Greetings, Manic Fans. Les here on Father’s Day to talk about fictional Fathers. Whether they’re in film or television, they present images of Dads we sometimes wish were ours. And so, here are the top 12 fictional men who do right by their families and take care of their children(Homer Simpson will NOT be on this list…). This list is not in order.


Warning: Some Spoilers and great Dads ahead…


Cliff Huxtable(Bill Cosby)-The Cosby Show


Yeah, you probably knew he’d be on this list. In spite of whatever crimes comedian/actor Bill Cosby may or may not be guilty of, you cannot blame it on his character from the Emmy Award winning sitcom from the ‘80s. In many ways, he’s the perfect television Father. He’s funny, but firm. He’s attentive and always encourages his children to do their best at whatever task is before them. He’s nobody’s fool and doesn’t take any crap from his kids if they try and pull a fast one on him. Finally, he works hard to keep his marriage healthy to provide the kids with good parental role models…and in this day and age, that’s pretty exceptional.


John Quincy Archibald(Denzel Washington)-John Q


This man is amazing. You know the phrase, “The sacrifices we make for our children?” Well he proves it a few times when his son needs a heart transplant and his HMO is tying up the donation process with red tape. He takes an entire hospital wing hostage under gunpoint to get his son’s name to the top of the list..when it looks like it’s going to fail, he’s willing to kill himself to donate his own heart to save his son….in the end, a donor is found, and he goes to prison for his crimes…but saved his son’s life….now that’s dedication, my friends.


Atticus Finch(Gregory Peck)-To Kill a Mockingbird


One of the greatest fictional characters, let alone fictional Fathers, Atticus is a defense attorney in fictional Maycom, Alabama, who espouses treating everyone fairly and equally in a time of severe racism. The widowed man with 2 children, he teaches them tolerance and dignity in the face of hatred and bigotry. He is a great man and a great Father.


George Bailey(Jimmy Stewart)-It’s a Wonderful Life)


For the sake of his family, George gave up his dreams of seeing the world and works as hard as he can to provide for them. Granted, on a particularly bad day, he flips out and loses his temper before fleeing the home to almost commit suicide, but in the end, it’s the love he feels for his family that makes him plead to God to let him live again. That counts!


Rick Grimes(Andrew Lincoln)-The Walking Dead


Not only is he a great Father to his son, Carl(Chandler Riggs), but he’s a great Father during the Zombie Apocalypse! This guy goes to extreme levels to protect his boy, while helping him become a man under the most adverse of living conditions.


Baelfire/Neal Cassidy(Michael Raymond James)-Once Upon a Time


Granted, he wasn’t in his son’s life for the first 11 years….but that wasn’t his fault. Once in, he makes up for lost time being there for young Henry(Jared S. Gilmore). When Henry’s kidnapped by Peter Pan(Robbie Kay), he crosses portals and fights lost boys and shadow spirits to get him back. Ultimately, he sacrifices his life to give Storybrooke a fighting chance against the Wicked Witch of the West(Rebecca Madder) to save the whole town and his son.


Gepetto(Christian Rub)-Pinocchio


The kindly old man who made a puppet of wood and wished upon the blue star that he might be a real boy. When the blue fairy brings the wooden boy to life, she promises that he might be a real boy if he proves himself brave, truthful and unselfish. Gepetto does all he can to help Pinocchio to live up to those conditions. When Pinocchio is led astray, Gepetto searches for him, even to the point of being swallowed by a whale in his efforts. Reunited in the belly of Monstro, he does all he can to get Pinocchio safely ashore. When Pinocchio dies saving his life, his grief is so genuine, you truly believe he was Pinocchio’s father. Then, the blue fairy declares that Pinocchio had lived up to the bargain and brings him back to life and makes him a real boy. Gepetto is a proud Father.


Jonathan Kent(John Schneider)-Smallville


While I loved Glen Ford’s portrayal of Jonathan in “Superman: The Movie,” his appearance is short and then he’s gone. In the tv series, “Smallville,” John Schneider is given several seasons to show the efforts and influence of the Father who raised the strange boy from another world who grew up to be Superman. He does it with love and perseverance.


Pete Tyler-(Sean Dingwall)-Doctor Who


The Father of Rose Tyler(Billie Piper), companion of the 9th Doctor(Christopher Eccleston) and 10th Doctor(David Tennant), Pete starts out as “having died when Rose was just a baby.” Through a time-travel experiment, Rose meets him, saves his life, and threatens all of existence from a temporal anomaly. When he figures out, he was supposed to have died, he knows that he must die to restore the timeline. Saying thanks for the 3 hours he’d never had to get to know his daughter, and then goodbye, he runs straight at the car that keeps showing up so it can kill him as it was destined to, and saves the whole world. Now that’s sacrificing yourself for your family. In an alternate universe…he helps save her life from the Cybermen, and that’s pretty awesome too.


Daniel Hillard(Robin Williams)-Mrs. Doubtfire


Going through a divorce can strain your relationships with your kids. In order to see his kids daily, despite the court order for 1 visit a week with supervision, Daniel undergoes a remarkable transformation with his makeup expert brother to convince his ex that he’s really a 60 year old woman from England so she’ll hire him as a caretaker for the kids and the house while she’s at work. As Mrs. Doubtfire, he not only stays in their daily lives, but gives them the support and guidance they need during the stressful event of their parents’ divorce. Even his ex, Miranda(Sally Field) admits that as Mrs. Doubtfire, he brought out the best in them.


Sgt. Maj. Zack Carrey(James Garner)-Tank


What would you do if a corrupt sheriff used your son against you framing him with a drug possession charge and putting him on the work farm threatening to kill him if you didn’t pay exorbitant bribes to keep him alive sacrificing your retirement savings? This Father took a fully-functional M-1 Sherman Tank from WW-II and busted him out of prison in an effort to cross the state border for a chance to get a fair trial for his son.  This Dad fought for his son.


Oliver Warbucks(Victor Garber)-Walt Disney’s Annie(1999)


Wanting to show an orphan a good time for a week, Billionaire Oliver Warbucks is perplexed when Grace selects Annie, as he’d assumed it would be a boy. However, he quickly comes to love this moppet with a heart of gold. Even when she wants to find her real parents, he puts her needs above his and uses his influences to attempt to find them. In the end, they discover her real parents had passed away, and he adopts her as his own daughter.


And those are my top 12 favorite fictional Dads. Did I miss any of yours? I’d love to hear what Fathers in film and television inspired you, my friends. Peace.

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