Heads of the country: 20 films about the life of presidents

Films about the presidents of countries are always popular. Biographical or completely fictional cinema is a kind of opportunity for the viewer to look behind the scenes of the political and personal life of the powerful of this world, as well as a way to dream up and laugh along with the creators of projects about the main carriers of the virus of power.

Bad President (2021)

The authors of this new movie in the genre of black comedy tried to answer the question of concern to many – how did it happen that in November 2016, Donald Trump stood at the head of the superpower? Why did the Americans choose such an extravagant and far from politics person? The assumption that the citizens of the most powerful state in the world have been beguiled by a demon does not seem so fantastic. According to the plot of the film, this literally happened – for the sake of a high post, businessman Trump made a deal with the devil himself , who is vitally interested in world chaos.

What do you think, is it worth filming a sequel, and what should be in it?

Original Title :
Bad President

Genre:
Fantasy, Comedy

Actors:
Eddie Griffin, Robert Amiko, Zang Angelfire…

Country:
USA

Rating:
IMDb – 5.1


The Plot Against America (mini-series 2020)

This mini-series differs from realistic films about the election of the American president in that it tells an alternative story. According to the plot, based on the novel by Philip Roth, it is not politician Franklin Roosevelt who wins the US presidential election in 1940, but ace pilot and popular favorite Charles Lindbergh. The new head of the White House is good for everyone, except for flirting with the Third Reich and encouraging anti-Semitism, the victim of which is the family of the protagonist Herman Levin.

Original title:
The Plot Against America

Genre:
Thriller, drama

Actors:
Winona Ryder, Anthony Boyle, Zoe Kazan…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.6, IMDb – 7.3

Age restrictions:
18+


President’s Vacation (2018)

One day, the head of the Russian government decides to find out the real state of affairs in the country entrusted to him, for which he puts on makeup and runs away from bodyguards . Since the make-up artist gives him the features of a particular idler Valera, mired in debt and persecuted by creditors, the real head of state plunges into Russian reality, leaving the guard in a car with the unlucky teacher Zinka. And for the first person of the Russian state they take Valera, which entails a funny confusion and the adoption of inadequate decisions.

Genre:
Comedy

Actors:
Oleg Vasilkov, Anna Tsukanova-Kott, Nastasya Samburskaya …

Country:
Russia

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.8, IMDb – 4.4

Age restrictions:
16+


Graves (TV series 2016 – 2017)

A satirical series about the fictional President Richard Graves, who resigned a quarter of a century ago. Having become a grouchy old man, the hero ruthlessly criticized current politicians, being pleased with his own career . But, having once googled reviews about his reign, he learned a lot of unpleasant things and decided to make amends for the mistakes made in office. Graves went to great lengths in the fight for drug legalization , the rights of illegal immigrants and sexual minorities, and in support of the political ambitions of his own wife.

Original title:
Graves

Genre:
Comedy

Actors:
Nick Nolte, Skylar Astin, Helen York…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.0, IMDb – 6.6


Until the very end (2016)

After the shocking assassination of John F. Kennedy, the presidency went to Lyndon Johnson, according to many contemporaries, a random person. But it is he who will have to continue the policy of his predecessor to insist on the passage of the Civil Rights Act, designed to eliminate racial discrimination. The new leader of the country finds himself between two fires, risking his reputation and career. Will Johnson be able to finish what he started, despite the stubborn resistance of supporters of segregation by color of skin?

Original title:
All the Way

Genre:
Drama, biography, history

Actors:
Bryan Cranston, Anthony Mackie, Melissa Leo…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.6, IMDb – 7.3

Age restrictions:
18+


The Last Candidate (TV series 2016 – 2019)

A fascinating movie in the genre of a political thriller about the unenviable fate of a “reserve” president named Thomas Kirkman. As a result of a shocking explosion during the address of the head of the White House to the people, the entire leading elite of the country perishes. Only a modest clerk remains alive, appointed as the “duty successor” of the late head of state. An enormous responsibility and the need to make crucial decisions suddenly fall on Kirkman in an atmosphere of distrust towards him from the side of the environment and the threat of new terrorist attacks .

Original title:
Designated Survivor

Genre:
Action, thriller, drama, detective

Actors:
Kiefer Sutherland, Adan Canto, Italia Ricci …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.7, IMDb – 7.5

Age restrictions:
16+


Servant of the people (TV series, 2015 – 2019)

This comedy series is a clear example of how a fairy tale can become a reality. The modest history teacher Vasily Goloborodko accidentally appeared “on TV” and became a desirable candidate for the people, an honest guy who understands the needs of ordinary people. Vasily was elected president, condemning the fate of Don Quixote in the fight against corruption and the oligarchs. And soon, in the wake of the popularity of the TV show, the Ukrainian state was headed by the performer of the role of Goloborodko, comedian Vladimir Zelensky.

