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Father's Day movies for diverse dads

Actor Liam Neeson attends the New York Times

Actor Liam Neeson attends the New York Times TimesTalk at The Times Center in Manhattan. (Jan. 17, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

Every Father's Day, you'll find lists of the best movies to watch with dear old dad. But to state the obvious, all dads were not created equal. Some are stoic, some are affectionate, some are perfect and some are, well, less than perfect. So instead of a single, one-size-fits-all list, here's a group of Father's Day movies broken down into categories that might just include the dad in your life.

THE PLUGGER

Ill-equipped but determined to do the job, this dad is a movie favorite best represented by Michael Keaton in "Mr. Mom," though Chevy Chase is a close second as never-say-die Clark Griswold in "National Lampoon's Vacation." Consider also the trio of Tom Selleck, Steve Guttenberg and Ted Danson in "Three Men and a Baby."

THE SAVIOR

A fantasy figure, to be sure, but a hugely enjoyable one, especially in action flicks. Recent examples include Liam Neeson as a onetime CIA operative piling up the bodies while searching for his daughter in "Taken," and the ever-angry Mel Gibson in the dark-hued "Ransom." Honorable mention goes to Denzel Washington as a fatherly bodyguard rescuing Dakota Fanning in "Man on Fire."

The Guardian This dad can be an action type (Viggo Mortensen defending his family against mobsters in "A History of Violence") or a symbolic spirit (Mufasa in Disney's "The Lion King"). The most powerful examples, though, are Dustin Hoffman protecting his son from an ugly custody battle in "Kramer vs. Kramer" and Roberto Benigni preserving his son's innocence in a concentration camp in "Life Is Beautiful."

THE DISASTER

Face it, they're out there. Memorable examples include Robert De Niro as a homeless drunk in "Being Flynn" and Gene Hackman as a self-obsessed patriarch in "The Royal Tenenbaums." Adam Sandler, as a hard-partying dad in the current release "That's My Boy," also may fit the bill.

THE HERO

Gregory Peck in "To Kill a Mockingbird" remains the gold standard of movie dads, a strong-jawed lawyer representing truth and justice. But revisit 1953's"Shane," starring Van Heflin as a quiet Wyoming homesteader. It's one of the most profound films about fatherhood and heroism ever made.

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