President’s Day, Black History, And The Best African-American Leaders In Movies

Today we celebrate President’s Day here in the United States. It’s the only time in the country when all citizens agree they like a President; though typically not the same one or whichever is currently in office. But since no one has to celebrate the same President, only the one they like, everyone is happy! It’s also Black History Month, and since there’s only one African-American President to write about, we’ve turned our attention to five great African-Americans who played POTUS in the movies. Like most Presidents, they weren’t perfect and made mistakes while facing larger-than-life problems.

Happy President’s Day And Black History Month to the five best African-American presidents the movies have ever known!

Morgan Freeman as President Tom Beck in Deep Impact

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Back in 1998, we had dueling asteroid impact movies. One was the legendary Armageddon featuring Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck along with Michael Bay’s go-to actor for president, Stanley Anderson. Over in an alternate dimension, Morgan Freeman’s buttery delicious voice and cadence lead the United States in the seldom mentioned Deep Impact. Freeman’s speech at the end isn’t quite the rousing call to action that Bill Pullman’s presidential speech in Independence Day was, but let’s be serious, that’s a tough speech to top.

Terry Crews as President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho in Idiocracy


Co-star of the Expendables, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and many Old Spice Commercials, Terry Crews is a familiar face today. Back in 2006, he wasn’t yet a household name but that changed quickly. As President Camacho in the comedy turned documentary Idiocracy, Crews prophesied the coming of irrational, reactionary leaders who are clueless when it comes to science, diplomacy, or decorum. Idiocracy’s prophetic vision of a world with self-absorbed leaders and equally self-absorbed citizens is eerily accurate.

Jamie Foxx as James Sawyer in White House Down

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Obama sang a few notes here and there but President Sawyer’s alter ego Jamie Foxx has hit records. In White House Down, though, Foxx does no singing. Instead, Foxx plays an idealistic leader trying to bring peace to the Middle East. Instead, a group hell-bent on war invades the White House in the hopes of starting a war that would bring down the United States. Thankfully for Foxx and America, Channing Tatum is there to save the day.

Samuel L. Jackson as William Alan Moore in Big Game

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Take an 80s action movie like Rambo or Commando and make the protagonist the US President. Now, make that President Samuel L. Mother-Flipping’ Jackson. Big Game is all manner of a fun action adventure flick. The under appreciated Finnish film makes a rare action movie move with a hero who’s a humble teenager looking to prove himself to his father. Big Game is off-kilter compared to typically repetitive, but otherwise successful, action films which might explain why it wasn’t much of a hit and is widely forgotten.

Tommy “Tiny” Lister, Jr. As President Linberg in The Fifth Element

tiny lister-zeus-presidentTiny “Zeus” Lister, the large wrestler-turned-actor played President of Earth in the quirky Fifth Element. President Linberg is in a hopeless scenario as a giant space bar of evil hurtles toward the solar system. For Lister, it was a rare moment to enjoy a non-thug role. Lindberg is mostly useless since there’s little he can do after attempts to slow the evil ball fail again and again. Linberg has no choice but to leave the fate of all humanity and the galaxy in the hands of Bruce Willis and Milla Jovovich.

Honorable Mention: Morgan Freeman as Allan Trumbull in Olympus Has Fallen

president-black history-morgan freemanIn the same year that there were two cosmic disaster movies, Morgan Freeman played the President in one. Fifteen years later, two movies about terrorists taking over the White House come out, and Morgan Freeman is the President in one. I’m not making a case for coincidence here. Instead, I’m saying that Morgan Freeman is a hard-working SOB. As far as I’m concerned, Freeman could be the real President because I think he’d do a better job than the Orange One. Also, if there’s an afterlife, I hope Freeman is God, another role the actor’s played more than once.

Happy President’s Day to all 44 of of our former and current POTUS-es? POSTUS-i? Special thanks to President Obama for his making history as the first African-American President of the United States. 

Ruben Diaz
Ruben Diaz
Writer, film-fanatic, geek, gamer, info junkie & consummate Devil's advocate who has been fascinated by Earth since 1976. Classically trained in the ways of the future.