The Favorite Movies of 30 Famous People

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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.

Kit Harington Reveals Which Harry Potter Character He'd Want to Play in a Prequel

Kit Harington is clearly drawn to dark, brooding characters.

Winter is Coming reports that Harington, who is best known for his role as Jon Snow in the hard-hitting HBO series Game of Thrones, spoke on a panel at ACE Comic Con this past weekend. Though he was there to discuss his upcoming role as Dane Whitman, a.k.a. Black Knight, in the upcoming Marvel Studios film The Eternals, his involvement in—and love for—other franchises came up during the conversation.

The moderator of the panel surprised the audience by bringing up Harington’s love for the Harry Potter series, and, of course, asked him which Hogwarts house he aligns with. The 32-year-old actor responded, “I am a Gryffindor. I’ve thought very deeply about it.” Though Harington himself identifies with the lion-hearted, he does believe that Jon Snow would be a Hufflepuff because of his undying loyalty.

Harington was then asked which character he would want to play in a hypothetical Harry Potter prequel movie about the Marauders—a group of Gryffindors that included James Potter (Harry’s dad), Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew, who attended Hogwarts a generation before Harry and his friends. And who were often at odds with Slytherin Severus Snape.

Harington's response was immediate, and enthusiastic:

Severus Snape is the most tragic, wonderful, brilliant [character] ... He’s a character you hate, and then end up loving. He’s just phenomenal. I don’t think I’m right for him, so I’ll play Sirius. But, whoever gets to play Snape, that’s a great character.”

[h/t Winter Is Coming]

Disney's 10 Scariest Movies

Lynn-Holly Johnson, Bette Davis, and Kyle Richards in The Watcher in the Woods (1980).
Lynn-Holly Johnson, Bette Davis, and Kyle Richards in The Watcher in the Woods (1980).
Walt Disney Pictures

Disney: Known for catchy songs, cute animal sidekicks, brave Princesses … and occasionally scarring children for life. A lot of Disney’s more famously upsetting moments have to do with deathBambi’s mother and Mufasa’s father, for instance—but sometimes the studio goes plain horror movie with it. As Halloween approaches, here are 10 of Disney’s scariest movies.

1. Return to Oz (1985)

Return Oz establishes its “wait, what the hell am I watching?” cred early on, when Dorothy Gale—back in Kansas following her adventures in Oz—is shipped off to the doctor for a round of electroshock therapy to cure her insomnia and “delusions.” Dorothy is saved from her One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest fate and whisked off to Oz again, where she finds that the Nome King and Princess Mombi—Nicol Williamson and Jean Marsh, who also played the doctor and head nurse—have destroyed the Emerald City and turned most of its inhabitants to stone. Playing Dorothy in her first feature film role is Fairuza Balk, who would go on to star in perpetual Halloween favorite The Craft. Return to Oz is the only film directed by legendary editor Walter Murch, most famous for his work on Apocalypse Now.

2. Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)

The collected works of Ray Bradbury have been adapted into dozens of films, only a handful of which were written by the late author himself. The final feature film to be written by Bradbury is 1983’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, which in its first act is a typical, sweet—if somewhat dark—drama about two young boys growing up in a small town in the Midwest. Then a carnival rolls into town, and things get real messed up. Running the carnival is Mr. Dark (Jonathan Pryce), who grants the townspeople’s wishes in ways that … well, let’s just say they’re not very nice.

3. Mr. Boogedy (1986)

“Made-for-TV ‘80s movie about a gag gift salesman and his family” doesn’t scream terror, but Mr. Boogedy defies the odds to have some legitimately creepy moments. Granted, it’s not a subtle film: a family that moves into a dilapidated mansion in a town called called Lucifer Falls shouldn’t really expect to have an easy go of things. The mansion, believe it or not, is haunted by not one but three spirits: a widow, her child, and the eponymous Mr. Boogedy, who back in Colonial times sold his soul to Satan for a cloak that gives him magical powers. It’s Mr. Boogedy’s character design that gives the movie its biggest ick factor; the film’s makeup designer, Rick Stratton, would go on to win two Emmys. Mr. Boogedy’s cloak is eventually sucked into a possessed vacuum cleaner.

