40 Top Films on our Presidential Movies List to Watch

Published:
January 31, 2024

Sarah Shelton

Contributor:
Sarah Shelton

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It is the perfect time of year to learn about the lives of the American presidents. President’s Day is coming up on February 20th. This year is also a big election year with election day and the Presidential election coming up so here are 40 top films on our presidential movies list to watch.

presidential movies list with image white house and foundain
Photo Credit: Canva

Presidential Movies List

These are lots of popular movies that have been made about presidents. Some of these are movies about specific presidents which will need to be previewed before watching. There are some that are rated R on this list due to language and scandals.

As always, it is up to your discretion as parent, but they may be okay for older high school students. We have made sure to include the rating next to each one.

Other movies on this list are dramas, or action adventure movies that involve the White House or White House staff.  There are even fictional movies and comedies about presidents that are great for the whole family. 

Many of these movies are available to watch for free or to rent on Amazon Prime. 

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Moive Response Template Pack

Do you like to use movies to enhance your homeschooling lessons?  This 8 page response template pack is an easy way to add comprehension and opinion writing for any movie.

Movies About Specific Presidents 

Reagan an American Journey photo of Ronald Reagan with cowboy hat

1. Ronald Reagan: The American Journey (2011) All Ages – An in depth look at 3 decades of the real life of Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States.

2. Southside With You (2016)  PG-13 – This feel good romance movie is about Barack Obama and his first date and relationship with Michelle Robinson, who is now his wife.

3. Lincoln (2012) PG-13 – Daniel Day-Lewis had an Oscar-winning performance for best actor as the 16th president of the United States. It is the Steven Spielberg retelling of the last four months of Abraham Lincoln’s life. 

4. Frost/Nixon (2009) R – A dramatic retelling of the post-Watergate television interviews between Richard Nixon and British talk show host David Frost.

5. W. (2008) PG-13  Josh Brolin plays President George W. Bush in this biopic by Oliver Stone. It’s shows his rise to power from being an alcoholic to a born again Christian in American politics to US President.

6. Vice  (2018) R – This is the story of Vice President Dick Cheney played by Christian Bale and follows his success during the Bush administration and he helped reshape the country. He was never president by being the vice – he was close to it!

7. Nixon (1996)  R – Nominated for 4 Oscars, Anthony Hopkins plays former president Richard Nixon and his life and presidency that ended with the Watergate scandal.

old black and white movie young mr. lincoln

8. Young Mr. Lincoln (1939) NR – This classic movie shows the early life of Abraham Lincoln when he was a lawyer facing his greatest court case.

9. Jefferson in Paris (1995) PG-13 – This historical drama follows the time that Thomas Jefferson spent as the American Ambassador to France from 1784-1789.

10. JFK -(1991) R – Another controversial film by Oliver Stone that stars Kevin Costner as the district attorney that tries to uncover the truth behind the Kennedy assassination. 

11. LBJ (2017) R – After the assassination of President John F. Kennedy played by Woody Harrelson, faces off against his own political party as he tries to secure his presidency.

12. Jimmy Carter Man from Plains (2007) PG – A documentary about Jimmy Carter who ignites a firestorm of controversy when he tours the country to promote his new book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.”

13. The First American (2016) 13+ – This documentary is about George Washington and his involvement in winning the American Revolution and creating the Constitution and becoming the first president. 

Comedies About Presidents 

Man of the year Robin Williams dressed like a president

14. Man of the Year (2006) PG-13 – Robin Williams stars as a comedian who hosts a satire program and he decides to run as a presidential candidate as a joke. The joke is on him when a computerized voting machine malfunctions and he actually becomes the president.

15. Primary Colors (1998) R – John Travolta, Billy Bob Thornton and Emma Thompson star in this comedy about a race to the White House and the Oval Office.

16. Guarding Tess (1994) PG-13 – Nicolas Cage and Shirley Mcclaine star in this funny comedy about the first lady and the unhappy secret service agent who has to guard her.

17. Dave (1993) PG-13 – This is such a funny movie about a presidential look alike who needs to stand in for the real President and ends up fixing the budget and doing great things.

18. My Fellow Americans (1996) PG-13 – Jack Lemmon, Dan Aykroyd and James Garner play former U.S. Presidents who are hated rivals who have to join forces to expose the current corrupt president.

19. 1600 Penn (2012) 7+ – A fun family comedy show with 13 episodes, about a fictional family that lives in the White House.

20. Head of State (2003) PG-13 – Chris Rock and Bernie Mac star in this hilarious comedy about a black man from Washington D.C. who is abruptly elected to replace the presidential candidate.

Presidential Dramas 

Lee Daniel's the Butler photo of black man and black woman

21.. The Butler (2013) PG-13 – Forest Whitaker stars as the White House butler who has served many presidents over the years. A beautiful story that shows the civil rights movement, Vietnam, and other major events that affect his life and America.

22. The American President (1995) PG-13 – A sweet romance about a widowed president (Kevin Costner) who is running for reelection and falls in love with an environmental lobbyist played by Annette Bening.

23. Recount (2008) NR – A documentary chronicle of the weeks after the 2000 U.S. Presidential election, and the recounts in Florida during the most controversial election in history.

24. The Reagans (2003) TV-14 – A tv mini series that follows the Reagan family dealing with an impeachment scare after the Iran-Contra scandal.

25. All the President’s Men (1976) PG – A serious movie about the reporters that uncover the details and major events of the Watergate scandal that lead to Nixon’s resignation.

Action Movies About Presidents 

Air Force One with Harrison Ford

26. Air Force One (1997) R – Harrison Ford stars in this action packed thriller about a terrorist and his gang that high jack the president’s plane: Air Force One.

27. Fail Safe (2000) 13+ – This movie is about the Cold War and the tensions that arise when a U.S. bomber is accidentally ordered to drop a nuclear warhead on Moscow.

28. Thirteen Days (2001) PG-13 – A retelling of President John F. Kennedy and his advisors as they deal with the treat of nuclear war during the  Cuban Missile Crisis.

29. Olympus Has Fallen (2013) R – Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman star in this action packed thriller about a terrorist who kidnaps the President of the United States inside the White House.

30. White House Down (2013) PG-13 – During a tour of the White House with his young daughter, a Capitol policeman starring Channing Tatum, springs into action to save his child and protect the president from an armed group invaders.

31. In the Line of Fire (1993) R – Clint Eastwood stars in this thriller as a veteran Secret Service agent who was haunted by his failure to protect John F. Kennedy from assassination. He gets a chance to redeem himself thirty years later when a psychopath threatens to kill the current president.

Presidential Musicals 

1776 broadway production on stage

32. 1776 (1972) 16+ – Winner of a Tony Award for best musical,  1776 follows John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson as they attempt to convince the members of the Second Continental Congress to vote for independence from Britain by signing the Declaration of Independence.

33. Ragtime (1981) 18+ – This catchy American musical has mature themes and features many of the historical figures that built and shaped turn-of-the-century America, including a song about the President.

Family Movies 

34. First Kid (1996) PG – A fun family movie starring Sinbad as a secret service agent hired to protect the unruly son of the president.

35. Chasing Liberty (2004) PG-13 – Mandy Moore stars in this teen movie about an 18 year daughter of the president who wants to live life like a normal girl.

36. First Dog (2010) PG-13 – A sweet movie about a foster boy who finds a stray dog that may actually belong to the President of the United States!

Night at the Museum Man with a flashlight and a monkey

37. Night at the Museum (2006) PG – This is a family favorite, and if you love President Teddy Roosevelt, you will enjoy Robin William’s portrayal of him in this movie.

38. First Daughter (2004) PG – A cute rom-com about the President’s daughter who heads off to college to experience life away from the White House and finds love.

39. Our American Presidents (2019) 7+ – A very educational video series perfect for homeschoolers. This volume covers 11 of the most influential presidents and their lives and families and how they contributed to America’s history.

40. Max 2: White House Hero (2017) PG – Max is assigned to protect the White House when a secret service dog is on maternity leave. He becomes friends with the president’s 12 year old son and ends up coming to the rescue. 

More Themed Movie Suggestions

Don’t miss our other posts on themed movies to watch with your family!

20 + Best Winter Movies to Watch This Season

25+ of the Best Nativity Movies and Films for Christmas

25+ Math Movies for Kids and Family Friendly Math Shows

38 of the Best Football Movies on Netflix and Amazon

Movie Response Printable Pack

Movie nights can be educational when you pair these Presidential movies with our Movie Response Template Pack. They will help your children with critical thinking skills and recall as they write their thoughts on the movie that they watched. 

 

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Movie Response Template Pack

Do you like to use movies to enhance your homeschooling lessons?  This 8 page response template pack is an easy way to add comprehension and opinion writing for any movie.

This pack includes 5 pages for movie reviews with:

  • create your own movie review and rate it up to 5 stars
  • movie in detail worksheet
  • movie illustration page (draw your favorite characters and scenes from the movie)
  • book to movie comparison sheet
  • personal movie review and opinion piece

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