With all eyes on politics today, many new films and current television shows are highlighting actors as Presidents and how they would handle global situations. Remember Morgan Freeman in Deep Impact? That deep, calming grandpa voice could get us through any crisis.
Most disaster films like Independence Day and Geostorm call on a President to speak to the people, to brace themselves for an apocalyptic disaster. It requires an actor to step up (to the podium) and deliver a speech of a lifetime because it literally could be the end of days.
1. Harrison Ford as President James Marshall in Air Force One
Duh! Of course Harrison Ford makes this list. He pretty much is the hero and saves the day in any movie he’s in (Star Wars, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and The Fugitive). Quite frankly, we’d like Harrison to step up and save the day right now.
As the fictional President James Marshall, Ford battles the bad guys (Russian terrorists, no less) from 50,000 feet with his fists and some pretty handy airline equipment (flight attendant cart, check!). The most famous line? “Get off my plane!” You tell ’em Prez.
2. Martin Sheen as President Josiah Bartlett on The West Wing
One of the most revered Presidents on television, Josiah Bartlett, played by award-winning actor Martin Sheen, set the standard for great Presidents of the small screen. In addition to trying to bring the world together, behind the scenes he is battling multiple sclerosis. Most of the episodes deal with the President and his staff dealing with political and legislative issues. The writing by famous screenwriter, Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network) shows a mature President dealing with America’s policies with heart and good temperament. Bartlett 2020.
3. Michael Douglas as President Andrew Shepherd in The American President
Michael Douglas was the Ryan Gosling of his time. That dimpled chin was enough to elect him President in the first place. He wasn’t the greatest President to ever hold fake office, but he definitely improved with the help of his lobbyist girlfriend, Sydney Wade (Annette Benning), who set him straight on environmental protection, gun bills and other forms of legislation that needed a woman’s touch.
What’s great about President Andrew Shepherd is that he takes responsibility for his mistakes and he owns up to whatever ball he drops. Also, he’s single while in office which is kinda cool — imagine swiping your prez on Tinder. Not the current president, duh, but Barack Obama?! My god!
4. Kevin Kline as President Dave Kovic in Dave
After the current President suffers a stroke, look-alike Dave Kovic takes over and turns the White House upside down — but in a good way. In his short stay in office, he creates programs to fund homeless children and proposes bills to create more jobs. He’s so sweet that honestly, the White House is no place for him — even his snooty fake wife (Sigourney Weaver) knows it.
5. Bill Pullman as President Thomas J. Whitmore in Independence Day
Our country is being attacked by alien ships! No worries tho’, Bill Pullman is totally up for the task. He’s dealt with creepy before (remember Casper, the Friendly Ghost?) so he’s ready to lead the nation with the help of the Fresh Prince — I mean Will Smith‘s character, Captain Steven Hiller — in battling aliens. His heartfelt, powerful speech to the American people… even better.
While the country could be led to its very end of days, the calm, dad-like quality of Pullman makes us believe that tomorrow is another day. Also, he’s a DILF.
6. Geena Davis as President Mackenzie Allen on Commander in Chief
Yes, women can be president! Well on television, anyways. Honestly, it’s strange how few female presidents we’ve seen even on screen. That’s a convo for another day, though.
This short-lived series (canceled after 18 episodes, yikes!) had Geena Davis in the role of Vice President who slips into the role of President after the POTUS dies. Despite her disgruntled cabinet members wanting her to resign, she persisted. Her moral prestige is very similar to President Josiah Bartlett from The West Wing and scenes were evenly split between the oval office and her personal life. Geena Davis embodied a strong, intelligent woman in the highest office, a great role model for young girls. Also, she played Thelma and Dottie – the ultimate feminist role models.
7. Morgan Freeman as President Thomas Beck in Deep Impact
A voice that could calm a hundred screaming toddlers. Morgan Freeman as President Beck is just the type of guy we need at the helm of this sinking ship known as earth, ready to become extinct when an oncoming asteroid is coming towards the Earth.
Working with other world leaders and giving a speech that will bring a tear to your patriotic eyes — you will believe Freeman is the President and the votes were just miscounted.
8. Julia Louis-Dreyfus as President Selina Meyer on Veep
Politics with a laugh and a side of grit? President Selina Meyer, the foul-mouthed V.P., is put into the oval office as President for a short time (8 months) after the President resigns before the end of his term. While she is in the midst of handling her own campaign for President, she manages to make a deal with the Chinese government to free Tibet.
Although her presidency is short-lived (the other guy won, *sigh*), she is now going for another round of running for president and fingers crossed she gets it this time!
9. George Clooney as The President of the United States in Spy Kids 3D: Game Over
Although his appearance is really brief (beginning and end of the film) let us not forget that George Clooney as POTUS is not that far-fetched of an idea. He’s an advocate for human rights, as is his wife, lawyer Amal Clooney and he’s testified in Congress for the mistreatment of human beings in Sudan. In Spy Kids 3D, he’s just a gorgeous-faced President of the United States with that silver fox hair and adorable grin.
