The President of the United States on Screen

The President of the United States on Screen

164 Presidents, 1877 Illustrations, 240 Categories

No real public figure has seen more fictious representations than POTUS



Title Information

Lea N. Michel. Edited by Ludovic Balland and Julia Blume. With a contribution by Teresa Rudolf

1st edition

, 2020


464 pages, 1877 color illustrations

16.5 x 23 cm

ISBN 978-3-85881-858-4

In cooperation with Institute of Book Design at HGB Leipzig


What single figure has been represented most frequently in Western film history? The answer: By far, the President of the United States.

This unique compendium of POTUSs on screen reveals both the ubiquity and remarkable range of presidential portrayals, from the earliest appearances to the present. Featuring 164 fictitious screen presidents—including the first female president, seen in the 1964 comedy Kisses for My President—the book shows film presidents making speeches, in the Oval office, riding around in limos, addressing the press, and in more private moments. Graphic designer Lea N. Michel has sorted these presidents into six key types—Father and Husband, Villain, Alien, Clown, Hero, Lover—which she has further sorted into a dizzying 240 subcategories, such as Shaking Hands, Looking Shocked at a Screen, or In in a Video Conference with a Terrorist.

Drawn from both films and TV, familiar works and lesser-known productions, the images highlight the intense relationship between fiction and reality in a time when the sitting president exploits all media to an unprecedented extent to market himself and to increase his popularity. You won’t find a more surprising or striking book this election.


Lea N. Michel is a Zurich-based graphic designer, working independently and as partner of Studio HOMI. She is also working as a teaching assistant at Zurich University of the Arts ZHdK.

Ludovic Balland runs the graphic design studio Typography Cabinet in Basel, Switzerland, and he is professor of typography at the Academy of Fine Arts HGB in Leipzig, Germany.

Julia Blume is a research assistant at the Institute of Theory in the Academy of Fine Arts HGB in Leipzig, Germany.


Authors & Editors

"A highly amusing illustrated book." Stefan Koldehoff, Deutschlandfunk


"Probably one of the most unusual books of the year: an exercise in minimalism, a radical book, a foray into film history, and a tremendous research effort." Alf Mayer, culturMag


"Basically, the book makes you realize that men in important positions are also human, but at the same time, well, they are simply allowed to do much more than everyone else. And fiction and contemporary politics are not so far apart in that regard." Novum


"The idea is brilliant: A visual study of how American presidents are portrayed in motion pictures and television series." Marcus Woeller, Welt am Sonntag


"Rarely does one have such diligent work in hand, original and truly unique." Frank Becker, Musenblätter


"The illustrated book compiled by Lea N. Michel shows that the US president does not always seem trustworthy even in the cinema. That he can be a bad guy, a lunatic or a jerk." Ulrike Knöfel, DER SPIEGEL