On-screen heroes: The most iconic fictional dads of all time

The day of the dad is upon us and both T.V and cinema have given us many examples of fab fathers, to show how truly amazing dads can be. This Father’s Day, we have come up with five such papas that certainly deserve a card- or at least a cuppa in bed- for their commendable parenting.

1. Marlin from Finding Nemo

The lengths we go for our little ones… are you a few inches big and capable of swimming across the sea for yours? Marlin is inarguably the most proactive father figure that animation has to offer. He risks his life and over again, facing his fear of the unknown world to find Nemo. His love and dedication to his son is heroic, to say the least, especially for a papa who is categorically introverted and prefers the security of his home/sea anemone.

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2. Daniel Hillard from Mrs Doubtfire

Speaking of going above and beyond, Daniel from Mrs Doubtfire makes it clear that his kids are his life. Though he leaves much to be desired in the husband/ partner department- for example when he hosts a petting zoo in his house against the wishes of his wife- he sure makes up for it when it comes to being a dad. Robin William’s iconic role had our hearts broken and warmed all at the same time back in 1993. Mrs Doubtfire herself was a beautiful soul that the kids loved dearly even before they discovered she was their dad all along.

3. Daniel from Love Actually

This stepdad is another pa who could teach us a thing or two and NOT just because he is Liam Neeson-i.e. the ultimate dad. His advice to his stepson Sam, who has just lost his mum comes in the form of encouragement and support when he falls head over heels for his classmate. Dolling out fatherly wisdom without appearing preachy or overstepping his authority is exactly what the kid needs. He lets his little one follow his heart and encourages him to take risks in all things love-related. He balances fun with support perfectly.

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4. Christopher Gardner from The Pursuit of Happiness

When Chris (played by Will Smith) found himself homeless with a son to care for, he couldn’t have been a better father. Looking to secure their future, he continued to work hard, all while reassuring his little boy that everything would be fine. His son trusts him entirely and rightly so, as he refuses to leave his side for the entire film. With life so tough that they must spend the night in a subway station supply closet, he manages to keep going. He uses his skills to create things to sell and uses his imagination to lift his son’s spirit- a truly remarkable parent.

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5. Gru from Despicable Me

Gru’s initial coldness is quickly warmed when he realises his true calling in life: to be a dad. Going from supervillain to a hands-on single dad proves to be tough when he decides to be a good guy and fight evil in the second movie. He must balance this tough life with being a dad to three individually delightful daughters, dressing up with them, reading to them and attending parties. However tough the dad life appears, Gru can handle it every step of the way-earning him a place on our list of fabulous fictional dads.

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With her daughter Evie as her muse, Anna writes about mumhood and all its intersections from mental health to movies, social issues to pop culture. Anna lives in Dublin with her daughter, partner, three younger sisters and parents. She is a dreadful cook, a fair guitar player and thinks caffeine should be given as a yearly vaccine to parents - courtesy of the HSE.

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