Cultural depictions of George Washington

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Washington at Princeton,
by Charles Willson Peale, 1779

George Washington has inspired artistic and cultural works for more than two hundred years. The following lists cover various media to include items of historic interest, enduring works of high art, and recent representations in popular culture. The entries represent portrayals that a reader has a reasonable chance of encountering rather than a complete catalog. Lesser known works are not included.

For purposes of classification, popular culture music is a separate section from operas and oratorios. Television covers live action series, TV movies, miniseries, and North American animation but not Japanese anime, which appears with manga and graphic novels.


Washington is among the historical figures depicted in Our Nation's 200th Birthday, The Telephone's 100th Birthday (1976) by Stanley Meltzoff for Bell System[1]



Date Title Portrayer Country Notes IMDB
1994 The American Revolution Cliff Robertson USA Voice role [1]
2002 Founding Brothers Brian Dennehy USA Voice role [2]
2007 Searching for George Washington Martin Sheen USA Voice role
2007 Alexander Hamilton Richard Easton USA Voice role [3]


Date Title Portrayer Country Notes IMDB Ref.
1909 Washington Under the American Flag Joseph Kilgour USA Directed by J. Stuart Blackton [4] [2]
1909 Washington Under the British Flag [5]
1915 The Battle Cry of Peace Directed by J. Stuart Blackton and Wilfrid North [6] [3]
1916 The Dawn of Freedom Directed by Theodore Marston and Paul Scardon [7] [4]
1917 The Spirit of '76 William Beery Directed by Frank Montgomery [8] [5]
1924 Yorktown George Nash Black and white silent film directed by Webster Campbell [9]
1924 America Arthur Dewey Directed by D.W. Griffith [10]
1927 The Flag Francis X. Bushman Directed by Arthur Maude [11]
1931 Alexander Hamilton Alan Mowbray Directed by John G. Adolfi [12]
1932 The Phantom President Alan Mowbray Directed by Norman Taurog [13]
1936 Give Me Liberty Robert Warwick Directed by B. Reeves Eason
1939 Sons of Liberty Montagu Love Directed by Michael Curtiz [14]
1940 The Howards of Virginia George Houston Directed by Frank Lloyd [15]
1942 The Remarkable Andrew Montagu Love Directed by Stuart Heisler [16]
1945 Where Do We Go from Here? Alan Mowbray Directed by Gregory Ratoff [17]
1946 Monsieur Beaucaire Douglass Dumbrille Directed by George Marshall [18]
1947 Unconquered Richard Gaines Directed by Cecil B. DeMille [19] [6]
1951 When the Redskins Rode James Seay Directed by Lew Landers [20] [7]
1959 John Paul Jones John Crawford USA / Spain Directed by John Farrow [21] [8]
1961 La Fayette Howard St. John France / Italy Directed by Jean Dréville [22] [9]
1976 Independence Patrick O'Neal USA Directed by John Huston [23] [10]
2000 The Patriot Terry Layman Directed by Roland Emmerich [24] [11]
2006 We Fight to Be Free Sebastian Roché USA Directed by Kees Van Oostrum [25]
2008 An American Carol Jon Voight USA Directed by David Zucker [26] [12]
2014 Mr. Peabody & Sherman Jess Harnell USA Directed by Rob Minkoff [27]
2015 Beyond the Mask John Arden McClure USA Directed by Chad Burns [28] [13]
2021 America: The Motion Picture Channing Tatum USA Directed by Matt Thompson [29] [14]
The General USA [30]
The Virginian USA Directed by Jason Hall [31]


Date Title Portrayer Country Notes IMDB
1952 Hallmark Hall of Fame The Plot to Kidnap George Washington Tod Griffin USA [32]
1955 You Are There Washington Crosses the Delaware (December 25, 1776) CBS Russ Conway USA [33]


