Vote for Best Movie President!

We get a pretty decent turnout on the MovieFanFare polls, so hopefully that’s a sign that our faithful readers intend to exercise their franchise on November 6.

Feeling edgy about those new “voter ID” laws? Make sure you know if you’re ready to rock and roll by the time you enter the polling place. Here’s one good resource to keep tabs on the latest requirements; here’s another site to indulge all wonks truly interested in protecting citizens’ rights to cast their ballots.

Meanwhile, let’s toss aside the “R” and “D” labels for a moment and take the pulse of the public on the controversial topic of the Best Commander-in-Chief of the Cinema! Irv has a definite favorite:

Time for you to play pundit. Vote for the best (real-life or entirely fictional) portrayal of a U.S. president. And then get yourself excited about voting for the real one.

  • Kentgravett

    Frederick March in 

    “Seven Days in May”.

    • Wolfingham

      I agree. His name in the role was “Jordan Lyman” (lots of implications there), and as always, March gave a totally believable but also self-ironizing performance — his specialty ever since the original “A Star Is Born”. (Incidentally, his stage name was spelled “Fredric March”, though his real name was Ernest Frederick McIntyre Bickel.)

  • Wayne P.

    The great Lionel Barrymore as Andrew Jackson in “The Gorgeous Hussy” and both Walter Huston or Henry Fonda have taken pretty good turns as Abe Lincoln in classic films!  Good question to get us motivated for our civic duty.

  • Bryan Ruffin

    Henry Fonda in “Fail Safe”

    • Danny D

      He didn’t even try to offer financial reparations to the Soviets and executed millions of Americans without due process. He was a lousy President.

      • Bryan Ruffin

        I have a hunch that was Henry’s in-put! My understanding is that he was very much against war, in any form, and when this opportunity came up he pushed for it, just for the chance to make the statement of pursuing peace- at any cost! Personally, I would not have chosen to give them the info he did, nor would I have ordered the military to cooperate in all the ways he did. I was moved by his passion for life, and the show it made for what military minds tend to think in situations like that.

  • Blair Kramer

    Jack Nicholson in MARS ATTACKS! He was totally insane as the President of the United States! Basically, it was the same crazy character he played in THE SHINING! And we certainly want the leader of the free world to be completely nuts, don’t we?!

  • SoonerAlfie

    These are all great – but my very favorite President was Jeff Bridges in ‘The Contender.” His acting in the role was a mixture of high intelligence, great compassion, and always with a terrific sense of humor. Wish I had that movie in my keepers collection. I am eager to see what the great actor, Daniel-Day Lewis, does with the Abe Lincoln role in his latest movie.

  • dog888k

    Wandering over into TV movies: Edward Hermann did an outstanding job as FDR in Franklin and Eleanor, and John Lithgow did an interesting FDR in the TV movie about the Tehran conference. The only episode I saw of the series Backstairs at the White was of Robert Vaughn playing an interesting portrayal of Calvin Coolidge, as a human being instead of a sour pickle. And in My Fellow Americans ex potus Jack Lemmon has an interesting scene where he sits on a river bank and tries to come to grips with having lost the election by 30 million votes

  • dog888k

    Movies about Presidents must include the brilliant Kisses for my President, with Polly Bergen as the Potus, and Fred MacMurrey as the the First Man. Spoiler alert–she gets with child and resigns. (was released in ’64)

  • Cynthia LaRochelle

    Independence Day, it was a fun “kick ass alien” film.

    • Bryan Ruffin

      I really enjoyed the movie, but I’m not a real fan of the character they allowed for the President in that movie. I don’t think they allowed enough character for his role. I always thought it was lacking in something, not quite a President, a prominate supporting role, just not President.

  • Mario Brescio

    Being from Jersey, I have to favor Alexander Knox as Woodrow Wilson in “Wilson” (1944.

  • Larry Vickers

    Harrison Ford in “Air Force One” now get off my plane!

