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Celebrate Presidents’ Day Through Film

By Lance February 15, 2013

Four Films That Shed Light On Nation’s Presidential History

President’s Day is not usually a day that people celebrate with a lot of fanfare. Sure, you get to stay off work for an extra day, but aside from that, there’s not much people really do on this holiday. However, there is a way to celebrate President’s Day while enjoying your extra-long weekend; watch Presidential movies! There are a ton of films to choose from, but here are four films that just my suit your fancy.

1776—This zany 1972 film version of the Broadway musical tells the story of the birth of the America as an independent nation, but through singing and dancing numbers. The film stars William Daniels, Howard Da Silva, Ken Howard, and David Ford as four of our founding fathers, hashing out how the nation’s Declaration of Independence will take shape. Speaking from experience, the film is a love-it-or-hate-it experience, but if you want to experience something completely new (and if you want to see in a different light), give 1776 a try.

All the President’s Men—1976’s All the President’s Men is a film that’s about uncovering a president’s crimes, so it’s probably unusual to watch this to celebrate Presidents’ Day. But if you love intrigue and journalistic procedurals, you’ll love this film. All the President’s Men stars Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford as journalists Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, respectively, as they track down the bread crumbs that lead to the Watergate scandal. As a bit of trivia, the release year of this film was also the nation’s bicentennial, so by watching this movie, you’ll not only learn more about Nixon’s scandal, but you’ll also be able to see what America was like during the country’s 200th birthday.

Air Force One—Harrison Ford stars in this 1997 action/thriller as President James Marshall who must battle Russian terrorists on Air Force One. The film continued Ford’s action hero super-stardom and secondary performances by Glenn Close, who plays Vice President Kathryn Bennett,  and Dean Stockwell, who plays Defense Secretary Walter Dean, make this film fun to watch. Gary Oldman’s Ivan Korshunov, the leader of the terrorist group, ends up stealing the show.

Thirteen Days—Thirteen Days is a historical drama about President John F. Kennedy and his efforts to quell the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. The film, released in 2000, stars Kevin Costner as Kenny O’Donnell, a top aide to Kennedy, and Bruce Greenwood as Kennedy himself. The film will prove entertaining, but perhaps not as educational as one might think. While O’Donnell is a main force of motivation for Kennedy in the film, some of Kennedy’s administration officials who were still living at the time of the film’s release, along with historians, have said that O’Donnell didn’t act as the motivator of Kennedy and other officials involved in the crisis.

Whether you celebrate with music and dancing, intrigue or action, you’re sure to have an awesome Presidents’ Day by watching these films.