With 'White House Down' in theaters we look at the best of POTUS on screen
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5. Henry Fonda, "Fail-Safe" (1964)
Interesting question, and it's a SPOILER: Is a man who orders a nuclear attack on New York City a great president? That and a number of other intriguing questions are raised in Sidney Lumet's nail-biter "Fail-Safe." Henry Fonda's nameless Commander-in-Chief faces a mounting crisis when a technical error initiates a thermonuclear air strike on Moscow, leaving him -- and the Soviet Chairman -- to make a few admissions and one very difficult decision. Fonda turns in one of the finest performances of his distinguished career, a flawless piece of work that is so precise and so present. He's often forgotten when collectives like this are put together but what a stunning movie president to forget. If only we knew what to call him.
- Kristopher Tapley