  • DAVID Ellefson

    William Devane in Missiles of October

  • Joseph McGhee

    Henry Fonda in Fail-Safe. No contest. #2? Fredric March in Seven Days in May.

    • Sandra Miller-Louden

      I loved Frederic March in that film. He really put Burt Lancaster in his place…and did it so well!

    • Danny D

      He did execute several million Americans without due process. Seems to me he was a lousy President.

      • Mark Reno

        A lousy President would have escalated by insulting the Russians by offering money for millions of dead Russians<what is the price for ignorance and fear ?What is your solution ?

  • Gord

    It’s a tough one, but I have to go with Henry Fonda from “Fail Safe” with VERY honourable mention to Frederic March in “Seven Days in May.”

  • T. La Pare

    On any given day, I would vote for Martin Sheen to occupy the ” West Wing”!

  • John Zimmerman

    Michael Douglas in “The American President.”

  • Bob Heiss

    Either Michael Douglas, “The American President”, or Martin Sheen, “The West Wing”….tossup either way.

  • lb

    Michael Douglas was very presidential in American President.

  • Gene Slavin

    Van Heflin as “Tennessee Johnson”.

  • Cranky

    All good nominations, but for best presidential angst (probably closest to what it’s really like), it’s Frederic March in “Seven Days in May,” still the best political thriller ever made (except for Ava Gardner’s role).

  • James Michael Balentine

    Michael Douglas in “The American President”.Either that or OBama acting like a president.

    • Gayle Seratt

      H… , B.O. isn’t even acting !!!

  • Frank Enstine

    BULWORTH with Warren Beaty was the best movie.

  • mginsd

    Walter Huston in “Gabriel in the White House.”

  • Matt Donnell

    I’ll go with Jack Nicholson in “Mars Attacks!”, just because…. Well, it’s Jack.

  • Yves Fey

    Toss up between Harrison Ford and Morgan Freeman. As for Martin Sheen, I’m afraid I always see him as the President from The Dead Zone. “My Destiny!”

    • GeorgeDAllen

      “Gentlemen, the missiles are flying. Hallelujah!” I love this pick. Of course, Sheen’s (fantastic) performance in “The Dead Zone” is a close call, since he only becomes Commander-in-Chief in Johnny’s alarming vision of the future.

  • Jerry Logmann

    Morgan Freeman!

    • Bryan Ruffin

      Deep Impact? He was good, really good! I thought he handled that role exceptionally!

  • Terry Cheater

    Kevin Klein as Dave Kovic in “Dave”

  • Dave Moewes

    Michael Douglas was very good in “The American President” but I really enjoyed Kevin Klein in the 1993 movie “Dave”.

    • Christopher Krug

      Dave was good as well i agree

  • Ken Minor

    Henry Fonda in “Fail Safe.” Ken Minor, North Port, FL

  • cinemabon

    I liked Fredrick March in “Advise and Consent” I also liked Anthony Hopkins as “Nixon” while I despised the person, I loved the actor’s portrayal. I thought Martin Sheen did a great JFK. And who could forget Ramond Massey as “Young Abraham Lincoln”

    • cinemabon

      My bad. March wasn’t in “Advise and Consent” Franchot Tone played the president. Oops

  • Susan Woods

    Without a doubt, Harrison Ford in “Air Force One”. He made us proud!

  • Arthur_G

    Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove

  • Ken Lipshez

    Lionel Barrymore was unquestionably best actor playing a president (The Gorgeous Hussy). Walter Huston’s role was exquisite though in “Gabriel in the White House.”

  • Rob in L.A.

    You’ve limited yourselves to U.S. presidents. But if we extend the boundaries a bit, the best president to ever appear on film was the president of the fictional Freedonia: Groucho Marx as Rufus T. Firefly in “Duck Soup”!

    • GeorgeDAllen

      “Don’t look now, but there’s one man too many in this room, and I think it’s you.” Rob in LA, I like the cut of your jib!

      • Gayle Seratt

        Duck Soup was totally cool……..nothing like Groucho!!

