Question of the Week: What’s your favorite White House movie scene?

OlympusHasFallenPosterI’m set for an advanced screening of the white house actioner Olympus Has Fallen tomorrow. Surely you’ve seen the pretty aggressive promos of that one all over the place. Interestingly enough, the marketing for the movie has been putting the White House itself as the main STAR of the film. I mean there are some posters that feature the actors, but the white house is always featured prominently on there, as if we’d forget what that iconic POTUS house actually looks like! Now, that’s perhaps saying something about the lead actor of the movie, don’t you think?

Anyway, early reviews I’ve read so far have been surprisingly decent. Of course we shall see come Thursday what the actual RT score would be, but right now it’s sitting at 67%. WOW! Though this movie was on my radar, I didn’t even put this one on my most-anticipated list, as you know how I feel about Gerry Butler these days. It’s amusing that many reviewers are saying that it’s the best Die Hard movie of the year, ahah, take that Bruce Willis! I’m not expecting much, but I can’t imagine this one would be worse than A Good Day to Die Hard, besides I think Antoine Fuqua is a pretty decent director.

Anyway, it made me think of memorable movie scenes set in the White House (regardless of whether it’s actually shot on location or on a made-up set). Then I’ll turn it over to you folks to give me YOUR pick of memorable White House scene. It doesn’t have to be action-related, in fact the idea here is to give and take movie recommendations to fellow cinephiles.

So here are three that came to mind right away:

Pardon the quality of the video, but this is an awesome intro scene in X-Men 2, my favorite of the whole X-Men saga.

Terrence Stamp and one of his most iconic Superman lines, “Kneel Before Zod!” I’m curious how Michael Shannon would fare in that role in Man of Steel!

Of course who could forget this one. I’d say it’s perhaps the most iconic scene involving the White House to date, and ID4 is what Roland Emmerich will always be remembered for.

Now, not all of memorable scenes are about an attack of the White House of course. In fact, I always remember this scene from Clear and Present Danger where Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford) confronted the President. Too bad the clip cuts out the part when Jack defiantly said, “I’m sorry Mr. President. I don’t dance!”

,,,


Now your turn folks. Give us your favorite movie(s) and/or movie scenes set in the White House.

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57 thoughts on “Question of the Week: What’s your favorite White House movie scene?

  1. I was going to go with Independence Day as well, but not the part where it gets blown up but the part right before that when David is trying to convince the president and Connie that it is in fact about to get blown up and Judd Hirsh is all “look, a poor immigrant like me!” Oh I love that movie.
    Another is Dave when he’s getting lessons on how to pretend to be the president and he imitates the president’s speech and then asks if he can keep the white house pen. Or basically that whole movie, because there were a lot of good scenes in the White House.

    • Oh that’s a great scene, I definitely remember that! Oooh I LOVE Dave! Kevin Kline is such a hoot in that one. I should rewatch that one soon.

  2. I pick two (one for TV, though), both crafted by Aaron Sorkin:
    • just about anyone of those in the Oval Office for ‘The American President’
    • the first time Josiah “Jed” Bartlet appears on-screen in the first season of ‘The West Wing’

    Thanks, Ruth.

    p.s., I will take in ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ this weekend for the same reasons as you.

    • Glad someone mentions The American President! I love that movie. Both starring Martin Sheen too, ahah, but he gets a major promotion in The West Wing :D

      Hey we’ll compare notes this weekend then Michael.

    • Ahah, well we shall see! ;)

      Oh I still need to see Nixon, I don’t know why I still haven’t seen it. I like both Sheen and Langella.

  3. A couple of films that Olympus reminds me are Air Force One and In The Line of Fire. Non action film about the White House, The American President.

  4. X2! It’s funny, when I saw the question in the title the introduction to Nightcrawler instantly came to mind. Awesome seen. As for Olympus, I’m still a little hesitant but I’m gonna give it a look with crossed fingers.

    • Oh yes West Wing definitely has some great White House scenes. I love Dr Strangelove’s war room, it’s like something a Bond villain would have, ahah.

  5. Hi, Ruth and company:

    The last reel of ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy’ where Cagney starts to walk down the curving staircase. Then dances down the remainder. To take his coat, hat and cane from the liveried foot man before leaving.

    Still marvel at Cagney’s dance steps and fluid ease of movement in that film.

  6. The Kevin Costner/Bruce Greenwood film Thirteen Days springs to mind abou the Cuban Missile crisis in 1962. Very underrated film.

    By the way, I have a feeling that Butler may have a hit in his hands here Ruth. A reconciliation may be on the cards, perhaps?? ;-)

    • Oh man I still need to see Thirteen Days! I like both actors you mentioned.

      Ahah, well I don’t base my crush on him on box office, if that’s the case he really doesn’t have a problem :D I do hope he’ll be wiser in his role choices, Mark, I know we both want to see him do Burns. I hope he hasn’t given up on that.

    • Thirteen Days is a great movie. I was surprised to see what lengths President Kennedy went to to keep the crisis from becoming a full-blown war.

    • Mark, while Thirteen Days was certainly good fiction several Kennedy administration officials and contemporary historians, including Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Special Counsel Ted Sorensen, and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, have criticized the film for the depiction of Special Assistant Kenneth O’Donnell (Costner) as chief motivator of Kennedy and others during the crisis. McNamara said in a PBS NewsHour interview: “For God’s sakes, Kenny O’Donnell didn’t have any role whatsoever in the missile crisis; he was a political appointment secretary to the President; that’s absurd.” According to McNamara, the duties performed by O’Donnell in the film are closer to the role Sorensen played during the actual crisis: “It was not Kenny O’Donnell who pulled us all together—it was Ted Sorensen.” Never let the facts get in the way of a good story. LOL.

  7. Other than for that cool X Men intro none come to my empty mind :)

    But I have a theory on why they feature White House so prominently on promo materials – Eckhart and Butler look pretty ridiculous/startled on all the photos from the movie so it was probably the only way to advertise it :)

    • That’s a cool intro isn’t it? The secret service didn’t stand a chance against the mutants! :D

      Ah, that’s an interesting theory Sati. I thought the promos are terrible, I sure hope the film fares better than that. I guess I’ll find out tonight :D

  8. The American President would have to be my choice. Every time it’s on TV I try to watch it. A great romance between Douglas and Bening.

    First thought for me was The Exorcist but I think that was just set in Washington DC. :)

    • Oh I LOVE The American President! I really should’ve put ‘em on here. Yes it’s a sweet rom-com set in the White House, both Douglas & Bening are so charming.

  9. Definitely the opening scene of X2. One of my favourite film opening scenes. The music and the action and the setting – excellent.

    Oh and not sure if you read it, but Gerrard Butler did an AMA over on reddit. Pretty good read. He comes across so well in it!

    • Glad you like that X2 scene too!

      Ahah yeah, I saw Gerry did the AMA thing. I actually read some of it, he seemed quite candid. Too bad nobody asked him if he’d ever do the Robert Burns biopic. He’d be perfect for it!

  10. Ahh, funny you should mention the excessive promo material for this film because I haven’t seen any of it. :D As for best White House scene, I can’t think of anything off the top of my head. Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure I have never seen Independence Day all the way through. Should probably do that some day…

    • That’s interesting that you haven’t seen any, esp. in Chicago! ID4 is quite fun to watch, maybe watch the entire thing around 4th of July :D

  11. Yeah as much as I’m not a huge fan of the X-men series, that scene is absolutely brilliant! Explosions are pretty too but no match for Nightcrawler!

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