11 Best Lessons Dads in Movies

Dads are great. They watch TV with you. They play catch with you. And, most of all, they impart great wisdom and life lessons. This is especially true of movie dads, who always seem to say the perfect things. Let’s look at some things we’ve learned from movie dads.

You Gotta Be Brave

Matt Damon’s “20 seconds” theory in We Bought a Zoo perfectly encapsulates both the difficulty and ease of finding courage, something every kid – and grown-up – should find useful.

It’s a Thin Line Between Life and Death

Bill from Kill Bill might not be the best dad ever, but he does a great job turning the death of his daughter’s fish into a teachable moment on the value of life and permanence of death, something he obviously knows a lot about.

Grown-ups Make Mistakes Too

It’s important to see that our parents are not perfect. Sometimes this means they cheat on their taxes. Sometimes that means they become homicidal overlords of an oppressive galactic empire. Either way, there’s always hope for redemption.

You Need a Little Recklessness

Safety first! But maybe there’s such a thing as TOO much safety. Sometimes you have to go out there and get a little dirty. This is one of the few things Royal Tenenbaum actually got right about parenting.

What’s Right Isn’t Always Easy

Even if Atticus Finch didn’t defend an innocent black man in the racist South, he would still be one of the greatest movie dads ever. His every action imparts wisdom and dignity. And he does what’s right, no matter the cost.

Family Is Everything

No one will love you like your family, so you have to make sure they remain your number-one priority. Even if you’re a family of criminals and murderers, you can’t ignore this very important lesson. Unless they cross you.

Only a Real Man Can Raise Children

Boyz n the Hood teaches us (courtesy of Jason “Furious” Styles) that any fool can go out and have fun, but it takes a real man to make good on his responsibilities and do right by his child. And that’s exactly what he does, which gives his son a fighting chance to make something of his life.

Only You Can Decide Your Own Destiny

Poor Spock, trapped between two worlds. When the time comes for fatherly advice, all his father, Serek, can offer is the truth: Spock will have to choose his own path. Sometimes dads have to take a step back and let their kids make the hard choices. Even Vulcans know this.

Never Stop Dreaming

Life isn’t easy, and it’s harder for those who let the daily grind get in the way of keeping their mind young and full of spirit. The stories we hear Albert Finney tell his son in Big Fish are obviously exaggerated, some to the point of being completely untrue. But that’s part of their point.

Don’t Give Up

Will Smith’s character goes from homeless to a financial success story by the end of The Pursuit of Happyness, and he does so while raising his young son all by himself. If there’s a better lesson a child could see on the power of perseverance, we don’t know what it is.

Baseball Can Solve All Life’s Problems

Whatever is wrong, baseball can solve it. For instance, you haven’t seen your dad since he died many years ago, and now he’s standing right before you and you don’t know what to say? Have a catch. It’ll be like he never left.