Since this weekend is President’s Day weekend, I thought it would be time to look at and rank my 5 favorite movies that are about Presidents and/or take place in the White House. I also want to take this opportunity to say that I’d take any of these presidents over the one we currently have. What are some of your favorite movies about Presidents and/or the White House?
- Lincoln – Steven Spielberg – November 9, 2012
*Daniel Day-Lewis embodies Abraham Lincoln in mind, body, and spirit. He’s so uncanny you forget your watching an actor, and think you’re watching the real guy. Director Steven Spielberg here chose not to make a full biography, but instead made a story about how President Lincoln got the 13th amendment passed and freed slaves. It’s not only an entertaining movie, but also a really important one that reminds us about where the United States have been as a country and as a society.
- White House Down – Roland Emmerich – June 28, 2013
*The first movie on this list directed by Roland Emmerich, White House Down stars Jamie Foxx as the president, and Channing Tatum as the man who has to protect him from terrorist who invade the White House and take hostages. There’s no educational value here whatsoever, and I like it all the more because of it. It’s just a damn-good enjoyable action movie that happens to take place at the White House.
- JFK – Oliver Stone – December 20, 1991
*The same way that Lincoln is not a biopic about Abraham Lincoln, neither is JFK a biopic about John F. Kennedy. It’s instead about the investigation into his assassination in Dallas, lead by New Orleans DA Jim Garrison, played by Kevin Costner. Director Oliver Stone played around with a lot of “what ifs” here, but its theories are very interesting, and the speech that Jim Garrison gives in the courthouse talking to the jury is one of the best I’ve ever seen.
- All the President’s Men – Alan J. Pakula – April 9, 1976
*Just like how JFK may be a stretch considering my criteria for this list, so is All the President’s Men. This is about the Watergate Scandal and the aftermath of that including the journalistic investigation by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. This is movie making at its best, and the story of Richard Nixon and Watergate changed a lot of things in Washington, DC. Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford have never been better, and it’s one of the best movies ever made.
- Independence Day – Roland Emmerich – July 3, 1996
*Thomas J. Whitmore is my favorite fictionalized presidents because he’s willing to put his life on the line to protect the world from Aliens who have come to Earth to wipe out the human race. The reason Independence Day is my favorite President/White House movie is because the White House gets blown-up and the president doesn’t stand for it, and kicks major alien ass. “Nuke ’em. Let’s nuke the bastards.” Exactly, Mr. President.