The 6 Best Television and Movie Portrayals of John F. Kennedy

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. There will be plenty of articles, blog posts, and pictorials all over the Internet about that dreadful day in Dallas, but we choose to celebrate the spirit of one of the greatest Presidents in this country’s history by looking back at some of the many rich and dedicated film and television portrayals.

Best Overall JFK Performance from a TV or Movie: Bruce Greenwood, 13 Days

Sure the accent was shaky, but he stood out in the 2000’s Cuban Missle Crisis film. That wasn’t easy to do, flanked by star Kevin Costner and RFK dead ringer, Steven Culp. Greenwood didn’t over play it, and his performance helped capture how intense of a time the Cuban missile crisis was for the nation and the world.

Fun Fact: Greenwood also played the President in National Treasure: Book of Secrets


Best JFK Performance by an Actor from the Marvel Universe: James Marsden, The Butler

Before he suited up to play the prez for Lee Daniels in The Butler Marsden was best known for donning the red Ray Bans as Scott Summers/Cyclops in Bryan Singer’s X-Men series.

Fun Fact: He crossed over to the DC Universe to play Richard White, Lois Lane’s love interest in the poorly received Superman Returns.

Runner Up: Cliff Robertson, who played Uncle Ben in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, starred as pre-presidential Kennedy in 1963’s PT 109. The story centers around Kennedy’s time in the South Pacific during World War II.


Best JFK Performance by an Actor from a Network Procedural Television Series:  Tie: William Petersen/Martin Sheen

Neither of these performances stand out, but it’s cool seeing Gil Grissom from CSI and President Bartlet from The West Wing share an award.

Fun Fact: These two thespians share a movie credit: Both were in 2012’s Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, which starred Steve Carrell and Keira Knightly.


Best JFK Performance by an Actor that starred on an NBC sitcom About Two Brothers Who Own and Operate a Regional New England Airline:  Steven Weber, Wings

From a show that produced the musical styling of Crystal Bernard, 68-time Emmy winner Tony Shalhoub, and Sandman himself, Thomas Hayden Church, it was Weber who landed the role of our 35th President in the 1990 miniseries, The Kennedys of Massachusetts. I wonder if Tim Daly was up for that role, and if there was tension on the set.


Other notable actors who have taken the oath as JFK include Tim Matheson (Animal House, Fletch), Rob Lowe (Parks and Recreation, a seedy sex tape from the 80s, weird Oscar opening with Snow White), Greg Kinnear (Talk Soup, Mystery Men) and William Devane (Knots Landing, 24).

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