Feature: Top 10 Movie Presidents

Watching those ridiculous YouTube Democratic presidential debates the other day made me ask myself: what movies had better presidents than the current crop running for office? As usual I set right to work to figure it out.

Criteria: Must be a president, elected or otherwise (obviously); has to have more than just a quick entrance/photo op; exhibit a unique quality

10 President Lindberg Tom “Tiny” Lister Jr.The Fifth Element
President: Lindberg
Quality: Dumb
It’s true, he can’t enunciate his words particularly well but so what! Just knowing this man, with the intelligence of a grapefruit, was able to rise up to become the President of the United Federated Territories lets me know the future is going to be a great place. Thankfully, I’ll be dead by then.
9 President-Elect Dobbs Robin WilliamsMan of the Year
President-Elect: Tom Dobbs
Quality: Humor
On a lark, this late-night talk show host decides to run for office. Amazingly, he gets elected. Williams in all his looniness comes across as a likable guy. It’s also always a pleasure to see stuffed shirt posturing lose out to common sense and lightheartedness in a debate.
8 President Whitmore Bill PullmanIndependence Day
President: Thomas J. Whitmore
Quality: Leadership
Pullman might be slightly miscast in this role but all is forgiven when he leads a squadron of planes into the heart of invading aliens. Yeah, his rally cry may have been a bit corny, but any president willing to risk certain death gets my vote.
7 President Beck Morgan FreemanDeep Impact
President: Tom Beck
Quality: Compassion
How much does it suck to have most of the East Coast disappear due to a comet strike during your administration? Ask Beck. He handles the dire situation with care and the utmost class. Could we expect anything different from Morgan Freeman? I think not.
6 President Shepherd Michael DouglasThe American President
President: Andrew Shepherd
Quality: Regularness
This is probably the most realistic portrayal of the president in any movie. The most powerful man on earth is humanized and made to be just a man. Douglas doesn’t disappoint either — he nails the role.
5 President Richmond Gene HackmanAbsolute Power
President: Alan Richmond
Quality: Mean
Hackman portrays one ruthless son-of-a-bitch. He’ll stop at nothing to cover-up the murder of his mistress by the secret service. His actions lend credence to the statement: Absolute power corrupts absolutely. I know I’ll never piss anyone off in government ever again.

4 President Marshall Harrison FordAir Force One
President: James Marshall
Quality: Tough
This is our tough guy president of the list. He kicks the ass of Russian hijackers, flies Air Force One and does some crazy high-wire act between fighter jets — as they’re flying! If one has to lead by example, this is one hell of an example for others to follow!
3 President Dale Jack NicholsonMars Attacks!
President: James Dale
Quality: Squirreliness
This president doesn’t get much accomplished after the Martians land and attack. As things fall apart all around him, the best he can drum up is, “I want the people to know that they still have 2 out of 3 branches of the government working for them, and that ain’t bad.” I feel better now, don’t you?
2 President Muffley Peter SellersDr. Strangelove
President: Merkin Muffley
Quality: Meekness
His name alone should invoke images of a nerdy guy out of his element. It turns out he actually is totally worthless as he does absolutely nothing during a nuclear crisis. Peter Sellers captures Muffley’s complacency perfectly.
1 President Mitchell Kevin KlineDave
President: Bill Mitchell/Dave Kovic
Quality: Honesty
Okay, so he doesn’t actually get elected president, but he takes the place of the president and runs the country for a short while. I think this is the kind of president every American yearns for. He is an everyday kind of guy, who wonders aloud why everything is done in such an asinine manner. He can’t be real!

Yes, I know there are hundreds more. Before, you start randomly thowing names at me, think about it. Then give me the qualities these individuals exhibit and the movies they’re in.

By the way, we are so screwed in the next election . . .

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'Feature: Top 10 Movie Presidents' have 25 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    August 3, 2007 @ 3:09 pm Ryan

    Harrison ford wins hands down man. “Get off my plane!”

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    August 3, 2007 @ 4:54 pm Grub

    What about Loretta Swit as President Barbara Adams in Whoops Apocalypse?

    Her quality is she has tits!

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    August 4, 2007 @ 1:10 am Fletch

    Bill Clinton, Contact. Quality: “Real-ness.”


    Hey, he had a co-starring role, for chrissakes!

    Also potential nominees: JFK and Nixon in Forrest Gump. Qualities: see above.

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    August 4, 2007 @ 10:58 am sasori

    What about Loretta Swit as President Barbara Adams in Whoops Apocalypse?

    I suppose I should have said the role had to be good too!

    Bill Clinton, Contact … Also potential nominees: JFK and Nixon in Forrest Gump

    Part of the criteria was they had to have more than just a quick entrance/photo op. I believe all those you mentioned only had a scene or two in the respective movies.

  5. The Critical Movie Critics

    August 9, 2007 @ 10:07 am alex

    You missed Robert Barron as Abraham Lincoln in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

    “Party on, dudes!”

