“I’m so mad I’m literally shaking.”
AFFotD Editor-in-Chief Johnny Roosevelt Upon the Discovery of the Knock-Off Film Independents’ Day
In going through every single movie President we could find, we’ve definitely encountered a lot of shitty movies as well as a lot of shitty Presidents. Like, who would have thought that they made a movie in the 1930s where the “hero” President is basically Mussolini? Well we’re continuing in our crazy ranking of all the fictional Presidents in film history, because we’re crazy people. You might wonder, is this list really definitive? Yes, yes it is. You might follow up by asking, isn’t what makes one fake President better or worse than the other the definition of a subjective list? No, we are infallible with our assessments here.
Anyway, here are some more bad Presidents, each one slightly less bad than their predecessor.
Every Fictional President in Film History: Ranked (#130-121—Historically Bad Presidents)
130: Absolute Power (1997)
Gene Hackman as President Richmond
Listen, we don’t know that much about his politics or whatever. Maybe he had some great thoughts on foreign policy. But we’re here to take a stance—it is not very presidential to murder your billionaire-friend’s wife during rough sex that turned the corner into full on sexual assault. His legacy mostly consists of “murdered some people, then committed suicide.” So like, that alone drops him into Andrew Johnson territory.
129: Executive Power (1997)
William Atherton as President John Fields
The number of fictional Presidents who have killed women while trying to have affairs is both higher and lower than we would have expected, frankly. In Executive Power, President John Fields accidentally kills a call girl during sex (but like…how?) and the ensuing cover up leads to a bunch of people getting murdered. He’s a little less rapey than President Richmond, which moves him up a spot, but like, that’s not something he should really hang his hat on if you’re asking us.
Oh, and we actually found this movie on Amazon Prime and watched it (not recommended). Guess what happens in the end? Fields gets re-elected. Fictional Democracy doesn’t work, people!
128: Assassination (1987)
Charles Howerton as President Calvin Craig
This is literally like the only movie where we couldn’t find a picture of the President. This also might be the greatest Blue Ray cover in American history?
Assassination is about the, gasp, attempted assassination of the First Lady. Why is the First Lady a target? Well buckle up, buster. It’s the President’s supporters who try to murder his own wife. And why would they do that? Because she was leaving him because his dick stopped working. No, we’re serious, the President is impotent because of a war injury (sure) and as a result his wife is about to file for divorce (tough but fair). How have we not seen this movie before? And why can’t we stop looking at mini Charles Bronson with a bazooka in that picture?
127: Chain of Command (2000)
Roy Scheider as President Jack Cahill
As President, Jack Cahill lets the President of Taiwan steal the nuclear football, resulting in the nuking of Beijing and Washington D.C. The nuclear football is only recovered when he is hilariously shot in the leg by a Secret Service agent. He does manage to help avoid World War III by regain access to the America’s nukes, but he does so shortly before getting killed. Let’s say his Presidency was a mixed bag.
126: Under Siege (1986)
Hal Holbrook as President Maxwell Monroe
Hal Holbrook is not someone you’d expect to play multiple Presidents, but that is indeed the case. He fares a little better in his other film (where he just gets kidnapped in the aptly named The Kidnapping of the President) than he does here, where an oh-shit-that’s-eerie-for-1986 9/11-style attack goes down, and he has to figure out if he should retaliate against Iran. We can’t find copies of this made-for-TV movie, so we don’t know how accurate this ranking is, but we dropped him down here for letting a massive attack occur on American soil.
125: By Dawn’s Early Light (1990)
Darren McGavin as US Secretary of the Interior a.k.a. Condor, Acting President of the United States
Smack dab in the middle of World War III, the President’s helicopter got knocked down by a nuke (he survives, and appears later on this list), and the Secretary of Interior is sworn in to take control of the free world. The President keeps trying to call him to say, “Hey I’m the President, I’m alive, let me take over and try to avoid a full on nuclear holocaust” and this dude’s like, “That’s exactly what a fake President would say, comrade.” He serves as the Acting President for a while, dressed like a fucking corn farmer. He doesn’t do a great job.
124: Mars Attacks! (1996)
Jack Nicholson as President James Dale
Under this man’s watch, the planet is invaded by murdering scrotum-head aliens who then kill him with a fake hand. God, this movie was a mess. Has enough time gone by that we might start to consider that Tim Burton actually doesn’t make good movies? Like, maybe, just maybe, Ed Wood was the last really good movie he had in him? From 1985 to 1994, he did Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns, and Ed Wood, all in a row.
Then he did Mars Attacks! And followed that up with Sleepy Hollow (alright), and Planet of the Apes (oof). So…anyway, bad movie, bad president.
122 and 123 (tie): Independents’ Day (2016)
Fay Gauthier as President Raney and Kurt Sinclair as President Oliver
Oh fuck you, The Asylum. For those of you who are unfamiliar, The Asylum makes super crappy movies, most of which tend to be “slightly different names of current blockbusters, filmed on a low budget, meant to trick grandmothers.” They also did Sharknado. But seriously, Independents’ Day? Fuck you. We think President Oliver starts as the President, is killed by aliens, and then Vice President Raney becomes President, but honestly we’re not going to watch this garbage to confirm that’s the way it is. They’re just grouped together as two bad Presidents in a bad movie dealing with bad CGI aliens attacking.
121: Wrong Is Right (1982)
George Grizzard as President Lockwood
The President’s actions in this film, at least indirectly, lead to the sale of two suitcase nukes to a terrorist, who plans on detonating them within Israel and the United States unless the President resigns. Tough to walk away from that one without a little egg on your face. His opponent literally runs a Presidential campaign against him calling him a murderer, and it plays!
Welp, that’s all for this chunk of Presidents. Coming up tomorrow are the 110s, which involves the one time John Ritter played a President (and things got weird). See you then!