1972 Bewitched George Washington Zapped Here (Parts 1 and 2) Will Geer USA [35] [36]
1975 The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence Jim Henson USA Featured a Muppet version of George Washington [37]
1989 A Little Bit Strange USA/Canada [38]
1998–2001 Histeria! USA Featured a caricature of Washington modeled after Bob Hope as an occasional guest host. [39]
1999 Celebrity DeathMatch USA Faced-off against Abraham Lincoln
2007 Masters of Horror "The Washingtonians" USA Washington is portrayed as a cannibal in a fictional account of alternate history.
2011 Deadliest Warrior Nick Schroeder (young) USA In the third-season premiere, Washington battled Napoleon. [40]
2013–2014 Sleepy Hollow Louis Herthum USA [41]
2014 Epic Rap Battles of History Peter Shukoff USA YouTube web series; episode "George Washington vs. William Wallace". [42]
2014 Ben 10: Omniverse David Kaye USA Voice role [43]
2014–2017 Turn: Washington's Spies Ian Kahn USA [44]
2015 Turn: Washington's Spies Bryan Adrian USA [45]
2016 Timeless Damian O'Hare USA [46]
2017 Legends of Tomorrow Randall Batinkoff USA Two episodes [47]
2018 Outlander Simon Harrison Scotland/USA Episode


Television movies[edit]

Date Title Portrayer Country Notes IMDB Ref.
1975 Valley Forge Richard Basehart USA TV movie directed by Fielder Cook [48] [15]
1976 The Patriots Ralph Clanton USA TV movie directed by Bob Hankal and Robert Strane [49] [16]
1979 The Rebels Peter Graves USA TV movie directed by Russ Mayberry [50] [17]
1992 1775 Adam West USA TV movie directed by David Trainer [51] [18]
2000 The Crossing Jeff Daniels USA TV movie directed by Robert Harmonstarring [52] [19]
2003 Benedict Arnold: A Question of Honor Kelsey Grammer USA TV movie directed by Mikael Salomon [53] [20]


Date Title Portrayer Country Notes IMDB
1984 George Washington Barry Bostwick USA TV miniseries directed by Buzz Kulik [54]
1986 George Washington II: The Forging of a Nation Barry Bostwick USA TV miniseries directed by William A. Graham [55]
1997 LIBERTY! The American Revolution Stephen Lang (voice) USA TV miniseries directed by Ellen Hovde and Muffie Meyer [56]
2000 Founding Fathers Brian Dennehy (voice) USA TV miniseries directed by Mark Hufnail and Melissa Jo Peltier [57]
2000 The American President Walter Cronkite (voice) USA TV miniseries directed by Philip Kunhardt III, Philip Kunhardt Jr., Peter W. Kunhardt, and James A. Edgar [58]
2002 Liberty's Kids Michael Santo (voice) USA TV animated series
2006 Washington the Warrior Jackson Bolt, Shea Patrick (young) USA TV miniseries directed by Robert M. Wise [59]
2006 The War That Made America Larry Nehring USA TV miniseries directed by Ben Loeterman and Eric Stange [60]
2008 John Adams David Morse USA TV miniseries directed by Tom Hooper starring David Morse as Washington [61]
2015 Sons of Liberty Jason O'Mara USA TV miniseries [62]
2020 Washington Nicholas Rowe USA TV miniseries [63]


Date Title Original portrayer Country Notes IMDB
1920 George Washington Walter Hampden USA Ran for 16 performances[21]
2015 Hamilton Christopher Jackson USA Musical based on the life of Alexander Hamilton, written by Lin Manuel-Miranda. Washington features as a main character in the musical. A digital recording of the musical is available on Disney+.

Video games[edit]

George Washington is featured in modern video games as a prominent fictionalized character from world history in Age of Empires III, Civilization V and Assassin's Creed III (as himself in game and a counter-history King in DLC). These games are discussed in Winnerling and Kershbaumer's Early Modernity and Video Games explaining that the player manipulating the games' semiotic system of communications thereby "gives insights in his historical consciousness."[22]

