This week we look at the Top 10 presidential film characters.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is out this week, twisting history to breaking point with action sequences, undead slayings and some serious tree surgery. But which are the 10 best movie presidents to ever have looked solemnly down the camera and addressed their fictional nations?
10) President Theodore Roosevelt – Night at the Museum
Not really. This is the polar opposite of good, but it needs to be on this list as an example of how NOT to put a president onscreen. It is probably Robin Williams’ worst role, because has to behave with stoic respectability in what is ostensibly a comedy. This is strange given that his skill in this genre lies in behaving with barely tolerable wackiness.
9) President Tom Beck – Deep Impact
The first African American president in this list, Morgan Freeman really gets into the grave, fatherly shoes of a president who is facing the destruction of his people. Because there’s not much you can do to avoid an asteroid, chums.
8 ) President Schwarzenegger – The Simpson’s Movie
He was elected to lead, not to read.
7) President Lindberg – The Fifth Element
While Freeman was respectable and paternal, Tom Lister Jr. plays the president in this campy space opera with the rumbling menace of a pseudo-villain.
6) President Richard Nixon – Nixon
While Frank Langella’s stab at portraying Tricky Dick in Frost/Nixon is better as an impersonation, the compact, bottled fury of Anthony Hopkins in Oliver Stone’s 1995 biopic gives a rounder look at the man behind the media facade.
5) President James Dale – Mars Attacks!
Jack Nicolson is an actor who can barely control his eyebrows, let alone his mood swings, and he is pitched perfectly as the president in Tim Burton’s earth invasion satire, parodying both the inspirational leaders found in other disaster movies and his own personality in one fell swoop.
4) President Thomas ‘Tug’ Benson – Hot Shots! Part Deux
If parody movies are not your thing then the Hot Shots! franchise is going to repulse you. But the effortless lunacy of Lloyd Bridges as the president in this follow-up to the original is irresistible.
3) President Hathaway – Monsters vs. Aliens
Brilliantly voiced by Stephen Colbert, this coiffed leader’s attempt to communicate with the alien invaders is carried out through the medium of a keyboard solo.
2) President Thomas J Whitmore – Independence Day
The centrepiece of this patriotic overload of a movie is Bill Pullman’s Kennedy-esque president who eventually leads his countrymen in an assault on extra terrestrials after watching his wife die. As rousing speeches go, he gets one of the best, if you don’t mind the name of the movie being tacked on at the end.
1) President James Marshall – Air Force One
Few presidents can match the bad-assery displayed by Harrison Ford in this role. When his jet is compromised by terrorists it is up to the Pres to go Die Hard all over the place while flying 50,000 feet in the air, exercising his executive prerogative to spoil Garry Oldman’s fun.