Best Presidential Movie Portrayals: ‘Nixon,’ ‘Lincoln’ And More (VIDEOS)

Getting goosebumps from President Thomas J. Whitmore’s speech in “Independence Day” is one thing. (“We will not go quietly into the night!” is a pretty powerful line, especially when about to face off with an alien race intent on over taking the planet.) But, some of the best on-screen commanders-in-chief have been based on our real-life leaders.

From Anthony Hopkins in “Nixon” and…Anthony Hopkins in “Amistad” to Daniel Day-Lewis as Honest Abe in the upcoming “Lincoln,” we’ve collected the best Presidential movie portrayals, ever. Keep an eye out all this month for more presidential movie-related pieces tied to the 2012 election.

VIDEOS:

  • Anthony Hopkins, “Nixon”

    The Oliver Stone-directed biopic stars Anthony Hopkins as President Nixon. Told through non-linear scenes, the film follows the life and presidency of Nixon, which spans the Watergate crisis and continues through to his resignation, even showing footage of Nixon’s own broadcasted funeral. Hopkins received the Best Actor nomination for his performance.

  • ‘Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure’

    You never heard the Gettsyburg address until you heard it through the trippy prism of “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.” The 1989 sci-fi comedy features, in addition to a totally excellent Lincoln, a fresh faced Keanu Reeves, in all his “whoa” glory.

  • Josh Brolin, ‘W’

    In 2008’s “W,” Josh Brolin portrayed the freewheeling life of George W. Bush, through his boozy Yale initiation, meeting Laura, fist fights with the “old man” and to his own Presidency. Oliver Stone’s film received <a href=”http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081015/REVIEWS/810150285″>four stars from Roger Ebert</a>, who called it “fascinating.”

  • John Travolta, ‘Primary Colors’

    The Mike Nichols film follows a hedonistic presidential candidate (John Travolta), which is “loosely” based on the life of Bill Clinton. The 1998 film was nominated for an Academy Award for Adapted Screenplay.

  • Frank Lagella, “Frost/Nixon”

    Ron Howard delves into the scandal-fraught 1977 interviews between broadcaster David Frost and Richard Nixon. Frank Lagella plays the 37th president, who later received an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal.

  • William Daniels, ‘1776’

    Based on the 1969 stage musical, the sing-song film recounts the birth of American independence. Daniel Williams plays John Adams, who is leading the independence faction, remaining steadfast in the decision to break free from English rule.

  • Henry Fonda, ‘Mr. Young Lincoln’

    Henry Fonda brings Honest Abe to life in the 1939 film. Directed by John Ford, the partly-fictionalized film chronicles the humble beginnings of the 16th president and his early days as a justice-seeking lawyer.

  • Anthony Hopkins, ‘Amistad’

    For Anthony Hopkins second turn as a president, he plays the sixth president of The United States, John Quincy Adams. The Steven Spielberg directed historical drama chronicles the real life tale of an 1839 slave revolt aboard the ship La Amistad. After the slaves are imprisoned, Adams is faced with an impending legal trial.

  • ‘Dick’

    A more humorous interpretation on Nixon’s downfall, the 1999 parody features Dan Hedaya as the controversial president and two young girls (Michelle Williams, Kirsten Dunst) who stumble onto the Watergate scandal become the legendary “Deep Throat” figure.

  • Daniel Day-Lewis, ‘Lincoln’

    What better time to have another Abe biopic than an election year? From Steven Spielberg, “Lincoln” stars a bevy of A-listers — Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, Hal Holbrook and Tommy Lee Jones — and follows the President’s final months in office, trying to unite a divided country and abolish slavery. “Lincoln” will hit theaters on November 9.


Getting goosebumps from President Thomas J. Whitmore’s speech in “Independence Day” is one thing. (“We will not go quietly into the night!” is a pretty powerful line, especially when about to face off…

Getting goosebumps from President Thomas J. Whitmore’s speech in “Independence Day” is one thing. (“We will not go quietly into the night!” is a pretty powerful line, especially when about to face off…

Filed by Jessie Heyman  | 

 

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