Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Top 10 - Father & Son Movies List

Last week I was having a lazy Sunday watching movies when I realised that the 2 movies that I had watched had very strong theme about the precarious father/son relationship. This wasn't a conscious choice it just so happened that they are both very good but wildly different movies. The first for the day was Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade followed by The Road.

So this got me thinking what are MY favourite father/son movies. So I had a good think about it, then asked my wife because she will always think of an obvious one that I have overlooked. Then I set to picking a top 5. If this wasn't hard enough I then ranked said 5.

Have a look then leave your opinion.

#10 - Over the Top
Tagline - Some Fight for Money... Some Fight for Glory... He's Fighting for His Son's Love

This is my nostalgic only entry. I would have watched this a hundred time as a kid. This movie was also responsible for kids in the playground twisting their caps backwards they they really meant business. Haven't seen it? Give it a go. If you have, watch it again it's actually not as bad as you remember. Or as good...

#9 - Road to Perdition
Tagline - Every father is a hero to his son.
Tagline #2 - Every son holds the future for his father.
Tagline #3 - The innocence of a son is surpassed only by the father's will to save it.

This is a bit of a slow burn movie for me. It's not in your face good but the acting is great, directing great and the source material is from a fantastic graphic novel.

As for father son relationships there are quite a few. The main one is between Michael Sullivan (Tom Hanks) and his son. Michael Jr. witnesses his father doing what he does which is a mob enforcer. Michael was an orphan who was raised by John Rooney (Paul Newman). Rooney loves Michael more than his own son, Connor (Daniel Craig) so they are all sorts of daddy issues between these 4 characters.

Michael Jr, witness Connor killing a man in a fit of rage and his father swears him to secrecy. Connor has other ideas and tries to kill the Sullivan family. He succeeds in killing Michael's wife and their youngest son. Michael and Jr flee to Chicago.

Lots of different father, son issues are looked at here but the most poignant being between Michael and his son. At the end of the movie Michael saves his son from a hit man and dies in his sons arms. Michael Jr.'s states in the closing voice over that he now realizes that his father's only fear was that his son would grow up to be like him, and that, when asked if his father was a good man, he simply says, "He was my father."

#8 - The Pursuit of Happyness

Chris Garner (Will Smith) tries to crawl out of the depths of homelessness for a whole year all the while raising a son and trying to appear 'normal'. Chirs' wife Linda is sick of the money issue and grand plans and leaves Chris sending him into a tailspin. Through the determination to be a good dad and hard work Chris eventually lands a great job and the first thing he does is rush to his son's daycare and hugs him fighting back tears.

#7 - The Godfather
Tagline - A Offer You Can't Refuse

The Godfather is all about the 'Family' and this is so true about the main theme. The Don 'Don Corleone is shot and his son Michael avenges him and flees to Sicily leaving behind his lady and family. Michael previously wanted nothing to do with the 'family' but after thwarting the second assassination attempt at the hospital and having his jaw broken by corrupt cop Captain McCluskey he finds himself in the middle of it.

Although most families wouldn't resemble the Corleone's the themes are all the same. Jealousy and revenge being the main ones here.

#6 - Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Tagline - The man with the hat is back. And this time, he's bringing his Dad.

There's a lot of father son humour in this instalment but again the relationship is the crux of this movie. Indiana wants his fathers approval and feels like he is under appreciated and not taken seriously. Indy goes on to treat his own son Mutt the same way in the next instalment, The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

The worship of God is equated to the searching for fathers.And this is strongly linked here.

#5 - Finding NemoTagline - There are 3.7 trillion fish in the ocean. They're looking for one., Grab shell dude!

This is one of Pixars gems and it's all about Nemo's father Marlin doing whatever it takes to find his son. This is a classic example of what a father would go through and the challenges he would face in the pursuit of his son.

It's also a case of the problem being in a direct response to the relationship. Nemo was taken by scuba divers because he was purposely disobeying an overly protective father.

#4 - Big Fish
Tagline - An adventure as big as life itself.

I'm a big Tim Burton fan and this isn't his typical film but it is cleverly laid out with strong performances by some great actors. It follows the stories theme of reconciliation between father and son. And as usual by the end of the movie the son will come to understand and empathise with his fathers actions. This is a great fantastical look at our fathers and the mysticism they have over us.

#3 - The Road
Tagline - In a moment the world changed forever.

I must admit, I had never heard of Cormac McCarthy (the author) and the Coen Brothers making the fantastic adaptation of No Country For Old Men is the only reason he blipped on my radar. Then I caught wind of Aussie director John Hillcoat making this and my ears pricked up. I read a brief synopsis and my brother and a good mate had read it with good reviews so I set out to read it before the movie came out. (I always try to do this!!) I also wanted to read because I was having a son and much like Pet Semetary wanted to get through them before he grew up. I loved the book and subsequently the movie.

It's the story of a man and a boy trolling through a future Earth where the sky is gray, the trees have fallen, most of civilisation is dead and survival is the only past time. The man is dying and he's aware he's going to die and leave his ten year old son. This would be such a painful realisation for a father.

#2 - The Empire Strikes Back
Tagline - The Adventure Continues...

Yes we're talking Star Wars here! One of the most famous trilogies in the history of man is in affect about a father who has turned bad and he's hunting his son. He'll attempt to turn him to the dark side and if that doesn't work kill him. Kill him he doesn't but he does manage to lop off his hand in one of a few physical encounters. However (spoiler alert!) at the end of the 3rd instalment Vader's love for his son prevails and he dies as a consequence.
#1 - Life is Beautiful
Tagline - An unforgettable fable that proves love, family and imagination conquer all.
This is a heart wrenching tale of a father doing he best to keep his son happy and oblivious to the war going on around them. He tries to convince his son that it is all just a fun game. The guards are being mean because they want the tank to themselves and all the other children are hiding as part of the game. This charade also helps the father focus on his son and not the horrible events going on around him.

At the end of the film the father tells his son to hide in a sweatbox until everybody has left, this being the final test before the tank is his. The son manages to survive and thinks he has won the game when an American tank arrives to liberate the camp. In the film, he is four and a half years old; however, both the beginning and ending of the film are narrated by an older man recalling his father's story of sacrifice for his family.

To me this is the ultimate act of love by a father for a son. This is a beautifully realised movie.

Honourable mentions:
Lion King
Kramer Vs Kramer

Until then hail to Wayne Enterprises!

1 comment:

  1. Hmm, great topic. Interesting entries, too.

    I love Over The Top - for the exact same reasons you do.

    I'm intrigued that this list wasn't at all what I was expecting, but now I'm not sure what I was expecting.

    Here's some from me:

    Raising Arizona

    Ummm...apparently I'll need to think more on this. Stay tuned.