Happy Fathers Day to all the dads out there who spend their days trying to ensure the safety of their entire family. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it. There’s not much in this world a dad won’t do for his children (in real life and in the movies), whether it’s teaching them right from wrong, making sure vacations and holidays are successful, or even saving their lives. So in honor of the amazing things fathers do for their kids every day we bring you 10 Movie Dads You Don’t Wanna Mess With. In no particular order, because there are no losers here.
John Quincy Archibald: John Q
Nobody messes with a man and his family’s health care. Although John Q is a lackluster movie that checks every box in your typical hostage situation playbook, Denzel Washington manages to portray a compelling and desperate character. He takes his wife’s words quite literally when she demands for him to “do something” as the hospital releases their son when they can’t manage to come up with the down payment to keep their son on the heart transplant list. Taking over a hospital with a gun is not at all an overreaction, right?
Daniel Hillard: Mrs. Doubtfire
Although at first glance Daniel Hillard seems to be a carefree, sloppy, reckless father, as time goes on he proves he’ll go to any lengths to be able to spend time with his kids. As he continues his cross dressing antics as the housekeeper Mrs. Doubtfire, Robin Williams’ Hillard begins to mature as a caring, responsible dad. He can still pelt you with a piece of fruit though if you threaten to replace him.
Atticus Finch: To Kill a Mockingbird
Atticus Finch epitomizes all things fatherly. He’s stern when he needs to be, tender when he can be, and sets a moral example for his children to follow. Being a good role model and doing what’s right is more important to him than both his own popularity and safety. We get a few glimpses of the lengths he would go to to protect his loved ones, and he’s sure not one to be messed with.
Arnold Schwarzenegger: Commando
John Matrix is a former special forces commando. He tells the bad guys at one point that he eats green berets for breakfast. We believe it. But, most importantly he loves his daughter and he’s a good father. So good, in fact, that he literally single-handedly invades a small island nation and takes on an army to get at his daughter’s kidnappers. He even makes time for corny dad jokes.
King Triton: The Little Mermaid
When in doubt we can always look to Disney for some inspiration in parenting. In The Little Mermaid, King Triton tends to err on the side of tough love. But who can blame him with 7 daughters to raise, the youngest of which is obsessed with living with the humans, which is the equivalent to your 16 year old wanting to take off and move to Queens by herself. When it comes down to it though, Triton only wants what’s best for his daughter and will do anything to protect her, like sacrificing himself instead.
Clark Griswold: National Lampoon Vacation Movies
It’s safe to say that you probably shouldn’t get in the way of a family vacation or a holiday celebration. If you mess with his kids, I don’t know if any retaliation plans of his would actually pan out the way he intends, but I would be worried about the outcome because of his accidentally dangerous nature. And if all else fails he can just call in reinforcements, aka Cousin Eddie.
Jack Byrnes: Meet the Parents
All hail the circle of trust. But even when you’re in the circle, you’re still not in the safe zone, especially if your last name is Focker and you’re dating his daughter. Could you imagine what this former CIA agent would do if you really did break his daughter’s heart?
Marlin: Finding Nemo
Whatever you do, don’t underestimate this little fish. Marlin starts out as your typical overprotective dad, afraid of what his child will encounter when he goes out on his own. He learns the hard way that sometimes your kid has to venture out to see the world eventually. He crosses the entire ocean to find Nemo and bring him home, so I’d imagine that any sea creature or human that actually ever did harm his son would be in for as much of a world of hurt as little Marlin could inflict.
Bryan Mills: Taken
You’ve all been waiting for this one, right? No list of bad-ass dads would be complete without the one who traveled halfway around the world to save his daughter from a future in human trafficking. The special thing about Liam Neeson’s character in this movie is how unassuming he appears when we first see him in Taken. We know he’s a bodyguard with a colorful past, but the ass kicking he manages to perform throughout the film is on par with something you would expect out of someone like Stallone or Schwartzenegger, and it’s all to save his daughter. And that famous speech may have been ineffective as far as tough guy lines go, but it was still pretty bad-ass.
Darth Vader: Star Wars
Anakin Skywalker isn’t going to be winning any father of the year awards anytime soon, that much is for sure. Although Vader was too busy being a Sith Lord for most of his son’s life, he made up for it when it meant life or death in the end, which meant sacrificing himself to save Luke. I’d be pretty hesitant to mess with someone’s family when that someone can choke you from across the room.