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.

11 Fun Facts About Dolly Parton

Brendon Thorne, Getty Images
Brendon Thorne, Getty Images

Over the past 50-some years, Dolly Parton has gone from a chipper country starlet to a worldwide icon of music and movies whose fans consistently pack a theme park designed (and named) in her honor. Dolly Parton is loved, lauded, and larger than life. But even her most devoted admirers might not know all there is to this Backwoods Barbie.

1. You won't find Dolly Parton on a Dollywood roller coaster.

Her theme park Dollywood offers a wide variety of attractions for all ages. Though she's owned it for more than 30 years, Parton has declined to partake in any of its rides. "My daddy used to say, 'I could never be a sailor. I could never be a miner. I could never be a pilot,' I am the same way," she once explained. "I have motion sickness. I could never ride some of these rides. I used to get sick on the school bus."

2. Dolly Parton once entered a Dolly Parton look-alike contest—and lost.


Getty Images

Apparently Parton doesn't do drag well. “At a Halloween contest years ago on Santa Monica Boulevard, where all the guys were dressed up like me, I just over-exaggerated my look and went in and just walked up on stage," she told ABC. "I didn’t win. I didn’t even come in close, I don’t think.”

3. Dolly Parton spent a fortune to recreate her childhood home.

Parton and her 11 siblings were raised in a small house in the mountains of Tennessee that lacked electricity and indoor plumbing. When Parton bought the place, she hired her brother Bobby to restore it to the way it looked when they were kids. "But we wanted it to be functional," she recounted on The Nate Berkus Show, "So I spent a couple million dollars making it look like I spent $50 on it! Even like in the bathroom, I made the bathroom so it looked like an outdoor toilet.” You do you, Dolly.

4. Dolly Parton won't apologize for Rhinestone.


Getty Images

Parton is well-known for her hit movies Steel Magnolias and 9 to 5, less so for the 1984 flop Rhinestone. The comedy musical about a country singer and a New York cabbie was critically reviled and fled from theaters in just four weeks. But while her co-star Sylvester Stallone has publicly regretted the vehicle, Parton declared in her autobiography My Life and Other Unfinished Business that she counts Rhinestone's soundtrack as some of her best work, especially "What a Heartache."

5. Dolly Parton is Miley Cyrus's godmother ... sort of.

"I'm her honorary godmother. I've known her since she was a baby," Parton told ABC of her close relationship with Miley Cyrus. "Her father (Billy Ray Cyrus) is a friend of mine. And when she was born, he said, 'You just have to be her godmother,' and I said, 'I accept.' We never did do a big ceremony, but I'm so proud of her, love her, and she's just like one of my own." Parton also played Aunt Dolly on Cyrus's series Hannah Montana.

6. Dolly Parton received death threats from the Ku Klux Klan.

A photo of Dolly Parton on stage
Getty Images

In the mid-2000s, Dollywood joined the ranks of family amusement parks participating in "Gay Days," a time when families with LGBTQ members are encouraged to celebrate together in a welcoming community environment. This riled the KKK, but their threats didn't scare Dolly. "I still get threats," she has admitted. "But like I said, I'm in business. I just don't feel like I have to explain myself. I love everybody."

7. Dolly Parton started her own "library" to promote literacy, and has given away more than 100 million books.

In 1995, the pop culture icon founded Dolly Parton's Imagination Library with the goal of encouraging literacy in her home state of Tennessee. Over the years, the program—built to mail children age-appropriate books—spread nationwide, as well as to Canada, the UK, and Australia. When word of the Imagination Library hit Reddit, the swarms of parents eager to sign their kids up crashed the Imagination Library site. It is now back on track, accepting new registrations and donations.

8. There's a statue of Dolly Parton in her hometown of Sevierville, Tennessee.

A stone's throw from Dollywood, Sevierville, Tennessee is where Parton grew up. Between stimulating tourism and her philanthropy, this proud native has given a lot back to her hometown. And Sevierville residents returned that appreciation with a life-sized bronze Dolly that sits barefoot, beaming, and cradling a guitar, just outside the county courthouse. The sculpture, made by local artist Jim Gray, was dedicated on May 3, 1987. Today it is the most popular stop on Sevierville's walking tour.

9. The cloned sheep Dolly was named after Dolly Parton.

In 1995 scientists successfully created a clone from an adult mammal's somatic cell. This game-changing breakthrough in biology was named Dolly. But what about Parton inspired this honor? Her own groundbreaking career? Some signature witticism or beloved lyric? Nope. It was her legendary bustline. English embryologist Ian Wilmut revealed, "Dolly is derived from a mammary gland cell and we couldn't think of a more impressive pair of glands than Dolly Parton's."

10. Dolly Parton turned down an offer from Elvis Presley.

After Parton made her own hit out of "I Will Always Love You," Elvis Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker, reached out in hopes of having Presley cover it. But part of the deal demanded Parton surrender half of the publishing rights to the song. "Other people were saying, 'You're nuts. It's Elvis Presley. I'd give him all of it!'" Parton admitted, "But I said, 'I can't do that. Something in my heart says don't do that.' And I didn't do it and they didn't do it." It may have been for the best. Whitney Houston's cover for The Bodyguard soundtrack in 1992 was a massive hit that has paid off again and again for Parton.

