still from "my date with the president's daughter"
10 Movies About Presidents & Life In The White House Kids Will Actually Want To Watch

Because presidential plots can be kind of a tough sell.

by Lindsay E. Mack
Originally Published: 

Introducing your kid to the concept of the American Presidency can be as simple as having a movie night. And this collection of kid-friendly movies about presidents show historical and fictional residents of the White House in all sorts of scenarios and time periods. From serious historical documentaries to screwball comedies, these films all give your kid at least some idea about life at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

To be honest, many presidential films are not exactly suited for very young kids. There are a lot of R ratings out there, although something like JFK or Nixon is probably not on the must-watch list for many elementary students anyway. And there's no shortage of cool educational series for kids inspired by American history (shout out to Liberty's Kids), or other documentary shows. But there just aren't a ton of presidential movies made specifically for kids. (Aspiring screenwriters: Take this idea and make something cool.)

That said, here are some pretty great movies involving U.S. presidents that kids can enjoy as well as adults. There are classics from decades past, as well as some newer flicks as well. Whether you're in the mood for something informative, funny, or both, these presidential movies will spark your kid's interest what goes on at the White House.


First Kid (1996)

If nothing else, you might remember the dance scene from this movie. First Kid chronicles the relationship between a Secret Service agent (Sinbad) and the President's son, who does not make his job at all easy. This film is so radically '90s, your kid will wonder what that decade was even about. There are subplots including a school dance, hanging at a local mall, sneaking out against your parents’ wishes... everything a solid teen movie from the ‘90s should have.

Stream First Kid, rated PG, on Disney+.


Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)

This one is a legit classic. Made in 1939, Young Mr. Lincoln chronicles Honest Abe's younger days as a lawyer. Starring Henry Fonda, it's a fascinating introduction to the life of this man before his turn as president. Directed by John Ford, it’s also a great introduction to the world of classic, black and white films, particularly if your kid has never seen an old movie. It was even nominated for a Best Writing Academy Award.

Stream Young Mr. Lincoln on Amazon.


1776 (1972)

Yep, Hamilton wasn't the first musical about the early days of America. A musical comedy, 1776 involves the founding fathers and summer leading up to the writing of the Declaration of Independence. You're going to be singing "Sit Down, John!" for days on end. Based on the Broadway play of the same name, the score was composed by Sherman Edwards and the film stars William Daniels, Howard Da Silva, Blythe Danner, and more.

Buy 1776, rated PG, on Amazon.


National Treasure (2004)

OK, so part of the plot is based on secrets left by the Founding Fathers. And then there's the whole thing about stealing the Declaration of Independence. In any case, National Treasure is a fun flick with some American history woven in. “History buffs will be happy to fact-check which of the Founding Fathers were indeed Freemasons, and kids can marvel at the buried ship, the code-breaking, and the subterranean caverns and structures, which may or may not contain treasure,” said Common Sense Media, adding, “Parents of young kids should watch out for the big explosions and the perilous kidnapping scenes which could disrupt the sensitive viewer.”

Stream National Treasure, rated PG, on Disney+.


My Date With The President's Daughter (1998)

Remember this blast from the past? It's all about just how difficult daily life can be for the kid of a President. (And yes, that's Will Friedle from Boy Meets World.) Get ready for some serious nostalgia: The president’s daughter is hanging out at (where else?) the mall when young Duncan unwittingly asks her to his school dance... you can imagine where the story goes from there.

Stream My Date With The President’s Daughter on Xfinity.


Chasing Liberty (2004)

Mandy Moore stars Chasing Liberty, a film in which the 18-year-old daughter of the president just wants a chance at normal life. This film also serves up a healthy dose of that early aughts fashion. As the main character struggles with wanting her freedom, “Families can talk about how Liberty's situation is just an exaggerated version of the struggles that all parents and teenagers have over independence,” Common Sense Media suggests.

Stream Chasing Liberty, rated PG-13, on Amazon.


First Daughter (2004)

OK, so apparently there's a whole micro-genre of movies about the president's kids. In First Daughter, Katie Holmes stars as Samantha Mackenzie, a president's daughter who just wants a chance at normal college life. Also, you get to imagine a world in which Michael Keaton is President, and I'm here for it. Director Forest Whitaker called the movie "the story of a princess who leaves the 'castle' [the White House] to go out in the world to discover who and what she is.”

Stream First Daughter, rated PG, on Hulu.


The Crossing (2000)

Starring Jeff Daniels as General George Washington, The Crossing is all about Washington's difficult decision to cross the Delaware River. It provides the story behind that famous painting, and offers a look at Washington's life before the presidency. Based on the novel of the same name, the film stars Jeff Daniels as Washington.

Buy The Crossing, rated PG, on Amazon.


Max 2: White House Hero (2017)

This film offers some basic info about the White House and presidency, all with an adorable canine lead. Max 2: White House Hero follows the adventures of a Secret Service dog and the president's son. It's a fun way to introduce your dog-obsessed kid to the idea of life in the first family. Max gets assigned to the White House when Secret Service dog Charlie goes on maternity leave, but can he come to the rescue of the president’s son when the stakes get high?

Stream Max 2: White House Hero, rated PG, on Amazon.


Night At The Museum (2006)

A charming Ben Stiller comedy from 2006, Night At The Museum offers plenty of laughs and a few lessons in history along the way. Robin William's role as President Teddy Roosevelt is a hilarious way to introduce kids to the 26th POTUS. Really, any of these films offer at least a glimpse into what the Presidential life is about. Kids will also love catching glimpses of characters from other periods of history, like dinosaurs and cowboys.

Stream Night at the Museum, rated PG, on Disney+.

This article was originally published on