Countdown: The top three single dads in film

1. Chris Gardner, The Pursuit of Happyness

Chris Gardner is a man pressed by financial demands and emotional damage, but that doesn’t prevent him from doing the best for his son at all times. He works tirelessly for his son’s benefit, to feed him and to put a roof over his head in dark times. The Pursuit of Happyness exploits a real father-son chemistry between Will and Jaden Smith, and the latter’s presence only enhances the devotion of the former.

2. Ted Kramer, Kramer vs Kramer

When his wife Joanna (Meryl Streep) leaves him at the very start of the film, advertising hotshot Ted is left to care for his young son Billy. Ted begins inauspiciously, taking out his anger on Billy and struggling to balance his career with caring for his son. As he regains his confidence and composure, Ted works to do the best for his son, engaging in a bitter custody battle, and finally working out how to make good French toast.

3. Marlin, Finding Nemo

How many fathers can say they have taken on sharks, jellyfish and their own crippling anxiety to rescue their son? That is, of course, what jittery clownfish Marlin does. Although overbearing at first, understandably given the cruel fate of Nemo’s mother and hundreds of siblings, Marlin grows to trust his son and face his fears. Pixar know how to tug at heartstrings, and this is an impressive portrait of father and son.

PHOTO/Columbia Pictures