9 Scenes From Film and TV of the Lincoln Memorial on Better Days

The Lincoln Memorial offers a memorable setting for movies and TV shows.

(J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
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It's a bummer to see the Lincoln Memorial vandalized, as authorities found it Friday. Not only is the marble memorial a stirring tribute to the 16th president, who ended slavery and saved the Union, it has also served as a pivotal scene in a number of movies and television shows – offering the heroes inspiration, solace or a place to watch the sunrise. Whatever stirred the perpetrator to splatter Honest Abe with green paint is beyond us. Let's remember the Lincoln Memorial on its better days, as it appeared in these nine movies and television shows (listed in chronological order):

1. "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" (1939): On his first day in Washington to serve as a U.S. senator, Jefferson Smith visits the Lincoln Memorial (1 minute, 40 seconds in), where a small boy reads the words of the Gettysburg Address.

 

2. "Forrest Gump" (1994): Forrest Gump has an emotional reunion with his love, Jenny, at a Vietnam War peace rally in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

 

3. "Nixon" (1995): Richard Nixon (played by Anthony Hopkins) defends his conservative values beneath Lincoln's statue in this Oliver Stone film.

 

4. "Planet of the Apes" (2001): In the finale of this sci-fi remake, Leo Davidson returns to Earth only to find that it has been taken over by primates, as evidenced by "Ape Lincoln."

5: "Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde" (2003): Elle Woods has a tearful heart-to-heart with Abraham Lincoln's statue.

6. "Team America" (2004): During the ballad of "Freedom Isn't Free" in this irreverent puppet comedy, Gary contemplates the meaning of freedom in front of the Lincoln Memorial and other Washington landmarks.

 

7. "Wedding Crashers" (2005): What a better start to this raucous comedy than John Beckwith and Jeremy Grey watching the sunrise and drinking champagne on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial?

 

8. "The West Wing" (2004): After attending the funeral of a former president, President Jed Bartlet makes a pilgrimage (3 minutes, 20 seconds in) to the Lincoln Memorial in the final scene of this Season 5 episode "Stormy Present," which borrows its title from the Lincolnism, "The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present."

 

9. "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian" (2009): The statue of Lincoln himself gets involved in the shenanigans of the film, about Washington, D.C., museums and memorials that come to life at night.

 

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