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Interview: Dissecting the past and present portrayals of Lincoln

Daniel Day-Lewis in the film,
Daniel Day-Lewis in the film, "Lincoln."
Daniel Day-Lewis in the film,
Henry Fonda in "Young Mr. Lincoln."

This interview aired on KPCC's Off-Ramp

Everyone in this country has carried his face in their pockets — on the penny and the five-dollar bill. And they carry his image in their brains. Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, the man who saved the union and was assassinated after his moment of triumph.

But Lincoln served so long ago, at a time with limited pictures and recordings, we don't know what he really was like.

The first film about Lincoln "The Reprieve: An Episode in the Life of Abraham Lincoln," released in 1908. The latest is the bio-pic "Lincoln," directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Daniel Day-Lewis. 150 years since his term in office, Lincoln still belongs to every era. 

Just how difficult is it to get Lincoln right on film? How close does Daniel Day-Lewis get in this latest addition to the portrayals of Lincoln?

2012's "Lincoln," starring Daniel Day-Lewis

Raymond Massey in 1940's "Abe Lincoln in Illinois"

Henry Fonda in 1939's "Young Mr. Lincoln"



Harold Holzer, content consultant on "Lincoln," and author of ‘’Emancipating Lincoln”

Ronald C. White Jr., Lincoln biographer, author of  "Lincoln’s Greatest Speech’’