The 6 best fictional presidents in movies and TV

Daniel Sarath
Published: May 8, 2015

Samuel L. Jackson can be seen playing the President Of The United States in the thrilling action movie Big Game this weekend. It will be difficult to think of a leader of the free world better than Nick Fury and Jules Winnfield himself. However, there have been some other terrific fictional Presidents throughout movie and television history. Some have been inspiring, some have been funny, some have kicked some serious ass. Here are our favourites:

6. Leslie Nielsen as President Baxter Harris in 'Scary Movie 4'

There have been no shortage of comedic Presidents in movie and television history, satirically presenting the leader of the free world as someone who is not exactly the sharpest tool in the box. However, none of these performances come close to the hilarious late Airplane star Leslie Nielsen in the fourth Scary Movie. Reunited with his Airplane creator David Zucker, Neilsen shines in a standout scene in which the president addresses the UN - which he calls 'un' - in the nude while offending everyone in the room.

5. Tony Goldwyn as President Grant in 'Scandal'

Scandal's fictional Republican president may not always make the best judgments - besotted with his former campaign manager and the show's star, crisis management guru Olivia Pope, he tends to let his infatuation interfere with his responsibilities to the United States - but we can't help but admire a leader with a heart as big as Fitz's.

4. Geena Davis as President Allen in 'Commander In Chief'

The United States Of America could be welcoming its first female president at the next election should Hilary Clinton win the vote. But she wouldn't be the first female leader on television. Geene Davis, aka Thelma from Thelma And Louise, takes that honour. She played Mackenzie Allen in the short-lived but excellent ABC series Commander-In-Chief.

3. Dennis Haysbert as President David Palmer in ’24’

Principled, strong-willed and a natural leader, it is hardly a surprise that many fans of the Fox action series 24 point to President David Palmer as their favourite character on the show. It was also refreshing to see a black American, Dennis Haysbert, playing the president on our television screens long before the inauguration of Barack Obama in 2008.

2. Peter Sellers as President Muffley in 'Dr. Strangelove'

There isn't a fictional president we would want leading us less than Merkin Muffley. Played by an award nominated Peter Sellers in Stanley Kubrick's seminal 1960s satire Dr. Strangelove, he spends the film fumbling about trying to fix the mess left by a rogue commander who ordered an attack on the USSR behind the government's back. Muffley is clueless and thoroughly useless - emphasised by the scene in which he explains the situation to the Soviet premier ("wellllllll, he went and did a silly thing...") - but he is a constant source of cringe-comedy. He also has one of cinema's most iconic lines: "Gentlemen! You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!"

1. Harrison Ford as President Marshall in 'Air Force One'

Who wants a President making decisions defeat the terrorists with words behind closed doors when we can have Harrison Ford taking them head on? President Marshall, a Medal Of Honour winning ex-soldier, doesn't run and hide when his official airplane is taken over by a terrorist group. In Air Force One, he stands up for himself and kicks some ass.