“Get off my plane.”
~Come On, You’ve Been Waiting For This Moment
We’re finally there, everyone. It’s been weeks, months (not months), years even (no, not years, stop it), and we’ve posted 14 previous articles, all of which dare to ask “what if we were to tell you who is the best President, among Presidents who are not real?” and we did it. We really did it. We melted our minds in the process, but it’s done, and here is the one list you were truly waiting for. The 10 best fictional Presidents in film history. Are you ready? We’ve been ready every since we started this crazy thing. Thanks for humoring us. Here are your best Presidents.
Every Fictional President in Film History: Ranked (#10-1—Our Greatest Fictional Presidents)
10: White House Down (2013)
Jamie Foxx as President James William Sawyer
Jamie Foxx was willing to pull troops out of the Middle East in the name of peace. He also managed to survive an orchestrated assassination attempt that saw the entire White House under siege, and even killed some bad guys while rocking some Jordans. But of the two Presidents under siege in 2013 he wasn’t even the one who got a sequel. So he’s barely eked out by…
9: Olympus Has Fallen (2013) and London Has Fallen (2016)
Aaron Eckhart as President Benjamin Asher
It’s still so weird to us that between this and White House Down, Olympus Has Fallen ended up getting a sequel. That said, Eckhart is a very good President here. He’s cool under fire (in order to save fellow government officials, he orders them to give up two of the three needed codes, since he knew no matter what he’d never give up his) and manages to not only survive two kidnappings, but dishes out righteous retribution to those responsible. We almost included Angel has Fallen, assuming he’d still continue to be a kickass President with no clear policy agenda in the third film of the franchise, but apparently he’s not going to be President in that one. Bummer.
8: National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007)
Bruce Greenwood as the President of the United States
We’re leaving this write up to our guest contributor on girl shit, SarahIndie, who has a sort spot in her heart for this movie.
Here’s what we know about the President from National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets:
He’s into George Washington. He’s so into George Washington that he’s having his birthday party at Mount Vernon. Also he majored in Architectural History at Yale. Here’s what we don’t know: his name. Is that a problem? No. I love this dude because he is down to clown. Nicolas Cage rocks up at his birthday party carrying a historical document “because I thought you’d like to see it.” It’s a map of Mount Vernon showing a secret passage and his first thought is “well let’s go see if it’s still there and not notify the Secret Service!” I mean, it leads to him getting threatened by Nic Cage in a basement, but I appreciate that he was up for whatever.
7: Dave (1993)
Kevin Kline as (sort of) President Dave Kovic
While pretending to be the President, Dave wins over the First Lady and the Vice President, helps take down a corrupt administration, and completely turns around the popularity of President Mitchell in the national polls. He even created a program to give jobs to everyone. Like, everyone gets a job! Fuck that half-formed “lol Socialism” joke you’ve got in your brain, that’s an impressive coup from a President, especially one with literally no political experience.
Jon Heese as President Burger (wait, seriously?)
Goddamn it, Japan. Weirdly enough, this random as hell Japanese kaiju comedy film has one of the better representations of an American President, even if it’s not for the best reasons. When a meteorite crashes in Japan during the G8 Summit, it’s the United States President that stands up and says that the leaders of the free world have to stand together and fight the monster, personally. Like, it’s not a practical approach, you’re better off using your armies, but at least he was fighting for the World.
The movie makes a point to let it be known that President Burger (which, come on guys, is a bit on the nose, don’t you think?) decided to stay and fight was to help boost his popularity in the polls. Well guess what, President Burger? It worked. Welcome to the upper echelon of fictional Presidents.
5: Big Game (2014)
Samuel L. Jackson as President William Alan Moore
Listen, we know what really makes a good President is policy and a love of the American people. But that shit’s boring. What helps push you up on this list is to face some “terrorists are trying to kill you” shit while pulling through to the other side. If you haven’t seen Big Game (you should) it’s basically Air Force One (you should see it) mixed with, like, The Edge (you gotta see Big Game) but also from the director of, and starring the kid from, Rare Exports (seriously how have you not stopped reading this article to see Big Game already?). Oh, and it has Samuel L. Fucking Jackson as the President.
Anyway, Samuel L. Jackson manages to survive Air Force One crashing, and evades highly trained operatives bent on killing him. If he can show that kind of courage under fire in the Oval Office, well, he’s got our vote.
4: The Fifth Element (1997)
Tommy “Tiny” Lister Jr. as President Lindberg
Say what you will for Bruce Willis and Leeloo being almost entirely responsible for saving the day, our man President Lindberg was in charge when the potential end of human existence as we know it came seconds away from happening, and he was in charge when evil was vanquished. And did he let it get to his head? Hell no. He offered a relieved, “We’re saved,” put down the football in the end zone, and kept on presidenting, like he’d been there before. That’s a goddamn President, if you ask us.
3: Head of State (2003)
Chris Rock as Mays Gilliam
Mays Gilliam was nominated as a token candidate to give his party a better chance in the next election, but he ends up winning the presidency. We don’t know what he did while in office, but we know that he was, in fact, a historically good President just from this one simple line from the film’s Wikipedia page. “The film ends with a shot of Mount Rushmore with Mays Gilliam’s head added, complete with bling.” Dude’s on Mount Rushmore! We didn’t expect him to be the third best fictional President of all time, but we can’t argue with those receipts.
2: Independence Day (1996)
Bill Pullman as President Thomas J. Whitmore
Is he this high up because of the speech? You’re goddamn right he’s this high up because of the speech.
1: Air Force One (1007)
Harrison Ford as President James Marshall
We’ve gone through a lot of Presidents these past three weeks. Not real ones who have accomplished real things, no of course not. Fictional Presidents we’ve seen say things while drunk. The real heroes. And even though we can’t tell you a single bill he helped pass, or Executive Order he signed, we know that we would lay our lives down to save President James Marshall. Just like William H. Macy’s Major Norm Caldwell, who almost made it until, oh God, “IT WAS YOU,” oh God why must we re-open that wound.
Anyway, yeah, Marshall takes a strong stance against despotism, he refuses to negotiate with terrorists, even when his life is on the line, and he fights his way through a whole team of terrorists gunning for him. He’s not only the most badass President we’ve seen on film he’s…well, that’s the only criteria we really need to put him as the top spot of this list. Four more years! Four more years!