33 Movies About American Presidents to Watch for Presidents Day Weekend

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This article will introduce 33 movies about American presidents as options to watch on Presidents Day weekend. They include historical biopics, historical events and fictional stories.

text "movies to watch presidents day weekend" with images of 4 movies about presidents

It’s February, so lets take the time to celebrate Presidents Day with films about US Presidents and important historical events.

This article will introduce 33 movies about American presidents as options to watch on Presidents Day weekend. They include historical biopics, historical events and fictitious stories about fictional presidential characters.

Whether you are looking to brush up on some US history or just want a good film that involves American presidents (actual or fictional), we have a selection covering it all.

There is a FREE Presidential movie checklist you can download to keep track of what you want to see.

Links included below to the where the movies are streaming FREE on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Tubi (where available).

What is Presidents’ Day?

Presidents’ Day is a U.S. federal holiday that actually celebrates President George Washington’s birthday, honoring the first president of the United States. It’s celebrated on the third Monday of February.

Many states observe the holiday as a tribute to all past American presidents.

However, there are 9 states that do not observe Presidents’ Day: Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, Rhode Island or Wisconsin.

Who is this list of movies about presidents for?

  • People who want to celebrate Presidents Day alone or with the family having a movie night
  • Anyone wanting a fictional or historical account of American Presidents in film
  • History buffs
  • People interested in American History

What information is provided about each political movie about presidents in this selection?

  • The movie title and release year of the movie
  • Movie Image
  • Director
  • A list of actors in the movie
  • Genre
  • The MPAA rating
  • Link to the movie in IMDb – For movie reviews, where to stream, ratings, trailers and lots more.
  • A link to where the movie is streaming for FREE (if available) (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Tubi)
  • A movie summary

List of 33 Movies to Watch on Presidents Day Weekend

1. The American President (1995)

  • Director: Rob Reiner
  • Actors: Michael Douglas, Annette Bening, Martin Sheen
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Genre: Romantic Comedy, Drama
  • IMDb

In this romantic comedy-drama, President Andrew Shepherd, played by Michael Douglas, navigates the challenges of leading the country while also finding love in the form of lobbyist Sydney Ellen Wade, portrayed by Annette Bening. The film offers a charming mix of political intrigue and personal relationships, making it a perfect choice for a light hearted Presidents Day movie night.

2. White House Down (2013)

  • Director: Roland Emmerich
  • Actors: Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Genre: Action, Thriller
  • IMDb

This action packed thriller stars Channing Tatum as a Capitol Police officer who must protect the President, played by Jamie Foxx, during a terrorist attack on the White House. With explosive scenes and unexpected twists, it’s a gripping film that keeps you on the edge of your seat, making it an excellent choice for those who enjoy a thrilling Presidents Day movie marathon.

3. Lee Daniels’ The Butler (2013)

  • Director: Lee Daniels
  • Actors: Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, John Cusack
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Genre: Biography, Drama
  • IMDb
  • Streaming FREE on Amazon Prime Video

A biographical drama directed by Lee Daniels, this film follows the life of Cecil Gaines, a White House butler who served eight different presidents. Forest Whitaker delivers a powerful performance as Cecil, while the star studded cast, including Oprah Winfrey and John Cusack, adds depth to the storytelling. The movie provides a unique perspective on American history through the eyes of a dedicated butler, making it both informative and emotionally impactful for a Presidents Day watch.

4. Lincoln (2012)

  • Director: Steven Spielberg
  • Actors: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Genre: Biography, Drama
  • IMDb

In Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” Daniel Day-Lewis delivers a mesmerizing portrayal of the 16th President of the United States. The film explores Abraham Lincoln’s tumultuous final months in office as he strives to pass the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery. With outstanding performances from a stellar cast, including Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln” offers a captivating glimpse into a pivotal moment in American history. The intricate political maneuvers and Lincoln’s personal struggles make it a compelling choice for a Presidents Day movie marathon.

5. Frost/Nixon (2008)

  • Director: Ron Howard
  • Actors: Frank Langella, Michael Sheen, Kevin Bacon
  • Rating: R
  • Genre: Biography, Drama
  • IMDb

Directed by Ron Howard, “Frost/Nixon” dramatizes the historic 1977 television interviews between British journalist David Frost and disgraced former President Richard Nixon. Frank Langella delivers a powerful performance as Nixon, while Michael Sheen portrays Frost in a compelling manner. The film provides a behind the scenes look at the intense preparation and high stakes confrontation between the two figures.

