Top 5: Pop Culture Politicians

I'm a sucker for a patriotic movie (see my review for Argo).  So I've been inspired by the current election (which thankfully ends in 2 weeks!) to explore some politicians in pop culture.  This is a fairly cursory list, but go with it.  They're not necessarily real, nor held a real office, but they're some of my favorites.

1.President Andrew Shepherd (Michael Douglas) The American President - I'm a devotee of Aaron Sorkin, so this one gets me every time.  It's the long speeches, and the fact that he's willing to fight for the environment that makes Andy the best President ever - and of course, he goes after the girl

2. Senator Jefferson Smith (Jimmy Stewart) Mr. Smith Goes to Washington - I'd like to think anyone can be in Congress and change the world.  However, I do know that it likely isn't possible.  But Jefferson Smith gives us hope (pretty much whatever your political party because the main baddy is such a caricature).  And he's played with terrific earnestness by Jimmy Stewart.

3. President Dave Kovic/Bill Mitchell (Kevin Klein) Dave - I've seen this comedy about a body double for the President who gets to step up to the big show only to have the world fall down around him.  Kevin Kline is so sweet playing Dave and trying to pretend to be the President.

4. President Richard Nixon (Frank Langella) Frost/Nixon - Langella's portrayal of an incredibly complicated President who will eventually be only remembered for the scandal that stupidly adds "-gate" to anything our society screws up.  However, through Langella we see that there was so much more to the man, and ultimately, the President.

5. High Chancellor Adam Sutler (John Hurt) V for Vendetta - He was nothing if not sure of himself.  Hurt's "Big Brother" character on a huge TV screen yelling at his subordinates makes for such a good villain that you almost have to admire his authoritarian nature.

Honorable Mentions: Harvey Milk (Sean Penn), Board of Supervisors Milk, Senator Lillian DeHaven (Anne Bancroft) G.I. Jane, President Beck (Morgan Freeman) Deep Impact.


  1. What? No President Camacho? No Senator Palpatine?

  2. The one I can't believe I forgot was really President Laura Roslin, but that's TV. If I was going that far, I'd have to include President Bartlett.

  3. Good list. Glad to see V For Vendetta on there. Of course me, I would have put Harry Potter on there, since the last 3 books/4 movies are quite political. You could go with the incompetent Fudge or the evil Umbridge...

  4. Nick, I agree they're political, but I'd disagree that they're politicians.

    1. I'll give you Umbridge, but Fudge is totally a politician. He's like the President of the Wizarding World. And his whole ordeal in Order of the Phoenix was to make himself look good as a politician by ignoring the facts of Voldemort's return and then sending in Umbridge to help with what was essentially a political cover-up. Though I agree he's not as interesting (especially in the films) as these other choices. It's too bad Scrimgeour wasn't in the films as much as the books. Now THAT dude was a TOTAL politician all around.


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