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US Presidents' White House movie playlist: Barack Obama, JFK, more

By and Alice Stewart
'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' still
As we near the release of fantasy-horror Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Digital Spy thought it particularly appropriate to take a look at some other US Presidents through a film lens. What better way than to compile a White House movie playlist of significant presidential films - be they down to subject matter or personal preference.

Digital Spy picks out 10 movies for Barack Obama, John F Kennedy, Bill Clinton and more below...

The Godfather (1972)
Barack Obama named Francis Ford Coppola's 1972 mafia classic as one of his all-time favourite movies in an interview back in 2008. The current Commander in Chief also made known his love for the sequel but he, like many others, is not much of a fan of Part III.



From Russia with Love (1963)
John F Kennedy named Ian Fleming's source novel as one of his 10 favourite books of all time in 1961. With its hard-edged Cold War plot involving the retrieval of a Russian encryption device, it's easy to see how JFK could spot similarities between Fleming's fiction and fact. The Sean Connery-led movie adaptation is widely-regarded as one of the best 007 movies, and was reportedly the last motion picture JFK saw before making that fateful motorcade ride down Dealey Plaza in 1963.



High Noon (1952)
In a recent interview with Harvey Weinstein, Bill Clinton named Gary Cooper's black and white Western as his favourite film of all time. Clinton says he's watched the movie 25 to 30 times, and it was also a favourite of 34th President Dwight D Eisenhower. The film, about a retiring town marshal who stands up to bad guys while others do nothing, is seen as an allegory for Hollywood's refusal to stand up to Joseph McCarthy during his drive to rid the US of Communist sympathisers.



Frost/Nixon (2008)
An almighty tête-à-tête between perceived lightweight talkshow host David Frost (Michael Sheen) and shamed ex-President Richard Nixon (Frank Langella), Ron Howard's cracking film dramatised the TV encounter that saw Nixon apologise for the Watergate scandal. An intellectual Rocky, this should act as a cautionary tale for all Presidents.



Primary Colours (1998)
Inspired by Bill Clinton's campaign for the White House in 1992, this Mike Nichols comedy-drama saw John Travolta do a bang-on Bill impersonation as Governor Jack Stanton. The man himself reportedly enjoyed the film so much that he asked Travolta to a party on the proviso that he come as Stanton. Travolta politely declined.



Spartacus (1960)
Stanley Kubrick's handsomely-mounted epic was a big favourite of John F Kennedy. Kirk Douglas's eponymous slave's revolt against the Roman establishment may have appealed to the politician, who no doubt wanted to bring about change in Washington following Dwight D Eisenhower's two terms in office.



Air Force One (1997)
James Marshall (Harrison Ford) proved he had ass-kicking ability to match his political intellect when he took on a group of hijackers who seized the presidential plane. This might be a fantasy interpretation of the Head of State, but it's a rollicking good thriller and we'd be very surprised if it hasn't been seen by a US president.



JFK (1991)
Oliver Stone's account of JFK's assassination (and the events preceding and following it) may be an exhausting watch with its three-hour plus running time, but it makes for fascinating drama. The cast, from Costner's stoic Jim Garrison to Gary Oldman's slimy killer Lee Harvey Oswald (succeeding where he failed in Air Force One!), all hit top gear and Stone steers the whole endeavour with expert compositional control. Its theories might be questionable, but as a piece of cinema it deserves a double thumbs up.



Kings Row (1942)
Before shifting into politics, Ronald Reagan made a name for himself as a Hollywood actor. His 1942 film Kings Row is widely-regarded as one of his best. In the film, Reagan plays a wealthy man who has both his legs amputated by a cruel surgeon. His first words after waking up, "Where's the rest of me?", were used for the title of his 1965 autobiography.



Being There (1979)
Peter Sellers's final movie saw him take on the role of simple gardener Chance who rises to fame and political prominence when his talk of tending to plants is mistaken for profundity about rescuing the US economy (green shoots of recovery, indeed!). Scratch below the surface of Hal Ashby's film, however, and it seems more prescient than ever. Chance's mystifying rise to stardom in Washington could be read in parallel to that of George W Bush's.



Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter opens in cinemas today (June 20).

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