9 Patriotic Movies For Independence Day That Are Perfect If You're Planning A Night In
Every year on the fourth day of the seventh month, Americans celebrate their country's independence with quintessentially American things like beer, hot dogs, fireworks, and freedom. But what's more American than any of those things? Why, Hollywood, of course! There are tons of patriotic movies to celebrate Independence Day with, so if your holiday plans get interrupted by a wayward storm cloud — or if you want to escape the crowded parks and beaches by staying at home all day — there's no better way to honor your country than by partaking in one of its most lucrative industries: movies.
There are plenty of ways to choose the perfect film to watch for July 4. They can actually take place on the holiday, they can deal with themes of patriotism (and/or jingoism), or they can simply have the word "America" in the title. As long as America has been making movies, America has been making movies about America, so we all have no dearth of options to choose from. The following nine titles are just a small sampling of the holiday-appropriate films that are out there, so pick one — or two, or three — and sit back and bask in some old-fashioned national pride.
1. 1776 (1972)
Based on the successful 1969 Broadway musical, this adaptation tells the story of John Adams and his efforts to persuade the Second Continental Congress to sign the Declaration Of Independence. If you've ever wanted to hear the likes of Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson belt show tunes, this is your chance. Song selections include "Sit Down, John" and "Piddle, Twiddle And Resolve." (Yes, really.)
2. Born On The Fourth Of July (1989)
Tom Cruise earned his first of three Oscar nominations for his portrayal of paralyzed Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic in this Oliver Stone picture. The subject matter may be a bit heavier than most people want from such a rah-rah holiday, but sometimes it's important to sit down and confront the difficult truths that lie beneath our country's surface.
3. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
What's more American than Captain America? Nothing — it's hard to beat The First Avenger in terms of sheer patriotism. Just check out the mid-film performance of "Star-Spangled Man" for some good old-fashioned stars-and-stripes pride.
4. Independence Day (1996)
Of course, if all you're looking for from your Fourth Of July movie experience is some cut-and-dry us-versus-them shoot-em-up action, you really can't beat Roland Emmerich's magnum opus of alien invasion. What could be better than finishing off your apple pie while listening to Bill Pullman's president give his epic speech: "We will not go quietly into the night. We will not vanish without a fight. We're going to live on. We're going to survive. Today we celebrate our Independence Day!" *chills*
5. Jaws (1975)
You've spent the day relaxing at the beach, basking in the sun, and splashing through the waves. Now it's time to unwind with a bowl of popcorn and some genuinely pulse-pounding terror. I hope you enjoyed your last day in the ocean, because you'll probably never go back in again after re-watching the classic Steven Spielberg film that single-handedly kick-started the summer blockbuster phenomenon we all know and love. Oh, and Jaws takes place on the Fourth Of July itself, just for bonus points.
6. Live Free Or Die Hard (2007)
This recent fourthquel does for July 4 what the original Die Hard did for Christmas. Instead of battling German terrorists in a skyscraper during a company holiday party, John McClane finds himself battling American hackers throughout Washington, D.C. throughout Independence Day weekend. "Yippee ki-yay" indeed.
7. The Music Man (1962)
Not only does this classic movie musical take place on the Fourth Of July, but its plot involving a dashing con man, a lovely librarian, a stuttering schoolboy, and a marching band — all colliding in the small town of River City, Iowa — is a picture-perfect artifact of red-white-and-blue Americana. (Those iconic "76 trombones"? A clear symbol for the year 1776.)
8. Team America: World Police (2004)
"America, f*** yeah!" That just about sums up the ethos of this satirical puppet-action-comedy from the creators of South Park. Perfect for background-watching while shotgunning cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon on the porch and setting off firecrackers in the backyard.
9. Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
This seminal film from the Golden Age of Hollywood, which won James Cagney the Academy Award for Best Actor, tells the true story of George M. Cohan, "The Man Who Owned Broadway," the composer behind the catchy eponymous tune, and pretty much the most quintessentially American man who ever lived.
Now, go forth and celebrate the independence of the country right: with popcorn, and a stack of movies. Happy July 4!
Images: Twentieth Century Fox