Remembering the best onscreen dads this Father's Day | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Will Smith and Jaden Smith
Will Smith and Jaden Smith in “The Pursuit of Happyness”

This Father’s Day, let’s look back at the onscreen dads who took on the parenting duties when our real ones couldn’t



This Father’s Day, we honor our loving and caring dads in hopes of somehow repaying them for everything they’ve done for us. But as we celebrate the heads of our households, we should also remember that they are not the only ones who have guided and shaped us into who we are. 

And, no, we’re not talking about our relatives and other father figures we may have had. No, we’re referring to our secondary guardians; those who’ve looked after us after our parents stuck us in front of the TV to get some sleep. These are the best onscreen dads who unknowingly raised us.

READ: Our favorite onscreen spies, from Austin Powers to ‘Totally Spies!’

Homer Simpson – “The Simpsons”

homer simpson
From the “And Maggie Makes Three” episode of “The Simpsons”

We all joke about how easy it was back then to buy a property or how Asian parents would scoff at their children who want to pursue a career in the arts. But no one really ever acknowledged that perhaps our fathers didn’t dream of slaving away inside an office cubicle. Sure, we don’t have to do what they did anymore—and they too have to come to understand that. However, there’s no harm in appreciating the sacrifices they made. — Carl Martin Agustin

Marlin – “Finding Nemo”

finding nemo
“I recall watching this film roughly 13 times as a kid,” Carl Martin Agustin

Not all fathers can say they would swim across the seven seas to find their missing kid—they are not fish after all. Though, Marlin is a testament to a father’s love and the lengths they would go to protect their family. — Carl Martin Agustin

General Iroh – “Avatar: The Last Airbender”

What we’d give to have tea with everyone’s favorite uncle

Not all fathers need to be blood-related. In Uncle Iroh’s case, he was definitely better than Zuko’s real one. For all his untimely jokes and bits of wisdom, he showed us the importance of forgiveness. Zuko was not perfect and neither were the children. Iroh taught us that fathers will allow them to make and learn from their mistakes. But more importantly, he showed that they will also be there no matter what. — Carl Martin Agustin

Chris Gardner – “The Pursuit of Happyness”

will and jaden smith
Will Smith and Jaden Smith in “The Pursuit of Happyness”

We’re all about being honest with ourselves and our emotions. Especially for most men out there, it’s practically the trend motivating them to be more in touch with their feelings instead of bottling them inside. However, as a father and parent, there are times when you just have to keep it in and show up with a smile. It’s a cross they have to bear, and I can’t imagine how difficult it is to tell your kid everything is fine while your world is crashing down. — Carl Martin Agustin

Joseph Cooper – “Interstellar”

Matthew McConaughey and Mackenzie Foy in “Interstellar”

On one hand, Matthew McConaughey’s Joseph Cooper may not exactly be the model father. He chose to leave his family behind for a mission without a guarantee of success—it can even be argued that he left to pursue a once-bygone dream of becoming an astronaut. However, in reality, his sacrifice—one Murph cursed him for—would end up saving humanity. As a father, we have to make choices that not everyone, especially our children, agrees with. — Carl Martin Agustin

Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz – “Phineas and Ferb”

Phineas and ferb
Even the best dads can be overbearing at times

There’s no telling how Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz was as a husband—though, his ex-wife’s continued presence indicates that the split was civil. But for all his failures and schemes, there’s no denying the iconic evil scientist is an amazing father. Sure, he can be quite overbearing—or maybe it’s just Vanessa’s teenage angst—it’s clear he just wants the best for his daughter. Especially when we’ve seen his childhood, and I’m sure fathers today can relate—they just want their children to experience something better than they did. — Carl Martin Agustin

Harry Stamper – “Armageddon”

Liv Tyler and Bruce Willis
Liv Tyler and Bruce Willis in “Armageddon”

There’s truly something about fathers and improbable space missions—you can’t simply separate them. In one of his most impressive roles ever, Bruce Willis played Harry Stamper, an oil driller tasked with saving the world from extinction. Protecting his daughter and the entire human race is itself worthy of commendation. But when you sacrifice your life for the boyfriend you disapprove of—that’s just taking it to the next level. — Carl Martin Agustin

Lee Ik-jun – “Hospital Playlist”

hospital playlist
Cho Jung-seok as Lee Ik-jun, with on-screen son Uju

The first instance we see Lee Ik-jun is telling of just what kind of person he is. While he seems like a goofball for performing an operation in a Darth Vader helmet, we soon find out the true reason behind this odd (and otherwise unprofessional) choice of headgear: His head got stuck in the helmet while he was spending time playing with his son Uju (the little kid mischievously put glue in the helmet, eep!), and just as he was at the hospital to get help out of it, he was asked to do an emergency transplant.

This single dad-slash-in-demand-surgeon is proof you can do well in your career and be just as dedicated to your loved ones, too. — Pauline Miranda

Joselito “Lito” Gopez/Yong-gu – “Miracle in Cell No. 7”

This tearjerker of a film was first released in South Korea in 2013. Six years later, a Filipino adaptation was made for the Metro Manila Film Festival. Whether in Korean or in Filipino, the story of Yong-gu/Lito is a testament to how a father’s love transcends challenges—even if he might be developmentally disabled or even in jail. — Pauline Miranda

Woo Gwang-ho – “Extraordinary Attorney Woo”

Atty. Woo Young-woo captured our hearts for her perseverance, uncanny attention to detail, impeccable memory, and her ultimately warm heart (I still think about that beautiful nickname she gave to her friend and colleague Soo-yeon!). But behind the young woman Young-woo has blossomed into is her hardworking and caring father Gwang-ho. I can’t imagine how tough it must be to raise a child with special needs all on your own, but Gwang-ho did all that with so much patience and care, so that his daughter could spread her wings as a lawyer. Definitely the type of father we could all need. — ​​Pauline Miranda

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