Greatest Fictional President2 Nov, 2008 By: John Latchem
Watching the portrayal of presidents in movies and TV shows sometimes makes us wish we had those fictional leaders instead of our real ones. With this being an election year, we asked readers of our Agent DVD consumer magazine distributed at San Diego Comic-Con International this past summer to vote online for their favorite fictional presidents on DVD. Here are the results:
Josiah “Jed” Bartlet
“The West Wing” (1999-2006) — Warner Home Video
An idealist constrained by the realities of his office, Bartlet proved to be a compassionate, if sometimes arrogant, chief executive. He caused a scandal by concealing his multiple sclerosis, but overcame it to win re-election. By the end of his turbulent second term, Bartlet had committed U.S. troops to peacekeeping missions in Israel and Central Asia.
Played by Martin Sheen
“24” (2001-2006) — 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
An assassination attempt during his primary campaign helped Palmer ride a wave of sympathy to the White House. A popular president, Palmer served only one term, citing health issues from another assassination attempt in his first year in office. After leaving office, the assassin’s bullet finally caught up to Palmer. His brother Wayne later became president.
Played by Dennis Haysbert
Air Force One (1997) — Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
A pilot during the Vietnam War and a Medal of Honor winner, Marshall historically chose a female vice president and pursued an aggressive anti-terror initiative. When Russian militants captured Air Force One, Marshall fought back and made them get off his plane.
Played by Harrison Ford
Thomas J. Whitmore
Independence Day (1996) — 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
A veteran of the first Gulf War, Whitmore’s presidency remained undistinguished until aliens attacked Earth. Whitmore personally led the final assault to repel them.
Played by Bill Pullman
“Battlestar Galactica” (2003-2008) — Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Although she was 43rd in the line of succession, Roslin became president of the 12 Colonies of Kobol after a genocidal Cylon attack nearly wiped out humanity. Fleeing from the Cylon tyranny, Roslin has maintained a loose civilian order on board the surviving fleet. Controversial decisions include banning abortion and ordering Cylon spies thrown out of airlocks.
Played by Mary McDonnell
The American President (1995) — Warner Home Video
Widowed shortly before his presidential campaign, Shepherd was able to avoid a character debate. As president, his policy agenda took a backburner to a controversial romance with a lobbyist, ultimately inspiring his support of aggressive environmental and anti-gun legislation.
Played by Michael Douglas
Deep Impact (1998) — Paramount Home Entertainment
The grandfatherly Beck’s administration was overwhelmed by news a massive comet would wipe out life on Earth. His calm demeanor helped guide the nation threw troubled preparations. After a space mission to destroy the comet spared Earth, Beck spearheaded the long rebuilding process.
Played by Morgan Freeman
Richard Nixon’s Head
“Futurama” (1999-2008) — 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
In the year 3000, when heads of former presidents are stored alive in jars and displayed in museum, Nixon managed to escape, find a robot body and won the presidency of Earth due to overwhelming robot support. Nixon’s aggressive foreign policy included several wars. The plunder of the treasures of Tarantulon VI resulted in a $300 bonus for every citizen of Earth.
Voiced by Billy West
“The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror VII (1996) — 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Kang and his companion Kodos attempted to conquer Earth by posing as presidential candidates Bob Dole and Bill Clinton, respectively. When their ruse was uncovered, Kang still won the election and promptly enslaved humanity, giving rise to the expression “Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos!”
Voiced by Harry Shearer
Thomas “Tug” Benson
Hot Shots! Part Deux (1993) — 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
The klutzy former Navy admiral became a hands-on commander-in-chief, personally leading a covert mission to Iraq and fighting Saddam Hussein in hand-to-hand combat.
Played by Lloyd Bridges
“Stargate SG-1” (2004-2007), Stargate: Continuum (2008) — MGM/Fox
After thwarting a power grab by his former vice president, Robert Kinsey, Hayes has become a steadfast supporting of the Stargate program and of continuing the policy of hiding its existence from the public.
Played by William Devane
Scary Movie 3 (2003), Scary Movie 4 (2006) — Dimension Home Entertainment
The administration of the bumbling President Harris was marked by several alien attacks, leading to him famously addressing the United Nations while naked.
Played by Leslie Nielsen
The Black President from the “Real” Deep Impact
“Chappelle’s Show,” Season 1, Episode 10 (2003) — Paramount Home Entertainment
Instead of reassuring the nation as the asteroid sped toward Earth, Chappelle’s president revealed the government’s most-guarded secrets, including cloning and the cure for AIDS, before escaping the destruction with his alien allies.
Played by Dave Chappelle
“24” (2005-2007) — 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Logan signed historic anti-terrorism accords with the Russians, but was forced to resign when an aggressive secret anti-terror campaign backfired and put residents of Los Angeles in jeopardy.
Played by Gregory Itzin
Dave Kovic as Bill Mitchell
Dave (1993) — Warner Home Video
Dave furthered a ggovernment conspiracy by posing as the real president Mitchell, but found living under the shadow of corruption too great a burden and began to use the real power of the office to fix things his way.
Played by Kevin Kline
Dr. Strangelove (1964) — Sony Pictures
Muffley and his advisors tried frantically to stop an errant fleet of American bombers sent to nuke the Soviet Union, and apparently failed, causing the activation of a doomsday device.
Played by Peter Sellers
“Commander in Chief” (2005-2006) — Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Allen became America’s first female president when her predecessor died, and immediately began ruling from the center. Her independent streak sent ripples through Washington.
Played by Geena Davis