My dad and I liked a lot of the same things when I was growing up. We both liked watching and playing sports, being outdoors, being crafty, and watching movies. In fact, some of the movies my dad introduced me to ultimately became some of my all-time favorites. And now every time I watch them, I can think of all the fond memories I have of watching them with my dad.
Now, you’re going to start to notice a pattern in these movies right off the bat — they’re Westerns, action flicks, adventure tales, or about sports. It might seem a tad cliche, but for the most part, these were the types of movies that he enjoyed. My dad is also a creature of habit, so if there was an actor he liked, we would tend to stick with watching their movies. I didn’t mind, though. My dad was always way cooler than me, and I wanted to seem cool too by liking the same movies. And even though I grew up to develop my own tastes and love more “geeky” movies like Lord of the Rings, I knew we could always bond over our tried and true favorites.
Here are our 10 favorites — maybe you could watch a couple with your dad this Father’s Day!
1. Star Wars
My parents took me to see the re-release of the original
Star Wars trilogy in the 90s, but neither of my parents were huge Star Wars
fans — they both prefer reality to fantasy (unlike me). However, we still ended
up with a VHS of The Empire Strikes Back, and
it was one of my dad’s go-to movies for me to watch since it didn’t have much
violence or cursing or anything like that. From then on, I was hooked. Being
a Star Wars fan has helped shape who I am as a geek and person, so I’ll always
be grateful for that.
2. The Great Escape
I got really into World War II movies after my dad introduced me to The Great Escape. Maybe it was the incredible nature of the story... or maybe it was Steve McQueen. OK, it probably had a lot to do with Steve McQueen. So many amazing actors are in this movie, and it's one flick my dad can actually sit still for (at least during the exciting parts).
3. Enter the Dragon
Bruce Lee is the man — period. Lee and his movies were popular when my dad was growing up, and he always idolized him. My dad’s favorite Bruce Lee movie is Enter the Dragon, and we must have watched it a thousand times together, if not more. We know every line to that film and still quote them to each other from time to time. It’s definitely one of Bruce Lee’s best films, and it’ll always be a favorite of mine.
4. Jurassic Park
I was too young to see Jurassic Park in theaters when it first came out, but my dad let me watch it a few years later once my parents figured I could handle the blood, guts, and terror. I loved it. In fact, it made me want to become a paleontologist (until some other movie or event made me want to be something else). And for a few years, whenever my dad took us hiking in the mountains around our house, we would “play Jurassic Park” and pretend we were looking for dinosaurs.
Yo, Adrian! I don’t remember when I first watched Rocky, but my dad and I watched Rocky and Rocky II a lot growing up. We come from a line of Irish boxers — my grandfather did a little boxing in the Army, my great grandfather had dabbled in the ring, and my great-great grandfather had been acquainted with the legendary Jack Dempsey. But I think what my dad really liked about the movie, and what he passed on to me, was the story that anyone can be a champion if they work hard enough and have enough heart. Say what you want about the franchise, but the movies have that going for them, at least.
6. Dances With Wolves
The original Avatar... I mean, sorry, excuse me... Dances With Wolves is a movie that both of my parents enjoyed. But my dad was the one who owned the DVD, so we watched it every year or so. My dad was in to Westerns, and I think he liked what the movie represented — honor, courage, and acceptance. My parents raised me to judge people based on their heart and character, not on the color of their skin or culture, so it was a good movie to grow up with (despite its problems).
My dad played hockey when I was younger, and, of course, the
actual events this movie is based off of were a huge deal when they happened. My
dad would have been a senior in high school, so I’m sure it stayed with him. We
watched this movie a lot after it came out, and I think we both teared up
hearing Al Michaels shout “Do you believe in miracles?!” — heck, I teared
up just writing it.
8. The Magnificent Seven
OK, so remember my Steve McQueen thing? Well, it didn't end with The Great Escape. Another of my dad's favorite Westerns, The Magnificent Seven, also boasts Yul Brynner, Jame Coburn, and Charles Bronson in a feel good movie about doing the right thing. Oh, also, shooting bad guys and looking really good doing it.
9. Rambo: First Blood
Again, another Sylvester Stallone movie my dad turned me on to. I actually didn’t watch Rambo until I was an older teenager, but I’ll always associate it with my dad. There's just something about Stallone movies that my dad really likes, I guess.
10. Far and Away
This movie, starring fresh faced Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise, was another family favorite. It's the story of Irish immigrants who come to America looking for a better life, a story my family could relate to since our ancestors did the same thing. We also liked it because, while unconfirmed, Colm Meaney plays an Irish boxing promotor named Michael Kelly — which also happened to be the occupation and name of my great-great-great grandfather.