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While we love a good Harry Potter or Twilight marathon, it may be time to change things up. On Feb. 20, people in America celebrate President’s Day, which is a holiday that honors everyone who has served as President. Whether you’re a die-hard history buff, want to travel for the three-day weekend, or are excited about the potential day off from work to shop, you can spend the day on a good ol’ movie marathon — but with a Presidential theme to it.
Hear us out: a lot of Presidential movies are quite dramatic, often making you cry or feel some type of way. It may be a lot to binge at once, but what better way to spend a day off than with a themed movie marathon?
From Oscar-winning performances to modern classics, Presidential films do pretty well at the box office, gaining millions of dollars in revenue and quickly becoming staples in our Amazon Prime lists. Whether it’s a behind-the-scenes look at a cataclysmic world event or an exaggeration of a possible illicit affair, there are a lot of juicy details the history books don’t teach you. So why not get enlightened and learn something new from a critically acclaimed film on your watch list?
Now, we found 11 of the best films about American Presidents and their families — all of which can be rented or bought through Amazon (except for one Netflix Original you may not have heard of!) Check out our top picks below.
A version of this article was originally published on Feb 2022.
Starring actors Frank Langella, Michael Sheen, and Kevin Bacon, Frost/Nixon retells the story of the post-Watergate interviews with David Frost and Richard Nixon. It was nominated for five Oscars, including Best Motion Picture of the Year and Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay since it was based on a stage play.
Following the life story of George W. Bush, W. stars actors Josh Brolin and Elizabeth Banks as George and Laura Bush, navigating everything life had in store for them.
Released in 1991, JFK is still one of the staple biopics retelling the story of a US President. Starring Kevin Costner and Gary Oldman, it shows the story of District Attorney Jim Garrison discovering more about the JFK assassination.
Directed by Steven Spielberg, Daniel Day-Lewis’ Oscar-winning performance in Lincoln shows Abraham Lincoln during his presidency.
Based somewhat on the book “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln,” it mainly shows Lincoln trying to navigate the fight for ending slavery.
Hyde Park on Hudson (2012)
Released in 2012, Hyde Park on Hudson stars Bill Murray as former President FDR, Olivia Williams as Eleanor Roosevelt, and Laura Linney as FDR’s distant cousin Margaret “Daisy” Suckley. There was a lot of speculation around Suckley and FDR’s relationship, with some believing they had an intimate relationship. Hyde Park on Hudson is a dramatization of those intimate relationship rumors.
LBJ follows the story of former President Lyndon B. Johnson as he rises to the Presidency and how he dealt with the rising civil rights protests in the 1960s. Starring Woody Harrelson, this President film is a hidden indie darling.
Jefferson in Paris (1995)
Unlike a lot of films on this list, Jefferson in Paris follows a president before his presidency. Following Thoams Jefferson during his time in Paris, the story retells a rumor of an alleged affair he had in Paris, resulting in some children.
Starring Devon Terrell and Anya Taylor-Joy, Barry follows the life of former President Barack Obama before his presidency, specifically his time as one of the few Black students at Columbia University.
Unlike the rest, Barry is only available to watch on Netflix.
Southside With You (2016)
Starring Tika Sumpter and Parker Sawyers, Southside With You is an indie biopic that follows Barack and Michelle Obama’s first date and budding romance in 1989.
Lee Daniels’ The Butler (2013)
Lee Daniels’ The Butler stars Forest Whitacker as Cecil Gaines, who was a butler of the White House during eight presidencies and saw so many historical events through the eyes of the White House. The hit film also stars Oprah Winfrey, John Cusack, and Jane Fonda.
Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)
If you’re looking for a good throwback, Young Mr. Lincoln is one of the first Presidential biopics made, starring a young Henry Fonda and Alice Brady. It’s a somewhat exaggerated account of Abraham Lincoln when he was a young lawyer.
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