Independence Blog: The Top 10 All-Time U.S. Movie Presidents

Americans. We know you're among us, and we know you'll give our border towns glimpses of great fireworks displays this evening. (And, the simple fact that seven of you thought the United States turned 2,013 years old today is just so darn adorable.)

We also enjoy your movies, and the "American President" is a cinema staple. They tend to look more or less identical. In fact, they all kinda look like Bull Pullman. White, with the same haircut. They make grand speeches – whether aliens have bombed D.C. or terrorists have hi-jacked Air Force One – and we always see them showing more affection for their girlfriends than their wives (most of the men in the list below are from the late 90's, remember). They get up-staged by their vice presidents, and they have a thing for khakis, brill cream, and cardigans.

Here are the Top 10 all-time U.S. Movie Presidents:

(*in no particular order, because that would take more preparation)


Harrison Ford as President James Marshall – Air Force One (1997)

Hearing Han Solo yell, "Get off my plane!" while a Russian gets caught in his own parachute and is about to be sucked into the stratosphere?

That's why folks get into movies.


Michael Douglas as President Andrew Shepherd – The American President (1995)

Michael Douglas and Aaron Sorkin both get their rocks off in this one. Michael J. Fox's character was based off of George Stephanopolous and Richard Dreyfuss has to deceptively take down a woman with ideals (Annette Bening), which he somehow couldn't do even though he killed Jaws.


Robert Culp as 'The President' – The Pelican Brief (1993)

While Supreme Court Justices are being offed in male-on-male porn theatres and Stanley Tucci stays to watch the rest of the film, Robert Culp was wondering about his wardrobe.

He went with a cardigan.


James Cromwell as President Fowler – Sum of All Fears (2002)

Ben Affleck has just rushed around the world, from his small office in D.C. to Russia and back, and then he's present when the Super Bowl gets nuked and talks down both former opponents of the Cold War blasting each other into oblivion, herding them like a border collie nipping at the heels of several Scottish sheep. He did a good job, but he's still Ben Affleck (and this is before Argo), so you look down on him – all sweaty and gross – and you tap him on the head and say, "That'll do, pig. That'll do."

Oh, that's Babe. Same diff.


Jack Nicholson as President James Dale – Mars Attacks! (1996)

Not only did Jack throw down as the President in this one, but he also played some kind of Vegas pimp who's married to Annette Bening. (Why is she all over this list?)

One character said, "Why can't we all just get along?"

The other was asked, "Do you have to drink in front of me?" and responded with, "You're an adult. Just cope."

Which character said what? After you...


Morgan Freeman as President Beck – Deep Impact (1998)

Not only did Freeman get a chance to "Obama" this one a whole 13 years before Barack was gunning down Osama from the Oval Office, but Deep Impact can also double as a potential porn title.

Meanwhile, this was going on at the time the film was released. Just sayin'.


Alan Alda as the President of the United States – Canadian Bacon (1995)

Alda went anti-Hawkeye for this one, turning his army scrubs for D.C. to play one of the funnier, more confused Presidents in movie history.

"The voters felt that you being alive or dead had no real bearing on their daily lives," he's told.

Preach, Kevin Pollock. Preach.


Kevin Kline as Dave Kovic – Dave (1993)

It's tough to sum up why this is here, because it's more than goofiness or Fish Called Wanda-ness. He's got a mentally unbalanced vice president and a staff of two who then debate killing him, and he's married to Ripley from Alien, who also killed ghosts for a short time with Bill Murray. Even Leno likes him, which was a good thing in 1993.


Chris Rock as Mays Gilliam – Head of State (2003)

He gets dumped by Mike Tyson's ex, then he gets thrown into the Presidential race (which he will end up winning), turns down upper class call girls, gives a speech that endorses the use of chronic, and then gets his head put on Mount Rushmore, only they cover it in bling.

One-liners include the following:

"I work in a neighbourhood so bad, you can get shot while you're gettin' shot."

"You can't use food stamps to buy tires."

"If we had laws on that Destiny's Child video, we'd have less crime."

"The guy's avoiding me like he owes me child support."

"There's no such thing as white-collar crime, and there's definitely no such thing as black-on-black crime. Crime is crime."

This is basically what Chris Rock hoped the eventual Obama-to-be would do, only three years before he became relevant. And, it's two years before Judd Apatow became relevant, which means those Chris Rock jokes were still funny.


Bill Pullman as President Thomas J. Whitmore – Independence Day (1996)

You just knew it would be down here waiting for you, didn't you?

(*Apologies for the quality... copyright's a tricky thing, even for YouTube.)

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