June 28th, 2009
08:47 AM ET

Dear President Obama #160: What's your favorite movie?

Reporter's Note: Films have been shown in the White House ever since 1915, and since the 1940’s there has been a built in theater for that purpose. So in the spirit of summer drive-ins, my regular letters to President Obama will have a cinematic flair for the next several Saturdays. So FADE IN: Oval Office…the President clicks on a website..

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/27/art.hepburn.jpg caption="Audrey Hepburn (1929 – 1993), as Holly Golightly, in the film, 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' directed by Blake Edwards."]

Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

My younger daughter has embarked on a summer odyssey of watching a couple dozen of the greatest films ever made, and that has spurred some pretty fun family conversations about what ought to be on the list. So far we have already screened Cool Hand Luke, Miller’s Crossing, and The Shining. “Redrum! Redrum!”

Right now I think we have Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s lined up.

My wife, as you might expect from my previous letters, is pushing the more terrifying fare: Blue Velvet, Jaws, Night of the Living Dead, and the entire Silent Night/Deadly Night series (which, you’ll be pleased to know I’ve already told her does not qualify a “classic” filmdom). I’m heavy on the character shows: The Hustler, A Streetcar Named Desire, Tender Mercies. And we all agree on the epics: Lawrence of Arabia, Star Wars, The Godfathers I & II, but not III even on a rainy day.

I have plenty of my own favorites to sneak into the mix. Hannah and Her Sisters, Matewan, Badlands, American Graffiti, any of the old Marx Brothers or W.C. Fields movies. I guess in fairness a good number of these don’t qualify as “classics” but I really like them and I hope the kids do too. (And yes, we know some of our choices have questionable scenes so the girls are used to us shoving their heads down into the sofa pillows and shouting nonsense syllables until the objectionable material passes. We’re old school that way.)

Anyway, I think movies have an awful lot to teach us if we pick them properly and pay attention to their lessons. After all, they’re just like books, only shorter, less complete, and enjoyable even in the dark. Ha!

Do you have any suggestions? I have to admit I’ve never thought of you as a big time movie guy, but you’ve got that cool home theater setup at the White House, so if you have a fav give us a call, and we’ll bring a copy over for a watch party. But you’ll have to spring for the popcorn.

I’ll keep you up to date each weekend of the summer on our progress, and review the insights we are collecting from the nation’s film legacy. Here’s one to start with from Cool Hand Luke: uh…road work seems tough.

I’ll work on it.



Find more of the Foreman Letters, here.

soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Gail Ellis Duncan

    Ahhhhh, film classics, What about the Africa American classics that are rare and hard to find? I watch them and think of how far we have come.

    June 29, 2009 at 4:03 am |
  2. Dipak R

    Hi Anderson,
    Keep up the good work .people like you and larry king are the true heros who keep us updated .I feel that you are one such reporter who reports well.I always make sure I see your 360 and larry king .yes everyone is reporting on micheal now with good words and i only wish good things were said when micheal is alive.
    I think you and larry are doing a great work as I never head anything bad coming out from you and larry or cnn on micheal
    then we have reporters like martin bashir who went inside micheals life turned things upside down and turns around and says all the good things about him waht a shame,Micheal had a tough life as a kid we all know that .so he was catching on things and he loved kids because he saw himself in them.Nothing wrong with that good people are easy target and micheal was one of them people took money from him the easy way he loved kids look at the end he had his kids by him every one is a kid someway.
    why are people suffering today its because of greed,Look at the world today they say good things about micheal ,play his music and made him like god.micheal was simple person who was soft ,loved people his music which is far ahead of its time with his music.
    media was really unfair on him nailed him at every corner and sold they story well.the power of media can make a person and also can break a person.
    Look at things today we all miss micheal . fans or no fans.
    we never appreciate people when they are alive. only have good things to say when people die.I know media plays important roll and that is why I only see cnn reporting quality reporting without putting anyone down doing the job the clean way.
    Please keep up the good work as CNN is the true media champ.
    I would say like people look up to President Barack Obama as a leader who will bring hope and change the world for better I see CNN as a true leader in reporting who leads the way in true reporting and thank you for being part of our lives .
    CNN is part of my family.
    Thanks Anderson, I know you and other Cnn reporters go out in the dangers zone to keep us posted we apprecaite your true leader efforts /be safe we need you guys.

