So many movies and TV shows involve national or political storylines, and that requires a presidential figure. Whether they're inspirational, conniving, or clueless, here are our favorite fictional presidents.
As far as fictional presidents go, there are few more popular or critically applauded than Josiah Jed Bartlet from "The West Wing." His quick wit, fierce stand on principle and stoic yet generally affable and honest demeanor earned both the character and the actor portraying him much acclaim.
Harrison Ford's grim jawline seems to suit the unmovable ethos of President Marshall admirably well in his battle against Gary Oldman's volatile Russian hijacker in "Air Force One." A truly imposing force and one of the more military minded presidents on the list, probably one of the few to be in quite so many fist fights as well.
Not a very good president in his own right, the appeal of the Merkin character relies on Peter Sellers' characteristic charm and the fact that he's just so bumbling and inexperienced. A thoroughly amusing president in the film "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb."
As far as flawed presidents go Jack Stanton, as portrayed by John Travolta in "Primary Colors," is nowhere near the paragon of evil set by Frank Underwood, but he is a deeply flawed person. With many past indiscretions, his campaign is threatened, despite his affability and genuine warmth and charisma.
Dave is unique as he is the only president who wasn't really the president in a movie specifically about him being the president. Confused? Look up the film "Dave" — it's sure to catch your interest.
As portrayed by Jeff Bridges in "The Contender," this is one for the cinematic history books, if that is, you don't mind a bit of cheese with your speechification.
Mackenzie Allen is, strong, capable decisive and... a woman. The majority of praise or criticism directed at the president of "Commander in Chief" is based on this specific and rather unimportant trait. It is ironic as this is the main contention of the show, that your gender doesn't much matter in politics, your intelligence and social adaptability do.
Palmer, as portrayed by Dennis Haysbert, is a member of the Democratic Party and the secondary protagonist of the popular television show "24." A Blockerbuster poll named him the president most people would like to see in the Oval Office. As a good family man and an idealist, Palmer embodies everything that the American public would like to see in a president. The role of president being played by a black man was considered by many to have greatly influenced the vote for Barack Obama, some analysts have called it The Palmer Effect.
Unlike most of the previous characters on this list, Fitzgerald "Fitz" Grant is a bit different in that he is a little more shady and manipulative. He's also an adulterer and a demanding individual with a flaring temper. But even despite all these foibles, Grant has some redeeming qualities and many fans root for him.
One of the most complicated of television characters is President Roslin from the revised "Battlestar Galactica" series. A competent leader with deteriorating health and religious aspirations.
Possibly the most evil and Machiavellian of current fictional presidents on either film or TV. Played by Kevin Spacey with something like sadistic delight, Underwood is a truly horrible and yet, fascinating, person. A spider throughout numerous webs, sitting ever at the center, waiting for his prey.
Like Frank Underwood, Selina Meyer rose from Vice President to the Oval Office at the season finale of her show. Meyer stumbles around the political world of "Veep," constantly trying to recover from awkward situations or press-related missteps. Despite doing whatever she can to get ahead, Meyer does have a charm that can't be ignored.
Both threatening, somber and reflective, President Beck is an imposing but ultimately compassionate man who takes the power he is vested with very seriously. A longtime favorite president from film, Beck is portrayed by Morgan Freeman in the movie "Deep Impact."
Opinionated and idealistic, President Shepard's allure lies in his almost superhero-like qualities in "The American President." He isn't the most realistic president on the list, but he's one of the best and most upstanding.