Date Title Portrayer Country Notes IMDB Ref.
1991 Bill & Ted's Excellent Video Game Adventure USA One of the historical figures that must be retrieved within the game.
1993 Day of the Tentacle USA A character that travels to the past meets George Washington, and among other things, "converts" a kumquat tree to a cherry tree for George to cut down [64]
1993 Mario's Time Machine USA
1994 Liberty or Death Japan, USA [23]
2004 The Political Machine USA
2005 Age of Empires III Daniel Riordan USA Voice role [65]
2005 Civilization IV USA [66]
2007 Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs Daniel Riordan USA Voice role
2008 The Political Machine 2008 USA
2008 Civilization IV: Colonization USA
2009 Scribblenauts USA Washington also appears in a similar fashion in all of the sequels to Scribblenauts.
2009 Empire: Total War USA Washington is a selectable general for the United States faction
2010 Civilization V Marcel Jeanin USA Voice role [67]
2012 The Political Machine 2012 USA
2012 Assassin's Creed III Robin Atkin Downes Canada Voice role. The assassin ancestor Ratonhnhaké:ton interacts with Washington during the course of the American Revolution. [68] [24]
2012 Assassin's Creed III: The Tyranny of King Washington Robin Atkin Downes Canada Voice role. Revolves around an alternative history, wherein Washington becomes corrupted by an ancient artifact, and dubs himself King. [69] [25]
2013 BioShock Infinite Patriot robots are modeled after George Washington. [70] [26]
2014 Second Chance Heroes USA, Canada George Washington is featured in a comic book introduction to the game.
2014 Assassin's Creed: Rogue Tod Fennell Bulgaria Voice role. A young Washington briefly appears during a party for his half-brother, Lawrence. [71]
2016 The Political Machine 2016 USA
2018 The Council Christian Erickson France Voice role [27]
2020 The Political Machine 2020 USA
2020 Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition Daniel Riordan USA Voice role
2021 Funko Pop! Blitz USA


Date Title Portrayer Country Notes IMDB Ref.
2014 Epic Rap Battles of History Peter Shukoff USA Washington features in a rap battle against Scottish resistance leader William Wallace. [28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Stanley Meltzoff Archives: The 1976 Bell System Telephone Book Cover" JKL Museum of Telephony (December 19, 2015); retrieved March 16, 2021
  2. ^ Pencak, William (2010). Pennsylvania's Revolution. Penn State Press. p. 337. ISBN 9780271035796.
  3. ^ "The Battle Cry of Peace (1915)". Stanford University. 30 July 2013. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  4. ^ Bolam, Sarah Miles; Bolam, Thomas J. (2007). The Presidents on Film: A Comprehensive Filmography of Portrayals from George Washington to George W. Bush. McFarland & Company. p. 392. ISBN 9780786424818.
  5. ^ Robertson, Patrick (1991). Guinness Movie Facts & Feats. Guinness Publishing. p. 49. ISBN 9780851129082.
  6. ^ Reinhart, Mark S. (1 January 2009). Abraham Lincoln on Screen: Fictional and Documentary Portrayals on Film and Television. McFarland Publishing. p. 46. ISBN 9780786452613.
  7. ^ Hilger, Michael (16 October 2015). Native Americans in the Movies: Portrayals from Silent Films to the Present. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 332. ISBN 9781442240025.
  8. ^ Rollins, Peter C. (24 March 2004). The Columbia Companion to American History on Film: How the Movies Have Portrayed the American Past. Columbia University Press. p. 201. ISBN 9780231508391.
  9. ^ Nowlan, Robert A. (10 January 2014). The American Presidents, Washington to Tyler: What They Did, What They Said, What Was Said About Them, with Full Source Notes. McFarland Publishing. p. 68. ISBN 9781476601182.
  10. ^ Oliver, Myrna (15 September 1994). "Patrick O'Neal; Versatile Actor, Restaurateur". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 11 March 2016. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  11. ^ Sommerlad, Joe (18 February 2019). "President's Day: How the 'leader of the free world' has been played on screen, from conflicted statesmen to heroic action heroes". Independent. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  12. ^ Scheck, Frank (10 February 2008). "An American Carol". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  13. ^ Tucker, Justin (17 September 2015). "Beyond the Mask – REVIEWS". UR Chicago. Archived from the original on 20 February 2019. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  14. ^ Kang, Inkoo (June 30, 2021). "A beefy George Washington avenges Lincoln's death in this cheekily inaccurate and dumb animated comedy". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 25, 2021.
  15. ^ Henniger, Paul (30 November 1975). "Richard Basehart to star in 'Valley Forg' special". The San Bernardino County Sun. p. 50. Retrieved 19 February 2019 – via
  16. ^ "Goodson attacks "gimmickry"". Salina Journal. 26 May 1976. p. 15. Retrieved 19 February 2019 – via Newspaperarchive.
  17. ^ Coyne, Michael (30 September 2008). Hollywood Goes to Washington: American Politics on Screen. Reaktion Books. p. 60. ISBN 9781861895776.
  18. ^ Roberts, J. F. (11 October 2012). The True History of the Blackadder: The Unadulterated Tale of the Creation of a Comedy Legend. Random House. p. 258. ISBN 9781409051718.
  19. ^ Speier, Michael (3 January 2001). "The Crossing". Variety. Penske Business Media, LLC. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  20. ^ Wertheimer, Ron (13 January 2003). "TELEVISION REVIEW; Is That You, Mr. W., or a Dream Sequence from 'Frasier'?". The New York Times. p. 5. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  21. ^ "George Washington".
  22. ^ Winnerling, Tobias and Kershbaumer, Florian. Early Modernity and Video Games. ISBN 978-1-44-386234-9, p. 70, 106, 148, 160.
  23. ^ Weiss, Brett (9 July 2018). Classic Home Video Games, 1989–1990: A Complete Guide to Sega Genesis, Neo Geo and TurboGrafx-16 Games. McFarland Publishing. p. 132. ISBN 9780786492312.
  24. ^ Tamburro, Paul (8 June 2015). "New Prince of Persia Game to be Revealed at E3, According to Voice Actor". Evolve Media LLC. Retrieved 27 November 2019.
  25. ^ Grubb, Jeff (3 October 2012). "George Washington stars as the villain in Assassin's Creed III extra content". Venture Beat. Retrieved 27 November 2019.
  26. ^ McCaffrey, Ryan (22 March 2013). "BioShock Infinite PC Review". IGN. Retrieved 27 January 2022.
  27. ^ Rouner, Jef (3 September 2018). "The Historically Inaccurate George Washington in The Council". Houston Press. Retrieved 27 November 2019.
  28. ^ "George Washington vs William Wallace. Epic Rap Battles of History". Epic Rap Battles of History. 30 June 2014. Archived from the original on 2021-12-13. Retrieved 11 April 2021.