Genre:
Comedy

Actors:
Vladimir Zelensky, Stanislav Boklan, Natalya Sumskaya …

Country:
Ukraine

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.9, IMDb – 6.8

Age restrictions:
12+


State of Affairs (TV series, 2014 – 2015)

In addition to political struggles and intrigues, the films from our selection tell about the personal lives of presidents, proving that they are also people. The heroine of this picture is the first woman, invented by the authors, who stood at the helm of the United States, Roberta Payton. The uneasy burden of power is exacerbated by the personal tragedy she shares with CIA analyst Charleston Tucker. Strong women support each other in everything, comforting in grief and helping to solve work problems, which are not lacking in such a high position.

Original title:
State of Affairs

Genre:
Thriller, drama

Actors:
Katherine Heigl, Alfre Woodard, Adam Kaufman …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.1, IMDb – 6.4


Parkland (2013)

Based on true events, this historical thriller shows the dramatic events of 1963 that unfolded after the fatal assassination attempt on John F. Kennedy in Dallas. The mortally wounded head of state was rushed to Parkland Hospital, where a medical team led by Dr. Charles Carrico tried to save his life. The heroes of the film were also intelligence officers looking for a sniper , a cameraman who filmed the tragic moment, and ordinary US citizens shocked by the loss.

Original title:
Parkland

Genre:
Drama, history, thriller

Actors:
Zac Efron, Marsha Gay Harden, Billy Bob Thornton…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.9, IMDb – 6.4

Age restrictions:
16+


Butler (2013)

Films about the everyday life of presidents are impossible without mentioning their surroundings, and the list of the best biographies continues with a drama dedicated to the butler of the White House. Cecil Gates (like his prototype Eugene Allen) served 34 years under eight presidents – from Harry Truman in 1952 to Ronald Reagan in 1986. A lot of viewers wished to look behind the scenes of the private life of those in power, which is proved by the high rating of the film, in which the talented actor Forest Whitaker and the famous TV presenter Oprah Winfrey played the main roles.

Original title:
The Butler

Genre:
Drama, biography

Actors:
Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Cuba Gooding Jr, Robin Williams, Liev Schreiber, John Cusack….

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.3, IMDb – 7.2

Age restrictions:
16+


Hyde Park on the Hudson (2012)

A biographical drama with an unexpectedly comedic twist about one episode of world history. In the troubled summer of 1940, distinguished foreign guests arrived in America – the English royal couple. President Roosevelt and his wife receive royal spouses at their estate, while having an affair with their own cousin Margaret Suckley, on whose diaries the film script is based. Roosevelt is played by the famous comedian Bill Murray, so the viewing pleasure is guaranteed.

Original title:
Hyde Park on Hudson

Genre:
Drama, comedy, history

Actors:
Bill Murray, Laura Linney, Samuel West …

Country:
United Kingdom

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.7, IMDb – 5.9

Age restrictions:
16+


Lincoln (2012)

The story of the life, political activities and death of one of the most prominent Americans, Abraham Lincoln, filmed by two three-time Oscar winners – director Steven Spielberg and actor Daniel Day-Lewis. During the reign of the sixteenth president, many fateful events for the country fell – the Civil War, the struggle for the adoption of the 13th amendment, which repealed slavery . Added excitement to Lincoln and his family – an unbalanced wife and a son eager for war.

Original title:
Lincoln

Genre:
Drama, military, biography, history

Actors:
Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tommy Lee Jones…

Country:
USA, India

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.9, IMDb – 7.3

Age restrictions :
16+


Clan Kennedy (TV series 2011)

An artistic chronicle of the ascent to the political Olympus of representatives of the famous American family clan. The dynasty was started by John Joseph Kennedy in the 1920s, but his career did not progress beyond being an adviser to Franklin Roosevelt. Then the hero made a bet on his sons. However, older Joe became a pilot and died heroically in action in World War II . Father’s hopes happened to be justified by John, who also fought, but survived, and became the 35th and most popular president of America.

