Hello Mr. President

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German title Hello Mr. President
Original title The American President
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1995
length 106 minutes
Age rating FSK 6
Director Rob Reiner
script Aaron Sorkin
production Rob Reiner
music Marc Shaiman
camera John Seale
cut Robert Leighton

Hello, Mr. President (Original title: The American President ) is an American romantic comedy film directed by Rob Reiner from 1995 , in which the widowed US President ( Michael Douglas ) falls in love with an environmental lobbyist ( Annette Bening ).


Three years ago, shortly after the death of his wife Mary, Andrew Shepherd was elected President of the United States by an extremely narrow result. In the meantime, the polls show more than 60 percent approval of his administration. His re-election seems assured when he meets environmental lobbyist Sydney Wade at a meeting in the White House. Impressed by her temperament, he asks her for a private interview in the Oval Office . The two strike a deal: if Sydney's organization can win 24 congressmen for a revolutionary environmental law, the White House will support them. At the same time, Shepherd's staff is doing everything in its power to win as many votes as possible for a controversial gun law.

In the meantime, the president is primarily interested in Sydney Wade privately; he calls her and asks her to be his companion at the upcoming state dinner. After initial disbelief, she agreed and a few days later dined in the ballroom of the White House with Shepherd, the French President and his wife. When she talks to them about the fact that, despite the beautiful music, nobody is dancing, the Frenchman explains that nobody in his country would dare to dance in front of the host. Shepherd then takes the initiative and asks Sydney for the first dance in front of the astonished eyes of the assembled guests.

A romance develops between the two, which neither the president's staff nor Sydney's boss Leo Solomon are particularly enthusiastic about. The first intimate moment is interrupted when an arms depot in Israel is bombed and the president is forced to retaliate against Libya . Meanwhile, the Republican presidential candidate and opposition leader in the Senate , Robert Rumson, is setting up a smear campaign against Sydney: he claims that she won votes in Virginia with “sexual advocates” and presents old pictures of her as a young woman in a protest against apartheid and on which a US flag is burned.

Despite warnings from his chief of staff, the president stands by his girlfriend but refuses to make any public statement about his private life. This love affair provides the political opponents with plenty of ammunition for a campaign against him, but only falters when Sydney tells him at the Christmas party in the White House that some powerful senators are more interested in blocking the environmental law than the gun law. After much hesitation, and as his polls drop, the president agrees to break the agreement with Sydney's organization to get his guns law through. Sydney then leaves him and explains to him as he goes that his law is wholly unsuitable for preventing crime.

The president thinks about his administration and unexpectedly bursts into a press conference the next day. In front of the assembled journalists he gives a fiery speech in which he accuses Rumson of having staged a smear campaign and of not being in the least interested in people's worries. He announces that he will introduce the environmental law and also revise the weapons law and make it much stricter. He also makes it clear that for him not only the American flag is a symbol of freedom, but also the citizen, who has the right to burn this flag as a symbol of his protest . Then he wants to go to Sydney and ask her forgiveness, but she storms into the Oval Office at this very moment. The two are reconciled and in the end she accompanies him as his partner when he presents his report on the state of the nation to the Congress to the great applause of the delegates .


  • The environmental organization GDC ("Global Defense Council") is fictitious, but such organizations really do exist.
  • Rob Reiner spent two days at the White House in preparation for the film, following President Bill Clinton every step of the way.
  • The Oval Office Set was originally built for the movie Dave (1993) and was later used in Nixon (1995) and in the series The West Wing (1999-2006).
  • In The West Wing several actors from contact American President on, including Martin Sheen as the President and Anna Deavere Smith as National Security Advisor.
  • Journalist Helen Thomas , who actually reported from the White House for 50 years, made a cameo in the film .

Legislative proposals and election year

The film gives the impression that the US President can introduce bills to Congress. However , this is not possible under the United States Constitution . He can only approve of the proposal or use his reserved veto . However, the reality is that the president can ask a friend of his senator or member of parliament to introduce his proposed legislation. This cannot be seen in the film, but it can be taken for granted.

With the exception of the final scene, the film takes place at the end of the year, including at Christmas, while there is always talk of the “election year”. This is imprecise as US presidential elections always take place in early November. By Christmas of the election year, the polls will be over. The action in the film therefore actually takes place in the calendar year before the election.


"An exquisitely staged and played comedy that shows no real political commitment, but develops its idea intelligently and pointedly."


Financial success

Audience numbers
country Viewers in millions
Germany 0.27
Switzerland 0.12
United States 2.20

Awards (selection)

Composer Marc Shaiman was nominated for an Oscar in the category Best Music - Original Musical or Comedy Score in 1996. The film also received five nominations for the 1996 Golden Globe Awards . In addition to the category Best Film - Musical / Comedy , Rob Reiner was nominated for Best Director , Michael Douglas for Best Actor - Musical / Comedy , Annette Bening for Best Actress - Musical / Comedy and Aaron Sorkin for Best Screenplay .

The German Film and Media Assessment FBW in Wiesbaden awarded the film the rating particularly valuable.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Chris McGreal: Helen Thomas, veteran reporter: why she had to resign. In: The Guardian . June 7, 2010, accessed February 21, 2014 .
  2. ^ Film information: The American President. In: LUMIERE . European Audiovisual Observatory , accessed February 21, 2014 .