“Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” (1939): Despite the title, a Los Angeles soundstage was the main setting — but you wouldn’t know it from watching — of the Frank Capra-directed classic about a novice politician (James Stewart) who learns how some of the big boys play.
“The Day the Earth Stood Still” (1951): Earthlings, if you want to ensure that the Lincoln Memorial remains intact, do not mess with alien visitor Klaatu (Michael Rennie) and his towering, death-ray-firing robot Gort.
“The Exorcist” (1973): Washington’s Georgetown section gets big play in director William Friedkin’s chilling version of William Peter Blatty’s novel.
“All the President’s Men” (1976): Shots of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein (Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman) racing through the nation’s capital at all hours lend authenticity to the Oscar-winning docudrama of how the reporters broke the Watergate scandal.
“Broadcast News” (1987): A D.C. television newsroom is home base for writer-director James L. Brooks’ great comedy-drama about a romantic triangle (William Hurt, Holly Hunter, Albert Brooks) that spills over into such settings as Dulles International Airport.
“In the Line of Fire” (1993): After failing to save President John F. Kennedy, a Secret Service veteran (Clint Eastwood) tries to ensure the same fate doesn’t befall another Oval Office occupant.
“Quiz Show” (1994): A congressional hearing on the game show scandals of the late 1950s fuels the latter portion of director Robert Redford’s excellent drama, with the parting shot between stars Ralph Fiennes and Rob Morrow a particular standout among Washington-set scenes.
“The American President” (1995): Relatively little of director Rob Reiner’s vastly entertaining comedy-drama actually was filmed in Washington, but the movie maintains a feel of being there as the chief executive (Michael Douglas) courts a lobbyist (Annette Bening).
“State of Play” (2009): A reporter and a blogger (Russell Crowe, Rachel McAdams) scour Washington – shown in bountiful location filming – while probing the death of a politician’s (Ben Affleck) mistress in this underrated version of an acclaimed British miniseries.