Celebrate Presidents' Day With The Best Biopics About U.S. Presidents
Celebrate Presidents' Day With The Best Biopics About U.S. Presidents

Celebrate Presidents' Day With The Best Biopics About U.S. Presidents

HOLLYWOOD, CA — U.S. presidents come and go, but their origin story will continue to pique interest for generations to come. After all, these titans of politics are also real people with real-life stories to tell — including their love affairs.

In honor of Presidents’ Day, here are some of the best biographical dramas to watch as we celebrate the powerful office of the American president — in no particular order.

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Happy Presidents’ Day!

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7 Best Biopics About American Presidents

“Lincoln” (2012)

Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field; directed by Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg’s 2012 biopic chronicles the turbulent final months of Abraham Lincoln’s life, focusing on the American Civil War and Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation. A box office smash, “Lincoln” paints a moving and dignified portrait, garnering 12 Oscar nominations and a best actor Oscar win for Day-Lewis for his powerful performance as the 16th U.S. president.

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“Nixon” (1995)

Anthony Hopkins, Joan Allen; directed by Oliver Stone

Oliver Stone’s biopic, starring Anthony Hopkins in the title role of Richard Nixon, chronicles the life of the 37th President of the United States from the time he was young through his rise to presidency and his eventual fall from grace after becoming embroiled in the infamous Watergate scandal. Well-acted and deftly directed, the movie paints a riveting tragedy.

“W” (2008)

Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Banks; directed by Oliver Stone

Oliver Stone explores the life of George W. Bush (Josh Brolin) through a series of flashbacks that highlight his path to sobriety, self-betterment and then to the Texas governorship and finally the U.S. presidency. By the end, if anything, the movie aims to pique sympathy and empathy for a man embroiled in a calamitous presidency.

“Frost/Nixon” (2008)

Frank Langella, Michael Sheen; directed by Ron Howard

In 1977, the former U.S. President (Frank Langella) granted David Frost (Michael Sheen), a well-known British journalist, an exclusive no-holds-barred interview, his first since his resignation following the Watergate scandal. Ron Howard’s movie depicts the events that unfolded behind the scenes, and ultimately the premiere episode that drew a whopping 45 million television viewers. Frank Langella’s portrayal of Nixon is nuanced, anchored by Howard’s balletic direction.

“Hyde Park on Hudson” (2012)

Bill Murray, Laura Linney, Olivia Williams; directed by Roger Michell

At the heart of the biopic is the love affair between U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Bill Murray) and his distant cousin Margaret “Daisy” Suckley (Laura Linney). Based on Suckley’s private diaries, the movie turns the spotlight on their love story during the 1939 U.S. visit of King George VI (Samuel West) and the British monarch’s wife, Queen Elizabeth (Olivia Colman). Meanwhile, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt (Olivia Williams) is now in a quandary. The movie, overall, is entertaining and charming — though the humor, at times, could feel somewhat gratuitous.

“LBJ” (2016)

Woody Harrelson, Jennifer Jason Leigh; directed by Rob Reiner

“LBJ,” Rob Reiner’s biopic treatment of Lyndon B. Johnson’s U.S. presidency, stars Woody Harrelson in the title role of a politician who served as the 36th President of the United States following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Mainly, the film focuses on LBJ’s rise to presidency and subsequently, his administration’s struggles to deal with the civil rights issues of the 1960s. Woody Harrelson owns the movie, as he delivers a very nuanced performance.

“Thirteen Days” (2000)

Kevin Costner, Bruce Greenwood; directed by Roger Donaldson

For 13 days in October 1962, the entire world stood still in a very tense political milieu, anxiously awaiting the outcome of a brinkmanship that could result in a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union. Roger Donaldson’s film is a docudrama about the Cuban Missile Crisis, as seen from the perspective of U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s leadership. Suspenseful as it is, the taut political thriller portrays a story with high stakes that are remarkably palpable.

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