The top ten movie Presidents
With the nation’s Presidential Election wrapping up and Steven Spielberg’s LINCOLN soon to be released (not to be confused with last summer’s ABRAHAM LINCOLN VAMPIRE HUNTER), I got to thinking about some of the great President’s in movie history. I have no doubt that Daniel Day Lewis will earn another Oscar nomination for his portrayal of the United States sixteenth President, Abraham Lincoln – (mostly because he rightfully is nearly always nominated when in a film). If only our real Presidents could be as amazing as Daniel Day Lewis. Real, fake or outright ridiculous, here are the top ten movie presidents and the actors who portrayed them. Sorry, no made for TV movies or miniseries (that includes you HBO).
11. DAVE – Kevin Kline – President Bill Mitch: Technically, this one shouldn’t count because the main character Dave (Kevin Kline) isn’t actually the President. Otherwise, it would be much higher on the list. As a look-alike posing as the President who is in the coma, Kline is so charming, his pretend presidency of a fake president warranted a mention.
10. THE FIFTH ELEMENT – Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister – President Lindberg: I remember Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister as Hulk Hogan’s nemesis in NO HOLDS BARRED. Then again as Hogan’s nemesis within the World Wrestling Federation (now WWE) known as Zeus. He doesn’t speak much but has a knack for being big and scary looking. It was inspired casting to make him President in the phenomenally fun THE FIFTH ELEMENT.
9. PRIMARY COLORS – John Travolta – President Jack Stanton: Technically, Travolta is Governor Jack Stanton as he is running for the presidency the entire course of the film, but he does a great job and by the end he eventually becomes President
Bill Clinton Jack Stanton (wink, nudge).
8. MARS ATTACKS! – Jack Nicholson – President James Dale: As usual Nicholson plays appropriately over-the-top as a couple of characters in Tim Burton’s quirky alien invasion flick. I think his president will mostly be remembered for his crazy death scene at the hands of an insanely freaky alien species planting a flag on his corpse.
7. DEEP IMPACT – Morgan Freeman – President Beck: Before Barack Obama, Morgan Freeman could lay claim as the first African American president (actually, I’m sure some movie somewhere did it first), but nevertheless, how great would it be to hear Freeman’s soothing voice? I think we all would be tuning into the Presidential National Address. I know I would feel better if Freeman was the one informing me of my imminent death.
6. DICK – Dan Hedaya – President Richard Nixon: Such an underrated comedic little gem of a movie that got lost in the shuffle of all the phenomenal films from 1999. DICK stars Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams as two young girls who wander away during a White House tour only to unknowingly get involved in a national controversy involving President Nixon. Dan Hedaya is an actor who may not be recognized by name but once you’ve seen him you realize he has been in everything awesome.
5. AMERICAN PRESIDENT – Michael Douglas – President Andrew Shepherd: This romantic comedy shows the human side of the presidency. It seems the best Presidents need a little love in order to find their way to do the right thing. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing but the softy in me says the film is very endearing.
4. FROST/NIXON – Frank Langella – President Richard Nixon: As the second of the two actors on the list to portray Nixon, Frank Langella knocked it out of the park as Richard Nixon, even being nominated for an Academy Award. This lesser seen movie by Ron Howard is actually one of his best for brilliantly creating an insane amount of tension in what seemingly may sound like a mundane topic about an interview between David Frost (Michael Sheen) and Richard Nixon.
3. AIR FORCE ONE – Harrison Ford – President James Marshall: “Get off my plane.”
2. DR. STRANGELOVE OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB – Peter Sellers – President Merkin Muffley: Playing three different outlandish characters, Peter Sellers is ironic comedic gold in Stanley Kubrick’s classic satirical look at politcal warfare. “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room.”
1. INDEPENDENCE DAY – Bill Pullman – President Thomas J. Whitmore: How cool is his speech at the end? Sure we haven’t had an alien invasion to test our real presidents but I’m not sure many would be able to deliver an incredibly inspirational speech before recklessly hopping into a fighter jet to defend the planet from annihilation. “We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive! Today, we celebrate our Independence Day!”