Today's Special: Quiz Acting Presidential

Today, Disc Dish is launching this new column, Today’s Special, which will feature more movie fun, including quizzes, recommendations and our insight on what’s happening in filmdom. Today, Disc Dish also welcomes Chris Koseluk to the team. A journalist who has written for The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Premiere and The San Francisco Chronicle, among others. For his first column, Chris is challenging you with a special movie quiz in honor of Presidents Day. Take it away, Chris…

Hollywood has never been one to pass up either a good character or story. And for well over 200 years, the office of the President of the United States has been serving up both. The 43 men who have served in this capacity (remember, Grover Cleveland did it twice) have been showing up in films since the days of the silents. And it’s hard to find a POTUS who hasn’t been portrayed by an actor at some point. Even Chester A. Arthur and Millard Fillmore pop up in an IMDb character search.

So, check out this quiz and test your knowledge of Hollywood Commanders-in-Chief and the movies that portrayed them. On the left, in alphabetical order, is a list of actors who have played presidents. And on the right, in chronological order, are the presidents who have been played. Match the actor to the president and see if you can guess the movie, then tell us how you did in the comments. If you find yourself marking “none of the above” on any, you can find the answers here.  Good luck and Hail to the Chief!

The ActorsThe Presidents
1. Ralph BellamyA. When you think of George Washington, one of the first things that comes to mind is his historic crossing of the Delaware in 1776. But can you think of the actor who recreated that iconic event in this 2,000 television movie?
2. Tom BerengerB. Sure, everybody knows Paul Giamatti played the second president in HBO’s epic 2008 mini-series John Adams. But who played the singing, dancing Adams in this 1972 musical?
3. Josh BrolinC. Who knew our third president was such a lady’s man? According to James Ivory’s 1995 drama, romancing women was Thomas Jefferson’s sideline while he served as Ambassador to France. And what Hollywood leading man was cast to act as the amorous leader?
4. Jeff DanielsD. Poor James Madison, he’s always overshadowed by his wife Dolly. He has never headlined a film. She’s the title character in this 1946 costume epic. Ginger Rogers starred, but what well known character actor received only third billing as the country’s fourth president?
5. William DanielsE. One of the highlights of Steven Spielberg’s 1997 drama, based on the 1839 mutiny on the slave ship of the same name, is the crisp courtroom scenes featuring the sixth President of the United States. But where’s the justice if you can’t name the Academy Award-winning actor who played John Quincy Adams?
6. Henry FondaF. Hollywood loves a good scandal. So, it isn’t surprising that when it decided to tell Andrew Jackson’s story, the focus was on his questionable marriage to Rachel Donelson, who may not have been legally divorced when they wed. It might be just as scandalous if you don’t know the rugged actor tapped to play the seventh president in this 1953 melodrama.
7. Bruce GreenwoodG. It takes an earnest actor to play the 16th president, and the star of John Ford’s 1939 dramatization of Honest Abe’s early days is no exception. But can you honestly say you know the name of the heartfelt leading man who portrayed Abe Lincoln?
8. Charlton HestonH. It took this 1982 epic mini-series four hours and 56 minutes to tell the tale of the Civil War. Hopefully, it won’t take you as long to figure out the veteran character actor who plays its key figure — Ulysses S. Grant, the leader of the Union Army, who went on to become the 18th President of the United States.
9. Anthony HopkinsI. Before he was the country’s 26th president, he was rough, he was ready and he walked softly and carried a big stick.  You can catch Teddy Roosevelt doing all this and more in this 1997 television movie. And if you do, it shouldn’t be too rough to figure out what popular performer whooped it up as Roosevelt.
10. Alexander KnoxJ. Darryl Zanuck was a big fan of Woodrow Wilson and was sure a bio pic on him would do great in theaters. But despite winning five Academy Awards, the response this 1944 film was underwhelming at best. The film is mostly forgotten today, but can you remember the actor who portrayed the 28th President of the United States?
11. Frank LangellaK. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s courageous struggle with polio is the subject of this movie, based on a stage play of the same name. But we’re sure it won’t be a struggle to come up with the name the veteran leading man who played the 32nd president in this 1960 drama.
12. Burgess MeredithL. With his straight-talking, no-nonsense approach, Harry S. Truman was known for giving ’em hell. But what actor gave a hell of a performance playing the 33rd president in this 1995 television movie?
13. Nick NolteM. The Cuban Missile Crisis was one of the biggest tests of John Kennedy’s presidency, and it was wonderfully recreated in this taut big-screen epic. Now the pressure is on you to name the familiar character actor who played the 35th president in this 2000 drama.
14. Randy QuaidN. This 1987 television film sheds some light on the man who became the 36th president and the years before he occupied the oval office. But, are you in the dark about the name of the easygoing actor, known mostly for comedy, who played Lyndon Baines Johnson?
15. Gary SiniseO. Several movies have been made about Richard M. Nixon. Maybe it has something to do with his resignation under the cloud of impeachment.  Our favorite is this 2008 movie, which recreated the historic confrontation between talk show host David Frost and the 37th president. And one of the reasons is the spot-on Academy Award-nominated performance by this actor as the beleaguered Chief.
16. Rip TornP. George W. Bush made such an impact on the country that before he had even left office, Oliver Stone had this biography film in theaters. So it should be fresh in everyone’s mind who played the 43rd president in the 2008 film.

About Chris

Chris Koseluk has written about the entertainment industry for numerous magazines and newspapers including The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Make-Up Artist Magazine, BackStage West, Premiere, Video Business, Movie Times, Newsday, The Chicago Tribune, The San Francisco Chronicle, the Portland Oregonian and the Houston Chronicle. He currently runs As a partner in Never Dull Productions, Chris wrote and directed the feature documentary Sled Shots about the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey Team.