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Top 10 Movie Presidents

2. President James Marshall – Harrison Ford (Air Force One)

president harrison ford

As the Scary Movie films suggest, Harrison Ford is one of the greatest Presidents in American history, even though he’s never actually been president. Ford has all the components of a President for the people; the rugged features, loveable charisma, trustworthy manliness, and the kind of comforting every-woman-wants-him-every –man-wants-to-be-him kind of popularity. As maverick President James Marshall (even his name is cool), Ford provides an inspirational performance with all the pride and prominence of Bill Pullman’s President, but without (as much) cheese. Gary Oldman once commented that script re-writes made the President’s character blander, less conflicted and less interesting. Imagine what Ford could have done with a bit of moral ambiguity…

1. President Merkin Muffley – Peter Sellers (Dr Strangelove)

presidents peter sellers

Merkin Muffley is an unfortunate name for someone who is supposed to be one of the most powerful people in the world; being named after a pubic wig would undermine even the best of us. Throughout Dr. Strangelove (Stanley Kubrick’s cold war satirical masterpiece), President Muffley spends most of his time in the War Room of the pentagon. A room with so much intense drama in its look and atmosphere, Ronald Reagan said he was disappointed when he saw the real Pentagon War Room. Sellers is breath taking in the role (one of three he plays), creating a neurotic, every day middle man who sits on the fence and illustrates the worst case scenario for a president during such an important situation. He was apparently based on the contester to Dwight Eisenhower in the 1956 election, a democrat from Illinois widely believed to have little to no personality.

Terry Crews (Idiocracy), Kevin Kline (Dave), John Travolta (Primary Colors), Jeff Bridges (The Contender), James Cromwell (W., The Sum Of All Fears, RFK, The West Wing)

Who do you think are the best movie presidents? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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  • Fletchman1313 said

    I think ‘Dave’ should be added on this list:

    Although technically he wasn’t REALLY the President, he did act like he was. Well, within the movie, he acted as if he were the President, unlike the others listed here who were acting as Preisdent within their respective movies. Err, nevermind.

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  • orvilleredenbacher said

    #10. Funny it never occurs to him to bomb D.C.

    Excellent post.

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  • Braden said

    What about Dennis Haysbert as President David Palmer from 24? Okay, I know it isn’t a movie, but how can you not love David Palmer?

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  • riontaylor said

    You forgot President Camacho from Idiocracy

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  • Denis said

    President David Palmer from 24 is the best president ever.

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  • Passs said

    Obama played by Will Smith… SOON! 😉

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  • dnwilliams said

    dude. i was about to FLIP when i saw ford at number two…until i saw sellers, nice save 😀

    dmitri? hello dmitri.

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  • Isabella said

    I agree with Mr Denis, Palmer was great as the president in 24..and 24 is the best Tv Show ever. I have seen most of the movies in this list….and Independence Day was awesome 🙂

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  • Denny Crane said

    Obivously none of you have seen President James Marshall strutt his stuff in Air Force One – one of the all time greats

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  • Sheridan Passell said
    Sheridan Passell

    @Denny, Obviously you haven’t read the list.

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  • G said

    I don’t know if this one counts, but what about Ossie Davis, as JFK in Bubba Ho-Tep. If you can outshine Bruce Campbell then you must be doing a good job

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  • P. said

    No Jeff Bridges from The Contender?

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  • jason said

    hey i know one but dont remember the name. there is this movie where the president is chatting with a boy who gives him tipps about several things.

    anyone remember?

    i like that president

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    • Keith Douglas said

      Honorable mention at least should go two very different Presidents from different eras. Fredric Marsh, Seven Days in May. And Dan Hedaya, Dick. Also, maybe it doesn’t exactly fit here, but Raymond Massey’s performance in Abe Lincoln in Illinois is worth remembering.

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  • kj moore said

    I was very impressed with the film Thirteen Days and with Bruce Greenwoods portrayal of JFK. To my tastes this was one of the best historical movies depicting an American President. I would love to see a companion movie depicting Khrushchev and the Soviet point of view of the same events.

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  • Steven said

    My Fellow Americans! As far as comedy presidents I think this one is better than Mars Attacks with far more “president” time. Maybe your list is just a “facade.”

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