5 of the Greatest Movie Families of All Time

Saturday, November 19 by Jason Cuthbert

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A lot can be learned about how to deal with domestic issues from watching 5 of the greatest movie families of all time. Whether they are involved in crime or time traveling, these unforgettable family trees contain a wealth of characters that the audience may recognize in their own households. Everything from parental guidance (or misguidance) to sibling rivalries is explored within the complicated dynamics of these memorable movie families.

The Griswolds ("National Lampoons Vacation")

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Chevy Chase starred in the National Lampoons Vacation films four times as one of the most famous movie family fathers in American cinema: Clark W. Griswold. As an absent-minded but means-well family man, Clark keeps striving for the perfect family vacation. Unfortunately, he always proves perfection is only meant for God. However, the love of a father and husband is contagious and provides blindfolds for any of his shortcomings. Even when Clark uproots a Christmas tree too big for the forest it was planted in, the Griswolds still feel the need to support his passion.

The Corleones ("The Godfather")

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Like real families, movie families that are as large as the Corleones will have their fair share of issues. But when the movie family business is crime, family ties become a life and death issue. Mob boss and gangster Santa Clause Don Corleone is so legendary that it took two of the greatest actors ever to bring him to life: Marlon Brandon played the elder Don Corleone and Robert De Niro played the younger version. His three sons consist of the vulnerable Fredo (John Cazale), the volatile Sonny (James Caan) and the next man in charge: Michael Corleone (Al Pacino). It is made clear that setting a good parental example is difficult when guns are involved.

The Tenenbaums ("The Royal Tenenbaums")

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Siblings are bound to be at each other's throats in a movie family full of geniuses. This Wes Anderson dramedy classic is about when a completely grownup family try to overcome their adult mishaps by all moving back together. The cast of this quirky clan includes Gene Hackman, Angelica Huston, Ben Stiller, Gwyneth Paltrow and Luke Wilson. The loss of love is proven to be the missing link that caused the undoing of the three child prodigies: a playwright, a financial expert and a tennis pro.

The Fockers ("Meet the Parents")

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In the "Meet the Parents" comedy series, Ben Stiller plays Greg Focker, a middle-class nurse who must deal with a major romantic obstacle in his relationship: his girlfriend's parents. The "pre-screening" is led by patriarchal nightmare Jack Byrnes, played by Robert De Niro, who is not only watching Greg's every move, but is a retired C.I.A. agent. Once Jack's daughter Pam marries Greg and joins this famous Focker movie family, his parental meddling continues throughout this trilogy in "Meet the Fockers" and "Little Fockers." Sparks fly when the upper class Jack Byrnes meets Greg Focker's parents, a stay-at-home dad and a sex therapist, played by Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand respectively. In-laws can sometimes feel like outlaws.

The McFly's ("Back to the Future")

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How many teenagers get to meet their parents when they were teenagers? When Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) cruises into the past in a sports car time machine, he risks never being born when he meets his mom and she falls in love with him. The McFlys of the present tense consist of a passive father George, an alcoholic mother Lorraine and two wise-cracking siblings: Dave and Linda. The wanna-be rock star Marty is the clear black sheep of the family, as anyone with a little rebel in them has felt like at one point or another.