Father's Day

20 Great Movies About Fathers & Sons That Will Make You Laugh & Cry

Pass the tissues, please.

by Casey Suglia and Alexia McKay
Originally Published: 

The relationship between father and son is like no other. It’s a unique bond that’s filled with love, humor, and complicated emotions, all of which are put on display in this collection of movies about fathers and sons. So if you’re looking for something to watch on Father’s Day or any day of the year, here are 20 movies that fit the bill.

For the father and sons who love going on adventures, movies like Onward, about a son’s quest to reunite with their late father, and Finding Nemo, where dad Marlin sets off to find his son, will satisfy that craving to get outdoors. For dads who love a good cry, check out family dramas like The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind and The Pursuit of Happyness, both based on two true stories (so you know the story is that good). And if you’re just looking to watch a good movie about the bond between pops and junior, then consider watching Tim Burton’s dreamy film Big Fish or the hilarious film, 17 Again.

Based on your interests, it’s guaranteed that you will be able to find at least one movie on this list to watch on Father’s Day. Heck, make it a marathon and put a bunch on your watchlist.

A Goofy Movie

Goofy is a well-meaning but rather goofy father to his son Max. When the father-son duo embarks on a road trip together, they find themselves on a serious misadventure. Max wants to go to the Powerline concert (after lying to his crush and telling her that’s where his dad was taking him.) But in truth, Goofy wants to take his son fishing. As we get older, we realize how priceless father-son moments are and how selfish Max was being. But in the end, the two end up bonding on the hood of their car after crashing into the river.

Watch A Goofy Movie, rated G, on Disney+.

About Time

When Tim learns from his father that the men in his family can travel back in time, he uses his newfound skill to win over the girl of his dreams. While the film is rated R for language and some sexual content, the relationship between Tim and his father throughout the film is so touching and heartfelt. The scene in which Tim spends the last moments with his dad is a real tearjerker. This 2013 drama stars Domhnall Gleeson, Bill Nighy, and Rachel McAdams. And although it's meant to be a romance, the father-son love dynamic is too strong to be denied and truly needs its own spotlight.

Stream About Time, rated R, on YouTube and Tubi.

Big Fish

A son tries to piece together a picture of his father using the amazing and fantastical stories told from his youth in this gorgeous Tim Burton film. While the movie is rated PG-13 for a fight scene and some nudity, viewers will get lost in the imaginative stories and give you some serious memories of the stories told in your family. Growing up, Edward Bloom would tell his son will all kinds of stories about his past adventures, which would’ve been great if the stories aligned with the actual facts. Over time, their relationship becomes estranged, and must face the challenging obstacles all fathers must endure with their adult sons at one point in time: reconnecting. The 20003 movie stars Albert Finney, Billy Crudupis, and Ewan McGregor. It is based on the 1998 novel of the same name by Daniel Wallace.

Rent Big Fish, rated PG-13, on Amazon Prime for $3.89.

Bigfoot Family


Bigfoot as a dad — yep! When Bigfoot goes missing while fighting against an Alaskan oil company, it’s up to his tech-savvy human son to take on an evil CEO in order to save his family and wildlife preserve in this 2020 Netflix original movie. It’s the ultimate father-son movie, with a little mythical creature thrown in, along with a normal human mother, a talking raccoon and a talking bear. Oh, and a wolf helps them out as well! The animated film is a sequel to the 2017 film, The Son of Bigfoot, which is on Amazon Prime.

Stream Bigfoot Family, rated TV-Y7, on Netflix.

Billy Elliot

Inspired by true events, Billy Elliot is an 11-year-old son of a coal miner who stumbles into a dance class after his weekly boxing lessons. When he discovers that he has a talent for dancing, Billy must fight through his father’s objections to stand up for his new talent. It’s a movie all about standing up for what you believe in and are passionate about, even if you have to defend it against your own parent. The film is rated R for language, but you’ll get lost in the drama between Billy and his dad. The movie is lightly based on the true story of Sir Thomas Allen.

Rent Billy Elliot, rated R, on YouTube for $3.99.

