Disney is known for creating wholesome, family content that everyone can enjoy and a big reason for that is the fact that it is often families who are the focus of the movie. Disney has created some amazing characters, from great mothers and grandparents to fantastic fathers, giving every viewer someone to connect with.
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However, while Disney and Pixar have made some brilliant fathers throughout its history, creating characters who clearly care and want to do their best for their children, they’re not all perfect. Much like in real life, not everyone is perfect and the balance of having those flaws is what makes Disney and Pixar movies so enjoyable.
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Updated on March 19th, 2022, by Lynn Gibbs: Every Disney or Pixar film has life lessons strung throughout. The main characters are typically on some sort of adventure and find their independence along the way. To help guide them are their parents, grandparents, and guardians. And while a majority of Disney’s parents are loving and helpful, there are a few dads that give Disney a bad name. Whether it’s their temper or their absence from their child’s life, some dads should take a few lessons from the better dads of Disney.
Disney’s Best Dads
Bob Parr (The Incredibles)
Bob Parr was more than a secret superhero in The Incredibles, he was also a great dad. In the first film, he was a little checked out at the start because of his own boredom with his day-to-day life without fighting crime, but when he was dialed in as a dad, he was one of the best.
When the sequel came out, some felt it was better than the original because Bob had to be on full-time father-duty while his wife was away. It was hard juggling three kids but his efforts and love for his kids were shown.
James (The Princess And The Frog)
James isn’t shown much in The Princess and the Frog due to his untimely death, but he is shown at the start of the film. Tiana’s entire dream of owning her own restaurant as an adult came from her love of cooking with her dad.
As a kid, Tiana and James used to cook together, with James teaching her things along the way. Even though James’s time in the movie was short, his love for his daughter was so evident that he’s one of Disney’s best dads.
Agustín Madrigal (Encanto)
Augustín Madrigal is Mirabel’s father and one of the members of the family who don’t share powers with her. In Encanto, the Madrigal family has magical powers that help their household as well as the town they live in, but since Mirabel was born without powers, her Abuela Alma didn’t treat her with the same respect she gave those with powers.
Augustín married into the Madrigal family tree and supported Mirabel against Alma when they came to a head. His protection and support of his daughter were shown throughout, proving what an amazing father he is.
The one thing that Pinocchio’s Geppetto wants more than anything in life is to be a father. He dreams and wishes to have this responsibility, and that wish is granted with Pinocchio. The boy puppet might have started out wooden, but that never changes Geppetto’s outlook on his role as a father.
He puts everything he has into being a good father and tries to always do right by his son. While Pinocchio’s life does go slightly astray due to bad decisions he makes, that doesn’t stop Geppetto, who works incredibly hard to get his son back. Geppetto was naive but he was a good dad. It should also be noted that Disney is working on a live-action version of Pinocchio starring Tom Hanks as Geppetto.
Maurice (Beauty And The Beast)
Maurice is one of the more likable characters in Beauty and the Beast. He’s an incredibly kind and caring individual whose entire life is devoted to his daughter. They live together and Maurice has to raise Belle on his own, which he does without any problems or complaints, doing his best to provide for her throughout the movie.
He encourages Belle to be different, pushing her interests in reading and learning, even though everyone else thinks it is weird. Even when Belle ends up taking his place in the castle with the Beast, Maurice does his best to try and not allow that to happen, always putting his daughter first.
Chief Tui (Moana)
Even though Moana’s Chief Tui does his best to stop Moana from exploring the ocean when his backstory is explained—and the fact that he lost his best friend trying to venture out—he becomes very sympathetic. He is trying to keep Moana on land to protect her, not wanting to lose her. Moana may see his protection as sheltering her but it comes from a good place.
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The relationship he has with Moana is a really fun one as well, as he clearly tries his best to have fun with her, all while teaching her moral lessons that will stand her in good stead. Tui is a strong man but doesn’t realize how heroic Moana is until much later. He can be a little abrupt at times, but he is never cruel, which makes him a great father.
Pongo (101 Dalmations)
Pongo was an amazing father from Disney’s 101 Dalmatians, easily being one of the greatest that the animation giant has ever created. Pongo is someone who has a lot of children, and he is immediately forced into a tough situation because Cruella wants to kill them.
He has to do everything he can in order to save them, and he absolutely does just that. Pongo goes above and beyond the call of duty, and with so many children, that is certainly not an easy task to deal with. As a new dad, Pongo jumped into dad duty when his kids needed him most.
Mufasa (The Lion King)
When it comes to Disney’s fathers, they don’t get any more iconic than The Lion King’s Mufasa, and the reason for that is how great he is. Everything he does in the film showcases him to be an amazing father. He likes to have fun with Simba, bringing enjoyment while also having to be very protective of him, as any good father should be. Mufasa is one of Disney’s best-written characters.
He teaches Simba key lessons that stick with him for life, and even Simba acts out and makes mistakes, Mufasa doesn’t snap or act angrily. Instead, he provides a lesson and immediately brings back a more positive attitude, which is what makes him so great.
Disney’s Worst Dads
King Agnarr (Frozen)
Similar to James in The Princess and the Frog, King Agnarr is another dad who died early in the film but proved to be a dedicated dad before his death. Sadly, Agnarr’s efforts as a dad did more harm than good.
As much as Agnarr loved his daughter Elsa, her ability to freeze things with her hands made life for the family challenging. Elsa’s power made her childhood a sad one in Frozen. And while it’s impossible to know what was the right thing at the time, secluding her from the outside world, telling her to “conceal, don’t feel,” and keeping her from her sister were some of the lowest points of Elsa’s life.
Kerchak has the responsibility of being a leader to everyone within his group in Tarzan. However, he does so in a very grumpy and aggressive manner, which doesn’t make him a great father. He struggles because he loses his biological son, but instead of embracing Tarzan as his own, he shuns him because he’s a human. Kerchack’s quotes about raising Tarzan were some of the harshest quotes.
Tarzan isn’t a gorilla and that obviously makes things different, but everyone else embraces him as one of their own. Yet Kerchak isn’t prepared to do that right up until the moment he dies. He and Tarzan could have had a better relationship if Kerchak put down his guard.
The Sultan (Aladdin)
At the end of Aladdin, the sultan opens his eyes and ears to exactly what his daughter wants, but it takes her reaching a breaking point for that message to hit home. Over the course of the film, the sultan doesn’t cover himself in glory when it comes to being a father. He’s one of Aladdin’s jolliest characters but as a dad, he suffers.
He is too busy trying to find Jasmine a suitor to marry, not understanding that she doesn’t want to do that with someone she doesn’t know. The fact that she tries to escape the palace at the start of the movie to get away is a telling sign that the sultan wasn’t always the best dad.
Buck Cluck (Chicken Little)
Buck Cluck from Chicken Little is in a tough spot throughout the film after the loss of his wife, he has to bring up his son alone. It’s something that he’s clearly struggling with, but he doesn’t showcase himself to be a good father, as he tries to push his own dreams and life upon his son with sports, despite him not really being interested.
On top of that, Buck Cluck doesn’t believe his own son about anything, instead, showing sheer disappointment in him. While he eventually believes the things his son says, it takes too long for that to take place.
George Darling (Peter Pan)
At some point in time, every child has to grow up and mature, but rather than letting that happen naturally for his daughter, George Darling tries to force the issue in Peter Pan. He’s only showcased briefly throughout the film, but he is shown to be quite an angry, short-tempered man.
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His children are simply having fun and enjoying each other’s company, yet he sees them playing as a bad thing. He doesn’t treat Wendy with kindness and that is a real shame because she is full of kindness and does a lot of the parenting for them with her siblings. George’s personality is one thing that didn’t age well from the original movie.
Claude Frollo (The Hunchback Of Notre Dame)
He might not be the biological father of The Hunchback of Notre Dame’s Quasimodo, but Claude Frollo is certainly the father figure for him from his earliest memories. Frollo is the one who is in charge of Quasimodo, but he doesn’t treat him like a loving father would, instead he treats Quasimodo as more of a burden. Some would say Claude is misunderstood but his later actions prove how evil he was.
He tries to kill Quasimodo when he’s a baby, which is what leads to him having to become his father. However, he happily traps Quasimodo in the bell tower, not wanting any responsibility, hoping that people won’t learn about him, which is what makes him a terrible father.
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About The Author
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Matthew Wilkinson is a Senior Writer with Screen Rant and has been part of the team since 2019. In addition to his work as Screen Rant, Matthew is also a writer of pieces at The Sportster. Matthew has a major passion for movies and television, enjoying a variety of genres from animation and horror to fantasy and thrillers.
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