God Bless America! Real and fictional Presidents

by Lynn Connolly

As today sees the inauguration of the 44th US President, Barack Obama, we thought we might take a look at our pick of the top three best fictional US Presidents.

Of course, a very famous actor was once a real-life President in the form of Ronald Regan so who knows, maybe one day we’ll see one of these actors in the real role!

At number one is one of my favourite actors who’s portrayed a President, Morgan Freeman. He pipped Obama to the post of first black President in the film Deep Impact. Indeed, Barack Obama himself once said of Morgan, “This guy was president before I was!”

His portrayal of President Tom Beck was outstanding and further proof, were it needed, that Morgan is one of the best actors in the world.

Here he is in the role as he announces the impending comet strike… I hope we never see Obama announcing a similar global horror!

Number two on my list is another great actor who’s portrayed a President; Martin Sheen. In fact, he’s been a film and TV President a few times but most notably in The West Wing as President Josiah ‘Jed’ Bartlet. However, my favourite Sheen as President role was when he played deranged Greg Stillson in Stephen King’s film, The Dead Zone.

Stillson was nuttier than squirrel poo, and had it not been for the timely intervention of psychic Johnny Smith, Stillson would have brought about the world’s first – and probably only, given the devastation – nuclear war.

It was a fantastic film that posed questions such as, “if you could go back in time and kill Hitler, would you?” In fact, that was a question that Johnny put to many people in order to find out if killing Stillson before he could annihilate the world was morally the right thing to do.

Here’s a clip from the film which show’s Johnny’s vision of the future and Stillson with his ‘finger on the button’…

And finally, my number three fictional President is Harrison Ford in the film Air Force One. In it, he played President James Marshall who, having just made a speech to the nation about not giving in to terrorists, finds himself and his family are in the hands of Russian neo-nationalists who’ve hijacked Air Force One.

So President Marshall is faced with a nearly impossible decision; give in to terrorist demands – but he’s sworn he won’t – or sacrifice not only the country’s dignity, but the lives of his wife and daughter. It’s an excellent film! Here’s the movie’s trailer…

Awesome stuff and in America, where fiction and reality so often mirror one another, on the day that the first black President is inaugurated, I wonder what dramatic trials and tribulations face Obama as he takes the political reins of the world’s most influential superpower?

Whatever is to come, you can see this historic moment live as it happens from 4pm on BBC1. Have your Stars and stripes – and tissues – at the ready!


Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.