Further reading[edit]

  • Bergmann, Linda S. "Epic, Parody, and National Identity: George Washington in Nineteenth-Century American Humor." Studies in American Humor 2 (1995): 1-22. online
  • Browne, Stephen Howard. The First Inauguration: George Washington and the Invention of the Republic (Penn State Press, 2020) on the inaugural address. online
  • Bruggeman, Seth C. Here, George Washington was born: Memory, material culture, and the public history of a national monument (U of Georgia Press, 2011).
  • Cavitch, Max. "The man that was used up: Poetry, particularity, and the politics of remembering George Washington." American Literature 75.2 (2003): 247-274. summary
  • Greenhalgh, Adam. " 'Not a man but a god' the apotheosis of Gilbert Stuart’s Athenaeum portrait of George Washington." Winterthur Portfolio 41.4 (2007): 269-304. online
  • Jacobs, Phoebe Lloyd. "John James Barralet and the Apotheosis of George Washington." Winterthur Portfolio 12 (1977): 115-137. online
  • Marks, Arthur S. "The statue of King George III in New York and the iconology of regicide." American Art Journal 13.3 (1981): 61-82. online on tearing down statues
  • Marling, Karal Ann. George Washington Slept Here: Colonial Revivals and American Culture, 1876-1986 (Harvard University Press, 1988).
  • Mitnick, Barbara J., et al. George Washington: American Symbol (Hudson Hills, 1999).
  • Savage, Kirk. "The self-made monument: George Washington and the fight to erect a national memorial." Winterthur Portfolio 22.4 (1987): 225-242. online
  • Schwartz, Barry. "Social change and collective memory: The democratization of George Washington." American Sociological Review (1991): 221-236. online
  • Tschachler, Heinz. George Washington and Political Fatherhood: The Endurance of a National Myth (McFarland, 2020) re "Father of his country" slogan.
  • Young, Christopher J. "Memory by Consensus: Remembering the American Revolutionary War in Chicago." Journal of American Studies 50.4 (2016): 971-997. online[dead link]

External links[edit]