    June 29, 2009 at 3:49 am |
  3. Karen

    Your the vary reason why CNN is losing viewers.

    CNN should quit politics and go to Entertainment News.

    I was looking at the Nielsen Ratings and CNN actually beat for the first in a long time Fox News by 60,000 viewers on Thursday due to the Michael Jackson death.

    June 29, 2009 at 2:57 am |
  4. Milton Smith

    Mr. President, I don't know about you and I don't know if you can read this or even know I write but, my favorite movie is when the USA takes over the world especially where I live Canada. I love every movie Scarlett Johanson makes. She is so you know, soooo good. Hey NASA said the most oat meal eating guy was just eating away and that's not all you can't get away from a pretty girl with a big rabit. Mmmmm scarlett Johanson is sooooo fine. I love movies and Mr. President life is a story and if your not on the right page your either just a foot note or off the page. Scarlett is off the page if you know what I'm saying.

    June 29, 2009 at 2:06 am |
  5. Sharon S

    I am very ashamed to say I even watch CNN anymore!! Gee guess why?

    It is the MOST ridicdulous reporting I have seen on most TV!

    IS THIS CNN???? I am confused I thought maybe it was ENTERTAINMNET TONIGHT?
    Obsurd that CNN would even run this CRAP!
    DID Obama pay you off???? Well all comes out in the Wash sooner or later!

    June 29, 2009 at 12:55 am |
  6. Indie Flick Chick

    Though, I'm not exactly the one you're asking, haha. I'm sure President Obama enjoys a good Casablanca viewing, too. 😉

    June 28, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  7. Indie Flick Chick

    I love Casablanca! Last summer it played at the independent movie theatre that I worked at and I really enjoyed it. It's a Wonderful Life, is a classic, too, but it might just feel weird to watch a movie about Christmas during the summer. Save it for the holidays. 🙂

    June 28, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  8. Don, WA

    Cool odyssey Tom, can't go wrong with Cool Hand Luke on the list, my favorite. I also like Brando's Mutiny on the Bounty as a favorite. And to throw an oddball in the mix – What's Eating Gilbert Grape.

    June 28, 2009 at 9:19 pm |
  9. Sandra Robertson, GA

    Hi Tom. I don't know about the president, but I have a few classic movie suggestions.
    1. The Grapes of Wrath
    2. Of Mice and Men
    3. Sounder
    4. The Yearling
    5. My Fair Lady
    6. National Velvet
    7. The Old Man and the Sea

    June 28, 2009 at 8:09 pm |
  10. Londa Wilson, NY

    You've left out Casablanca! I may have to watch it right now to wipe this travisty out of my mind.

    June 28, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  11. Donna Wood, Lil' Tennessee

    How about Vertigo or Rear Window. I think if Stephen King is going to be on that list you should also include the Master of Suspense Alfred Hitchcock.

    Donna Wood
    Lexington, Tennessee

    June 28, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  12. Soledad Gomez

    Cool Hand Luke is a good one to start off with I hope your family enjoyed it , it's always been one of my favorites. I think I'll do the same thing you guys are doing that sounds like a good idea.

    June 28, 2009 at 12:57 pm |
  13. Norma Labno


    Tom, I especially enjoyed your "letter" today since I love escaping
    into the world of film, TV, & Sports!

    I have to watch the Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis films again to see if
    they could possibly be as hilarious as I remember.

    I don't know if anyone will remember this film but in "An American
    Dreamer" Jo Beth Williams starred as an an American
    housewife who spent every spare moment writing.

    She won a contest for her writing which took her to Paris to collect
    the honor; was struck by an automobile on the way the "Awards
    Banquet," and awoke from the accident as Rebecca Ryan – a
    character in a book. The film was sheer mayhem from there &
    PERFECT escapist fare!

    It is my offering for the least seen – terrific – American film of a not-
    so- distant era!

    norma from nevada

    June 28, 2009 at 12:50 pm |
  14. Beth from Petaluma

    Tom, I really like your choice in movies. How nice that your family is sharing together this summer the experience of good movies and also sharing history together as well. I suggest you add the film "Glory" to your list and one of my favorite films from the 1940's "The Best Years of Our Lives". I'm interested in knowing what President Obama suggests. Enjoy your movie watching.

    June 28, 2009 at 12:40 pm |
  15. serenity

    I really enjoy your
    . I look forward to reading them everyday.

    June 28, 2009 at 10:57 am |