The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind

Ilze Kitshoff/Netflix

Inspired by his science book, a 13-year-old boy wants to build a wind turbine out of scrap metal and old bicycle parts to save his Malawian village and family from famine. In the end, the boy was able to bring electricity to his home and helped his family pump the water they needed to farm the land. This is a movie all about survival and perseverance and is inspired by a true story. The British drama film is written, directed by, and starred Doctor Strange star, Chiwetel Ejiofor

Watch The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, rated TV-PG, on Netflix.


After a Los Angeles chef gets into a fight with a culinary critic, he moves back home to Miami to open a food truck where he reunites with his son and rediscovers his passion for cooking. While Chef is rated R for language and suggestive references, dads who have a foodie side will love all of the food shots in the film. And after all, if you can’t find love anywhere else, you can always guarantee to find it in the kitchen. A fun comedy starring Jon Favreau, Sofia Vergara, and John Leguizamo.

Stream Chef, rated R, on Max.


Actor Ted Danson plays John Tremont, a businessman who never had to worry about his dad — until his mom passes away. John realizes that he has to look out for his stubborn, aging father. And the task gets even rougher when he discovers his dad has an aggressive form of cancer. His new role as caregiver makes him realize he has to mend the relationship with his own son and realize how important it was to mend loose bonds. The 1989 drama is timeless in those lessons. Dad is based on a novel by William Wharton.

Rent Dad, rated PG, on YouTube Movies, for $3.99.

Disney’s The Kid

Bruce Willis is Russ Duritz, a career-minded, 40-year-old man who has forgotten all about the kid he used to be — until he wakes up one morning and meets his younger self, face to face. Russ needs to accept his past, and in order to do that, he must take care of him. It’s an unconventional take on a father-son relationship that will have you wanting to reunite with your own inner kid. And as adults sometimes we need to tap into our younger selves to get back to ourselves.

Stream Disney’s The Kid, rated PG, on Disney+.

Field of Dreams

Actor Kevin Costner is Ray Kinsella, an Iowan corn farmer, troubled by his broken relationship with his late father, who was a devoted baseball fan. When he builds a baseball field out of his corn field, he is able to attract some of the greats and mend his relationship with his dad. The only thing is the ‘greats’ are actually the spirits of famous ball players led by "Shoeless" Joe Jackson. A supernatural, sports fantasy that is inspiring for all ages. The 1989 movie is based on W. P. Kinsella's 1982 novel Shoeless Joe.

Rent Field of Dreams, rated PG, on YouTube Movies and Amazon Prime for $3.99.

Finding Nemo

After his entire family is attacked by barracudas, Marlin becomes an overprotective clown fish, who worries about his only surviving son, Nemo. When Nemo is kidnapped off their home reef by a diver (who also happens to be a dentist), it’s up to Marlin and a forgetful fish named Dory, to travel across the ocean and save him. In the end, Nemo ends up showing his dad how brave he really when he rescues Dory and other fish who are caught in a fishing net, using survival skills he learned while in the tank at the doctor’s office. Marlin ends up becoming less overprotective and trusting his son more, which ends up bringing them closer.

Watch Finding Nemo, rated G, on Disney+.

How To Train Your Dragon

Meet Hiccup, a young Viking and the son the village chieftain, Stoick the Vast, who befriends one of man’s most evil foes — a dragon named Toothless. But Hiccup soon realizes that it’s more to the creature than fire, scales and teeth. Hiccup and Toothless overcome so many obstacles together, including repairing the relationship between Hiccup and his father, Stoick. Their relationship started out pretty strained since the two are complete opposites of each other. Hiccup just wants to make his dad proud by conforming to tradition and slaying dragons. But the mission contradicts his accident-prone ways.

Watch How To Train Your Dragon, rated PG, on Netflix.

Kramer vs. Kramer

Let’s face it — fathers who have to step up and become single parents just do not get enough credit. After his wife unexpectedly leaves a father to raise his young son alone, he gets a crash course in parenting and defending his family. The 1979 movie stars Duston Hoffman, Meryl Streep, and Justin Henry. Over 40 years later, the Oscar award-winning movie is a classic known for its realistic depiction of single parenthood, gender roles and the ups and downs of divorce. In the end the court ruled in favor of the mother for custody. But the decision was largely viewed as realistic on how child custody cases were resolved in the 70s.

