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The Review of the Film The American President

The American President Free Essay Sample

The film The American President (1995) is an American comedy-drama. It is directed by Rob Reiner. The stars of The American President are Michael Douglas, Annette Bening, Martin Sheen, David Paymer, Samantha Mathis, and Michael J. Fox. According to the plot, the President Andrew Shepherd tries to develop a relationship with Sydney, who works for an environmental lobbying firm. Besides, he tries to persuade the Congress to adopt a crime control bill. This paper will summarize the film as well as discuss the role of a public opinion and presidency. The President needs to consider the public position to win next elections and have the support of the Congress.

Description of the Film

The film is focused on the personality of President Andrew Shepherd. He is a representative of Democratic Party and has a stable support of people. It should be noted that 63% of voters approve him. The American President is going to participate in the next elections. The film demonstrates how he and his demonstration try to adopt a crime control bill and an environmental protection bill. In fact, Shepherd is more interested in the first one. However, he agrees to give a chance to an environmental lobbying firm to pass their legislation concerning a decrease of carbon dioxide emissions. The President also starts a romantic relationship with a representative of that company Sydney Ellen Wade. This connection reduces the support of Shepherd’s voters. They believe that the President violates the family values. Besides, his opponent has found out that Sydney spoiled the American flag during her fight against apartheid. It means that she is not patriotic enough. Despite the negative comments of the opponent, the President decides not to reveal the information about his girlfriend to the public. When Shepherd sees that his rating is extremely low, he breaks his promise to Sydney about the support of environmental legislation. Instead of this, he decides to pass the crime control bill to the Congress. As a result, Sydney leaves the President. In the end, Andrew Shepherd appears in the press room and expresses his views about his girlfriend’s past and his own principles. The hero also decides to support Sydney’s environmental bill. As for the crime regulation, he decides to write it in order to make it stronger. This speech in front of mass media impresses his team and makes Sydney return to the President. The last scene of the film is when Shepherd appears in the House Chamber where everyone applauds him.

The Public Opinion

The public opinion is one of the central topics of the film. The President Shepherd and his staff members constantly monitor the views of people using polls. Besides, they try to predict how some actions of the President can raise or reduce the support of the public. For example, Shepherd’s team members have concluded that the President’s marital status is important for a positive public opinion. Moreover, one of the reasons of his victory on the previous elections was his status of an inconsolable widower. Therefore, the voters did not pay attention to his personality and were more interested in his offerings about politics. The appearance of Sydney in the President’s life has greatly affected the public opinion. Each fact about his relationship with this woman raised some discontent in society. On the other hand, such reaction could be explained not only by a strong interest of voters in the President’s personal life. The opponent of Shepherd on the presidential elections also has affected the views of people towards the President. For example, he speaks many times about weak family’s values of Shepherd and even claims that Sydney is a prostitute. He also uses the silence of the President and tries to manipulate the views of voters. For instance, Rumson says that Sydney burned the American flag because he knows that Americans like it and get angry if someone disrespects it. People would not try to understand the real reasons of such behavior. For voters, the spoiled flag is like a red rag to a bull. In the end of the film, Andrew Shepherd realizes that the public wants a strong leader, who is not afraid of talking about difficult things. Therefore, the story of the main character demonstrates that it is very easy to lose the support of the public. Only unexpected actions may improve the opinion of people. During his speech in the press room, Shepherd also explains how politicians work with the public opinion. They make people be afraid of something and then say whom voters should blame for the terrifying things. Such politicians as Rumson form a group of people of the middle age derived from the middle class. These individuals have the middle income and desire to return in the easier time. They talk with these voters about family and American values, demonstrate an old photo of the opponent’s girlfriend, and start screaming about patriotism. Then politicians say that Sydney should be blamed for their destiny; and the public believes in it.