Original title:
The Kennedys

Genre:
Drama, romance, history

Actors:
Greg Kinnear, Barry Pepper, Katie Holmes, Tom Wilkinson…

Country:
Canada, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.5, IMDb – 7.6

Age restrictions:
16+


Special Relationship (2010)

The events of this political drama take place from 1997 to 2001 and reflect the connection between the ruling elites of the United States and Great Britain. This “special relationship” is shown through communication between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President Bill Clinton. And although the first was at the peak of his career and strengthened his position, and the second was at the epicenter of a high-profile scandal with Monica Lewinsky, the allies had a lot to learn from each other, and it was interesting and instructive to watch their dialogues.

Original title:
The Special Relationship

Genre:
Drama, biography, history

Actors:
Michael Sheen, Demetri Goritsas, Adam Godley …

Country:
UK, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.6, IMDb – 6.7

Age restrictions:
16+


Invictus (2009)

A film by renowned actor and director Clint Eastwood about the legendary anti-apartheid fighter Nelson Mandela. South Africa’s first black leader seeks a path to civil peace in a country torn apart by racial strife and finds one opportunity in hosting the Rugby World Cup. Mandela meets personally with the captain of the national team, Francois Pienaar, inspiring a victory that can unite the nation.

Original title:
Invictus

Genre:
History, sports, drama, biography

Actors:
Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon, Tony Kgoroge…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.6, IMDb – 7.3

Age restrictions:
16+


Bush (2008)

Biography of the 43rd President, son of the 41st head of the White House, hereditary politician George W. Bush. His election was accompanied by a scandal, and at the beginning of the term, the September 11 attacks occurred. Antiterrorist measures, the invasion of the American army into Afghanistan and Iraq raised his not very high rating, and he himself called himself a “military president.” But what kind of man is George Bush Jr., at what cost did he pay difficult government decisions? The famous Oliver Stone tried to answer this question.

Original title:
W.

Genre:
Drama, comedy, biography, history

Actors:
Josh Brolin, Colin Hanks, Toby Jones …

Country:
USA, Australia, Hong Kong, Switzerland, China

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.7, IMDb – 6.3

Age restrictions:
16+


Head of State (2003)

The first directorial work of the American comedian Chris Roth, in which he himself played the main role, is predictably filmed in the comedy genre, despite the seriousness of the “presidential” theme. On the eve of the election, one of the candidates suddenly dies and the orphaned party urgently finds a replacement for him – the unsuccessful politician Mace Gilliam. Unexpectedly for everyone, with the support of friends and family, Mace develops a stormy activity, regularly getting into trouble, but never losing heart.

Original title:
Head of State

Genre:
Comedy

Actors:
Chris Rock, Bernie Mac, Dylan Baker…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.0, IMDb – 5.5

Age limit:
16+


Nixon (1995)

The second film of the “presidential” cycle of the famous director Oliver Stone is dedicated to Richard Nixon, whose role was reliably embodied on the screen by Anthony Hopkins. Nixon went down in world history as the only head of the White House who voluntarily left office ahead of schedule. He was pushed to this step by the possibility of impeachment due to the outbreak of the Watergate scandal. In addition to well-known facts, the film shows what kind of person the protagonist was in politics and private life.

Original title:
Nixon

Genre:
Drama, biography, history

Actors:
Anthony Hopkins, Joan Allen, Powers Booth, Ed Harris…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.0, IMDb – 7.1

Age restrictions:
16+


American President (1995)

A very believable story that happened to the fictional American President Andrew Shepherd on the eve of his election to a second term. Andrew is a widower, single-handedly raising a teenage daughter and immersed in work. But at the most intense moment of the new election campaign, he is overtaken by love for a political consultant and a lonely independent woman, Sidney Wade. What is allowed for an ordinary citizen is not available to a politician of the highest rank, and the hero of the film will have to make a choice between feelings and duty.

Original title:
The American President

Genre:
Drama, romance, comedy

Actors:
Michael Douglas, Annette Bening, Martin Sheen …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.8, IMDb – 6.8

Age restrictions:
16+


Dave (1993)

A simple American Dave is like two drops of water similar to the current president. He is hired by the Secret Services as a body double for brief public appearances in case of an attempted assault, capture, or kidnapping . Meanwhile, the real head of state falls into a coma in the arms of his mistress, and Dave is persuaded to stay in the White House so as not to sow panic in the country. The hero has to become his own in Washington, which he does very successfully, managing to resist political intrigues and win the sympathy of the first lady and the whole people.

Original title:
Dave

Genre:
Melodrama, comedy

Actors:
Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, Frank Langella…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.1, IMDb – 6.8

Age restrictions:
12+


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Jared Lambert/ author of the article

I’ve been writing about movies, TV shows and anime for over 3 years, and you may have seen my reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.

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