6. Thirteen Days (2000)

  • Director: Roger Donaldson
  • Actors: Kevin Costner, Bruce Greenwood, Steven Culp
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama, History, Thriller
  • IMDb

“Thirteen Days” delves into the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 offering a tense and suspenseful narrative that unfolds during the thirteen days when the world stood on the brink of nuclear war. With its historical significance and gripping storytelling, “Thirteen Days” provides an engaging cinematic experience, making it a compelling choice for those interested in political and historical dramas on Presidents Day.

7. Nixon (1995)

  • Director: Oliver Stone
  • Actors: Anthony Hopkins, Joan Allen, Powers Boothe
  • Rating: R
  • Genre: Biography, Drama
  • IMDb

Oliver Stone’s “Nixon” presents a bold exploration of the life and presidency of Richard Nixon, with Anthony Hopkins delivering a powerful and nuanced performance in the titular role. The film delves into Nixon’s complex personality, political triumphs, and ultimate downfall, providing a comprehensive portrait of one of America’s most controversial leaders. With an exceptional cast and Stone’s distinctive directorial style, “Nixon” is a gripping historical drama that immerses viewers in the turbulent era of the 37th President.

8. Olympus Has Fallen (2013)

  • Director: Antoine Fuqua
  • Actors: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman
  • Rating: R
  • Genre: Action, Thriller
  • IMDb

Gerard Butler stars as a Secret Service agent tasked with saving the President, played by Aaron Eckhart, when the White House is seized by terrorists. With intense action sequences and suspenseful moments, this film offers a more adrenaline fueled Presidents Day movie experience.

9. Air Force One (1997)

  • Director: Wolfgang Petersen
  • Actors: Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, Glenn Close
  • Rating: R
  • Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller
  • IMDb

Wolfgang Petersen’s “Air Force One” combines political tension with airborne action as President James Marshall, portrayed by Harrison Ford, fights to reclaim his hijacked plane. With a stellar cast that includes Gary Oldman and Glenn Close, the film delivers intense moments and a gripping narrative. “Air Force One” is a classic action thriller that showcases Harrison Ford’s heroic charisma in the role of a President determined to protect both his country and his family.

10. JFK (1991)

  • Director: Oliver Stone
  • Actors: Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Jack Lemmon
  • Rating: R
  • Genre: Drama, Thriller
  • IMDb

Oliver Stone’s “JFK” is a riveting exploration of the conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Kevin Costner leads a stellar cast, including Gary Oldman and Jack Lemmon, in this intense and provocative drama. The film weaves together various perspectives and theories, challenging viewers to question the official narrative. “JFK” is a compelling choice for those intrigued by political mysteries and historical enigmas on Presidents Day.

11. All the President’s Men (1976)

  • Director: Alan J. Pakula
  • Actors: Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman, Jason Robards
  • Rating: PG
  • Genre: Biography, Drama, History
  • IMDb

In “All the President’s Men,” director Alan J. Pakula brings to life the investigative journalism that exposed the Watergate scandal. Starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as real life reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the film chronicles their pursuit of the truth and the events that led to President Nixon’s resignation. With a focus on journalistic integrity and the impact of the press on politics, this classic film portrays one of the most significant moments in American political history.

12. Dick (1999)

  • Director: Andrew Fleming
  • Actors: Kirsten Dunst, Michelle Williams, Dan Hedaya
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • IMDb

“Dick” takes a comedic and satirical approach to presidential history, imagining two teenage girls, played by Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams, stumbling into the midst of the Watergate scandal. This is a light hearted and irreverent comedy that offers a unique perspective on the political turmoil of the Nixon era. With its humor and playful storytelling, “Dick” provides a fun and entertaining choice for those looking to lighten the mood on Presidents Day while still engaging with historical themes.

13. Dave (1993)

  • Director: Ivan Reitman
  • Actors: Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, Frank Langella
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy, Romance
  • IMDb

“Dave” is a heartwarming comedy that takes a lighthearted look at presidential politics. Kevin Kline stars as Dave, an ordinary man who becomes an uncanny stand in for the President of the United States. Alongside Sigourney Weaver and Frank Langella, Kline’s charismatic performance and the film’s humor make “Dave” a delightful choice for those seeking a feel good movie with a presidential twist on Presidents Day.

