Washington, DC is at the confluence of power, money, and politics. So, it’s a natural setting for some great movies. Now lots of movies take place in Washington, but not all of those are filmed here. Brooklyn, Baltimore, and Richmond often stand in for DC since getting permission to film here has become increasingly difficult. So, I want to share with you what I think are some of the best movies shot here on location in the District.
Advise and Consent is a great cold war drama from 1962 based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Allen Dury. It’s unique among all DC movies in that it is filmed on the Capitol grounds, in a Senate hearing room, and in the Senate chamber. Something that would never happen today. I like scene where Henry Fonda explains how in Washington lying is telling the truth.
All the President’s Men From 1976, the true thriller about how two Washington Post reporters broke the Watergate story. Even though we all know how the story ends, the danger feels palpable as Woodward and Bernstein sink deeper into the swamp of Nixon’s crimes. What helps make it so compelling is shooting much of it in DC. My favorite scene is the one shot in the main reading room of the Library of Congress. It shows the David v. Goliath nature of the story as the two reporters, portrayed by Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford, take on Nixon’s White House.
No Way Out is a 1987 spy thriller with a shocking twist. If you see this movie, make sure you watch the first and last five minutes, it’s key to understanding everything. This is the film that launched Kevin Costner as a major star. It’s shot all over town. The Department of the Interior stands in for the Pentagon, you can see it’s distinctive black and white tile floor. And there’s an actor playing a politician who will later be a politician. The actor Fred Thompson would later be a senator from Tennessee. The one mistake No Way Out makes is when Kevin Costner says he going to the Georgetown Metro station. As every District resident knows, there is no Metro stop in Georgetown.