News & Politics

The Most Washington Movie Ever: Final Battle

It's All the President's Men versus Thank You for Smoking. Vote now!

All the President's Men via Warner Bros. Thank You for Smoking via Fox Searchlight.

This is it! After weeks of voting, the quest to find the Most Washington Movie Ever has arrived at its end. And even though some of us will never get over the fact that DC Cab got knocked out, the concluding matchup is pretty good. The final contest pits All the President’s Men against Thank You for Smoking.

All the President’s Men, in which two reporters help take down a president, sliced down its previous competition with lightsaber-like cleanliness. For a while it looked like it might face Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, but the Jimmy Stewart classic couldn’t beat Jason Reitman’s 2006 adaptation of a Christopher Buckley novel in which a tobacco lobbyist quits the cigarette business but doesn’t quit peddling influence. Call it a triumph of modern cynicism over Recession-era hayseed optimism.

Before we go to the voting, though, a review of the two remaining contenders:

All the President’s Men

What’s Washington About It: After Deep Throat and the legend of a strategically placed flowerpot, the Washington Post became a genuine rival to the New York Times. As Jason Robards‘s Ben Bradlee character would have said: Nothing’s riding on this contest except the First Amendment, freedom of the press, and maybe the future of the country. (Harrison Smith)

Thank You for Smoking

What’s Washington About It: A tobacco lobbyist sleeps with a reporter, gets burned by the resulting article, and realizes the tobacco industry is bad and crooked, but not lobbying itself. You can quit smoking, but you can’t quit the hustle.

Polls close at midnight. Vote early, vote often, and, as always, vote not for the movie you think was better but for the movie that most fits what you know about Washington.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.