The Top 5 Presidential Movies

film reviews | movies | features | BRWC The Top 5 Presidential Movies

By Kate Helen.

This year’s election has dominated the headlines, and the roller coaster isn’t anywhere near over. While there’s been plenty of real life drama surrounding the 2016 presidential election, it’s always fun to watch movies that satirize the presidency. Here are some films that are ideal to watch during any election season. Who’s your pick for the fictional POTUS?

Dave (1993)

Kevin Kline stars in this comedy film as Dave Kovic, a man who impersonates the President to earn extra cash and is then called by the Secret Service to actually stand in for the POTUS at a hotel. The charade is orchestrated to cover up the President’s affair with a White House staffer, Randi, played by Laura Linney. When the President has a stroke during the sexcapade, Dave becomes the face of the POTUS full time. He’s a hit with the public and even the First Lady likes him better than her real husband. This movie ends on a happy note, but it wasn’t the end of comedy acting for Laura Linney. After her role in Dave, she went on to star in The Big C. She also appeared in the 2008 miniseries John Adams.

The Contender (2000)

In The Contender, Jeff Bridges plays President Jackson Evans and Joan Allen stars as Senator Laine Hanson. When President Evans nominates Hanson to become Vice President after the death of the former VP, she’s immediately caught up in a scandal that centers on her past. The kicker: she never actually participated in the orgy that everyone else thinks she was a part of. Hanson remains calm, cool, and quiet while others try to tear her down and President Evans doesn’t stop believing in her potential. The political circus that occurs in the movie will definitely be familiar to anyone who has watched even 5 minutes of a cable TV news show in the past few years.

Air Force One (1997)

This political action movie puts Harrison Ford in the role of veteran soldier and U.S. President James Marshall. After proclaiming that he won’t negotiate with terrorists – yes, we’ve heard similar words before in real life – those terrorists come back in full force and hijack the very plane he’s on. Ultimately, James makes a heroic escape, saves many hostages, and kills off most of the terrorists before the movie is over. Air Force One is a Harrison Ford classic, which you can still catch on television through your local channels, but it’s not the first movie he’s tackled where he gets fed up and goes nuts on a bunch of bad guys. He did the same in Patriot Games, The Fugitive, Firewall, and several other films – Ford is clearly a master at the game.

The American President (1995)

In this film, Michael Douglas stars as Andrew Shepherd, a widower President of the US who catches major flack for dating a lobbyist while he’s in office. The real problem comes in when Andrew has to choose between getting behind the anti-crime bill he’s championed for years or supporting an environmental bill that’s favored by his lover Sydney Wade, who is played by Annette Bening. Of course, this whole mess seriously threatens his re-election campaign. Andrew and Sydney both win and find happiness together in the end, but the interesting thing about this film is that it was a huge influence on the popular TV show The West Wing. Writer Aaron Sorkin was so inspired by the movie that the Oval Office set used in The American President was also used in The West Wing.

White House Down (2013)

No, the best thing about White House Down isn’t watching Channing Tatum walk around with his buff arms bared, looking all tough guy smooth. The truly fascinating thing about this film is the technology that made it happen. The plot is set in Washington, D.C., but nearly all the filming took place on a stage in Montreal. Skillful editing of its scenery truly brought the movie to life. “White House Down” features Jamie Foxx as POTUS James Sawyer, who is trying to push a peace treaty and take military forces out of the Middle East. This isn’t a popular move, and it leads to a group of rogue mercenaries taking the White House hostage. Channing Tatum plays police officer and Secret Service agent wannabe John Cale, who teams up with President Sawyer to save the day. If action thrillers are your thing, this movie is a must see.

The actors in these movies all have different takes on being POTUS, and each one is seriously entertaining. Take a break from the antics of the current presidential debates and political commentary and enjoy these films this election year.

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