14. W. (2008)

  • Director: Oliver Stone
  • Actors: Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Banks, James Cromwell
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Genre: Biography, Drama
  • IMDb

Oliver Stone’s “W.” provides a dramatic exploration of the life and presidency of George W. Bush. Josh Brolin delivers a compelling performance as the 43rd President, and the film offers insights into key moments in Bush’s political career. With a talented cast and Stone’s distinctive style, “W.” presents a nuanced perspective on a contemporary presidency, making it an good choice for those interested in recent political history.

15. Pearl Harbor (2001)

  • Director: Michael Bay
  • Actors: Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett, Kate Beckinsale
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Genre: Action, Drama, History
  • IMDb

While primarily a war film, Michael Bay’s “Pearl Harbor” includes a significant subplot involving President Franklin D. Roosevelt, played by Jon Voight. The movie explores the events leading up to the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor and its aftermath. With its epic scale, intense action sequences, and a touch of historical drama, “Pearl Harbor” offers a cinematic experience that combines romance, war, and a glimpse into the challenges faced by leaders during times of crisis.

16. Truman (1995)

  • Director: Frank Pierson
  • Actors: Gary Sinise, Diana Scarwid, Richard Dysart
  • Rating: PG
  • Genre: Biography, Drama
  • IMDb

“Truman” is a biographical drama that chronicles the life of President Harry S. Truman, portrayed by Gary Sinise. The film explores Truman’s unexpected rise to the presidency, his decision to drop the atomic bomb, and the challenges he faced during his time in office. With a focus on Sinise’s powerful performance and Truman’s key moments in history, this film provides an engaging and informative look at one of America’s notable leaders.

17. Recount (2008)

  • Director: Jay Roach
  • Actors: Kevin Spacey, Bob Balaban, Ed Begley Jr.
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • Genre: Drama, History
  • IMDb

“Recount” offers a behind the scenes look at the controversial 2000 U.S. presidential election. Starring Kevin Spacey, the film delves into the legal and political battles that ensued, particularly in Florida, where ballot recounts and legal disputes took center stage. With its compelling narrative and stellar cast, “Recount” provides a gripping exploration of the complexities and challenges of the democratic process.

18. Vice (2018)

  • Director: Adam McKay
  • Actors: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell
  • Rating: R
  • Genre: Biography, Comedy, Drama
  • IMDb
  • Vice is streaming on Netflix

“Vice” is a satirical biographical comedy drama that focuses on the life and political career of Dick Cheney, portrayed by Christian Bale. The film explores Cheney’s role as Vice President under George W. Bush and delves into the impact of his policies on American politics. With its unique blend of humor and sharp political commentary, “Vice” offers an unconventional take on recent political history, making it an intriguing choice for a Presidents Day movie night.

19. Gaslit (Mini-Series) (2022)

  • Director: Various (TBD)
  • Actors: Julia Roberts, Sean Penn, Dan Stevens
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • Genre: Drama, Thriller, Mini-Series
  • IMDb
  • Streaming for FREE on Amazon Prime Video

Gaslit is a very interesting story based on the podcast Slow Burn by Leon Neyfakh. It’s a limited series about the Watergate scandal from the perspective of Martha Mitchell, played by Julia Roberts, the wife of Attorney General John Mitchell. This political drama is a gripping portrayal of the events that unfolded during a tumultuous period in American history. As it explores the personal and political dimensions of the Watergate scandal.

20. Primary Colors (1998)

  • Director: Mike Nichols
  • Actors: John Travolta, Emma Thompson, Billy Bob Thornton
  • Rating: R
  • Genre: Comedy, Drama
  • IMDb

“Primary Colors” is a satirical comedy drama loosely based on the 1992 Clinton presidential campaign. John Travolta stars as Governor Jack Stanton, a charismatic and flawed candidate, with Emma Thompson playing his equally complex wife. The film offers a humorous and insightful look at the world of political campaigns, providing a fictional but entertaining exploration of the challenges faced by those seeking the highest office in the land.

