Movie And TV Bonds That Prove Father/Son Relationships Are Complex

The relationships between fathers and sons can go in a number of different directions. For some Fathers, their sons set the sun, moon and the stars and their well-being becomes the foundation of the Father's lives. Other relationships are more complicated and face situations like jealousy or strife.

At the end of the day, however, most fathers and sons are able to develop a special bond and the exact proclivities of these bonds can drastically change from one family to the next. Below is a list of the 20 most epic Father and Son bonds. The list follows no specific order.

Martin And Frasier Crane - Frasier

Kelsey Grammer and John Mahoney on the set of FRASIER which is in its final season, August 11, 2003.
Photo by Ken Hively/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Photo by Ken Hively/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The character of Martin Crane played sublimely by the late John Mahoney, showed that men can grow to have significantly different personalities than their Fathers. Martin was a rough around the edges retired police officer while his sons, Frasier and Niles, became stiff psychiatrists. The boys, of course, were more influenced by their late Mother.

That doesn't mean that Martin did not love and appreciate his sons. While he was quick to joke about their eccentricities, Martin dearly loved his sons. Frasier took his Father into his home and the two men were able to bond despite their vast differences.

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Fred And Lamont Sanford - Sanford And Son

'Sanford And Son'
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Photo by NBC Television/Courtesy of Getty Images
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Like Martin Crane, Fred Sanford was a rough around the edges Father who regularly clashed with his ambitious son, Lamont. While they did not have glamorous jobs (they ran a junkyard) the two were always hoping to rise above their status. Lamont is very clever, but Fred often proves himself to be the savvier and more street smart of the two.

Fred may appear to be the ultimate curmudgeon, but he often proves himself to actually have a heart of gold. And nowhere is this heart of gold seen more often than when he proves to Lamont that he has plenty of love and affection for him.

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John And Ray Kinsella - Field Of Dreams

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The 1989 smash hit, Field of Dreams, showed how Fathers and Sons could have a troubled relationship that is sometimes not solved in the living years. In the movie, though, John and Ray Kinsella are able to heal their wounds long after John had passed away.

The movie posits that the issues fathers and sons face may best be solved by bonding over the things that connected them in the first place. For John and Ray, that thing in baseball. There are many rough and tumble men and women who have turned into a puddle after Ray asks John, "Dad, do you want to have a catch?"

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Ward And Beaver Cleaver - Leave It To Beaver

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Photo by R. Gates/Courtesy of Getty Images
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While some of these father and son combinations have had to tackle the trickiest and most controversial subjects of the day, others had to deal with very different issues. Ward and Beaver Cleaver were emblematic of a much simpler time, back in the 1950's.

While Beaver sometimes got in trouble, he generally hoped to do the right thing in the long run. Each episode would end with a conversation between Ward and Beaver where father would counsel son about the best ways to go about the circumstances of life.

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Stan And Randy Marsh - South Park

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At the complete opposite end of the spectrum from Ward and Beaver Cleaver, stand Randy and Stan Marsh. While Randy surely loves his son as much as Ward loved his, they show their love in very different ways.

Randy doesn't lecture Stan but tries to connect with him in a variety of ways. Whether this means he tries to learn how to play Stan's video games or impersonates his favorite musical artist or even fights other little league dads in the stand, the decisions are all clearly made out of love.

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Furious And Tre Styles - Boyz In The Hood

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John Singleton's stunning 1991 film, Boyz in the Hood, introduced movie goers to a father and son relationship that was uncommon in cinema at the time. Single father Furious hoped to point his son Trey in the right direction despite the fact that they lived in a dangerous Los Angeles neighborhood.

Furious gave his son plenty of rope to make the rights decisions but was always there with wise counsel when it was needed. Though tragedy strikes, Furious is able to see his son out of their rough Crenshaw neighborhood and into college at Morehouse.

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Phil And Luke Dunphy - Modern Family

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Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic
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Sometimes father and son relationships can be complicated affairs marked by resentment and strife. Sometimes they can just be joyful affairs where father and son revel in their connection to one another. The relationship between Phil and Luke Dunphy is certainly the latter.

Phil and Luke have fun together. Their hijinks-laden bond is a celebration of what can happen when parent and child are truly best friends. While the Dunphys at one point thought Luke may be a bit dull, he later proves himself to be smart and resourceful.

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Fred And George Jung - Blow

Blow Premiere
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Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images
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Sometimes parents must reconcile with the fact that their children may not make the best choices. In the 2001 biopic, Blow, Fred Jung (Ray Liotta) has nothing but admiration and love for his drug-dealing son George (Johnny Depp).

While George's mother doesn't quite feel the same about her son, at one point calling the police on him, Fred always has his back. Anytime the two get together, they toast, "May the wind always be at your back and the sun upon your face. And may the wings of destiny carry you aloft to dance with the stars."

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Alan And Cory Matthews - Boy Meets World

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Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for New York Comic Con
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In the hit ABC sitcom, Boy Meets World, Alan Matthews raised his sons Eric and Cory along with younger daughter, Morgan. Alan also took time to mentor Cory's best friend, Shawn, who had a difficult relationship with is Father.

Alan had served in the military before becoming a successful grocery store manager and wanted to chart a different path for his sons. While Cory and Eric provided different sorts of problems, their father eventually counseled them on the best way to go about things.

