Did you know that President’s Day was originally created to honor our first President, George Washington’s birthday? Depending on which state you live in, the day can celebrate George Washington or Abraham Lincoln’s birthdays or all the presidents of the United States. To honor all past presidents, you can do something that comes naturally to celebrate— turn on Netflix and watch a combination of these five President’s Day movies for every type of movie fan.
For The Spielberg Fan: “Lincoln” (2012)
Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, David Strathairn, Tommy Lee Jones & Hal Holbrook
Ratings: Rotten Tomatoes said that 90% critics & 80% of viewers liked it
Where to Stream It: iTunes & Amazon Video
Synopsis: Directed by Academy Award-winning director, Steven Spielberg, this film portrays President Lincoln’s final months in office amidst a nation divided in the Civil War and opinions of slavery. Daniel Day-Lewis’ portrayal of the 16th president won him an Academy Award for Best Actor because of his realistic transformation into this president via method acting to perfect Lincoln’s voice and movements. Spielberg brings viewers inside the world of Lincoln with his incredible direction and attention to detail.
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
For The Action Fan: “Air Force One” (1997)
The Cast: Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, Glen Close & William H. Macy
Ratings: Rotten Tomatoes said that 78% critics & 66% of viewers liked it
Where to Stream It: Hulu, iTunes & Amazon Video
Synopsis: A classic 90’s action movie, “Air Force One” is about a combat hero turned president portrayed by Harrison Ford. While on a trip to the Soviet Union to make a speech, President James Marshall gets the attention of one Kazakhstani terrorist played by Gary Oldman. On his flight home aboard Air Force One, the President and his staff realize that a journalist is actually Ivan Korshunov, the Kazakhstani terrorist, who hijacks the plane and holds the president hostage. Now, Marshall must use his combat background to defeat Korshunov while the plane is still in flight as the rest of his Cabinet wrestles with how to handle the situation on the ground.
For The Documentary Film Fan: “The Day Kennedy Died” (2013)
Cast: Narrated by Academy Award-winner, Kevin Spacey
Ratings: Five stars on Netflix
Where to Stream It: Netflix & iTunes
Synopsis: Often referred to as one of the more emotional times in our nation’s history is the day President Kennedy was assassinated. This documentary takes a thought-provoking approach to the day our 35th president died with rare film and photos that bring the audience deeper into the events that occurred on November 22, 1963, with narratives unheard until now. Playing through each minute of the day Lee Harvey Oswald executed his attack, this somber movie will give you a look into an important event in America’s history.
For The Historical Drama Fan: Lee Daniel’s “The Butler” (2013)
The Cast: Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, David Banner, Alex Pettyfer, Robin Williams, John Cusack, Jesse Williams, Lenny Kravitz, Mariah Carey, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard & Minka Kelly
Ratings: Rotten Tomatoes said that 71% critics & 78% of viewers liked it
Where to Stream It: Netflix, iTunes & Amazon Video
Synopsis: Both Oprah and Forest Whitaker were nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for their performance in this historical drama loosely based on the life of Eugene Allen, and are accompanied by a star-studded cast. Allen was American butler who served in the White House for over 34 years until he retired as head butler in 1986 and worked for President Truman up until President Reagan. “The Butler” is a recount of the character Cecil Gaines life and the political and social events he witnessed in the White House over three decades as he waits to meet the newest president. This film takes viewers on a powerful journey of events that shaped American history such as the Civil Rights Movement to the Vietnam War while also telling an important story about the working class.
The Weinstein Company
For the Families with Kids: “Monsters vs. Aliens” (2009)
The Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogen, Rainn Wilson, High Laurie, Stephen Colbert, Will Arnett, Kiefer Sutherland, Paul Rudd, Julie White, Amy Poehler, Jeffrey Tambor, Ed Helms, Renée Zellweger & John Krasinski
Ratings: Rotten Tomatoes said that 72% critics & 60% of viewers liked it
Where to Stream It: HBO Go, iTunes & Amazon Video
Synopsis: In this animated feature, Susan Murphy (Reese Witherspoon) is miraculously transformed into a 49-foot tall giant when a meteor hits her on her wedding day. The U.S. military finds out and places her in a secret location along with a group of monsters that include a gel-like blob named B.oB. (Seth Rogen), a half-monkey, half-fish called Missing Link (Will Arnett) and other monsters. Together, this group must defeat aliens from taking over Earth. The movie delivers funny lines throughout, especially with the help of Steven Colbert (the President) and the scene where he makes contact with the aliens and other hilarious scenes.
No matter what your movie taste, there are so many POTUS featured movies to watch to celebrate the upcoming holiday. Look to your favorite streaming service for other movies featuring a POTUS such as “Frost/Nixon,” “Deep Impact” and “Mars Attacks.” Make sure to enjoy the long weekend and take the time to celebrate President’s Day with fictional presidents or documentaries that depict real events of American history.