11. In 2018, Dolly Parton earned two Guinness World Records.

Parton is no stranger to breaking records. And on January 17, 2018 it was announced that she holds not one but two spot in the Guinness World Records 2018 edition: One for Most Decades With a Top 20 Hit on the US Hot Country Songs Chart (she beat out George Jones, Reba McEntire, and Elvis Presley for the honor) and the other for Most Hits on US Hot Country Songs Chart By a Female Artist (with a total of 107). Parton said she was "humbled and blessed."

7 Weird Super Bowl Halftime Acts

Al Bello, Getty Images
Al Bello, Getty Images

Shakira and Jennifer Lopez seem like natural choices to perform the halftime show at this year’s Super Bowl, but the event didn’t always feature musical acts from major pop stars. Michael Jackson kicked off the trend at Super Bowl XXVII in 1993, but prior to that, halftime shows weren’t a platform for the hottest celebrities of the time. They centered around themes instead, and may have featured appearances from Peanuts characters, Jazzercisers, or a magician dressed like Elvis. In honor of Super Bowl LIV on February 2, we’ve rounded up some of the weirdest acts in halftime show history.

1. Return of the Mickey Mouse Club

The era of Super Bowl halftimes before wardrobe malfunctions, illuminati conspiracy theories, and Left Shark was a more innocent time. For 1977’s event, the Walt Disney Company produced a show that doubled as a squeaky-clean promotion of its brand. Themed “Peace, Joy, and Love,” the Super Bowl XI halftime show opened with a 250-piece band rendition of “It’s a Small World (After All).” Disney also used the platform to showcase its recently revamped Mickey Mouse Club.

2. 88 Grand Pianos and 300 Jazzercisers

The theme of the halftime show at Super Bowl XXII in 1988 was “Something Grand.” Naturally, it featured 88 tuxedoed pianists playing 88 grand pianos. Rounding out the program were 400 swing band performers, 300 Jazzercisers, 44 Rockettes, two marching bands, and Chubby Checker telling everyone to “Twist Again."

3. Elvis Impersonator Performs the World’s Largest Card Trick

Many of the music industry's most successful pop stars—like Prince, Madonna, and, uh, Milli Vanilli—were at the height of their fame in 1989, but none of them appeared at Super Bowl XXIII. Instead, the NFL hired an Elvis Presley-impersonating magician to perform. The show, titled “BeBop Bamboozled,” was a tribute to the 1950s, and it featured Elvis Presto performing “the world’s largest card trick.” It also may have included the world's largest eye exam: The show boasted 3D effects, and viewers were urged to pick up special glasses before the game. If the visuals didn't pop like they were supposed to, people were told to see an eye doctor.

4. The Peanuts Salute New Orleans

Super Bowl XXIV featured one of the last halftime acts that was completely devoid of any musical megastars. The biggest celebrity at the 1990 halftime show was Snoopy. Part of the show’s theme was the “40th Anniversary of 'Peanuts,'” and to celebrate the milestone, performers dressed as Peanuts characters and danced on stage. The other half of the theme was “Salute to New Orleans”—not necessarily the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the comic strip.

5. A Tribute to the Winter Olympics

Super Bowl XXVI preceded the 1992 Winter Olympics—a fact that was made very clear by the event’s halftime. The show was titled “Winter Magic” and it paid tribute to the winter games with ice skaters, snowmobiles, and a cameo from the 1980 U.S. hockey team. Other acts, like a group of parachute-pants-wearing children performing the “Frosty the Snowman Rap,” were more generally winter-themed than specific to the Olympics. About 22 million viewers changed the channel during halftime to watch In Living Color’s Super Bowl special, which may have convinced the NFL to hire Michael Jackson the following year.

6. Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye

“Peace, Joy, and Love” wasn’t the only Disney-helmed Super Bowl halftime. In 1995, Disney produced a halftime show called “Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye” to tease the new Disneyland ride of the same name. It centered around a skit in which actors playing Indiana Jones and Marion Ravenwood stole the Vince Lombardi Trophy from an exotic temple, and it included choreographed stunts, fiery special effects, and a snake. Patti LaBelle and Tony Bennett were also there.

7. The Blues Brothers, Minus John Belushi

The 1990s marked an odd period for halftime shows as they moved from schlocky themed variety shows to major music events. Super Bowl XXXI in 1997 perfectly encapsulates this transition period. James Brown and ZZ Top performed, but the headliners were the Blues Brothers. John Belushi had been dead for more than a decade by that point, so Jim Belushi took his place beside Dan Aykroyd. John Goodman was also there to promote the upcoming movie Blues Brother 2000. The flashy advertisement didn’t have the impact they had hoped for and the film was a massive flop when it premiered.

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