10 Best Presidential Movies to Watch on President’s Day
Have the day off for President's Day? Why not celebrate with these Hollywood odes to America's presidential history, real and imagined. These heads of s have it all—intrigue, romance, great speeches, and everything in between!
The American President
Aaron Sorkin wrote this romance, and it features his signature fast-paced banter and ideological speeches in full force. Michael Douglas plays a widowed president. So obviously this is going to be a love story because he needs to start dating. Annette Bening shows up as a lobbyist minx who wins his heart in this wholesome romantic comedy set against a backdrop of political intrigue and ballrooms. Martin Sheen is on hand as the president’s Chief of Staff, and his performance is a warm-up for playing President Bartlet on television in The West Wing—another talky drama written by Sorkin.
Air Force One
Harrison Ford plays the U.S. President as an action hero with his charismatic furrowed brow and Han Solo-ish verve. The plot revolves around some hijackers who take over the famed presidential airplane. Gary Oldman disguises himself as a reporter to get on board, and then steals his scenes because he’s really the crazed terrorist in charge of the mayhem. Glenn Close rocks as the vice prez running things on the ground. But with Ford as the president, you know his hero skill set will shut down the villainy! Here are more great movies to watch on Veteran’s Day.
Steven Spielberg’s epic history tale stars Daniel Day-Lewis as the famous orator in the final months of his noteworthy life. Day-Lewis won a Best Actor Oscar for his studied performance as one of America’s greatest presidents. This acclaimed drama follows Lincoln’s efforts to secure the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, abolishing slavery, in the aftermath of the Civil War. Sally Field plays Mary Todd Lincoln, and Tommy Lee Jones earned a Supporting Actor nomination for his role as an abolitionist congressman.
Southside With You
This acclaimed drama follows young Barack Obama on his first date with Michelle, and stars Parker Sawyers and Tika Sumpter as the dynamic duo. Michelle is reluctant to date her law firm’s summer associate, but we’re all glad she agreed. The two attend a political meeting where she first notices Obama’s inspiring gift for oration. The two talk all day before ending up at a screening of Do the Right Thing. The film gives you a window into the heart of America’s former first couple. They’re smart, hardworking, idealistic, and falling in love. These are the most romantic movies of all time.
Kevin Kline is a delight as a president look-a-like who gets tapped to take over while the real president is indisposed. White House handlers think it’s a good idea to swap in a body double until the real president comes out of his coma. But their plan has to stay secret. Then Kline starts creating his own policy and healing marred relationships. Next he gets First Lady Sigourney Weaver to fall back in love with him, but she’s pretty mad when she figures out he’s not her actual husband. This disastrous plan leads to a charming movie about the presidency, politics, and what makes a good man.
Joan Allen stars as a senator appointed to become Vice President (after his unexpected death) by Commander in Chief Jeff Bridges. The Contender is all about what it means to stay true to your values while holding public office. Allen has to go through intense confirmation hearings right in the midst of the scandal. Compromising photos surface, and instead of denying their truth, she doesn’t comment at all. Because she doesn’t believe in dignifying the scandal with a response. By the end, the real story comes out and (spoiler alert!), Allen turns out to be a hero. These movies have the best twist endings.
White House Down
This action movie takes place inside the White House during a tour gone awry, when bad guys pose as repairmen to gain entry to the fabled mansion so they can wreak some havoc. (Spoiler alert!) The whole house gets pretty much destroyed. Thank goodness Channing Tatum was on the tour so he can take over protecting President Jamie Foxx. Channing had been hoping to get an interview to be a secret service agent, and now that he’s saved the day, he’s pretty much a shoe-in for a permanent position.
Young Mr. Lincoln
Henry Fonda gives a stellar performance as Abe Lincoln in his early years as a small town defense attorney with integrity and smarts. Since premiering in 1939, this film has become a classic for its inspiring portrayal of truth and justice. Lincoln is tasked with defending a murder case and comes across as a strong and thoughtful leader. He even manages to attract the attention of Mary Todd, and you know where that leads. Here are the amazing movies you totally forgot were Oscar winners.
Based on the novel by “anonymous,” this soapy drama was all about Bill Clinton’s campaign and career. John Travolta plays the famous statesman, with Emma Thompson as his wife. Kathy Bates shows up as a backstage politico who finds the dirt before the opposition can get to it first. This inside look at political power plays shows the struggle of staying true to your values when the stakes are high.
Olympus Has Fallen
Aaron Eckhardt plays the president in the first entry of the “Has Fallen” franchise that’s basically about all hell breaking loose for the leader of the free world. The sequel London Has Fallen has a similar plot, when a highly organized terrorist sect takes over London. Gerald Butler stars in both movies as an expert secret serviceman with a talent for saving the day—and the president. Terrorists are no match for this pair who withstand copter crashes, gun fights, hostage situations, and bombs and still have plenty of time to kick butt. These are the best movies about friendship to watch with your bestie.