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Hail to the Chief(s)! Top 10 Pop Culture Presidents

Martian from Mars Attacks at MoPOP

From the Commander-in-Chief of the United States to President of the Twelve Colonies, playing the leader of the free world is challenging. In honor of President’s Day, here are our votes for the top ten fictional presidential portrayals in pop culture.

Bill Pullman as Thomas J. Whitmore in Independence Day (1996)—Best. Speech. Ever.

Martin Sheen as Josiah Bartlet in The West Wing (1999–2006)—Arguably the most famous television president.

Independence Day poster

© Twentieth Century Fox

Morgan Freeman as President Beck in Deep Impact (1998)—“Life will go on. We will prevail.”

Julia Louis Dreyfus as Selina Meyer in Veep (2012–present)—Satire done right.

Harrison Ford as James Marshall in Air Force One (1997)—Tough, gruff, and able to take care of himself.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus from Veep

Yeah, that's Julia Louis-Dreyfus with Vice President Joe Biden #TooCool

Michael Douglas as Andrew Shepherd in The American President (1995)—Civics has never been more romantic.

Mary McDonnell as Laura Roslin in Battlestar Galactica (2004–2009)— Complex, nurturing, and brave, she accepts her role with grace.

Julianne Moore as Alma Coin in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Parts 1 & 2 (2005)—There’s more to her than meets the eye.

Martian from Mars Attacks at MoPOP

Ack Ack Ack!

Jack Nicholson as James Dale in Mars Attacks (1996)—Nicholson and aliens: what more could you ask for?

Luke Wilson as Joe Bauers in Idiocracy (2006) — Wait. Just making sure that this is fiction. Right?

Who are your favorite fictional presidents? Check out a stop-motion alien from Mars Attacks, Zhora's costume from Blade Runner, and other artifacts from Earth's fictional futures in Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction.

Film, Sci-fi

About the author

Adrienne is a writer and editor from Seattle and is MoPOP's Content Wizard (patent pending).