“I really don’t know why evil organizations want to kick me out of office…”
~The President in Like, 20 Different Movies
We’re still smack dab in the mediocre President territory in our weird, pointless article series ranking every single fictional President. But now we are in the part of our list where just about every President finds himself amidst convoluted conspiracies, coups, and good old fashioned assassination attempts. Listen, being a movie President is not an easy job, and these guy handled themselves just fine, given the circumstances. And for those of you getting antsy at the movies you don’t really care about on the list so far, don’t worry. Our next article has First Kid!
Every Fictional President in Film History: Ranked (#70-61—Presidents Dealing With Conspiracies)
70: G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009), G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013)
Jonathan Pryce as the President of the United States
We’ve already talked about the fake President in these movies, who was a bad guy and thus a bad president. The actual President was pretty fine. Like, he at least supported G.I. Joe. Even if all he really does is get captured and then impersonated.
69: Manchurian Candidate (2004)
Tom Stechschulte as President-Elect Robert “Bob” Arthur
He’ll probably make a fine President, once he gets past the whole “his running mate was brainwashed puppet and got full on killed at the end of the movie” thing. At least he didn’t get himself kidnapped or anything.
68: Majority Rule (1992)
Robin Gammell as President Stuart Hammel
Majority Rule was a bad Lifetime movie (redundant) that followed the closest Presidential Election in American history. The incumbent, President Hammel, lost to the first female President, but at least during his time as President he successfully led the nation during a Middle Eastern war (that, as far as we can tell, he wasn’t at blame for). So he’s at least not bad.
67: XXX: State of the Union (2005)
Peter Strauss as President James Sanford
This is your typical “President who survives a coup” movie. In this case, he wanted to dismantle military branches to focus on foreign aid. We don’t want to get political on this one, so we’ll say he’s probably fine. He at least had convictions, and wasn’t evil. So, middle of the road it is.
66: Vantage Point (2008)
William Hurt as President Harry Ashton
Vantage Point follows a presidential assassination attempt through the vantage point of eight different characters. The main things we know about the President in this is that he has a body double (who gets shot) while he gets kidnapped (but later rescued), and um, we guess, was in Spain because he pushed through an international treaty. We’re in the midst of the “mediocre but fine Presidents who almost were killed or kicked out of office” part of this series, in case we haven’t made that perfectly clear.
65: Murder at 1600 (1997)
Ronny Cox as President Jack Neil
Heh, Ronnie Cox. Um, we mean. Ahem.
Roughly 20% of all Presidents (in movies, probably lower in real life…probably) fall under the category of, “Mostly good at being President, but made the mistake of appointing aggressive people with bad ideas who want to ruin their Presidency.” President Jack Neil falls in that category. His basic failing was not wanting to full-on invade North Korea over some American hostages, and that led to a whole thing. So he was a mostly good President, and he was able to help our country avoid war, but like 90% of a good presidency is not hiring people who will orchestrate murder and espionage to kick you out of office. Next time you hire Alan Alda as your National Security Advisor, you should know not to trust the fucker. Just look Alan Alda. Alan Alda only has two speeds—your corporate hippie uncle, or someone who literally just planted your fingerprints on a fresh corpse while maintaining a position of power somewhere. He also makes a bad President, so you were warned.
64: Mars Attacks! (1996)
Natalie Portman as President Taffy Dale
The Presidential line of succession gets so fucked up that the President’s daughter, Taffy, becomes President by the end of the movie. All she really does in the film is survive the alien attack, hand out a Medal of Honor at the end, and not really mess things up otherwise, so that puts her above her dad, literally 99.99% of the functioning adults in that movie and, hell, it makes her better than 50% of Presidents in any movie.
Ronald Lacey as President Widmark
We’ll be honest, this was one of the last movies we wrote about in this series, and this movie has…a lot going on. It’s a cult film, and it’s crazy, and the bad guys are inter-dimensional aliens, but listen, there’s a President, and he is about to declare, like, a World War, but he is warned in time, so he doesn’t. So he’s a pretty good President, as he avoided accidentally going to war. Now, had he actually gone through with the war thing, well then we’d be singing a different tune.
62: Solar Attack (2006)
Louis Gossett Jr. as U.S. President Ryan Gordon
This is a stupid fucking movie. The movie’s like, “There is too much methane in the atmosphere, everyone will suffocate to death, unless we nuke the North Pole, so let’s nuke the North Pole.” So yeah, this is the President who “doesn’t believe the scientist hero” and eventually “let’s everyone nuke the North Pole, which, like, works in saving the day.” So we’re going to put him down as “mostly okay.” We’re just now realizing how stupid this list really is.
61: Stealth Fighter (1999)
Ernie Hudson as President Westwood
There’s a very specific category of President that appears in films—the one who faces a crisis, and calls in “the right man for the job.” That’s the case for President Westwood in this very silly film that tries to take itself super seriously. Ice-T plays, literally, a fighter pilot/assassin who steals a stealth fighter, and teams up with an arms dealer with control of a weapons satellite, and the two blackmail the government. Westwood brings in the only person who can stop Ice-T, Naval reserve officer Ryan Mitchell, who is played by Costas Mandylor, though it might just be a cardboard cutout of Costas Mandylor. Anyway, yeah, Mitchell is the right man for the job. So good call, Mr. President.
And just like that, we’re down to our top 60 Presidents. We originally thought this list would be only 48 Presidents wrong, but our research staff decided to get really anal about this list for some reason. So stay tuned for tomorrow’s article because, we cannot stress this enough, First Kid finally makes its much-anticipated appearance.