Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Movies to Celebrate Presidents

posted by Nell Minow

Why have there been no great films about George Washington? And why are there so many films featuring Abraham Lincoln? From the John Ford classic Young Mr. Lincoln, starring Henry Fonda, to Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, there is something about the tall man with the wry sense of humor that is very cinematic.


Then there are fictional movie Presidents like Polly Bergan as the first woman Chief Executive.

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Five great movies for President’s Day:

1. Young Mr. Lincoln Long before he ran for President, we see Abe Lincoln mourn his first love and defend his first clients.


2. Independence Day Bill Pullman is a former fighter pilot who leads America and the world after an alien attack.

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3. Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb This cold-war farce has Peter Sellers in three roles, including President of the United States. His conversation with his counterpart in the USSR is a masterpiece. (Some mature material).


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kisses%20for%20my%20president.jpg4. “Kisses for My President” Not available on DVD or video, this all-but forgotten 1964 film features Polly Bergan as the nation’s first female President, but in this pre-feminist era its focus is on the problems faced by her husband, played by Fred McMurray. It is every bit as silly as its title suggests and you will never believe how it all gets resolved. (Guesses welcome)


5. Air Force One Harrison Ford is the President as action hero. When Air Force One is captured by terrorists, it’s a good thing that the man who played Han Solo and Indiana Jones is on hand.

And don’t forget: Richard Nixon in “Nixon” (Anthony Hopkins), “Frost/Nixon” (Frank Langella), and “Dick” (Dan Hedaya), John F. Kennedy in “13 Days” (Bruce Greenwood) and “PT 109″ (Cliff Robertson), George W. Bush in “W” (James Brolin, with James Cromwell as his father, President George H.W. Bush), and Franklin Roosevelt in “Hyde Park on Hudson” (Bill Murray), “Eleonor and Franklin” (Edward Hermann), and “Sunrise at Campbello” (Ralph Bellamy)

  • Kevin L.

    There was a post on IMDB some time ago that worked out that every president except Millard Fillmore had been portrayed on film – though a few had to fall back on educational films. A few more:

    George Washington – Jeff Daniels in “The Crossing”

    John Adams – Paul Giamatti in the HBO miniseries.

    Thomas Jefferson – Ken Howard in “1776”, Nick Nolte in “Jefferson in Paris”.

    James Madison – Burgess Meredith in “magnificent Doll”

    John Quincy Adams and Martin Van Buren – Anthony Hopkins and Nigel Hawthorne, respectively, in “Amistad”

    Andrew Jackson – Charlton Heston in “The President’s Lady” and “The Buccaneer”.

    • Nell Minow

      Great list, Kevin! I don’t think we’ll be seeing a Millard Fillmore movie any time soon.

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