21. Wag the Dog (1997)

  • Director: Barry Levinson
  • Actors: Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro, Anne Heche
  • Rating: R
  • Genre: Comedy, Drama
  • IMDb

Barry Levinson’s “Wag the Dog” is a dark comedy that satirizes the relationship between politics and the media. Starring Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro, the film tells the story of a spin doctor and a Hollywood producer who collaborate to create a fictional war in order to distract the public from a presidential scandal. With its clever and biting commentary, “Wag the Dog” offers a compelling examination of the manipulation of public perception in the world of politics, making it a relevant and entertaining choice for a Presidents Day movie marathon.

22. Hyde Park on Hudson (2012)

  • Director: Roger Michell
  • Actors: Bill Murray, Laura Linney, Olivia Williams
  • Rating: R
  • Genre: Biography, Comedy, Drama
  • IMDb

“Hyde Park on Hudson” explores the personal and political life of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, played by Bill Murray, during a crucial weekend in 1939. The film offers a blend of historical drama and comedy, focusing on Roosevelt’s relationship with his distant cousin, Margaret “Daisy” Suckley. With Bill Murray’s charismatic performance and the film’s intimate portrayal of a momentous period, “Hyde Park on Hudson” is a charming choice for those interested in a more personal perspective on a presidential figure.

23. John Adams (Mini Series)(2008)

  • Director: Tom Hooper
  • Actors: Paul Giamatti, Laura Linney, David Morse
  • Rating: TV-MA
  • Genre: Biography, Drama, History
  • IMDb

“John Adams” is a captivating mini-series that chronicles the life of the second President of the United States. Rhe series stars Paul Giamatti as John Adams and Laura Linney as Abigail Adams, offering a detailed and nuanced portrayal of their personal and political lives. With its meticulous attention to historical accuracy and strong performances, “John Adams” provides an immersive journey into the founding years of the United States, making it an excellent choice for those seeking a more in depth exploration of presidential history.

24. Southside with You (2016)

  • Director: Richard Tanne
  • Actors: Parker Sawyers, Tika Sumpter, Vanessa Bell Calloway
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Genre: Biography, Drama, Romance
  • IMDb

“Southside with You” takes a unique approach to presidential history by depicting the first date of Barack Obama and Michelle Robinson in 1989. With its focus on the early days of their relationship, “Southside with You” provides a charming and relatable exploration of a modern presidential love story, making it a heartwarming choice for those interested in a different facet of presidential storytelling on Presidents Day.

25. The Contender (2000)

  • Director: Rod Lurie
  • Actors: Joan Allen, Jeff Bridges, Gary Oldman
  • Rating: R
  • Genre: Drama, Thriller
  • IMDb
  • Streaming for FREE on Amazon Prime Video

“The Contender” is a political drama that delves into the nomination process for the Vice Presidency. Joan Allen stars as a senator who becomes the target of a contentious confirmation battle, with Jeff Bridges as the President and Gary Oldman as a shrewd political opponent. The film explores themes of morality, power, and gender in politics, offering a suspenseful narrative that keeps viewers engaged from start to finish.

26. Fail Safe (1964)

  • Director: Sidney Lumet
  • Actors: Henry Fonda, Walter Matthau, Dan O’Herlihy
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Genre: Drama, Thriller
  • IMDb
  • Streaming FREE on Tubi

“Fail Safe” is a tense Cold War thriller that explores the potential consequences of a nuclear accident. Starring Henry Fonda as the President, the film unfolds as a technological error sets off an irreversible chain of events leading to a potential nuclear war with the Soviet Union. With its gripping storyline and powerful performances, “Fail Safe” provides a stark and compelling portrayal of the ethical dilemmas faced by leaders in times of crisis.

27. Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President (2020)

  • Director: Mary Wharton
  • Actors: Jimmy Carter, Willie Nelson, Bono
  • Rating: PG
  • Genre: Documentary, Biography, Music
  • IMDb

“Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President” is a documentary that explores the unique relationship between President Jimmy Carter and the world of rock music. Featuring interviews with Carter himself, as well as artists like Willie Nelson and Bono, the film highlights how Carter’s presidency intersected with the music of the time. With a blend of political and musical history, this documentary offers an entertaining and insightful look at the cultural impact of a president who embraced the spirit of rock and roll.

