Credit: Zade Rosenthal

Will and Jaden Smith are already on pace to become the biggest father-son box-office draw in history, and now that they’re set to reunite for M. Night Shyamalan’s futuristic sci-fi film, it’s not ridiculous to think that the superstar duo could potentially star in their own buddy-movie franchise. We already know they have great chemistry, from their heartfelt turns in 2006’s The Pursuit of Happyness.

Which isn’t always the case, by the way, when dads and sons try to translate their relationship to the screen. Maybe they’re trying too hard, or maybe it’s difficult to think of your Dad as anyone but Your Dad, or maybe there’s some unresolved tension buried deep down inside the actors that gets in the way. Too often, when a father and son are cast in the same relationship in a film, it feels like a gimmick, but the best actors are able to tap into that reservoir of tension, like during Martin and Charlie Sheen’s elevator scene in Wall Street. Or the chilly, restrained scenes between Tom and Colin Hanks in The Great Buck Howard.

Have other father-son actors played father-son characters in movies that made you wonder what was real and what was just acting? What pairings and what scenes come to mind?

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