10. Tea Leoni as President Elizabeth McCord on Madame Secretary
Okay technically she’s Madame Secretary, but in the series premiere of season two, Air Force One has lost all contact and someone needs to be sworn in as “Acting President.” The only one with a balanced head on their shoulders to take the job is Elizabeth McCord. The highlight of her being sworn in? It’s done by Morgan Freeman! How often do you get to see Morgan Freeman grace the small screen and swear in the next “Acting President” of the United States? Not too often!
11. Jamie Foxx as President James Sawyer in White House Down
“Get your hands off my Jordans!” Aaah! Classic! Jamie Foxx isn’t taking anyone’s B.S. when a paramilitary group invades the White House. It’s complete chaos as bullets go flying and it’s up to the President and the US Capitol police officer (hottie Channing Tatum) to save the day. We were hoping Channing would bust out into a Magic Mike strip dance, but we’ve got Jamie Foxx sporting some nerdy-hot black-framed glasses that makes us swoon, instead.
12. Andy Garcia as President Andrew Palma in Geostorm
Geostorm is another one of those disaster movies where the President needs to step up because the entire world is at risk of being destroyed. Andy Garcia (who, by the way, never ages and has hair still full enough to run our fingers through) is President Andrew Palma. That breathy Cuban accent is enough to halt the tornados and floods, but it’s so Avril Lavigne, a little more ‘Complicated’ than that. Astronauts need to fly up to space to fix the satellites which have been messed with by… oh no! Not the President with the age-defying skin! You’ll have to see the movie to find out.
13. Dennis Haysbert as President David Palmer on 24
Nothing will defeat President David Palmer, not even a deadly virus that he caught from an infected assassin. Just another day on the job. Dennis was like the President version of Batman and Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) was his Robin — saving the country from terror side-by-side during an unstable time in America.
Oh, and co-workers suck too. His cabinet tried to have him impeached. Ugh.
14. Tim Robbins as The President in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
One of the best performances by Tim Robbins… no, really. His hysterical laughter after Dr. Evil asks The President (circa 1969) for 100 billion dollars or else he will fire his large laser and destroy every major city in America. Of course, it’s 1969 and nobody even has that kind of money which is why the monster belly laughs ensue. Robbins is looking very JFK-esque with this tailored suit and perfectly gelled coiffed hair. We can’t tell if he’s the President or ready to walk a Tom Ford runway but either way, pretty iconic.
15. Kevin Spacey & Robin Wright as Presidents Frank and Claire Underwood on House of Cards
This duo is out for revenge, but as Presidents, they need to watch their own backs from one another. When Frank Underwood resigns his Presidency to his wife so he can work in the private sector at the end of Season 5, Claire stands with absolute power in the oval office — thus leading her to ignore Frank’s call… who is expecting to be pardoned by his wife. The moment when she turns to the camera and says, “my turn” is the best! The burn is real!
16. Jeff Bridges as President Jackson Evans in The Contender
President Jackson Evans is a President of our generation. He appoints a female Vice President after his VP dies, but she is scrutinized by the media and the other party for indiscretions in her past. Not jaded by the outside voices, President Evans makes a speech that he will not tolerate misogyny and hate. Brava!
17. Mark Harmon as President James Foster in Chasing Liberty
We had to include this classic Mandy Moore flick on the list. While he was a little overbearing, he was the frickin’ President! And it’s true that the world is very unsafe for an unprotected U.S. President’s daughter so TBH, we think Mandy’s character, Anna, was being a bit naive! Sure, we feel sorry for her… but MY GOD. The Prez tried to compromise with her several times with no success — so the guy had to do what any dad would do: tell the Secret Service Agent currently wooing his daughter not to reveal his true identity as one of her father’s employees… Duh!
18. Kiefer Sutherland as President Tom Kirkman on Designated Survivor
Kiefer can’t get enough of the White House! After a terrorist bombing in the Capital kills every federal official, Tom Kirkman, the Secretary of Housing, was the Designated Survivor thrust into the presidency. Imagine Ben Carson becoming President — that’s what this is like.
Tom’s a little rusty, but the country is in crisis mode and we need a savior who looks a lot like Jack Bauer from 24. *Winks*
19. Tony Goldwyn as President Fitzgerald Grant on Scandal
Okay, so he’s not the greatest fake President of all time. Let’s be real. He got into office by rigging voter machines. He’s an adulterer and literally went to war with a country to save his side chick. Just sayin’! But he’s cute, appears shirtless most of the time, and doing it all for love is kind of romantic in a messed up sort of way.
20. Terry Crews as President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho in Idiocracy
In the year 2505, there is no other hope for President than a former five-time Ultimate Smackdown champion and pornstar. Of course, in 2505 the human population has regressed back to caveman brain-size, where stupid is as stupid does. He gets an A+ for the ‘Merica style and tenacity.