CLOSE
Original image

The Favorite Movies of 42 Famous People

Original image

Presidents & Politicians

What's with presidents and High Noon?

1. Barack Obama -- The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather: Part II (1974)
When Katie Couric asked then-presidential-candidate Barack Obama what his favorite movie is, he replied, "Oh, I think it would have to be The Godfather. One and Two. Three not so much. That saga -- I love that movie. ...I think my favorite has to be, the opening scene of the first Godfather... It sets the tone for the whole movie."

2. Ronald Reagan -- High Noon (1952)
Reagan appreciated Will Kane's dedication to duty and law. (Reagan's also rumored to have been a fan of the 1946 film It's a Wonderful Life.)

3. Richard Nixon -- Patton (1970)
Nixon's preference for Patton was mentioned in a 1960 1970 TIME article: "The martial epic Patton so stirs Richard Nixon that he has seen the film at least twice." According to American Experience: Nixon on PBS, "Richard Nixon loved the movie Patton and watched it again and again in the White House." The Telegraph reported that Nixon "urged aides to see the film and became, in the words of Secretary of State William Rogers, a 'walking ad' for it. He screened it three times in the weeks before the US invasion of Cambodia in April 1970..." Nixon's love for Patton was also mentioned in Woodward and Bernstein's 2005 book, The Final Days.

4. Bill Clinton -- High Noon (1952)
Clinton was such a fan of the Western that he apparently screened the film a record 17 times at the White House.

5. George W. Bush -- Field of Dreams (1989)
According to a May 2001 article in The Atlantic, "Bush's favorite movie is Field of Dreams, which made him cry, he once said, because it reminded him of playing catch in the back yard with his father—a pretty fair ballplayer himself once."

6. Dwight Eisenhower -- High Noon (1952)
Eisenhower was reportedly a big fan of the movie, screening it several times at the White House (though not quite as many times as Clinton).

7. John McCain -- Viva Zapata! (1952)
During his presidential campaign, John McCain was asked about his favorite film by Katie Couric. His response: "Viva Zapata. ...It's a heroic tale of a person who sacrificed everything for what he believed in and there's some of the most moving scenes in that movie that I've ever seen."

8. Mitt Romney -- Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
Romney lists these two films as his favorites on his Facebook page, followed by Star Wars and Henry V.

9. Dan Quayle -- Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
During the 1990 presidential campaign, Quayle declared Ferris Bueller his favorite movie, with the explanation, "It reminded me of my time in school."

10. Newt Gingrich -- Casablanca (1943)
When asked his favorite movie, Gingrich told the Washington Times, "Probably Casablanca."

11. Rick Santorum -- Field of Dreams (1989)
Apparently Santorum has many favorites, but, when put on the spot by the Washington Times in 2011, he named the baseball classic his favorite.

Singers & Musicians

12. Justin Bieber -- Step Brothers (2008)
In 2010, Bieber provided US Weekly with a list of "25 Things You Don't Know About Me." #17: "Step Brothers is my favorite movie."

13. Jennifer Lopez -- West Side Story (1961)
During a West Side Story-themed photo shoot for Vanity Fair in 2009, Lopez revealed that she watched the classic musical "37 times" growing up. She identifies with Anita, explaining: "I never wanted to be that wimpy Maria... I wanted to be Anita, who danced her way to the top."

14. George Harrison -- The Producers (1968)
Harrison reportedly liked the film so much that it inspired him to become a producer himself.

Actors & Actresses

Interestingly, I have never met or heard of an actor or actress choosing one of their own films as their all-time favorite.

15. Johnny Depp -- The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Explained Depp: "I wanted to have a tornado sweep me up and take me away from the life I was living as a teenager."

16. John Travolta -- A Man And A Woman (1966)
IMDb.com lists Travolta's favorite movie as A Man And A Woman, also noting that he was partial to Yankee Doodle Dandy (1946) as a child.

17. Heath Ledger -- The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Ledger favored the classic film because, he stated, "It was the only film my parents allowed me to see as a kid."

18. Tom Hanks -- 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Hanks has frequently discussed his love for Kubrick's classic, including at a forum for the film's 40th anniversary, where he said of the movie, "You can look at it over and over and ponder its meaning." According to a Tom Hanks fan site, the actor has seen 2001 approximately 40 times.