    • Sandra Miller-Louden

      Good call!

  • http://facebook tincanman

    John Voight as F.D.R. in Pearl Harbor



  • Eric Scott Richard

    Martin Sheen as J.F.K. in the mini-series “Kennedy” and Barry Bostwick as George Washington in the mini-series of the same name.

  • Marty

    Glen Ford in Virus (1980). Also Fredric March in Advise and Consent.

  • dog888k

    Randy Quaid as LBJ, and Bob Newhart as the president in First Family.

  • Rebel Ed

    “Well how do you think I feel about it?!?” Peter Sellers as President Muffley, from “Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb.” (If you don’t know his number, just ask Omsk information.)

  • Robert Chalmers

    My favorite President movie, “My Fellow Americans”, had three presidents… Jack Lemmon, James Garner and Dan Aykroyd. James Garner and Jack Lemmon were great as former Republican and Democrat Presidents, with completely opposite views on just about everything, but are forced to work together to keep from being assassinated. It was hilarious. If you haven’t already seen it, I strongly recommend it.

  • dog888k

    I made a mistake in who was what president in the miniseries Backstairs at the White House. Robert Vaughn played Woodrow Wilson, and Coolidge was played by Ed Flanders. George Kennedy was Warren Harding, and Harry Morgan played Harry Truman. Victor Buono played big Bill Taft.

  • Sandra Miller-Louden

    Charlton Heston as President Andrew Jackson; of course, Susan Hayward was even better as Rachel Jackson, our only First Lady who died before he took office.

  • Sandra Miller-Louden

    William DeVane was very good as JFK

  • Sandra Miller-Louden

    And Anthony Hopkins as Richard Nixon was a powerful portrayal as well.

  • CarterCE

    Henry Ford in “Fail Safe”, Anthony Hopkins as “Nixon” are two of my favorites.
    Has anybody seen the movie, “The Man” (1972) lately, with James Earl Jones as the nation’s first black president? I think Burgess Meredith gave an excellent performance as Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell.

  • Gayle Seratt

    I think the greatest portrayal of a U.S. president was Ronald Reagan……….damn good actor!!!

  • dog888k

    Brian Keith was Teddy Roosevelt in The Wind and the Lion, and in ’97 he played President McKinley in the miniseries Rough Riders.

  • Christopher Krug

    Michael Douglas in The American President.

  • Sherry Anderson

    Dustin Hoffman in wag the dog

  • Jimmy Wilson

    Easy….. Ronald Reagan! Seriously, I vote for Raymond Massey’s portrayal in “Abe Lincoln In Illinois”.

  • Sharon Shelton Forehand

    I thought that Michael Douglas was terrific in The American President.

  • dog888k

    Dan Hedaya was interesting as Nixon, in Dick. Bruce Greenwood played JFK in Thirteen Days. And an actor named John Alexander played ‘Teddy” in Arsenic and Old Lace.

  • Nick

    Who can resist Jack Nicholson in “Mars Attacks?”

  • dog888k

    Ralph Bellamy as FDR in Sunrise at Campobello.

  • April Allen

    Greg Kinnear in The Kennedys, a TV mini series, with Katie Holmes as Jackie Kennedy and Barry Pepper as Bobby Kennedy. All of the actors resembled the Kennedy’s to a tee and the acting was superb. I thought it was the best president movie I have ever seen. Nothing was left out of this mini series, from the beginning of his run for office, his personal life with family, his election, the decisions he made as president, etc, to his assassination. It was quite riveting and moving. Again, I thought it was the best performance by Greg Kinnear as a President I have ever seen and the likeness was uncanny!

  • Baz

    Paul Giamatti’s mini-series portrayal of John Adams- hard to top.

  • dog888k

    Bob Gunton as President Nixon in Elvis Meets Nixon. (1997) Elvis was played by Rick Peters.



  • dog888k

    Ossie Davis as the old man who said he was JFK (“they put a bag of sand in the back of my head”) in the nursing home with old Elvis, in Bubba Hotep.