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Robert and Dale Doback - Step Brothers

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Some children have a really complicated case of arrested development. In the 2008 comedy. Step Brothers, Dr. Robert Doback has significant retirement dreams, but just can't seem to get his nearly 40-year-old son, Dale, out of the house.

Most parents believe that once their children get close to college age, they'll be able to reclaim the life they lived prior to having children. Dale, however, needed a much longer period of gestation before taking on the world for himself. Eventually, with a little love and empathy, the two are able to achieve their dreams together.

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Phillip Banks And Will Smith - The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air

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While someone may not be an actual biological father, they can still play the role of surrogate father for those in need. Street-smart Will Smith was in dire need of a father figure and his uncle Phillip Banks provided that structure for him in so many ways.

While they have a playful relationship full of jokes and threats, the duo deeply cared for each other. There are few scenes that are more moving than uncle Phil holding Will in a bear hug while his nephew begs to understand why his biological father wants nothing to do with him.

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Billy And TJ Flynn - The Champ

Jon Voight tries to calm Ricky Schroeder
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Photo by Mondadori via Getty Images
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There are movies that are considered tearjerkers and there are movies that absolutely rip out your soul. The Champ, a 1979 film starring Jon Voight and Ricky Schroeder can be considered among the latter.

Voight's character Billy is a troubled ex-fighter who simply wants the best for his son who admires and looks up to him. When Billy enters a fight against a much bigger and stronger fighter, he does so with TJ in mind. The fight goes sideways and many tears are cried as Billy dies in TJ's arms.

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Edward And Will Bloom - Big Fish

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Photo byBertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images
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Every father has their tales of glory and for some sons, those tales can be hard to believe. That lack of belief is the premise for the 2003 movie Big Fish, which stars Albert Finney and Billy Crudup.

While father Edward lays on his death bed, son Will investigates the commonly hard to believe tales his father regularly told him. At the end of the day, Will realizes the veracity of the stories is nowhere near as important as the message and lessons behind them.

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Mufasa And Simba - The Lion King

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Photo by Foc Kan/WireImage
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Some Fathers, unfortunately, do not get to see their children into adulthood. Those dads though, sometimes impart enough wisdom in the short term to last their children a lifetime. Mufasa did this for Simba by explaining to him, the circle of life.

After Mufasa passes away, Simba must deal with his nefarious uncle, Scar. As Simba is able to defeat his uncle and ascend to King of the lions, he honors his father and continues to relay his message to his own children.

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Noah And Jim Levinson - American Pie

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Sometimes sons will have questions for their fathers and those questions can range from awkward to weird to completely embarrassing. In American Pie, Jim Levinson had a deep relationship with his father, making him feel comfortable asking pretty much anything.

While some of Noah's advice on anything from wooing the foreign exchange student to wooing the beautiful foreign exchange student left a bit to be desired, the love was always there. The bond between the Levinsons is one of the most endearing to be captured on film.

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Al And Bud Bundy - Married With Children

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Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images
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Some Fathers choose to show their love through experience rather than physical affection. Local shoe store employee and Polk High football legend, Al Bundy, may have been completely unable to discuss his feelings. But he certainly loved his son, Bud.

Bud and Al bonded over their love for the female form and certain sorts of racy magazines. They also fought side-by-side whenever a particular situation necessitated fisticuffs. Al and Bud may not have had an affectionate relationship, but they were most certainly there for each other as father and son.

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Carl And Eddie Winslow - Family Matters

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As a Chicago area police officer, Carl Winslow set a fine example for his children, Eddie, Laura, Judy and Little Richie. The circumstances around his relationship with son Eddie was complicated by his meddling neighbor, Steve Urkel.

Eddie, who was able but unmotivated, needed the guidance of his father who was a respected officer on the force. Carl also eventually served as a father figure for Steve who was respectful and smart, if not completely and utterly unaware of the consequences of his actions.

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Michael Sr. And Michael Jr. Sullivan - The Road To Perdition

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Photo by Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect.
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It would be almost impossible to face a worse situation than the one faced by Road to Perdition's Michael Sullivan Sr. and Michael Sullivan Jr. After the murder of their wife/mother and son/brother, the Sullivans go on the run and attempt to steal from some of Chicago's most notorious gangs.

The duo, who were never close beforehand, began to learn about their similarities as they are forced to spend time together. Though Mike Sr. is eventually murdered, he creates a nurturing place to live for Mike Jr.

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Frank Sr. and Frank Jr. Abagnale - Catch Me If You Can

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Photo by Chris Weeks/FilmMagic
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Sometimes a son can take on some of the worst instincts of their parents. In the movie, Catch Me If You Can, Frank Abagnale Jr. takes on some of the worst aspects of his Father's personality by becoming a world-class con artist.

While his father was impressed and proud of his Son's achievements, Frank Jr. was still running afoul of the law. In the movie, as well as in real life, Abagnale Jr. would eventually repent for his actions and help the FBI to combat fraud.

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Homer And Bart Simpson - The Simpsons

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While there is no television relationship that has lasted longer, there also may be no deeper bond than the one that exists between Homer and Bart Simpson. Bart is an underachiever and Homer is an idiot and they are both proud of it.

But at the end of the day, both characters share a deep and abiding love. Homer desperately hopes that Bart won't follow in his footsteps and Bart secretly dotes on his Father. The bond is one of the best ever depicted in television.