  6. The Critical Movie Critics

    August 28, 2007 @ 7:39 pm Jason

    I like most of the picks, however you left out the top candidate in Jeff Bridges, if you haven’t caught him in The Contender…you should. He plays a great man with character flaws. You see the behind-the-scenes commentary that makes them like you and me, but then you see why he is president with speeches like the one that closes out the movie. He inspires, unlike some of our current statesman.

  7. The Critical Movie Critics

    December 20, 2007 @ 12:09 pm Stephen Smith

    What about Anthony Hopkins as Nixon?

    And remember Randy Quaid playing LBJ?

    He had portrayed him as smart, crude, rude, mean, psychotic.

  8. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 11, 2008 @ 8:04 pm Genius Dude

    This list isn’t complete without President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho.

    Thank you.

  9. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 11, 2008 @ 8:32 pm Luke James

    WOW. You absolutely missed the best one ever. By far. Like really, really by far.

    The moment I saw this headline at Digg, I thought to myself #1 must be: Jeff Bridges in The Contender, or they are smoking crack.

    You didn’t have him at all. An absolute disgrace, I say.

  10. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 11, 2008 @ 8:43 pm Goose

    Yeah, you missed Jeff Bridges in The Contender. That leaves a glaring hole in the list but otherwise good job/

  11. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 11, 2008 @ 7:56 pm tyler

    While not a movie, honorable mention must go to Martin Sheen in one of the best tv shows of all time, The West Wing. All around just being awesome.

  12. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 11, 2008 @ 9:00 pm John-E

    You should be ashamed of yourself for missing Mel Brooks as President Skroob in Spaceballs..

  13. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 11, 2008 @ 9:03 pm ForwardLooker

    Dennis Haysbert in “24”
    President: David Palmer
    Quality: Integrity

    Let’s overlook movies for a sec and look at tv. President David Palmer in “24” played by Dennis Haysbert is the best portrayal of a president that I’ve ever seen. He is constantly faced with tough decisions, dishonest and unscrupulous cabinet members, not to mention constant terrorist attacks. Nevertheless, he always makes the right decisions in the show without seeming too ideal for a real person to make. Barack Obama seems like he could be our David Palmer.

  14. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 11, 2008 @ 9:03 pm dan

    i can’t believe you would leave off President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho from Idiocracy played by Terry Crews.

    he is so passionate.

  15. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 11, 2008 @ 9:55 pm Alvis


    Now I understand everyone’s shit’s emotional right now. But I’ve got a 3 point plan that’s going to fix EVERYTHING. Number 1: We’ve got this guy Not Sure. Number 2: He’s got a higher IQ than ANY MAN ALIVE. and Number 3: He’s going to fix EVERYTHING.

  16. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 11, 2008 @ 9:02 pm Carl Lange

    Also, Chris Rock in Head of State was awesome.

  17. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 11, 2008 @ 10:23 pm Luke James

    Yes, I concur. Comacho is #2. But I still hold firm on Jeff Bridges from The Contender as #1.

  18. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 11, 2008 @ 11:02 pm DaDon

    Yeah, gotta go with Camacho. He’s a lot like the president we have now, but black and better! And parties like a MF!

  19. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 11, 2008 @ 11:54 pm Jim Jones

    Michael Douglas hands down best performance ever.


  20. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 12, 2008 @ 7:05 pm Top Ten Film Lists

    […] Top Ten Movie Presidents[…]

  21. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 13, 2008 @ 10:49 am ConceptJunkie

    If you’re going to mention Dennis Haysbert’s awesome President Palmer from “24” you’ve got to mention Gregory Itzin’s President Logan, who wins for the qualities of sliminess, ineffectiveness and cowardice. He’s the President you love to hate. Gregory Itzin did a superb job in the role… he was so convincing, if I ever meet the guy in real life I’ll have to think twice or I might slug him!

  22. The Critical Movie Critics

    July 13, 2008 @ 12:42 pm sasori

    Thanks digg for ressurecting this one from the archives!

    Obviously one of the criteria I should have spelled out was the fact I needed to have seen the film; I don’t base the lists I make off of hearsay. That being said, it sounds like there are a few I’ve missed:

    Jeff Bridges in The Contender
    Terry Crews in Idiocracy

    I’ll be queuing them up for a viewing now…

  23. The Critical Movie Critics

    October 25, 2008 @ 10:51 pm Alan

    Bill Pullman is only #8?! He should be number 2 or 3. Any president that goes into battle with his men should be near the top!

  24. The Critical Movie Critics

    October 14, 2012 @ 7:01 pm HallowedWeenie

    Terry Crews is a definite miss. Of course now, assuming you allow for real presidents, you have to add Daniel Day Lewis in Lincoln.

  25. The Critical Movie Critics

    December 28, 2012 @ 5:53 pm Kristine

    Lloyd Bridges. Bumbling Admiral Tug Benson was the pres in Hot Shots! Part Deux. It was the best work Bridges did.

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