Academy Award Winning Movies Filmed in Washington, DC

Autumn sunset over National Mall as seen from top of US Capitol, Washington DC
••• Autumn sunset over National Mall as seen from top of US Capitol, Washington DC. Getty Images/Danita Delimont

Dozens of movies, some deemed as classics, have been filmed in Washington, DC over the years. Here are the ones that have won Academy Awards.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) - Best Screenplay

Idealistic young Jefferson Smith is appointed to the U.S Senate and is mentored by Senator Joseph Paine who isn't as noble as his reputation would indicate. He becomes involved in a scheme to discredit Smith, who wants to build a boys' campsite where a more lucrative project could go.

Determined to stand up against Paine and his corrupt peers, Smith takes his case to the Senate floor.

The More the Merrier (1943) - Best Supporting Actor, Charles Coburn

Due to a housing shortage in Washington, DC during World War II, Connie Milligan agrees to rent part of her apartment to wealthy retiree Benjamin Dingle and soldier Joe Carter. Although Connie is engaged to Charles Pendergast, she becomes fond of Joe. When Dingle notices their interests in each other, he attempts to play matchmaker -- but instead, causes problems for all.

Born Yesterday (1950) - Best Actress, Judy Holliday

Businessman Harry Brock descends upon Washington DC to buy himself a congressman or two, bringing with him his mistress, ex-showgirl Billie Dawn. Brock hires newspaperman Paul Verrall to teach her etiquette and make her more presentable in capital society. But sparks soon fly between the pair and Billie realizes that Harry is nothing but a two-bit, corrupt crook.

The Exorcist (1973) - Sound, Adapted Screenplay

This classic horror movie is the tale a 12-year old who when she starts acting odd -- levitating, speaking in tongues -- her worried mother seeks help from a local priest who requests to perform an exorcism, and the church sends in an expert to help with the difficult job.

A scene on a stairway in Georgetown has made the site famous. Several sequels to the movie were produced.

All the President's Men (1976) Best Supporting Actor - Jason Robards, Art Direction, Sound, and Adapted Screenplay

The movie tells the story of the 1974 Watergate Scandal. Two young reporters for The Washington Post, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, research the botched 1972 burglary of the Democratic Party Headquarters at the Watergate apartment complex. With the help of a mysterious source, code-named Deep Throat, the two reporters make a connection between the burglars and a White House staffer.

Being There (1979) - Best Supporting Actor - Melvyn Douglas

Chance, a gardener who has resided in the Washington, DC, townhouse of his wealthy employer for his entire life and been educated only by television, is forced to vacate his home when his boss dies. While wandering the streets, he encounters business mogul Ben Rand who assumes Chance to be a fellow upper-class gentleman. Soon Chance is ushered into high society.

The Stone Carvers (1984) - Best Documentary (Short Subjects)

The film examines some of the last stone carvers working in the United States, those completing the sculptures adorning the Washington National Cathedral.

JFK (1991) - Best Cinematography, Film Editing

The movie presents the investigation into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy led by New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison. After the killing of suspected assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, Garrison reopens the investigation, finding evidence of an extensive conspiracy behind Kennedy's death.

The Silence of the Lambs (1991) - Best Actor - Anthony Hopkins, Actress - Jodie Foster, Director - Jonathan Demme, Best Picture, and Adapted Screenplay

 A student at the FBI's training academy interviews Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a brilliant psychiatrist who is also a violent psychopath, serving life behind bars for various acts of murder and cannibalism. 

Forrest Gump (1994) - Best Actor - Tom Hanks, Director - Robert Zemeckis, Visual Effects, Editing, Picture, and Adapted Screenplay

The film depicts the life of Forrest Gump, a slow-witted and naïve man from Alabama who witnesses some of the defining events of the latter half of the 20th century while inspiring people with his childlike optimism.

Independence Day (1996) - Best Visual Effects

The disaster film focuses on a disparate group of people who converge in the Nevada desert in the aftermath of a destructive alien attack and, along with the rest of the human population, participate in a last-chance counterattack on July 4th.

Traffic (2000) - Best Supporting Actor - Benicio Del Toro, Director - Steven Soderbergh, Editing, Adapted Screenplay

The movie is set in the world of drug trafficking. A conservative judge is appointed by the President to spearhead America's war against drugs, only to discover that his teenage daughter is an addict.