19. Bill Paxton -- Splendor in the Grass (1961) and Harold and Maude (1971)
In a 2006 interview with TV Guide, Paxton said, "You've got to understand something about me and my career: I'm a romantic in life philosophy, in how I look at the world, the beauty of nature, of relationships. But I never got to do those roles. In my twenties, I wanted to be in a Splendor in the Grass." Paxton listed both Splendor in the Grass and Harold and Maude for Cindy Pearlman's 2007 book You Gotta See This.

20. Salma Hayek -- Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
The "Times Topics" page for Hayek at The New York Times website reports: "At 6, she was smitten with acting after seeing Willie [sic] Wonka and the Chocolate Factory."

21. Vin Diesel -- Gone With The Wind (1939)
In 2006, ELLE asked Diesel, "Have you ever watched a movie and identified with a character romantically?" The actor replied, "Clark Gable in Gone With the Wind. Here's this guy saying, 'I may be rough around the edges, but I'm the better man for you, and you're still locked over there with pretty boy.'" He also listed it as his favorite movie for Pearlman's You Gotta See This.

22. Tim Allen -- The Seven Samurai (1954)
AFI interviewed celebrities about their films in a lead-up to their "100 Years, 100 Movies" event in 2007. In his interview, Allen named The Seven Samurai as his favorite.

23. Lindsey Lohan -- Kitten With a Whip (1964) and Bye Bye Birdie (1963)
In 2008, Lindsay told PAPERMAG, "[Marilyn Monroe] had something that captured people. That’s the part that I love about her... I look to her in The Seven Year Itch, just like I look to Ann-Margret in Kitten With a Whip, which is one of my favorite movies, and which I’m actually trying to remake." For Pearlman's You Gotta See This, Lohan reiterated her love of Kitten With a Whip and added, "And I also love Bye Bye Birdie."

24. Owen Wilson -- Punch Drunk Love (2002) and The Insider (1999)
Wilson reportedly stated, "I loved Punch-Drunk Love. It revved me up to write something. It's a simple story, but it proves it's all in the details." He also told Glen Whipp of the Los Angeles Daily News, "I loved Punch-Drunk Love, The Insider and United 93."

25. Antonio Banderas -- Touch of Evil (1958) and The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
Banderas is an Orson Welles fan. He listed Touch of Evil as one of his 5 favorite films (as well as the ever-popular Lawrence of Arabia and The Godfather) for Rotten Tomatoes, and he listed it again for Pearlman's You Gotta See This, along with another Welles film, The Magnificent Ambersons.

26. Julianne Moore -- Rosemary's Baby (1968)
For the New York Times' "Watching the Movies With" feature, Moore picked Rosemary's Baby, stating, "This is the first movie that came to mind when I thought of what I wanted to watch," and "Wow, I love the beginning of this movie."

27. Charlize Theron -- I Could Go On Singing (1963)
For You Gotta See This, Theron told Pearlman that I Could Go On Singing is "the best movie I've ever seen," and then said--twice--"It's my favorite film of all time."

28. Shia Lebouf -- Saving Silverman (2001) and Dumb & Dumber (1994)
IMDb.com lists the two comedies as Lebouf's favorite films.

29. Richard Gere -- The Passenger (1975)
For You Gotta See This, Gere told Pearlman that The Passenger "has always been" one of his favorites.

30. Dennis Miller -- A Man For All Seasons (1966)
Miller has discussed A Man For All Seasons on "The Dennis Miller Show." He also mentioned it in an appearance on "The O'Reilly Factor" in 2008 -- "My favorite film of all time is probably A Man for All Seasons."

31. Uma Thurman -- Pillow Talk (1959)
For Pearlman's You Gotta See This, Thurman revealed her favorite, explaining: "All my life I wanted to be Doris Day. One of my favorites is Pillow Talk. It’s a light, breezy romp of a film that’s so much fun to watch. I love that Doris didn’t play anyone but herself in her movies."

32. Morgan Freeman -- Moulin Rouge (2001)
In 2005, Freeman was quizzed on his favorites by IGN. For movie, he responded: "My favorite movie that I didn't work on? Moulin Rouge. I just think that movie is fabulous." Six years later, he repeated the favorite to the Rotten Tomatoes staff, stating, "I think one of the best movies ever made was Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge! It was just an extraordinarily well done film. Editing, directing, costuming -- just everything about it was perfect." He also listed King Kong (1933), High Noon (1952), The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), and Moby Dick (1956).

33. David Duchovny -- Chinatown (1974)
The Rotten Tomatoes staff interviewed Duchovny about his favorite films in April; he replied, "I'm gonna say Chinatown. That's just great storytelling, acting, directing. I think Polanski's an amazing director." He also listed The Godfather (1972), The Godfather: Part II (1974), Annie Hall (1977), and Oldboy (2003).

34. Reese Witherspoon -- Overboard (1987)
Witherspoon disclosed this factoid during the 84th Annual Academy Awards telecast earlier this year.

35. Dennis Quaid -- Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Discussing David Lean, the director of Lawrence of Arabia, Quaid said, "He's always been my favourite director. Lawrence of Arabia is my favourite movie of all time."

36. Vince Vaughn -- Tender Mercies (1983) and The Bad News Bears (1976)
For Pearlman's You Gotta See This, Vaughn disclosed these two favorites, stating: "Tender Mercies is a film that I love very much because it's very simple storytelling," and "The Bad News Bears is my favorite comedy. I saw that movie as a child, and there was something very real about that movie in that it seemed to be an honest portrayal of people." He also reportedly once told Premiere magazine that Little Darlings (1980) was also a favorite.

37. Seth MacFarlane -- The Sound of Music (1964)
When interviewed by IGN in 2003, MacFarlane was asked what his favorite film is. His answer: "I gotta give it to The Sound of Music. I'm sorry. I know that's, like, a lame answer, but I f***in' love The Sound of Music. It's The Sound of Music... It's not like it's some obscure independent film. There are those who would be expecting me to say Caddyshack – which is number two..."

38. Orson Welles -- City Lights (1931)
Of the Chaplin film, Welles once said, "...but you must see City Lights... You’ll see Chaplin in City Lights."

& More...

39. Steven Spielberg -- Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Spielberg helped restore the film for a 2000 DVD release; in the accompanying documentary, "A Conversation with Steven Spielberg," the director discusses the impact the movie had on his life and why it's his favorite film.

40. Thomas Edison -- Birth of a Nation (1915)
When asked about his favorite movie in a February 1930 interview with American Magazine, Edison replied, "Let’s see now–what’s the name of it? Oh yes, I remember–The Birth of a Nation, that great picture Griffith made. But who cares?"

41. Roger Ebert -- La Dolce Vita (1960)
In a 2008 column for The Chicago Sun-Times, the critic asked himself, "What is my favorite film?" The answer: "Right now, this moment, the answer that would spring most quickly to mind is Fellini's La Dolce Vita (1960). I've seen it, oh, at least 25 times, maybe more. It doesn't get old for me. ...I've grown so worked up just writing this paragraph that I want to slide in the DVD and start watching immediately. "

42. Michael Phelps -- Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997)
Of Austin Powers, Phelps has said, "It’s still as funny as it was when it was released."
* * *
So, what's your favorite?

Original image
Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET
arrow
entertainment
10 Badass Facts About Jason Statham
Original image
Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for BET

Jason Statham is one of the preeminent action heroes of a generation—some would say he’s our last action hero. On the screen, he's been a hitman, a transporter, a con man, a veteran, and a whole host of other unsavory, but oddly endearing, tough guys. Before he stepped foot on his first movie set, though, Statham had a past life that would rival any of the colorful characters he’s brought to the screen. To celebrate his 50th birthday, we’re digging into what makes this English bruiser tick with these 10 fascinating facts about Jason Statham.

1. DIVING WAS HIS FIRST CALLING.

Before becoming a big-screen tough guy, Jason Statham exuded grace and fluidity as one of the world’s top competitive divers in the early 1990s. He spent 12 years as part of the British National Diving Squad, highlighted by competing in the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland, New Zealand.

Though he was an elite diver, Statham never qualified for the Olympics, which he admits is still a “sore point” for him. "I started too late," he has said of his diving career. "It probably wasn't my thing. I should have done a different sport."

2. HE DABBLED IN MODELING.

With his diving career over, Statham entered the world of modeling for the fashion company French Connection. If his rugged image doesn’t seem to naturally lend itself to the world of male modeling, that was exactly what the company was going for.

“We chose Jason because we wanted our model to look like a normal guy," Lilly Anderson, a spokesperson for French Connection, said in a 1995 interview with the Independent. "His look is just right for now—very masculine and not too male-modelly."

3. HE DANCED HALF-NAKED IN A COUPLE OF MUSIC VIDEOS.

A word of warning: The internet never forgets. Back in 2015, two ‘90s music videos went viral—“Comin’ On” by The Shamen and “Run to the Sun” by Erasure—and it’s not because the songs were just that good. It’s because both videos featured a half-naked, and quite oily, Jason Statham curiously dancing away in the background.

Both make liberal use of Statham’s lack of modesty, which is a far cry from the slick suits and commando gear we’d later see him sporting in The Transporter and Expendables series. So which one is your favorite? Leopard-print Speedo Statham from “Comin’ On” or his Silver Surfer look from “Run to the Sun”? And no, “both” isn’t an option. (Though “neither” is acceptable.)

4. GUY RITCHIE CAST HIM BECAUSE HE WAS SELLING KNOCKOFF JEWELRY AND PERFUME ON THE STREET.

After years of high dives, modeling, and pelvic gyrations, Statham was still looking to make a real living in the late ‘90s. His next odd job? Selling knockoff perfume and jewelry on London street corners. Luckily, that type of real-world hoodlum was exactly what director Guy Ritchie needed for 1998's Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

Ritchie was introduced to Statham through his modeling gig at French Connection and saw the potential this real-world con man had for the movie. He wrote the role of Bacon specifically for Statham, which would end up being the movie that propelled him to Hollywood stardom.

5. JOHN CARPENTER WANTED HIM AS THE LEAD IN GHOSTS OF MARS.

Though Statham gained acclaim for his role in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, he wasn’t quite a leading man yet. Director John Carpenter wanted to change that by casting him as James “Desolation” Williams, the main character in Ghosts of Mars.

While Carpenter was convinced that Statham was ready for the role, the producers weren’t. They pushed the director to cast someone with more name value, eventually settling on Ice Cube. Statham stayed in the movie in a smaller role as Sgt. Jericho Butler.

6. HE REGULARLY DOES HIS OWN STUNTS.

Jason Statham in Wild Card (2015).
Lionsgate

In addition to being in impeccable shape, Statham also takes pride in doing many of his own stunts in his movies, from hand-to-hand combat to dangling from a helicopter 3000 feet above downtown Los Angeles. In fact, he’s almost dogmatic in his belief that actors should be doing their own stunts.

“I'm inspired by the people who could do their own work,” the actor said. “Bruce Lee never had stunt doubles and fight doubles, or Jackie Chan or Jet Li. I've been in action movies where there is a face replacement and I'm fighting with a double, and it's embarrassing.”

The worst offenders? Superhero movies. And Statham isn't shy about sharing his thoughts on those:

"You slip on a cape and you put on the tights and you become a superhero? They're not doing anything! They're just sitting in their trailer. It's absolutely, 100 percent created by stunt doubles and green screen. How can I get excited about that?"

7. FILMING EXPENDABLES 3 ALMOST KILLED HIM.

For all the authenticity that Statham likes to bring to the screen by doing his own stunts, sometimes things don’t go according to plan. While filming an action scene for Expendables 3, the brakes failed on a three-ton stunt truck Statham was driving, sending it off a cliff and into the Black Sea.

If you've ever wondered if the real Statham was anything like the movie version, his underwater escape from a mammoth truck should answer that.

"It's the closest I've ever been to drowning,” Statham said on Today. “I've done a lot of scuba diving; I've done a lot of free diving ... No matter how much of that you've done, it doesn't teach you to breathe underwater ... I came very close to drowning. It was a very harrowing experience."

8. HE PRACTICES A RANGE OF MARTIAL ARTS.

Statham’s fitness routine is about more than just weights and core work. The actor is also involved in a variety of different fighting disciplines like boxing, judo, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Out of everything he does to stay in shape, it’s the martial arts that have the been most helpful for Statham’s onscreen presence. “That’s what I have to give most of my time to these days: training for what I have to do in terms of providing action in an authentic manner," he told Men's Health

Statham is not alone in his passion for martial arts; director Guy Ritchie is also a black belt in jiu-jitsu and a brown belt in karate. When Men’s Health asked Statham if the two ever sparred, he responded, “I remember when we started out, we’d go on a press tour for Lock, Stock… and we’d be moving all the furniture out of the way in the hotel room, trying to choke each other out.”

After all, what are collaborators for?

9. HE’S WELL AWARE SOME OF HIS MOVIES HAVE BEEN DUDS.

When asked by Esquire if he ever watched one of his movies during the premiere and thought "Oh, no ...," his response was a very self-aware: "Yeah, I think I've said that more often than not. Yeah."

He went on to rattle off his Guy Ritchie movies, The Bank Job, Transporter 1 and 2 (not 3), and Crank as being among his favorite films. As for the others, the actor joked, “And the rest is sh*t."

He clarified that remark as a joke and said, “I mean, you do a lot of films. You're always aiming for something and trying to push yourself to do something good.”

He then compared his work to the inner workings of a watch, saying, “A movie, it's like a very complicated timepiece. There's a lot of wheels in a watch. And some of those wheels, if they don't turn right, then, you know, the watch ain't gonna tell the time."

10. HIS MOVIES HAVE MADE MORE THAN $1.5 BILLION IN THE U.S. ALONE.

Statham's films may have a tough time impressing critics, but audiences and studio executives can’t get enough. Taken as a whole, Statham’s filmography has raked in just a touch more than $1.5 billion in the United States, with the worldwide total standing at $5.1 billion.

A lot of this is due to his more recent entry into the Fast and Furious franchise, but he’s also had seven movies cross the $100 million mark worldwide outside of that series. This isn’t an accident; Statham knows exactly what type of movie keeps the lights on, as he explained in an interview with The Guardian.

“So if you've got a story about a depressed doctor whose estranged wife doesn't wanna be with him no more, and you put me in it, people aren't gonna put money on the table. Whereas if you go, 'All he does is get in the car, hit someone on the head, shoot someone in the f*cking feet,' then, yep, they'll give you $20 million. You can't fault these people for wanting to make money.”

Original image
Vince Valitutti/Summit Entertainment
arrow
entertainment
The 5 Best Sci-Fi Movies on Netflix Right Now
Original image
Nicolas Cage stars in Knowing (2009).
Vince Valitutti/Summit Entertainment

If you’re in the mood for some speculative fiction and your pile of Arthur C. Clarke books has been exhausted, you could do worse than to tune in to Netflix. The streaming service is constantly acquiring new films in the sci-fi and fantasy genres that should satisfy most fans of alternative futures. Here are five of the best sci-fi movies on Netflix right now.

1. THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (1951)

If any film stands as a proper influence on The Twilight Zone and its use of science-fiction and fantasy to mask political and civil issues, it’s The Day the Earth Stood Still, a Cold War-era parable about an alien named Klaatu who arrives on Earth carrying a warning about warfare. Naturally, all humans want to do is shoot him.

2. METROPOLIS (1927)

Inspiring everything from Star Wars to Lady Gaga, Fritz Lang’s silent epic about a revolt among the oppressed people who help power an upper-class city remains just as visually impressive today as it did nearly 100 years ago.

3. TROLL HUNTER (2010)

A Norwegian fairy tale with bite, Troll Hunter follows college-aged filmmakers who convince a bear trapper to take them along on his exploits. But the trapper fails to disclose one crucial detail: He hunts towering, aggressive trolls.

4. KNOWING (2009)

The histrionics of Nicolas Cage: You either like them or you don’t. Knowing is Cage at half-caf: While he enjoys a few meltdown scenes, he’s largely reserved here as an astrophysics professor who stumbles onto information that could herald the end of the world.

5. THE HOST (2006)

A slow-burn monster movie from South Korea, The Host has plenty of tense scenes coupled with a message about environmental action: The river-dwelling beast who stalks a waterfront town is the product of chemical dumping.  

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios