10 best movie presidents of all time
With 'White House Down' in theaters we look at the best of POTUS on screen
2. Anthony Hopkins, "Nixon" (1995)
Nobody with fully functioning eyes and ears will watch Anthony Hopkins's galvanizing performance in Oliver Stone's brash but undervalued biopic and think: "OMG, he IS Richard Nixon!" Even with the best efforts of the makeup and costume departments, the two men look nothing alike; the voice, meanwhile, is a highly mannered riff on Tricky Dick's familiar inflections. The performance is, ultimately, very much its own creation, but that's what's so brilliant about it. Modern-day US presidents are so indelibly emblazoned on the collective consciousness that impersonating them is redundant. Hopkins instead interprets Nixon's presence, his stylized tics rendering him the larger-than-life villain he exists as in many people's memories -- not for nothing, one suspects, did Stone cast Hannibal Lecter himself in the part. It's a daring approach that earned the Welshman a well-deserved Oscar nomination.
- Guy Lodge