Don’t know why I find this so interesting, but I do, so I might as well share it with you folks.
It seems Carter was more eager to watch movies than Reagan, and more apt to watch older movies – which isn’t what I would have guessed, given Reagan’s background in show business. Maybe Reagan found it distracting to watch films starring his former associates; maybe he just enjoyed keeping current. (Don’t get me wrong, Reagan did of course watch some classics – Hitchcock films seem to have been a favorite – but Carter watched mostly older films plus some current films, while Reagan was the reverse. Although maybe it just seems that way because Reagan’s list doesn’t include the dates the films were made).
Of course, both of them saw many movies I’m fond of. No telling if they liked those movies – it’s possible that Carter walked out of Alien going “man, what a stinker!” It seems likely that any old classics they screened were favorites that they had seen before; in which case, Reagan and I both like Rear Window and Singin’ in the Rain, and Carter and I both like the Marx Brothers.
I wouldn’t have guessed that Reagan was into Woody Allen’s films, but Allen comes up often on Reagan’s list (Mid-Summer Night’s Sex Comedy, Zelig, Broadway Danny Rose, Purple Rose of Cairo, Hannah and her Sisters, and Radio Days). Possibly more than any other director, although I’m not enough of a film buff to be sure (or any sort of film buff, really).
Both Presidents watched a number of musicals, and both watched at least a couple of Star Wars/Star Treks, in case you were wondering.
And Reagan did screen Bedtime for Bonzo once, I assume as a gag for his guests at Camp David – or maybe Nancy arranged the screening as a prank on her husband.