What makes the perfect screen dad? Is it a gentle man who loves his children, or is it a caged lion, a man driven by a protective defiance, a man shouting into the shadows? Read on to find out.

The nominees for Best Movie Dad are…

Jack Torrance (The Shining)

If you’re looking for a shining (ahem) example of what not to do, then Jack might be it. For a start, don’t whisk your family off to a remote haunted hotel so that you can indulge your noodling on a typewriter. And then, for Christ’s sake, don’t try to kill them with axes.

Darth Vader (Star Wars)

It’s a difficult one with Vader, because on the one hand he wants to rule the universe with you – which is a very loving gesture etc – but on the other hand, there is no other hand, because he chopped yours off using a lightsaber. Oh and he’s also profoundly evil. This ultimately has to count against him.

Noah Levenstein (American Pie)

Also known as Jim’s Dad, Noah doesn’t shirk those awkward parental conversations about sex, in fact he positively embraces them. Yet ironically, his key strength is also his weakness, because no teenage boy particularly wants to be walked through a porn mag by their old man.

Daniel Hillard (Mrs Doubtfire)

No doubt, watching the love dwindle between two parents can leave a scar that takes a long time to heal. But you know what might leave a bigger scar? Your dad then turning up in a pair of false tits pretending to be a housekeeper. Proof that there is such a thing as loving you too much.

Clark Griswold (Vacation)

You can’t argue with Clark Griswold’s unyielding dedication to his family, he’s a man devoted to creating moving holiday memories. But, sadly, most families don’t consider watching a security guard being held at gunpoint while you go on a rollercoaster particularly moving.

Vito Corleone (The Godfather)

It doesn’t matter how good he was at being a godfather to other people’s children, Vito’s school report would be marked “could do better”. His one goal was to keep Michael safely out of the family business, to which he scored a MASSIVE FAIL.

Professor Henry Jones (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade)

A trailblazer in terms of naming your children after where they were conceived, Henry Jones was very much the David Beckham of 1920s archaeology. But unlike Becks, he wouldn’t get an “Indiana” tramp stamp emblazoned on his lower back. Make of that what you will.

Furious Styles (Boyz n the Hood)

In yet another classic case of your demeanour flying in the face of your first name, Furious was a very calm and collected guy. A modern philosopher, behind such lessons as “any fool with a dick can make a baby, but only a real man can raise his children” and “Pill ain’t goin’ to keep your dick from falling off!”

Marlin (Finding Nemo)

Marlin will stop at nothing to be reunited with his missing son, swimming the seven seas, showcasing a rare combination of grit and determination. But was it his overprotectiveness and perpetual paranoia that ultimately lead to his son’s disappearance in the first place? That’s the question. To which the answer is POSSIBLY, YES.


Bryan Mills (Taken)

Okay, so he put his job in the CIA first a bit too often when you were younger, but remember that time you were abducted and he saved you? When he told the baddies “I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you”? And now, because of that, you’re not a prostitute. Best dad ever.

Josh Burt is a freelance writer, who lives in South London with his wife Hannah, and his two children Gabriel and Vivienne. Over the last 20 years, he’s written for everyone from FHM to Grazia to The Times and The Telegraph, he’s had two so-so books published, and was once the online voice of Big Brother.