Father's Day

Finding Nemo & More Great Family Movies To Watch This Father’s Day

Marlin might be overprotective, but you gotta love him.

by Casey Suglia and JM Farkas
Originally Published: 

If you’re looking to spend some quality time with dad instead of buying him yet another tie or set of golf balls this Father’s Day, try popping on a sweet and funny family-friendly movie that will make you both chuckle and maybe even tug at your heartstrings. Heck, why not spoil him with a cool gift too while you’re at it.

For dads who love to laugh, movies like Daddy Day Care and Cheaper By The Dozen will certainly do the trick. (Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy are good at what they do.) And if you’re in the mood for stories about loyal or overprotective dads check out flicks like Pixar’s 2003 classic Finding Nemo and Will Smith in The Pursuit of Happyness that will make you a little emotional. Or if you’re simply just looking for a fun movie to watch on Father’s Day with the whole family, then Mamma Mia! and The Lion King are the perfect films for you.

So after you light up the grill for a tasty steak and enjoy a delicious meal together this Father’s Day, get cozy on the couch and celebrate dad a little more with a movie all about a father’s unique love.


In this modern retelling of the Broadway musical, Annie, Jamie Foxx stars as Will Stacks, a mayoral candidate in NYC who takes in a foster child named Annie to help boost him in the polls. Will is inclined to believe that he is Annie’s guardian angel, but as it turns out, the little girl might just be the one who rescues him. Quvenzhané Wallis, the youngest actress ever to be nominated for an Academy Award, steals the spotlight as a spunky new Annie that you’ll be rooting for in no time. Cameron Diaz plays a boozy Miss Hannigan, in her last role before putting acting on hold to focus on the hard knocks life of being a full-time mom instead.

Rent Annie, rated PG, on Amazon Prime for $3.99.

Billboard Dad

Before there was Tinder, you really had to get creative when trying to play cupid for your dad. Case in point: two twin sisters, played by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, paint a personal ad for their newly single father on a billboard. After a series of dates, their “Billboard Dad” thinks that he’s found the one, but the twins will have to make peace with her rebellious son, first. This Los Angeles love story will have you feeling like you’re cruising down Sunset Boulevard or frolicking in the salty waves of the Pacific. Billboard Dad has a little bit of romance and a lot of hijinks that will have you nostalgic for the days when Mary-Kate and Ashley ruled your VCR.

Rent Billboard Dad, rated G, on YouTube Movies for $3.99.

Cheaper By The Dozen

Steve Martin stars as a dad of 12 kids who is left in charge of the family when his wife goes out of town on a book tour. Needless to say, chaos ensues. Martin’s natural affinity for dad jokes in this film will have you missing your own father and stocking up on the cleaning supplies ASAP. If this flick does the Father’s Day trick, lucky for you there’s at least five more movies based on the original book too. Stay true to the original and check out the 1950’s movie or opt for the recently rebooted version of Cheaper by the Dozen, with Gabrielle Union and Zach Braff taking up the mantle of the franchise to star in this modern story of a blended multiracial family.

Stream Cheaper By The Dozen, rated PG, on Disney+.

Coming 2 America

In this Coming To America sequel, Eddie Murphy stars as King Akeem who travels to New York in search of his long lost son. The film is all about a father’s relationship with his different kids, but it is also rated PG-13 for crude language and content. It is an Eddie Murphy film, after all. While the focus of Coming 2 America is a father and son, this sequel suggests that maybe the best choice for a predecessor of any dynasty is actually the ruler’s daughter. Awesome additions to the cast include the hilarious Leslie Jones and a butt-kicking Teyana Taylor.

Watch Coming 2 America, rated PG-13, on Amazon Prime.

Daddy Day Care

Another dad-tastic movie, starring Eddie Murphy, Daddy Day Care understands every parent’s arduous quest for quality childcare. When two recently unemployed dads start their own day care center, they realize that not everything is what it seems in this hilarious film. Regina King plays a high-powered lawyer and working mom who must provide for her family while her husband holds down the fort at home. Daddy Day Care is one of those films from the early 2000s that’s so good, it needs to be revisited ASAP. Keep your eyes open for an angelic Elle Fanning in her super-cute (and screaming) role as one of the daycare toddlers.

Stream Daddy Day Care, rated PG, on Max.

