In Getaway, Ethan Hawke stars as Brent Magna, a man who must follow the directions of a mysterious man (Jon Voight) in an effort to rescue his wife before time runs out. It’s another example of filmmakers using family as the main motivation behind the main character’s actions.
The trick is as old as time – but it’s also extremely effective. By seeing the protagonist’s family members in danger, it becomes easier for the audience to place themselves in his/her shoes. All moviegoers have to do is imagine their loved ones in the same situation and the story becomes more relatable. Even if the character resorts to vigilante methods such as kidnapping and torturing people (see Hugh Jackman in the trailer for Prisoners), it becomes excusable in our eyes because the character is ultimately trying to save his family – a noble goal.
In honor of Getaway, here are five of our favorite movie heroes who would do anything to save their family. Our list is not meant to be all-inclusive, so be sure to submit your picks in the comments after you’ve seen our choices.