The Presidency

The film demonstrates the roles, which the President executes in the United States. First, this public official is a chief of the state, so he represents the American nation in front of other countries. For example, the film has an episode where Andrew Shepherd meets the new French President and his wife during a state dinner. Andrew behaves as a host on this occasion and congratulates the French leader on behalf of all Americans. The American President and his girlfriend share the same table with the representatives of the French nation. Second, the American President is a chief executive, which means the leader can appoint or dismiss public officials and pardon people. In the film, the character does not appoint or dismiss anyone. However, the White House Chief of Staff is his old friend. It means that he has the power to make his own team. Third, the President is a chief diplomat. He has a power to shape a foreign policy and make some diplomatic appointments. For example, the film’s hero has some negotiations with Israel about providing them weapons. Besides, the American President is a commander in chief, which means that he can give some orders to troops. For example, Andrew Shepherd tells his army to attack a building in Tripoli. The character even decides when to ruin it. All major militaries inform Shepherd about the case and their ideas about solving the problem. In addition, the American President is a chief legislator. He can recommend some regulation and put veto. For example, the character discusses the laws related to environmental protection and gun control with his team. They try to persuade congressmen to vote for these regulations. Besides, the President has two more authorities, which are not written in the Constitution. The first power is related to the public opinion. The President presents his agenda to people, which helps to affect the decisions of the Congress and other organizations. For instance, the hero of Michael Douglas explains to people the importance of gun control. Many congressmen are against this legislation; and only the public can make them change their mind. During the movie, everyone can see how Shepherd loses the support of the Congress. When the politician has 63% of approval rating, congressmen agree to pass the bill. The reduction of approval rating makes the President’s position much weaker. The second authority is appealing to party loyalty and lobbyists. In the film, Shepherd allows the environmental lobbying firm to search congressmen that would vote for their bill. Sydney calls politicians on her own to persuade them to support her legislation.

On the other hand, the President is not only a state official. The voters want to know about his personality, values, and character. To some extent, the President is like a role model for them. Therefore, they want him to be a patriot with strong family values. Besides, they want to have a leader, who cares about people. For example, Andrew Shepherd explains the public why he wants to be with Sydney and why other politicians provide them with the negative information about this woman. In addition, the character says them that he is going to control the situation with weapon on his own. Overall, the President behaves as a strong and honest man, who acts in the interests of the nation. He also loves his daughter and respects his team members.

The Personal Reaction of the Film

The film The American President is a valuable source of information about a Presidency. First, the movie gives some understanding of the President’s duties. Second, it allows to comprehend the leadership style of the American leader. For example, the character is normally friendly with everyone. However, he becomes serious and demanding when it is necessary. Besides, it is possible to understand how the President combines his personal life and political career. According to the film, this main hero is very dependable on the public opinion, so he cannot do everything he wants. For example, the President cannot have any relationships with a woman with an improper biography. Moreover, it is better for the leader to be a widower, so people have less interest to his personal qualities. In addition, the film reveals how the President makes difficult decisions. For example, it was interesting to see how the hero was thinking about the situation in Tripoli. He asks when the facility is less occupied by people and tells militaries to attack the building in that time. After making this decision, the President starts worrying about everybody there that could die in the result of this operation. Finally, the film demonstrates many facts about the every-day life of the American President. For example, he cannot order flowers for his girlfriend because he does not know the number of his credit card. The character’s secretary manages all his affairs, including the time for a meeting with his daughter. At the same time, the appearance of the girlfriend encourages Andrew to make something on his own. For example, he tries to call her and makes her presents.

However, the most interesting point about the film is how the President cooperates with the Congress. The President and his staff members discuss the best time for passing new legislations to the Congress. They also search the ways of persuading congressmen to vote for these regulations. In addition, the President needs to consider the public opinion while passing bills. Therefore, he should find a compromise, which would satisfy the needs of politicians from different parties and just ordinary voters. For example, the President has to create some moderate crime control legislations. Liberals believe that the law is too weak, and conservatives do not like it at all. Only intensive work with congressmen helps to find some support to the law.


In conclusion, the film The American President describes the role of the President in defining American domestic and foreign politics. Besides, the movie analyzes the dependence of politicians on public opinion. Moreover, The American President reveals how politicians manipulate the views of their voters. The film also illustrates how it is easy to lose the support of people. Additionally, the story about Andrew Shepherd demonstrates that voters pay much attention to the leader’s personality, values, and character. They feel safer if the President has strong family values and is being patriotic. Overall, the major topics of the movie are public opinion and presidency. Besides, the film focuses on the impact of personal life on the political career. The President is very dependable on the public opinion, so he cannot meet with everyone. At the same time, Andrew Shepherd decides to take a risk and starts relationships with a woman

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