Our nation’s capital has been the setting for countless movies, but only around 100 have actually been filmed in D.C. Those films have included everything from mega blockbusters to critically acclaimed classics. Here’s a look at the ten best films ever shot in Washington, D.C.
This adaptation of the Tom Clancy novel marked the debut of Harrison Ford as retired CIA agent Jack Ryan, replacing Alec Baldwin, who played the part in 1990’s The Hunt for Red October. Debuting at number one, this political thriller was a hit with both critics and the public.
One of director Stephen Spielberg’s most daring and critically acclaimed films, Minority Report tackles the concept of a future where foreknowledge of misdeeds allows police to arrest criminals before crimes are committed. This movie is heavy but well ahead of it’s time.
Thank You for Smoking
Can lobbyists for some of the world’s most dangerous and deadly products still have a conscience and a heart? Aaron Eckhart is masterful as the Big Tobacco spin doctor caught between his career and raising his son.
In the Line of Fire
As the lone remaining Secret Service agent from JFK’s Dallas team, Frank Horrigan is haunted by memories and determined to stop former CIA agent John Malkovich from taking down the current chief executive. Both actors are at their best throughout this intense thriller.
One of the truly great satires of the 1990s, Election features a tour de force performance by Reese Witherspoon as the Nebraska teen who wants to be class president and Matthew Broderick as the teacher who tries to sabotage her campaign. This film is fun and funny from start to finish.
Wag the Dog
Politics is a dirty business and no film portrays it any filthier than this black comedy from director Barry Levinson. An all-star cast led by Robert DeNiro and Dustin Hoffman captures every aspect of political scanda both real and manufactured.
In one of the most controversial films of all-time, director Oliver Stone mines every source of Kennedy assassination conspiracy info and blends them into a compelling and fascinating look at one of the nation’s darkest episodes.
Writer, producer, director James L. Brooks nailed every aspect of this funny, insightful and touching look at the cutthroat world of TV news and the people that provide it. Great performances by William Hurt, Holly Hunter and Albert Brooks make Broadcast News one of the best films of the 1980s.
The granddaddy of all horror films, it is hard to find a flaw in The Exorcist. From creepy, foggy Georgetown backdrops to spinning heads and pea soup projectiles, this classic is as scary today as it was four decades ago.
All the President’s Men
Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein may have been the journalists who broke the Watergate scandal wide open, but it’s Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman who the general public remember in those roles. The quintessential Washington story, All the President’s Men garnered eight Academy Awards, including a Best Supporting Actor nod for Jason Robards’ portrayal of legendary Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee.
Scott Cavanagh is a freelance journalist based in Columbus, Ohio whose talents have been utilized by over 200 publications and clients in a wide variety of media platforms—from news & feature reporting, commentary, and web content to speechwriting and commercial copy.