It’s Father’s Day this weekend, and if you’re up for spending a lazy day on the couch with your dad (or if you’re a dad, with your kids), we recommend streaming these 14 movies focused on fathers and the love they give or inspire.

Titles range from black-and-white classics and movies from all over the world, to modern-day adventure classics and even a father-daughter zombie movie. Some movies are gentle and quiet while others are violent and exciting. In other words, there’s something here for just about everyone, on any side of the generational gap.

Bicycle Thieves (FilmStruck)

Corinth Films

★★★★★

Vittorio De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves (1949)—for years known, slightly inaccurately, as “The Bicycle Thief”—is one of the most heartbreaking father-and-son stories ever filmed. In destitute postwar Italy, a man, Antonio (Lamberto Maggiorani), gets a job hanging posters for the Hollywood film Gilda (a huge clash between fantasy and reality). But his all-important bicycle is stolen, and so he and his son Bruno (Enzo Staiola) spend the rest of the film looking for it. They have many setbacks, and a few momentary triumphs until the unforgettable ending in which the father crosses a line that can never be un-crossed. His son will never see him the same way again.

Director De Sica had been known as a handsome actor in ornate costume movies, but he jumped at the opportunity to direct the kind of neo-realist films that his countrymen Roberto Rossellini and Luchino Visconti had been making, reflecting what life in Italy was really like after the destruction of WWII, rather than empty escapism. His film was almost immediately celebrated the world over, selected as one of the greatest films ever made. For that reason, it can seem like a chore to sit down to this movie, but once it begins, it’s so very easy to get lost in it. With the expressive faces of its two untrained actors, it flows as if it were simply happening in front of us.

To Kill a Mockingbird (Netflix)

To Kill a Mockingbird Universal Pictures

★★★★★

At some point, everyone wanted a dad like Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck), and certainly young Scout (Mary Badham) sees hers as a complex kind of hero, even as her life changes during one of Atticus’ court cases. A small-town lawyer in the South, Atticus is assigned to defend Tom Robinson (Brock Peters) against an accusation of raping a white girl. As the trial goes on, Scout and her brother Jem (Phillip Alford) experience racism and violence, challenging their father’s views of pacifism and “turning the other cheek.” At the same time, their fascination with their mysterious neighbor “Boo” Radley (Robert Duvall) takes an interesting turn.

Based on an “instant classic” novel, the 1960 Pulitzer Prize winner by Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) could have been a heavy, dire, message movie, interested mainly in garnering prestige. But miraculously, the finished movie is effortless, even beautiful. Of course, its inherent social issues are hard to avoid, and the Tom Robinson character never comes to life as anything other than a symbol, but the movie’s themes are imparted with grace and understanding. Producer Alan J. Pakula went on to make All the President’s Men a decade later, and Mary Badham’s brother John grew up to become a director himself, making Saturday Night Fever and WarGames among many other titles.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (Hulu, Amazon Prime)

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade Lucasfilm, Ltd. / Paramount Pictures

★★★★☆

Director Steven Spielberg’s films are filled with themes of fathers and sons, but Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) was one of the few times that a father and son shared a roller-coaster adventure together, side-by-side. It was the swashbuckling archaeologist hero’s third feature film, and the first in which his dad, Henry (Sean Connery), appeared. When Henry is kidnapped, along with his journal filled with notes on the Holy Grail, Indy (Harrison Ford), must get him back before the Nazis use the journal to discover the Grail’s secret of eternal life.

Indy fans endlessly debate the merits and flaws of the sequels—though they all agree that the original is best—but Last Crusade has enough spirit to make up for any ridiculous defects. And, indeed, the old-time film serials that inspired this series were not without their own silly elements, and folks loved them anyway. This one begins with River Phoenix cast as a young, mop-haired Indy, providing a sly origin story for everything from his love of fedoras to his fear of snakes. And it ends with “we named the dog Indiana” and riding off into a magical sunset (one that Spielberg claims miraculously appeared at the last second).



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