Harrison and I may both be Fords, but our styles are a bit different. Although my administration may have occasionally faced a personnel problem, I never dealt with something quite as dramatically as he does in Air Force One (1997, Columbia TriStar, R). Of course, the Air Force One we flew in was a 707, and the belly of the plane was exclusively for electronic gear and baggage. It was too small to walk around in, and I never had any reason to be down there.
I think it’s the conflict between the institution and the individual that makes the movie so interesting. I can certainly understand how Harrison Ford is torn between his loyalty to his wife and daughter and his responsibilities as President. At one point, the secretary of defense is ready to sacrifice the life of the President rather than give in to the demands of terrorists, stating that the presidency is bigger than any one individual. There’s no question about that. I don’t want to get into the current Clinton problem, but I think the American people believe the presidency is greater than the personality or the problems of any one individual.
I was also intrigued by the negotiations of the Vice President with the terrorists. I can visualize it really happening that way, and Glenn Close’s performance as the Vice President is first-class. I think the Democrats or the Republicans will nominate a woman for the office in the not too distant future, and we will have a female Vice President, perhaps one as classy as Glenn Close.
Overall, the film is high drama, and you can feel the tension. Air Force One is great entertainment, with great action and great performances. Just like politics. B+
— Gerald Ford