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
#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
#7 - The Godfather
Tagline - A Offer You Can't Refuse
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.
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!
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.
#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...
#1 - Life is Beautiful
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.
Kramer Vs Kramer