Presidential assassinations in the movies… from ‘JFK’ to ‘Big Game’

‘The Purge: Election Year’ is released in Irish cinemas this week. This new instalment in the franchise focuses on former police sergeant Leo Barnes (Leo Grillo) as he is assigned to protect Senator Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell) on the night of the annual Purge. This time out however, Charlie Roan – who is also a Presidential candidate – is being particularly targeted due to her vow to abolish Purge Night for good.
To celebrate the release of ‘The Purge: Election Year’, has taken a look back over movies that put the President in danger. Keep reading to find out more…

Oliver Stone’s 1991 film follows a New Orleans District Attorney as he looks into the assassination of JFK, three years after his death. Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) believes there are links between JFK’s death in Dallas, and his home city of New Orleans. What follows is an investigation into JFK’s assassination that throws up some interesting theories.
Controversial since its release, ‘JFK’ unravels conspiracy theories that point to the highest levels of government, the CIA he Mafia, the FBI and the Secret Service. Although this is one film in which the President is not saved, this true story has tons of excitement and crams lots of information into its 3 hour running time.

Based on the novel ‘Point of Impact’ by Stephen Hunter, ‘Shooter’ follows Bob Lee Swagger (Mark Wahlberg) a former Marine who is coaxed out of retirement to try and find an assassin who has their sights on the President. Of course, these things never run smoothly, and it is not long before Swagger is framed for murder and must clear his name.
Directed by Antoine Fuqua, ‘Shooter’ is a rather dumb, but rather fun action drama with plenty of shoot-em-up scenes and thrilling scenes. Again, the President may escape unscathed, but this high-octane thriller is still a lot of loud, dumb, fun.

We are not talking about the 2004 remake here, but the 1962 film starring Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey and Janet Leigh. After being captured in the Korean War, a US platoon is subsequently released and sent home. One of their number however, Marco (Sinatra) suffers from a recurring nightmare that his colleague Raymond Shaw (Harvey) has been brainwashed into assassinating the President. When Marco learns that another of the platoon has the same nightmare, he begins to investigate.
‘The Manchurian Candidate’ has an impressive 98% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and is often described as a classic film. The film is a smart satirical thriller that was way ahead of its time. Still a taut and tense watch, this is a film that carefully played with Cold War suspicions to wonderful effect.

While on a tour of the White House, with his young daughter Capitol Police Officer John Cale (Channing Tatum) finds himself rescuing the President James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) after a bomb goes off at the centre of the Capitol Building.
Roland Emmerich’s disaster film about the attempted assassination of the Us President due to his policies on the Middle East is a fairly standard Roland Emmerich action flick, but even though the premise of the film is rather over the top, there is a lot of fun to be had with this clichéd, action heavy film.

Oskari (Onni Tommila) is sent into a Finnish forest on his 13th birthday to bag some big game and prove himself a man. When Air Force One is shot down en route to Helsinki, Oskari finds himself rescuing the Leader of the Free World and returning home with the biggest game of all.

Playing like a B-Movie, ‘Big Game’ is deliberately silly and nostalgic, and pairing Samuel L. Jackson with the young Onni Tommila makes for some great comedic moments, as well as plenty of action.

Honourable mentions to… ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ and ‘In the Line of Fire’

Words: Brogen Hayes

‘The Purge: Election Year’ is released in Irish cinemas on August 26th 2016. Watch the trailer below…