|Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman star in "All the President's Men."|
Sunday, November 4, 2012
Americans will head to the polls on Tuesday to elect another president.
Either Barack Obama will continue to reside in the White House for four more years or Mitt Romney will try his hand as president.
Whoever wins will have a difficult task of dealing with a massive deficit, terrorism, possible nuclear weapons in Iran and economic uncertainty.
Hollywood has had more than its share of films devoted to the race for president as well as the men who have occupied the White House over the years.
Films about candidates with dark secrets have included the Bruce Willis action film “Red” about a candidate trying to cover up his involvement in a military cover-up. Dustin Hoffman stars as a spin doctor in “Wag the Dog” about a campaign of disinformation and manipulation when a candidate is caught having sex with a minor. Frank Sinatra stars in “The Manchurian Candidate” about a candidate (Laurence Harvey) who is a communist stooge after being brainwashed while a POW during the Korean War.
Fictional presidents have had their share of woes including Michael Douglas as a widowed president trying to do his job, run for re-election and woo a lobbyist in “The American President.” Hal March is a president who has to thwart a military coup in “Seven Days in May.” Kevin Kline portrays both a calculating president who dies while having an affair with a staffer and the good-natured imposter brought in to portray him in “Dave.”
Real-life presidents have had their problems, too. President John Kennedy faces off with the Russians over missiles in Cuba in “13 Days in October.” Before he was president, Dwight Eisenhower has to defeat Nazi Germany in “Ike.”
Presidents have been action stars, such as the gun-toting chief executive portrayed by Harrison Ford in “Air Force One,” while Abraham Lincoln moonlighted as a vampire killer in “Abraham Lincoln Vampire Killer.” Jack Nicholson’s president is chased out of the White House by bloodthirsty aliens in “Mars Attacks!”
Here are six films available on video, DVD, on-demand or streaming that have featured one way or another the campaign for the highest office in the land.Vote early and often (it's a Chicago thing).
“All the President’s Men” (1976) – This exceptional film about the two Washington Post reporters who uncover the Watergate scandal is a tribute to old school journalism and, unfortunately, a look at how paranoia brought down a president. Stars include Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman, Jack Warden, Martin Balsam, Hal Holbrook, Jason Robards and Jane Alexander.
“Swing Vote” (2008) – A presidential election comes down to a single man’s vote in this political comedy that may be a more accurate observation of the average voter than we want to believe. Stars include Kevin Costner, Paula Patton, Dennis Hopper, Madeline Carroll, Kelsey Grammer and Nathan Lane.
“Primary Colors” (1998) – John Travolta stars as a Bill Clinton-like candidate stumping for the Democratic nomination for president who will stop at nothing to win. Other stars include Emma Thompson, Kathy Bates, Adrian Lester, Billy Bob Thornton, Maura Tierney and Larry Hagman.
“Shampoo” (1975) – The 1968 election between Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey plays in the background for this film about a hair dresser (Warren Beatty) trying to find financing for his own shop while he beds just about every woman he encounters. Other stars include Goldie Hawn, Julie Christie, Lee Grant, Jack Warden and a young Carrie Fisher.
“Man of the Year” (2006) – Robin Williams stars as a Jon Stewart-like television pundit who runs for president and wins because of a computer glitch that the voting technology company will do everything to keep secret in this twisted comedy. Other stars include Laura Linney, Christopher Walken and Lewis Black.
“Head of State” (2003) – A candidate for president dies and his party decides to replace him with a nobody (Chris Rock) in the waning days of the campaign in this comedy. Other stars include Bernie Mac, Dylan Baker, Nick Searcy, Lynn Whitfield and Robin Givens.