Rent Kramer vs. Kramer, rated PG, on Amazon Prime for $3.99.

The Lion King

Some men are born kings. In this case, it’s a lion. Simba is a young lion cub who just can’t wait to be king of pride rock (cue the music). But he sees his world come crashing down when he learns his uncle, Scar, is responsible for his father Mufasa’s demise. Empowered by the spirit of his late father and Rafiki, Simba returns home to reclaim the kingdom that is rightfully his. The “great kings of the past” have kept this timeless Disney classic in our hearts for over 20 years (not to mention the epic soundtrack). Sorry, Frozen generation, there is no comparison.

Watch the animated The Lion King, rated G, on Disney+.

The Main Event

Bettina Strauss/Netflix

A young wrestling fan, Leo, discovers that he has a talent for wrestling once he puts on a super special mask. After his mom leaves his dad and their house is at risk for being taken away from them, Leo decides to enter a wrestling competition to help save their family and become the next WWE superstar. Sonic the Hedgehog and Happy Endings star Adam Pally also co-stars as Steve, Leo’s dad, and Black Panther star Seth Carr is Leo. Fun fact, this movie was produced by WWE Studios, which also produced 2002’s The Scorpion King, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Watch The Main Event, rated TV-G on Netflix.


In this epic adventure tale from Pixar, two teenage elf brothers get to spend a day with their late father — they just have to bring him back with a magical gem. Or at least try to. The journey is full of impossible obstacles and discoveries and heartfelt in many ways, as the fantasy movie deals with loss, since the younger brother never got an opportunity to meet his dad. CBR ranked it as one of Pixar’s saddest movies ever. It’s a bittersweet movie that reminds us we all would spend one more moment with a loved one we lost if we had the opportunity.

Watch Onward, rated PG, on Disney+.

The Pursuit of Happyness

Real life father-son duo Will and Jaden Smith starred in this film about a dad who defies the odds to overcome homelessness, raise his son, and climb the ranks of a company. He ends up getting hired at a prestigious brokerage firm as an unpaid intern and the pair live in shelters and sleep in bathroom stalls to get by. But the father refuses to give up; anything to give a better life for his son. The 2006 is based on the inspiring true story of Chris Gardner. The Pursuit of Happyness is rated PG-13 for some language, and will likely make you cry.

Watch The Pursuit of Happyness, rated PG-13, on Netflix.

Sleepless In Seattle

Aside from the classic Empire State Building meet-up, this 1993 romantic comedy is a cool fatherly flick. Sam Baldwin is a widowed father to an 8-year-old son, Jonah, who have started a new life in Seattle. But the father-son duo, still sick with grief, call into a radio show to share their story. After a woman listening to the radio hears their story, she goes on an epic adventure to meet up with Sam. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan are the stars in this classic. They just don’t make good movies like this one anymore!

Watch Sleepless in Seattle, rated PG, on Netflix.

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Young Jedi Luke Skywalker finds out the identity of his father in the second installment of the popular Star Wars series. This has to be watched, if only for the iconic line: “No, I am your father.” Not to mention those tearjerker final moments when Darth Vader attempts to save Luke after learning about him from Emperor Palpatine who is also Chancellor of the Republic, who was also a Sith Master (Jeda fans you get it). The classic scene inspired the Toy Story 2 moment in which Buzz Lightyear discovers the Emperor Zerg is his father.

Watch Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, rated PG, on Disney+.

17 Again

Imagine coming across your parents as teenagers. That’s pretty much the storyline for this 2009 family comedy. A 37-year-old father of two, whose life is falling apart, gets a second chance at life when he is suddenly transformed to his 17-year-old self, and has to befriend his teenage son, who he discovers is a bit of a loser. It is, however, rated PG-13 for language and some teen partying, but the film is worth watching to see how a teenage Zac Efron interacts with his “kids.” If you like Freaky Friday, you can appreciate this one.

Rent 17 Again, rated PG-13, on Amazon Prime for $3.79.

Of course, there are plenty other dad movies but these should get you off to a great start!

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