How many times have you watched a movie and wished you could vote for a fictional president in real life? While there are some duds, most movie and TV presidents give stirring speeches, walk down the hallways of the White House to a dramatic soundtrack, and save the country/world from certain doom. Here are nine of the all-time best movie and TV presidents.
1) President Whitmore – Independence Day
There is no better presidential speech — in real life or in the movies — than Bill Pullman’s unifying, inspiring ode to independence. It’s a speech so good it single-handedly defeated the aliens AND bankrolled a sequel.
2) Jed Bartlet – The West Wing
Martin Sheen’s Josiah Bartlet is one of those presidents who just feels like the adult in the room. He’s always ready with words of wisdom, a measured response, and a jacket flourish. He’s intellectual but still retains his connection to the common man. He’s probably the most realistic president on this list, and I bet a lot of us wish we had someone like him in every election.
3) Mackenzie Allen – Commander in Chief
I trust Geena Davis. I’d probably vote for her to be real-life president. Did you know that she qualified for the Olympics in archery in her 50s? She’s awesome. Geena brought her charisma and gravitas to this role as the kick-ass first female Vice President thrust into the highest office in the land after the president’s death. Unfortunately, Commander in Chief only lasted one season back in the olden days of 2005, when people weren’t ready the awesomeness of someone in the Oval Office who used hairspray (besides JFK. Or was that pomade?).
4) Tom Beck – Deep Impact
Morgan Freeman has the most calming, trustworthy presence (he played God, for Christ’s sake) so of course his President Tom Beck was the perfect man to lead the world through disaster. He’s faced with an extinction-level event and managed to keep everyone’s sh*t together well enough that humanity wasn’t totally wiped off the face of the Earth. It’s basically the worst position to be in as president and he handles it as well as anyone could hope.
5) President Camacho – Idiocracy
So he might not be the smartest president in American history (actually, he’s starting to feel like a futuristic version of Donald Trump) but Terry Crews’ President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho has the biggest muscles. That’s why the American people voted for him, and they earned him a spot on this illustrious list. He’s generally good-hearted, even if he’s completely inept and prone to violence. But who isn’t? President Camacho is definitely the buffest president America could hope for, and isn’t that what really matters?
6) James Marshall – Air Force One
Harrison Ford’s President Marshall is the only president on this list with secret ass-kicking skills. Some presidents defeat terrorists by sending the SEALs to do the job. That’s weak sauce, OBAMA. A REAL president can off them one by one in hand-to-hand combat.
7) Laura Roslin – Battlestar Galactica
Mary McDonnell’s Laura Roslin was 43rd in the line of succession to the presidency when the Cylons attacked and killed all 42 people in front of her. Still, she stepped up to the job and nobody could have done better at seeing humankind through such a trying time while preserving some semblance of democracy and civilization.
8 and 9) David Palmer and Allison Taylor in 24
24 had some of the best TV presidents ever, and definitely one of the worst (looking at you, nasty ass Charles Logan). Dennis Haysbert’s David Palmer was firm, fair, and trustworthy — basically the same guy he is in the insurance commercials. Some people even think he paved the way for Barack Obama (who is the real-life president, for all you White House newbs). Cherry Jones’ Allison Taylor was idealistic and and honorable and felt like a trustworthy Commander in Chief. Of course, the show’s writing screwed up her last few episodes, so we’ll ignore those.
Do you wish you could vote for any of these fictional presidents? Are there any great ones I missed? Tweet at me @erikaheidewald and let me know! President Camacho 4eva!