This Wednesday, politicos, pundits and The People will be glued to their TVs for the first round of the Presidential Debates. While the face-off between President Obama and Mitt Romney is sure to be riveting, some of the most inspiring commander-in-chief speeches have taken place on the silver screen. (Usually in the wake of a near-apocalyptic event, to be fair.) Who could forget President Whitmore's famous "We will not go quietly into the light!" line in "Independence Day" or President James Marshall ad-libbing in "Air Force One"?
So, to get you in the mood for this year's debates, we've collected the best Presidential movies speeches, ever. Keep an eye out all this month for more presidential movie-related pieces tied to the 2012 election.
In the 1998 sci-fi flick, the velvety-voiced Morgan Freeman plays President Tom Beck. He has the unenviable task of governing a nation who are bracing for a comet to collide with Earth, and destroying all human life in its wake. But the man sure can give a speech. After tragedy was averted, in front of a half-destroyed Capitol, Beck ushers in a national rebirth.
Brian Greenwood stars as President John F. Kennedy in the the 2000 documentary, which chronicles the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Despite a lukewarm box office response, "13 Days" was well-reviewed, as well as Greenwood's JFK.
'Air Force One'
While Harrison Ford's famous one-liner "Get off my plane" has come to define his role as President James Marshall in "Air Force One," the acting commander-in-chief was a more verbose leader. In this scene, Ford's character ad-libs a new speech, declaring that America will never negotiate with terrorists and it's their turn to be afraid. #Chills
In the 2006 satirical sci-fi flick, two people participating in a hush-hush military hibernation experiment awake 500 years in the future to find the world is now full of desperately stupid people. President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho (Terry Crews) has his own way of inspiring his citizens: Firing a machine gun into the air!
From Tim Burton, "Mars Attacks" imagines duplicitous Martians surrounding -- and attacking -- Earth. Jack Nicholson plays President James "Jimmy" Dale who tries to make a last plea for peace.
'The Dead Zone'
Directed by David Cronenberg, this 1983 American horror thriller is one of the darker presidential diatribes on our list. Here, Martin Sheen plays a man who will later become President of the United States, but through a handshake with a now-clairvoyant man (Christopher Walken), we see that his road to the White House may prove quite bumpy.
Oh, the tangled webs we weave on Pennsylvania Avenue. In "Dave," Kevin Kline moonlights as a presidential impersonator, but when the real President suffers from a stroke, Kline is forced to take his leader-of-the-free-world act very public. And he does a bang up job!
In the 2000 political thriller, Jeff Bridges plays President Jackson Evans, who is charged with selecting a new vice president following the sudden death of his current second-in-command. The film also stars Gary Oldman, Joan Allen, Jeff Bridges and Christian Slater.
The 1994 apocalyptic flick owes it slasting popularity to one of the most inspirational presidential movie speeches of all time. Bill Pullman plays President Thomas J. Whitmore, and on the 4th of July, he delivers a speech to citizens facing world annihilation: "We will not go quietly into the night. We will not vanish without a fight. We're going to live on. We're going to survive. Today, we celebrate our Independence Day." In short, best 4th of July movie, ever.
'The American President'
The presidential speech to end all presidential speeches. Michael Douglas plays Andrew Shepard in "The American President," a love child between rom-com guru Rob Reiner and the slick political scribe, Aaron Sorkin. The 1995 favorite is the best (only?) White House romance to date. "The American President" also raised the standard of how to win back your girlfriend: Go on TV and tell the world that you love her. And that you <em>are</em> the president. So. Good.