28. First Daughter (2004)

  • Director: Forest Whitaker
  • Actors: Katie Holmes, Marc Blucas, Michael Keaton
  • Rating: PG
  • Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
  • IMDb

Directed by Forest Whitaker, “First Daughter” takes a lighthearted and romantic approach to the life of the President’s daughter. Katie Holmes stars as Samantha Mackenzie, the daughter of the President, who navigates the challenges of college life while trying to maintain a sense of normalcy. With its blend of romance and comedy, the film offers a fun and charming perspective on the personal side of presidential families, making it an enjoyable choice for a relaxed movie night.

First Daughter is streaming FREE on Tubi.

29. LBJ (2016)

  • Director: Rob Reiner
  • Actors: Woody Harrelson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Richard Jenkins
  • Rating: R
  • Genre: Biography, Drama
  • IMDb

Directed by Rob Reiner, “LBJ” explores the life and political career of President Lyndon B. Johnson. Woody Harrelson delivers a compelling performance as Johnson, depicting his complex personality and the challenges he faced during a tumultuous period in American history, including the aftermath of President Kennedy’s assassination. The film provides a nuanced portrayal of LBJ’s presidency and his contributions to civil rights legislation, offering a deeper understanding of a pivotal moment in American politics.

30. Jefferson in Paris (1995)

  • Director: James Ivory
  • Actors: Nick Nolte, Greta Scacchi, Thandie Newton
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Genre: Biography, Drama, History
  • IMDb

“Jefferson in Paris” explores the years when Thomas Jefferson served as the United States Minister to France. Nick Nolte portrays Jefferson as the film covers his complex relationships, political ideologies, and interactions with French society. The movie provides a historical and personal perspective on one of America’s Founding Fathers during a crucial period, making it an engaging choice for those interested in the early days of the nation.

31. Barry (2016)

  • Director: Vikram Gandhi
  • Actors: Devon Terrell, Anya Taylor-Joy, Jason Mitchell
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Genre: Biography, Drama
  • IMDb
  • Streaming on Netflix

“Barry” offers a unique exploration of a young Barack Obama during his college years. The story follows his experiences at Columbia University, addressing themes of identity, race, and the challenges he faced. With its intimate portrayal of Obama’s early life, “Barry” provides a thoughtful and character-driven perspective on the future President, making it an intriguing watch for those curious about the formative years of a historic figure.

32. Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)

  • Director: John Ford
  • Actors: Henry Fonda, Alice Brady, Marjorie Weaver
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Genre: Biography, Drama
  • IMDb
  • Streaming FREE on Tubi

Directed by John Ford, “Young Mr. Lincoln” is a classic film that explores the early years of Abraham Lincoln’s legal career. Henry Fonda delivers a memorable performance as a young and aspiring Abraham Lincoln, focusing on his experiences as a small town lawyer. The film offers a fictionalized account of Lincoln’s life before his presidency, providing insights into his character and values. With John Ford’s masterful direction and Fonda’s portrayal, “Young Mr. Lincoln” is a cinematic gem that provides a glimpse into the origins of a legendary American leader.

33. The Final Days (1989)

  • Director: Richard Pearce
  • Actors: Lane Smith, Richard Kiley, David Ogden Stiers
  • Rating: PG
  • Genre: Drama, History
  • IMDb
  • Streaming FREE on Amazon Prime Video

“The Final Days” is a television movie based on the book by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. The film depicts the last days of the Nixon administration, leading up to President Richard Nixon’s resignation in the wake of the Watergate scandal. Lane Smith delivers a compelling portrayal of Nixon, capturing the complexities and challenges faced by the President during this tumultuous period. With its focus on the unraveling events and the inner workings of the White House, “The Final Days” provides a dramatic and historical perspective on a pivotal moment in American politics, making it a must watch for those interested in the Watergate era.


Final Thoughts

With these 33 political movies about presidents, we hope you were able to find some suggestions helpful.

Thank you for reading our article. We hope you visit again soon.

Feel free to comment on the recommendations below.

movies for presidents day checklist

Free Movie Checklist

Click on the button below to get your FREE “Movies to Watch Presidents Day Weekend” checklist that you can print or check off directly on your device!

So, what are your thoughts on the movies included in this list? What additional movies would you have included? What movies would you have left off?

We encourage all comments and discussion!

Everyone is welcome!


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