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Our 9 favourite single dads from movies!


Our 9 favourite single dads from movies!

Mills & Boon author Kandy Shepherd celebrated the release of her latest book Second Chance with the Single Dad by counting down her favourite single dads from movies…

9. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Classic movie where single dad, lawyer Atticus Finch played by Gregory Peck, brings up his children Scout and Jem on his own and teaches Scout moral values through a controversial trial. Compelling and inspiring.


I haven’t seen it for a while, nor reread the book it’s based on, but every time I see the movie the performances by Gregory Peck as the man who stands up for what he believes and leads by example to his children really connects with me.


8. Mrs Doubtfire (1993)

Robin Williams at his comedic best as divorced dad Daniel Hillard who disguises himself as a middle aged nanny Mrs Doubtfire to spend more time with his beloved children.


Laugh-out-loud humour of the brilliant Robin Williams and his character’s determination to be a part of his kids’ life no matter what he has to do to achieve that makes this movie an endearing favourite.


7. Love Actually (2003)

Recently widowed single step-dad Daniel, played by Liam Neeson, helps his little boy Sam come to terms with loss and his attraction to his lovely classmate Joanna. The poignant story is one of the romantic thread to the movie.


The romance, humour and stellar cast makes this gorgeous movie a keeper for me—we watch it every Christmas. 


6. Taken (2008)

Retired CIA agent and single dad Bryan Mills, played by Liam Neeson, takes action to rescue his teenage daughter when she is abducted by sex slavers on a vacation in France. Fiercely protective, he fights incredible odds to save her.


The situation Bryan’s daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) finds herself in is a parent’s nightmare. Bryan’s love for her sees him fighting against a ticking clock and powering through danger with heart-stopping determination and fierceness. Thank heaven I saw it after my daughter returned safely from a trip to France!


5. Finding Nemo (2003)

In this animated movie, single dad Marlin might be a clown fish but his fatherly anguish and hunt for his lost son, little clown fish Nemo, is no less heart wrenching and engaging.


Marlin never gives up on the search for his much loved son. There are lots of ups and downs and dangerous situations—they’re fish!—but if find myself emotionally engaged and really wanting that father-son reunion! There’s the brilliant animation too.

4. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

Based on a real-life story, Will Smith plays single dad Chris Gardner, who finds himself living on the streets with his young son. Inspiring story of a father’s struggle to make a better life for his son.


Despite all the hardship he faces, the dad in this movie remains unfailingly optimistic in a heart wrenching story of fatherly love. Perhaps the fact that the son, Christopher, is played by Will Smith’s real-life son Jaden Smith makes the movie all the more endearing.


3. Sleepless in Seattle (1993)

Tom Hanks as Sam Baldwin, the widowed single dad of a cute little boy who plays matchmaker in a classic romantic comedy culminating in that heart-wrenching scene at the Empire State Building with Meg Ryan on Valentine’s Day.


Heart stopping until the very last moment—will two people who have never met but only connected on the phone get that magical happy ever after? Will cute little Jonah get the mom he wants? When you look at it, the plot is improbable in so many ways but it really works, after all Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan! Sam is a wonderful single dad, always appealing, and the whole thing is just so darn romantic.

2. The Holiday (2006)

Gorgeous Jude Law plays Graham, a charming single dad  to two adorable little girls.  A winner!


I love the romances that develop when Iris (Kate Winslet) in England swaps houses with Amanda (Cameron Diaz) in Los Angeles. Iris meets her soulmate in Miles (Jack Black) as well as a wonderful friend in retired movie producer Arthur (Eli Wallach). Amanda has no idea that widower Graham has two children but one of the movie’s delights is how she falls in love with them and they with her. I laugh and cry every time I see this movie. Oh, and there’s serious house porn here too!

  1. Definitely, Maybe 2008

Ryan Reynolds plays New Yorker Will Hayes who is getting divorced from the mother of his delightful eleven-year-old-daughter Maya, played by Abigail Breslin. She asks him to tell her about how he met her mother and he recounts the stories of the three serious love affairs in his life. Maya has to guess which one was her mother. A delightful story for romance lovers. There’s a nice twist as, with the help of his daughter, Will discovers the woman who really is the love of his life.


I was recommended to see this film and am so glad I followed up on it. It’s warm, smart, funny and really gets you involved in Will’s dilemma. As a romance writer I can so clearly see who is “Ms Right” for Will and it’s part of the fun to urge him to realise it too. I love the way wise little Maya is so involved in finding happiness for her father.


From long-lost friends…to newfound family?

Georgia and Wil were best friends until he married and disappeared from her life. Now he’s back, asking Georgia to forget the past and help him secure his future – the daughter he never knew he had! Georgia’s heart goes out to new dad Wil, but there’s an uncharted chemistry fizzing between them and she must protect her heart. Can they confront their unspoken attraction and finally become a family?


Find out more


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