10 TV Shows and Movies to Watch for Presidents’ Day

Happy Presidents’ Day! For the lucky ones of us, Presidents’ Day is just another office holiday that allows for long weekend getaways in gloomy February. For the unlucky, it’s just a day when the banks are inconveniently closed. But Presidents’ Day doesn’t have to be “just” anything- it can be a magical holiday in its own right. Celebrate the service of our country’s great leaders, past or present, by watching one of these classics.

10. The American President

In this romantic comedy, Michael Douglas plays an incredibly Democratic president who must choose between gun control and environmental issues, all while courting a feisty lobbyist.

9. Dave

In this sweetly idealistic flick, the President has a stroke and is replaced by an impersonator. In a lucky turn of events though, the impersonator doesn’t want to do anything with his power except add money in the federal budget for a homeless shelter. (and perhaps date the First Lady)

8. All the President’s Men

This movie in which journalists expose President Nixon and the Watergate scandal offered plenty of precedent for the many journalist flicks that followed (meeting an informant in a dark car park, anyone?) While the movie focuses little on Nixon himself, the film is a very important one in the presidential genre.

7. The Kennedys

This miniseries about arguably America’s most famous family shies away from the pretty picture that is often painted of JFK in favor of a more complicated, almost Godfather-esque story. The web of relationships and egos is fascinating to watch, particularly for fans of Kennedy history.

6. Air Force One

Harrison Ford stars as the POTUS in this thriller in which the president’s airplane is hijacked by Russians. His style of President is a bit more action hero than is realistic, but it’s still a great flick, mostly because it’s Harrison Ford.

5. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

This bold comedy dared to make nuclear warfare its subject, at a time where those fears were definitely real. The black satire of hawkish Pentagon advisors and the Russian “doomsday machine” pokes fun at our leaders in a way that is definitely relatable.

4. Primary Colors

This fictionalized version of Clinton’s presidential campaign is a classic mostly due to John Travolta and Emma Thompson’s stellar Clinton impressions.

3. The West Wing

There are few better ways to celebrate Presidents’ Day than with a West Wing binge. President Bartlett is so great that you almost wish you could vote for him in real life, and the supporting cast is just as admirable. While the show definitely has diminishing returns over time, the first couple of seasons are pure gold.

2. Independence Day

Bruce Willis stars in this absurdly patriotic sci-fi flick about the POTUS saving the world from an alien invasion. If the powerful (ok, cheesy) speeches in this movie don’t give you a surge of love straight to the heart, you’re probably not an American.

1. House of Cards

If you haven’t started watching this Netflix original, you should probably start now. The buzz on this show is 100% worth the hype, and that’s why it’s number one on our list of ways to celebrate Presidents’ Day, even if Frank Underwood isn’t president…yet.