “Man” (The Road)
25. Jackson Curtis (2012)
26. Big Chris (Lock Stock 2 Smoking Barrels)
27. Wayne Szalinski (Honey I Shrunk the Kids)
28. Ray Gaines (San Andreas)
29. Howard Cunningham (Happy Days)
30. King Triton (Little Mermaid)
31. William (Swiss Family Robinson)
32. Mr. Banks (Mary Poppins)
33. Tim the Toolman Taylor (Home Improvement)
34. Homer Simpson
35. Guido Orefice (Life is Beautiful)
36. Jack Byrnes (Meet the Parents)
37. Tevye (Fiddler on the Roof)
38. Hal Wilkerson (Malcolm in the Middle)
39. Marty Crane (Frasier)
40. Philip Banks (Fresh Prince of Bel-Air)
41. Frank Abagnale Sr (Catch Me If You Can)
42. Sam Baldwin (Sleepless in Seattle)
43. Brad Whitaker (Daddy’s Home)
44. Frank Barone (Everybody Loves Raymond)
45. Al Bundy (Married… With Children)
46. King Lear
47. Frank Costanza (Seinfeld)
48. Gil Buckman (Parenthood)
49. Ming the Merciless
50. John Walton (The Waltons)

So who’s your favorite fictional father? And who did I miss? tell me in the comments below.

Happy Father’s Day!


41 Comments on 50 Fictional Fathers

  1. Pa Ingalls (Little House on the Prairie)
    Ward Cleaver (Leave it to Beaver)
    Ben Cartwright(Bonanza)

    • Great suggestions, Liz. I would’ve included Charles Ingalls on my but he’s not fictional. Although now that I think about it, he might be. The way Laura wrote about her too-good-to-be-true dad makes you wonder.

  2. Do not forget Dr. Heathcliff “Cliff” Huxtable (Crosby Show)

  3. You missed the GREATEST one of all., Pa Ingalls (Little House on the Prairie)
    Ward Cleaver (Leave it to Beaver)
    Mike Brady (Brady Bunch)
    Darrin Stephens (Bewitched)
    Tom Bradford (Eight is Enough)

    I am dating myself lol. I grew up in a divorced home and I longed to have a father like one of these!
    Took me a long time to get to really know and trust the love of the Father. I understand firsthand why the enemy attacks the family unit, particularly the father /children relationships.
    Thanks for the great article!

    • Great suggestions, Jackie. I left Charles Ingalls off the list because he was a real father. Although I appreciate the TV version was a fictionalized version of him. I’m not sure Darrin Stephens was a notable dad, but Tom Bradford definitely. Glad you liked the article!

  4. Ward Cleaver – Leave it to Beaver
    Steve Douglas – My 3 Sons
    Mike Brady – The Brady Bunch
    Mike Baxter – Last Man Standing

  5. Father knows best
    My Three Son’s
    Ben Cartwright, Ponderosa
    Family affair
    The Shack
    Glory Glory
    I can only imagine
    The greatest story ever told
    Any Movie, I can relate to Father’s Love for us all revealed by Son to us all in his willing crucifixion, that would mean nothing, without being risen
    At least to me.
    I look for that everlasting Love, in each and every Show or movie, even though this body of flesh is not redeemed yet, I am learning to be dead to it and stay that way, for the new life given to be doing what Father wants it to do.

    I see what the Disciples said in 1 John 4:19, Father does that always, I see this and am thankful, knowing not deserving it

  6. Jean Valjean is probably my favorite fictional father, just a really good man who experienced grace and became a better person for it. You didn’t mention Arthur Weasley (Harry Potter) or Edward Bloom (Big Fish – my favorite movie – reminds me of my husband).

  7. Randy Knutson // June 20, 2020 at 5:34 am // Reply

    Good Father & Marriage image: The Deputy TV Series 2019;
    Lethal Weapon TV series – 2016-18

  8. I can recognize several from your list, I think Joseph Cooper (interstellar) pops out for me. It’s a really chaotic and ultimately sad movie. But I did appreciate the efforts the father undertook to keep a promise to his daughter.

