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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 August, 2003, 11:08 GMT 12:08 UK
Presidents choose High Noon
High Noon
High Noon starred Gary Cooper
The Western High Noon has emerged as one of the most popular films requested by US presidents for screening in the White House.

The Gary Cooper classic was watched by Bill Clinton 20 times, while Dwight Eisenhower watched it three times, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Among other favourite movies presidents have used to temporarily take their minds off running the country are Casablanca, The Bridge on the River Kwai and Audrey Hepburn's Sabrina and Roman Holiday.

The presidential preferences have been revealed in a documentary, All the Presidents' Films, which will be screened in the US on Thursday.

The documentary used as its basis a log kept by the official White House projectionist between 1953-1986, Paul Fisher.


He kept a register of 5,000 films he screened during his service for seven presidents.

The executive producer of the documentary, Burt Kearns, said the popularity of High Noon in the White House can easily be explained.

"The film can be seen as a metaphor for the president," he told the Los Angeles Times.

"The main character of High Noon is a glamorous figure, a man who does what he has to do.

George W Bush
Mr Bush is said to be a fan of Austin Powers

"He's a man alone, who has to do the right thing. He's what you think the president would imagine himself to be."

Jimmy Carter emerged as the president who watched the most films, requesting 580 films including Midnight Cowboy.

And in the week of 1970 when the US began its secret bombing of Cambodia, Richard Nixon watched the war movie Patten twice.


The documentary also reveals that after watching the 1983 TV mini-series The Day After, former actor Ronald Reagan sent some notes on how he felt the film should be edited to director Nicholas Meyer.

But Mr Meyer was apparently so offended by the interference that he tore up the notes.

Although projectionist Mr Fisher left the White House before the arrival of Mr Clinton and George W Bush, the documentary managed to uncover some of their movie-watching habits.

Mr Bush's favourite film is said to be Steven Spielberg's Oscar winner Saving Private Ryan, while other screening requests include Field of Dreams and Austin Powers.

The eclectic taste of Mr Clinton's viewing ranged from the epics Schindler's List and The English Patient to Baz Luhrmann's romantic comedy Strictly Ballroom.

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