4. The Watcher in the Woods (1980)

Director John Hough’s The Watcher in the Woods isn’t only scary because it gives Bette Davis and current Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star (and then-child actress) Kyle Richards a decent chunk of shared screen time. Based on a 1976 novel, the film—like Mr. Boogedy—follows a family that moves into a mysterious house haunted by some mysterious presence. In The Watcher in the Woods, that presence is thought to be Karen, the long-disappeared daughter of the house’s owner, played by a collecting-those-paychecks Davis. Spoiler alert: There are actually two presences. One is Karen. The other is an alien. The original ending of The Watcher in the Woods actually showed the alien, but the effects were so bad that the premiere audience broke out laughing, causing Hough to reshoot the climactic final scene with the aliens as a vague blur of light.

5. The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)

Released in 1949, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad is made up of two half-hour, kid-friendly literary adaptations, the first from The Wind in the Willows and the second from “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” Neither segment is particularly scary … up until the last few minutes of “Sleepy Hollow,” when the animators went all-out to make schoolteacher Ichabod Crane’s flight from the Headless Horseman a contender for Disney’s scariest scene. Clyde Geronimi, who with Jack Kinney directed the “Sleepy Hollow” sequence, would go on to co-direct Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, and 101 Dalmatians.

6. Pinocchio (1940)

Jiminy Cricket hopping around and The Blue Fairy singing “When You Wish Upon a Star” might be the most enduring images from Disney’s second-ever animated feature, but let’s not forget that Pinocchio could be scary when it needed to be. The film’s most potent bit of nightmare fuel comes in the scene where a bunch of children are magically transformed into terrified, crying donkeys so they could be sold away as slave labor. Looks like Disney had a taste for causing childhood trauma early on.

7. “The Skeleton Dance” (1929)

Spooky and cute: Why not both? The 1929 short “The Skeleton Dance” threads the needle deftly, with its depiction of a quartet of skeletons dancing around a graveyard maintaining the goofy tone that marks most of the early Disney shorts while still providing an ample dose of the shivers. “The Skeleton Dance” was drawn by Ub Iwerks, who several years earlier had designed Mickey Mouse.

8. Fantasia (1940)

Most of the segments in Disney’s Fantasia are markedly un-creepy—unless you consider ballet-dancing hippos disturbing, which makes a fair amount of sense—but with “Night on Bald Mountain,” Disney went full dark and stormy night. Set to the title song by composer Modest Mussorgsky, the film depicts the ancient Slavic deity Chernabog (whose name means “black god) calling all sorts of assorted demonic creatures to him before being driven away by the rising of the sun. Bela Lugosi served as a live-action reference for Chernabog, spending a day at Disney Studios striking a series of ominous poses. Nothing that Lugosi provided was ultimately used, as animator Bill Tylta was unimpressed by it.

9. The Black Cauldron (1985)

The Black Cauldron was an infamous failure for Disney, earning a mere $20 million domestically against a budget that made it, at the time, "the most expensive animated feature ever made.” With the film, Disney ditched the songs and lighthearted feel that marked its animated features up to that point in favor of a darker fantasy epic; notably, The Black Cauldron was the first Disney animated feature to earn a PG rating. Though it’s notoriously regarded as a flop, there’s one area in which The Black Cauldron is quite successful: making its villain, the Horned King, absolutely terrifying. Even the way he dies is nightmare-inducing: The magical black cauldron that the Horned King hoped would give him power to take over the world with an undead army instead melts his flesh off. It’s a bit more gruesome than the typically death-by-falling most Disney villains get.

10. Hocus Pocus (1993)

Initially released in 1993 to middling box office returns (Disney made the odd choice to release this Halloween-themed movie in July), director Kenny Ortega’s Hocus Pocus has gone on to achieve cult status. Omri Katz, since retired from acting, stars as Max Dennison, who with neighbor Allison and younger sister Dani must defeat the Sanderson sisters, a trio of witches who were hanged during the Salem witch trials. One of the witches was played by Sarah Jessica Parker, whose ancestor Esther Elwell was accused of being a witch in 17th-century Salem; she escaped execution when prosecution from witchcraft was done away with.

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