    Two Others I thought of (one very recent):
    Gerry Lane (World War Z)
    General Mark Naird (Space Force)

  9. “Fictional Fathers???”
    With many truths re Hollywood’s infamous activities for decades the last place I would look for fictional / or non good fathers .. is that place.. Disney has been called in on their connection to child slave “ trade” Weinstein in jail now for sexual atrocities…and many actors are coonected or been threatened by them.. Just found out about Dave Chappelle as he went quite back on 2000’s as he and others very bravely outed the Illuminati cults there.. The vids are there on YT at present to make up our minds re that..
    So …. I get what you are doing here .. but I will look for other places to find true Father figures…
    Like Richard Wurmbrand who stood up for his family and the Rumanian Chuch and encountered 14 years . In commie prison for his stand.. corrie Ten Booms Father who bought his kids up to stand and love their fellow man through the Threat of Jewish extermination.
    Quite frankly there are so many good real fathers out there Christian and non …
    Someone mentioned The Shack .. That I can agree with as that book portrays love especially The Love Of The True Father & The Lord & Spirit in a beautiful way IMOway IMO.. I know many Christians have issues with that .. but not me ..
    Anyway thanks for your very insiteful posts

  10. Steven Shane // June 20, 2020 at 1:02 pm // Reply

    Charlie Anderson from Shenandoah – played by James Stewart.

  11. You forgot Andy Taylor (Andy Griffith Show). So many good scenes and episodes with his son Opie. 2 of my favorite are Season 3 Episode 1, “Mr. McBeevee” and Season 4 Episode 1, “Opie the Birdman.” Thank you for this article. My own Dad was the best ever..led me to Christ in Whose Presence he is now..

  12. I can tell that you are a great dad. Happy Father’s Day!

  13. Steve Martin in Father of the Bride 1 and 2!!!
    Reminds me some of my husband, the best father of our two!

  14. mphtheatregirl // June 21, 2020 at 2:05 am // Reply

    Well, one of these fathers shall be fun to include:

    1. Marge’s father- I actually created Marge. So I know that growing up she had a loving father.

    2. Mufasa

    3. Valjean

    4. Daddy Warbucks

    5. Maurice

    This is complicated- I had to include both literary and musical theatre father along with one I created. So there’s that for now

  15. how does darth vader remind you of our Heavenly Father?

    • He doesn’t. Not even a little bit.

    • “But if you are a reader of books or a watcher of movies, I challenge you to name ten fictional fathers who remind us of our heavenly Father.”
      Sorry Paul, I thought you were saying your list of fictional fathers reminded you of our Heavenly Father.
      My miss.

  16. Carlos Figueroa // June 21, 2020 at 11:21 am // Reply

    Life is beautiful- Guido Orefice

  17. Kyle Troescher // June 21, 2020 at 5:51 pm // Reply

    Peter Bailey (and George too!)

  18. Tony Stark? I know we only saw him as a dad in Endgame but he was pretty good at it.

  19. how about Mike Baxter….Last Man Standing

  20. julee Armstrong // June 23, 2020 at 5:08 am // Reply

    Robert Petrie….the Dick Van Dyke show!
    Gru…Despicable me
    Elrond….Lord of the Rings

  21. Andy Griffith for sure. I always wanted a dad like that.
    Furious Styles from Boyz in the Hood – its an R-rated movie which isn’t my favorite but the characters were unforgettable.
    Chris Gardner from The Pursuit of Happyness.
    David Dunn in Unbreakable

  22. Paul, I just finished watching Finding Nemo after 10+ years since I last watched it and let me tell you God just ministered His love to me throughout the whole movie, I was on the verge of crying because I didn’t honestly expect that but truly what a beautiful expression of our Father who came to find us. Wow. I’m absolutely awestruck.

    I remembered this list and quickly came to see if you’d listed it here and I’m so glad to see Marlin on this list of fathers.

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