Daddy Day Camp

From the makers of Daddy Day Care, this fun spin-off follows a similar formula, but swaps out toddlers and the suburbs for older kids and summer vacation. Two day care entrepreneurs (who also happen to be dads) decide to buy their old, run down camp, and attempt to have the best summer ever for themselves, their kids, and their campers. With trouble-makers named Mullet and all kinds of July hijinks, these hapless dads have their work cut out for them. It’s definitely a summer they’ll never forget–but that’s also because a yellow school bus literally crashes into a building under their watch.

Rent Daddy Day Camp, rated PG, on Amazon Prime for $3.99.

Double Dad

A teenager embarks on a journey to discover who her father is while her mom is away in this Netflix original film from Brazil. Vicenza, who was raised in a hippie commune, begins the journey of a lifetime to gorgeous Rio de Janeiro. In this classic fish out of water story with a paternity twist, an 18-year-old is delighted to locate the two men who might be her dad, but ends up bonding with both of them. Vicenza is torn about learning who her real father is when she jumps from being dad-less to suddenly having two cool options! It’s a little bit of Mamma Mia! and a whole lot of heartwarming self discovery that will have you feeling good all over.

Stream Double Dad, rated TV-G, on Netflix.

Definitely, Maybe

Before he had three kids with Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds was playing a dad to a young daughter in Definitely, Maybe. Reynolds stars as Will Hayes, a dad in the middle of a divorce, who retells the story of his single life to his rapt daughter. It’s pretty hard to root for who turns out to be Maya’s mama when the possible contenders are as amazing as Rachel Weisz, Elizabeth Banks, and Isla Fisher. While this Rom-Com might be a sweet tribute to past romances, it’s the charming father-daughter relationship that will steal your heart. Parents, this film is rated PG-13 for sexual content, language, and smoking.

Rent Definitely, Maybe, rated PG-13, on Amazon Prime for $3.79.

Finding Nemo

Move over Simba and Mufasa! There’s another touching Disney movie with a father-son storyline that’s sure to bring on the tears (luckily this one is under water). When a young fish named Nemo is unexpectedly taken from his home, it’s up to his nervous father, Marlin, and his forgetful friend, Dory, to save him. Sure, the characters may be animated fish, but Marlin’s dedication to get his son home makes Finding Nemo unlike any other father-child movie. An oceanic ode to helicopter parents everywhere, Finding Nemo navigates the bittersweet waters of what it’s like to worry like crazy about your kid.

Stream Finding Nemo, rated G, on Disney+.

Father of the Bride

Steve Martin stars as a father reluctant to approve of his daughter’s fiancé in the hilarious 1991 film, Father of the Bride. This movie will have you grateful that your father approved of your high school boyfriend — or at least, grateful that he pretended to like him. Funny man Martin Short plays the wedding planner of your wildest dreams (or worst nightmare) — it’s kind of hard to say (but you’ll be left in stitches either way). Make sure to catch the highly-anticipated Miami-a-fied Father of the Bride reboot, starring superstar Gloria Estefan, or maybe stream the 1950’s original movie with screen legend Elizabeth Taylor.

Rent Father of the Bride, rated PG, on Hulu.

Field of Dreams

Batter up for the 80’s movie starring Kevin Costner that gave birth to the repeatable catchphrase: “if you build it, he will come.” Field of Dreams is a slice of baseball heaven in the middle of an Iowan corn field. It’s the confirmation you need to actually listen to the voices inside your head (or echoing across your vast acreage of farmland). The plot: a father, inspired by a vision he sees in the middle of the night, creates a baseball field where dead baseball players come to play. This film not only tackles those father-child relationships, but also gives visuals to the age old dad saying, “believe in your dreams.” And what isn’t there to love about that?

Rent Field of Dreams, rated PG, on Amazon Prime Video for $3.99.

The Game Plan

In The Game Plan, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson stars as Joe Kingman, a superstar football player who is well on the way to winning a championship with his team. But when Joe learns that he actually has a young daughter, he must learn how to balance his superstar persona while learning how to be a dad. It’s a little jarring to see Johnson with a full mane of hair instead of his signature shaved head, but it’s no stretch to see the real-life proud Girl Dad flexing his fatherly muscles. Not only will this film tug at your heart, but it also stars The Rock. Need we say more?

Watch The Game Plan, rated PG, on Disney+.

The Lion King

With unforgettable songs like “The Circle of Life” and “Hakuna Matata,” this is most definitely the Disney movie for the animated dad who loves to sing along while tapping his feet on the coffee table too. But The Lion King also has its fair share of tears, emotion, and seriousness. After the death of his dad Mufasa, Simba runs away from home, only to return as an adult looking to claim his rightful throne. Although Mufasa is only on screen for a short period of time, The Lion King proves that the bond between father and son can never be broken.

Stream The Lion King, rated G, on Disney+.

Mamma Mia!: The Movie

Amanda Seyfried plays a gloriously tanned and melodious bride with the incomparable Meryl Streep as her musician mom in this film adaptation of the musical Mamma Mia! Before her wedding to the perfect man with the perfect backdrop of seaside Greece, Sophie has just one wish: to have her dad walk her down the aisle. The only problem is that she has to find out who her dad is. Mamma Mia! is the perfect film to watch with your musical-loving dad (who always made you feel like a Dancing Queen, especially if he’s an ABBA fan). Note this film is rated PG-13 for some sexual content.

Stream Mamma Mia!: The Movie on Max.

Mrs. Doubtfire

It’s tough enough for Daniel Hillard when his marriage ends, but he’s really in a pickle when he loses his job too. In this “kill two birds with one stone” comedy, a desperate parent finds a very creative solution (involving a grey wig and lots of women’s cardigans) to see his kids and make some cash. Comic legend Robin Williams stars as the desperate dad who hatches a plan to disguise himself as a nanny to spend more time with his kids. After he charms his way into getting closer to his family, some serious complications arise that could risk separating them forever. Parents, do take note that this film is rated PG-13 for some sexual references.

Rent Mrs. Doubtfire, rated PG-13, on Amazon Prime Video for $3.99.

The Pursuit of Happyness

Will Smith and his son, Jaden Smith, star in the 2006 movie, The Pursuit of Happyness, about a single father willing to do whatever it takes to make an amazing life for his son. The movie tells the amazing and true story of a man named Chris Gardner who struggled with homelessness, but was successfully able to advance in his internship as a stock broker, despite facing incredible obstacles. It’s the kind of epic movie that tugs on your heart strings and will have you calling your dad to tell him “thank you.” Do note that it’s rated PG-13 for some explicit language.

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

Three Men & A Baby

Tom Selleck, Steve Guttenberg, and Ted Danson star as 80’s hotties living their best single lives in Manhattan until they are met with a very small surprise (that requires a whole lot of work). The lives of three bachelors living in New York City are turned upside down when a baby is dropped on their doorstep, forcing them to become unlikely fathers. While this isn’t necessarily about the bond between father and child, it’s proof that fatherhood can happen to anyone when they least expect it. It’s also a great reminder that it can take three men to accomplish the same job that often lands in the hands of one lone woman.

Stream Three Men & A Baby, rated PG, on Disney+.

To Kill A Mockingbird

In this film, based on the bestselling novel by Harper Lee, Gregory Peck plays Atticus Finch, a widowed father and lawyer who defends a Black man accused of rape. While his defense may cost him his friendships in his town, he earns the respect of his two young kids.A story told through the eyes of a young, motherless girl named Scout, To Kill a Mockingbird is a book that has been both revered in the canon of children’s literature as well as scrutinized for inadequately addressing racial injustice. Since the book holds such a controversial place in American literature, the movie also provides an opportunity to open up difficult family dialogue while raising Anti-Racist kids.

Rent To Kill A Mockingbird, not rated, on YouTube Movies for $3.99.

Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls

Idris Elba stars as Monty, a mechanic, struggling to make ends meet and raise his three daughters alone. But when his drug-dealing ex-wife wins custody of their daughters, he ends up enlisting the help of a successful attorney to get his daughters back. Gabrielle Union plays a high-powered lawyer with an impressive winning streak, who is a perfect match for the doting dad who is not willing to give up on his kids. When a romance ignites, it’s up to them to sort out their personal feelings to help keep the family together. Note that this film is rated PG-13 for thematic material, drug and sexual content, and language.

Watch Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls on Tubi.

What A Girl Wants

Amanda Bynes stars as a quirky American teenager who travels to London to meet the father she’s never met. But upon arriving she realizes that he’s Lord Henry Dashwood, a member of Britain’s upperclass who is running for public office. Colin Firth stars as the dashing UK dad who must make up for lost time with his kid. Although he welcomes her into his life, she must win the approval of the people in his inner circle without shaking things up too much. Fans of the Royal Family will enjoy this family-friendly adventure across the pond that can only be outmatched by the father-daughter bonding of William and Charlotte.

Rent What A Girl Wants, rated PG, on Amazon Prime for $2.89.

Treat your deserving father to a laid-back movie night at home with this great list of dad movies. Truth be told: he probably can’t wait to kick off his uncomfortable shoes and celebrate his big day with a little relaxation.

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