Dads haven’t always been portrayed as awesome in pop culture, but there are some movies that just get it right. We love the dads in these movies because they are genuine, flawed, and (most of all) they put their kids first. If you’re burned out on baby books about what to expect, take a break you can justify with these must-watch movies for new dads.
Steve Martin steals the show in this heartwarming family dramedy that looks at the good, the bad, and the ugly of raising kids. This movie digs into the soul of fatherhood and highlights that no matter how bad it seems at the time all the struggle is ultimately worth it. And, if you never thought you’d impersonate a birthday party cowboy-for-hire to help your kid save face, this movie is about to change your mind.
Tear-jerker alert! This one’s going to make you cry (no matter how much you pretend it’s just “something in your eye.”) Will Smith plays a down-on-his-luck dad who’s willing to do whatever it takes to provide the life he believes his son deserves. It’s inspiring, hopeful, and a real-life story about the power of being a father.
You may be worried about feeling as fish-out-of-water as these hapless fellows do when they come across an unexpected bambino on their doorstep. But just as they turned into pros, you will too. And singing “Goodnight Sweetheart” at bedtime is an easy-to-start nighttime ritual. Plus, it will be decades before your kids ever discover where this treasured bedtime routine came from!
The teenage years may feel far, far away, but they’ll be here before you know it. It’s never too early to start preparing yourself. This is a moving film about a desperate dad trying to reconcile with his troubled teenage son. Without giving too much away, a diagnosis is what kicks off his last-ditch effort. This movie is a great reminder that it’s never too late to be the father your child needs.
Atticus Finch was a trailblazer. He may be the original single dad, and he does it admirably. Atticus never misses a chance to teach his kids (especially daughter Scout) life lessons. And he doesn’t back away from the hard questions. While it can be intimidating to compare yourself to the incomparable Gregory Peck, don’t sweat it. Just follow Atticus’ example of honesty and courage in the face of adversity, and you’ll do fine.
This one’s here to make you feel better about yourself. No matter what you do as a new father, chances are it’s gonna be better than Nic Cage’s hapless character in this irreverent comedy. (And not just because you didn’t commit a felony to become a daddy.) But despite all the bad decisions that led to fatherhood, Cage ultimately does right by his baby, and we know you will too.
You’ve got years of Disney films in your future, so why not warm up with one of the most endearing of all? Plus, this one features a father-son duo, which isn’t always easy to find. When little Nemo pushes beyond his father’s strict boundaries, a perilous adventure ensues. But no matter how scary things get, Nemo’s dad never gives up. And that’s a fatherly example worth watching.
One of the most amazing things about having a baby is how it turns your parents into grandparents. And it’s one of the most challenging. Well, buckle up and use this wacky comedy as a model for how NOT to do it. Our favorite lesson (in between laughs) is how important it is for new dads to shake off the mantle of their own fathers to become the dads they need to be. It’s not easy, but everyone, including your dad, will benefit from this brave, fatherly move.
If you’re not fully prepared for parenthood, you may be even less prepared for the zombie apocalypse. But before you simply give up, let Brad Pitt show you how it’s done. Not only does Pitt’s character kick butt, but he does it without skipping a beat as a protective papa bear. You probably won’t have to face down the undead, but we know you’ll be able to dispatch the challenges that threaten your little one just as well.
Let’s admit it, Clark Griswold is the father we all wish we had and the father we all want to be. Sure, he’s not perfect—but no one tries harder. And trying is, when it comes right down to it, a great big part of being an awesome parent. Clark puts his family first and goes to ridiculous lengths to create memories his kids will cherish for the rest of their lives. If this is the only movie you use to model your own foray into fatherhood, you’ll be in good hands.