10 Best Movies About American Presidents
In honor of President's Day, Moviefone looks back at the best movies that feature American Presidents.
Monday, February 21st is President's Day in the United States. Coinciding in the same month as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln's birthdays, the holiday is now used to celebrate all U.S. Presidents, past and present.
Over the years, there have been many great movies to feature U.S. Presidents, both real and fictional. From Bill Pullman's President Thomas J. Whitmore fighting aliens in 'Independence Day,' to Daniel Day Lewis' Oscar winning performance as "Honest Abe" in 'Lincoln,' now is a perfect time to look back at the greatest movies about American Presidents of all-time.
Primary Colors (1998)
Directed by Mike Nichols ('The Graduate'), and loosely based on Bill Clinton's 1992 run for the White House, the young and gifted Henry Burton (Adrian Lester) is tapped to oversee the presidential campaign of Governor Jack Stanton (John Travolta).
Burton is pulled into the politician's colorful world and looks on as Stanton, who has a wandering eye that could be his downfall, contends with his ambitious wife, Susan (Emma Thompson), and outspoken advisers, Richard Jemmons (Billy Bob Thornton) and Libby Holden (Kathy Bates).
In this 90's comedy, Two high school girls (Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams) wander off during a class trip to the White House and meet President Richard Nixon (Dan Hedaya). They become the official dog walkers for Nixon's dog Checkers, and become his secret advisors during the Watergate scandal.
The Contender (2000)
The vice president is dead, and as the president makes his choice for a replacement, a secret contest of wills is being waged by a formidable rival. When Senator Laine Hanson (Joan Allen) is nominated as the first woman in history to hold the office, hidden agendas explode into a battle for power.
Jeff Bridges received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role as President Jackson Evans, a free-spirited politician who enjoys the spoils of the office.
Thirteen Days (2000)
Directed by Roger Donaldson, the film tells the true story of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, the nuclear standoff with the USSR sparked by the discovery by the Americans of missile bases established on the Soviet-allied island of Cuba.
Kevin Costner stars as Special Assistant to the President - Kennth O'Donnell, while Steven Culp plays Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. But its Bruce Greenwood's performance as President John F. Kennedy that truly makes the movie worth seeing.
Independence Day (1996)
On July 2, a giant alien mothership enters orbit around Earth and deploys several dozen saucer-shaped 'destroyer' spacecraft that quickly lay waste to major cities around the planet. On July 3, the United States conducts a coordinated counterattack that fails. On July 4, a plan is devised to gain access to the interior of the alien mothership in space, in order to plant a nuclear missile.
Bill Pullman's speech as President Thomas J. Whitmore at the conclusion of the film has become a modern classic.
Air Force One (1997)
Russian terrorists led by Egor Korshunov (Gary Oldman) conspire to hijack the aircraft with the President James Marshall (Harrison Ford) and his family on board. The commander in chief finds himself facing an impossible predicament: give in to the terrorists and sacrifice his family, or risk everything to uphold his principles and the integrity of the nation.
Directed by the lateIvan Reitman ('Twins'), the movie follows a sweet-natured Temp Agency operator and amateur Presidential look-alike named Dave (Kevin Klein) as he is recruited by the Secret Service to become a temporary stand-in for the real President of the United States. Dave soon realizes that running the country is not so easy.
The American President (1995)
Widowed U.S. President Andrew Shepherd (Michael Douglas), one of the world's most powerful men, can have anything he wants, and what he covets most is Sydney Ellen Wade (Annette Bening), a Washington lobbyist. But Shepherd's attempts at courting her spark wild rumors and decimate his approval ratings.
The movie was directed by Rob Reiner ('A Few Good Men') and written by Aaron Sorkin before he created 'The West Wing.' The movie also features future 'West Wing' President, Martin Sheen as President Shepherd's Chief of Staff.
Directed by Oliver Stone, the film follows the investigation into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy led by New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner).
While the character of Kennedy does not actually appear in this film (except in old news footage), it is the first of Costner's two movies about the former President, which also includes 'Thirteen Days.'
Director Steven Spielberg's Oscar winning film tells the revealing story of the 16th US President's tumultuous final months in office. In a nation divided by war and the strong winds of change, Lincoln pursues a course of action designed to end the war, unite the country and abolish slavery. With the moral courage and fierce determination to succeed, his choices during this critical moment will change the fate of generations to come.
Daniel Day-Lewis received his third Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln.