The Favorite Movies of 30 Famous People
From classic comedies to cowboy-filled westerns, celebrities play favorites when it comes to movies, too. Here are some of the favorite films of politicians, musicians, actors, directors, and other celebrities.
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."
2. RONALD REAGAN // HIGH NOON (1952)
Reagan appreciated Will Kane's dedication to duty and law in Fred Zinnemann's High Noon. (Reagan was also rumored to have been a fan of Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life.)
3. RICHARD NIXON // PATTON (1970)
Nixon's preference for Patton was mentioned in a 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)
Like to many other presidents, Eisenhower was reportedly a big fan of High Noon, 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. 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."
9. 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."
10. 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."
11. GEORGE HARRISON // THE PRODUCERS (1968)
Harrison reportedly liked the film so much that it inspired him to become a producer himself.
12. 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.
13. 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."
14. 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," he once said. According to a Tom Hanks fan site, the actor has seen 2001 approximately 40 times.
15. 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." The late actor listed both Splendor in the Grass and Harold and Maude for Cindy Pearlman's 2007 book You Gotta See This.
16. SALMA HAYEK // WILLY WONKA & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (1971)
The "Times Topics" page for Hayek at The New York Times website reported: "At 6, she was smitten with acting after seeing Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory."
17. 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.
18. 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.
19. 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."
20. 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 five 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.
21. 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."
22. 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."
23. RICHARD GERE // THE PASSENGER (1975)
For You Gotta See This, Gere told Pearlman that The Passenger "has always been" one of his favorites.
24. 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."
25. REESE WITHERSPOON // OVERBOARD (1987)
Witherspoon disclosed this factoid during the 84th Annual Academy Awards telecast in 2012.
26. DENNIS QUAID // LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962)
In an interview with US Weekly, Quaid said, "Lawrence of Arabia is, for me, a perfect movie."
27. 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."
28. 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."
29. STEVEN SPIELBERG // LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962)
Spielberg helped restore Lawrence of Arabia 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.
30. ROGER EBERT // LA DOLCE VITA (1960)
In a 2008 column for The Chicago Sun-Times, the late 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."
An earlier version of this article appeared in 2012.