Works About The Relationship Between Fathers and Sons?
August 4, 2008 9:49 AM   Subscribe

I'm the first-time father of a one-year old boy. Having recently finished "The Road" and "The Prince of Frogtown" and enjoyed the movie "The Kite Runner", I'm looking for suggestions of other books (or movies or songs) that are about the relationship between fathers and sons.

I'll throw in a quote from "The Prince of Frogtown" to help illustrate the type of thing I'm looking for:

"You learn to stand the smell of sour-apple bubblegum and the company of a boy who jabs you in the your belly before he makes himself comfortable, and tells you that you are "comfy", not to be mean but just stating a fact. Then, just when you get used to it, not minding it so much, it all vanishes, and the little boy you launched in the air stands at your shoulder like a man, and when you turn to say something you find yourself looking right into his eyes."
posted by Jaybo to Human Relations (32 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Le Carre's A Perfect Spy is pretty about (a missing) relationship between father and son, pretty much the negative image of your example.
posted by orthogonality at 10:03 AM on August 4, 2008

Harry Chapin, "The Cat's in the Cradle"

Enjoy every moment ...
posted by JimN2TAW at 10:07 AM on August 4, 2008

the namesake (book and/or movie)
posted by askmehow at 10:07 AM on August 4, 2008

Finding Nemo!

Viva La Pixar!
posted by pipco at 10:09 AM on August 4, 2008

I actually liked the father-son relationship in Knocked Up, although it was a minor subplot.
posted by callmejay at 10:13 AM on August 4, 2008

Shoeless Joe by WP Kinsella. It's the book that Field of Dreams was based on but the book is 100x better.
posted by triggerfinger at 10:32 AM on August 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

The movie Big Fish made every man I know who saw it cry.

And while it's not specific to fathers and sons, I've been listening to "Teach Your Children" by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young since it seems to relate to the relationship to me and my son.
posted by christinetheslp at 10:41 AM on August 4, 2008

The Namesake.

Both the book and movie are great.
posted by longdaysjourney at 10:42 AM on August 4, 2008

The Godfather and the following two sequels is about the father and son relationship or lack there of. I do not think that is necessarily how you want to see the relationships. But notice that the world of the women happens outside and in daylight while the world of men resides in doors and in lower level lighting. All the strong relationships centers on the male whether father son (Michael & the Don); brother to brother (Sonny, Fredo, Michael) or even surrogate relationships with adopted sons or distaff members of the family in the case of Tom Hagen and the bastard son of Sonny in Godfather III.
posted by jadepearl at 10:44 AM on August 4, 2008

Steinbeck's East of Eden
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 10:46 AM on August 4, 2008

Father and Son by Cat Stevens

Big Fish
posted by triggerfinger at 10:47 AM on August 4, 2008

Perhaps The Brothers K?
posted by stefnet at 10:48 AM on August 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

There Will Be Blood, yikes.
posted by nicwolff at 11:00 AM on August 4, 2008

The Old Man and the Boy by Robert Ruark is about a grandfather and grandson, but it is totally, totally awesome.
posted by Roach at 11:29 AM on August 4, 2008

I just remembered The JCB Song about a 5 year old boy who gets to go to work with his dad.
posted by triggerfinger at 11:33 AM on August 4, 2008

Many of Wes Anderson's movies revolve around father-son relationships. This is especially true of The Royal Tenenbaums and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. It's also true of the Darjeeling Limited, but the father is mostly absent from the movie.
posted by diogenes at 11:47 AM on August 4, 2008

Most of his other books are dreadfully dated, but Edmund Gosse's Father and Son is inspired. The BBC did a great radio play version of it a couple of years ago.

Robyn Hitchcock's The Speed of Things is about the transition from being a son, to a husband, to a father. There are a couple of copies in the Internet Archive.
posted by scruss at 12:13 PM on August 4, 2008

The Film Club by David Gilmour. A book about how movies connected him (a former film critic) to his son.
posted by marylynn at 12:18 PM on August 4, 2008

God, that Frogtown quote is totally making me cry. I have a six-year-old boy, and words can't describe how quickly it goes.

The gender is different, but Paul Simon's "Father and Daughter" is a masterpiece in this regard. Nth-ing "Cats in the Cradle."

And I guess I'm the one man in the world who hated "Big Fish." I remember thinking that father was a jerk with his son.
posted by jbickers at 1:15 PM on August 4, 2008

See The Squid and the Whale, and take notes on what not to do.
posted by buriednexttoyou at 2:00 PM on August 4, 2008

"My Life," with Michael Keaton
posted by JimN2TAW at 3:05 PM on August 4, 2008

Gilead (Highly Recommended!)
Field of Dreams
A River Runs Through it (Both movie and book are great)
posted by jpdoane at 3:37 PM on August 4, 2008

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenence
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 3:47 PM on August 4, 2008

*Very* literary in style and content, but Martin Amis' pean to his late father Sir Kingsley Amis had me reaching for the tissues more than once.

I hope you don't mind me mentioning an off-topic book, but it's one that you'll never ever ever regret reading to your son, The Little Prince

Best wishes for happy times.
posted by Blacksun at 4:14 PM on August 4, 2008

The Scrubs episodes "My Old Man" (Season 1) and "My Unicorn" (Season 4) are both about fathers. And I always loved the father-son relationship in Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade.
posted by puritycontrol at 4:54 PM on August 4, 2008

Road to Perdition
posted by mooza at 5:59 PM on August 4, 2008

To Kill a Mockingbird, the book or the movie.
posted by gudrun at 7:16 PM on August 4, 2008

Roald Dahl's Danny, Champion of the World. Absolutely wonderful.
posted by exlotuseater at 12:18 AM on August 5, 2008

Response by poster: I didn't think of this before but here's the LibraryThing results that are tagged with "fathers and sons". I'm sure there are tons of other variations that could turn up further results as well.

Here's a list of books on this topic from that I found via a web search.
posted by Jaybo at 4:05 PM on August 5, 2008

Response by poster: Here's another one that came on TV today that I didn't think of...the movie "Life Is Beautiful". Like "The Road", it's a gut-wrenching exploration of the lengths a father will go to to protect their son.
posted by Jaybo at 1:48 PM on September 7, 2008

Response by poster: "Pier 21" by Canadian folk singer, John Wort Hannam, about a young man leaving Britain to come to Canada (Pier 21 is Canada's Ellis Island) while saying good-bye to his father for the final time is heart-breaking. (There's a "Play Album" button halfway down on the page I linked to where you can hear the song if you fast-forward to Track 9.)
posted by Jaybo at 5:58 PM on November 28, 2008

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