In troubled times, countries look to their presidents for inspiration and hope. Of course, this being real life, we don’t always get it—but that’s what fiction is for! Here’s a look at some of the best presidents to grace TV and movie screens—we may still think of ourselves as red and blue America, but these characters could all teach us a few things about bridging the partisan divide:
1. Merkin Muffley (Dr. Strangelove)
The feckless, eggheaded Muffley was likely a riff of then-presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson, but he’ll be better remembered for that seminal quote: “Gentleman, this is the War Room! You can’t fight in here!”
2. James Dale (Mars Attacks!)
Jack Nicholson’s sleazeball politician was as hammy as they come, and he reveled in his over-the-top delivery.
3. Laura Roslin (Battlestar Galactica)
What, did you think I only meant U.S. presidents? Mary McDonnell’s tough-as-nails take on Laura Roslin would have earned an Emmy, if there were any justice in the world.