Monday, October 12, 2009

American Presidents on Film

Similar to my Canadian Prime Ministers blog post, this is an attempt to catalogue how many appearances American Presidents have made on film. I used two sources for this: Wikipedia to get the names of Presidents and when they ran (Wikipedia isn’t always accurate but is generally good for factual stuff such as this) and the Internet Movie Database for screen appearances (again some inaccuracies may appear but this is probably the best possible source for such information). For TV series, appearances are only counted once. Of course it’s impossible to get data on all newscast appearances so later Presidents likely have 100s of uncatalogued appearances; these are probably the easiest to find somewhere.

Actor means this is a rare case (well, not so rare with Ronald Reagan) where a President has played a role other than themselves, though the role may in some cases (e.g. Former President) allude to the real person. Self means the film has new footage as the President as themselves, usually but not always in a non-fictional role. Archive means the film only has footage of the President obtained from other sources. For TV shows a President may appear in both Self and Archive categories as long as the episodes are different. In Personal Collection is mainly for my own interest and that of friends/family; I own a copy of the film in question.

This list is solely of the Presidents themselves, not of people playing them. A separate list for such appearances will be covered in a subsequent blog. Personally I think seeing the actual leader on film is more interesting than a portrayal, no matter how good.

Gaps in the list of Presidents mean I was not able to find concrete evidence of filmed appearances of the President, though again obviously some appeared in news broadcasts. For purposes of this list, interim Presidents are given equal weight as elected Presidents.

Due to the nature of the post, this blog entry will be updated periodically.

Rutherford B. Hayes
President #: 19
Years: 1877-1881
Archive: 1

Grover Cleveland
President #: 24
Years: 1893-1897
Self: 3

William McKinley
President #: 25
Years: 1897-1901
Self: 29
Archive: 8

Theodore Roosevelt
President #: 26
Years: 1901-1909
Self: 34
Archive: 40

William Howard Taft
President #: 27
Years: 1909-1913
Self: 8
Archive: 7

Woodrow Wilson
President #: 28
Years: 1913-1921
Self: 12
Archive: 36

William G. Harding
President #: 29
Years: 1921-1923
Archive: 10

Calvin Coolidge
President #: 30
Years: 1923-1929
Self: 6
Archive: 15

Herbert Hoover
President #: 31
Years: 1929-1933
Self: 2
Archive: 18

Franklin D. Roosevelt
President #: 32
Years: 1933-1945
Self: 15
Archive: 180
In Personal Collection: Nixon, Simpsons season 10 (both Archive)

Harry S. Truman
President #: 33
Years: 1945-1953
Self: 9
Archive: 87
In Personal Collection: Nixon, Why We Fight (both Archive)

Dwight D. Eisenhower
President #: 34
Years: 1953-1961
Self: 20
Archive: 135
In Personal Collection: Nixon, Why We Fight (both Archive)

John F. Kennedy
President #: 35
Years: 1961-1963
Self: 27
Archive: 247
In Personal Collection: JFK, Nixon, The Dish, Lexx season 4, Comic Book Superheroes Unmasked, Why We Fight, Justice League: The New Frontier (all Archive)

Lyndon B. Johnson
President #: 36
Years: 1963-1969
Self: 6
Archive: 107
In Personal Collection: JFK, Nixon (both Archive)

Richard Nixon
President #: 37
Years: 1969-1974
Self: 39
Archive: 199
In Personal Collection: JFK, Nixon, Why We Fight (all Archive)

Gerald Ford
President #: 38
Years: 1974-1977
Actor: 1
Self: 42
Archive: 41
In Personal Collection: All the President’s Men, Quantum Leap season 2, Nixon (all Archive)

Jimmy Carter
President #: 39
Years: 1977-1981
Self: 59
Archive: 60
In Personal Collection: West Wing Documentary Special (season 3) (Self); Nixon, Maxed Out (both Archive)

Ronald Reagan
President #: 40
Years: 1981-1989
Actor: 78
Self: 108
Archive: 235
In Personal Collection: Roger & Me, Dream On season 1 & 2, Nixon, American Psycho, Prozac Nation, Weird Al Yankovic: The Ultimate Video Collection, Outfoxed: Robert Murdoch’s War on Journalism, Who Killed the Electric Car?, An inconvenient Truth, Maxed Out, Balls of Fury, Heckler (all Archive)

George H. W. Bush
President #: 41
Years: 1989-1993
Self: 79
Archive Footage: 104
In Personal Collection: Nixon, Fahrenheit 9/11, An Inconvenient Truth, Maxed Out (all Archive)

Bill Clinton
President #: 42
Years: 1993-2001
Self: 171
Archive Footage: 140
In Personal Collection: Nixon, Fahrenheit 9/11, Who Killed the Electric Car?, Maxed Out, Sicko (all Archive)

George W. Bush
President #: 43
Years: 2001-2008
Self: 113
Archive Footage: 209
In Personal Collection: The Awful Truth season 2 (Self/Archive; different episodes); Bowling for Columbine, 11’09”01, Unprecedented: The 2000 Election, Fahrenheit 9/11, Uncovered: The War on Iraq, Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism, Unconstitutional, Why We Fight, This Divided State, Iraq in Fragments, Who Killed the Electric Car?, An Inconvenient Truth, Maxed Out, Shut Up & Sing, The Tripper, Sicko (all Archive)

Barack Obama
President #: 44
Years: 2009-Present
Actor: 1
Self: 94
Archive Footage: 44

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