15 Patriotic Movies Perfect For the Fourth of July
03rd July, 2020
15 Patriotic Movies Perfect For the Fourth of July
Sony Pictures Releasing
Nothing screams Independence Day louder than a Hollywood flick about America and its great history. Grab a beer, unwind, and enjoy these patriotic movies. Nine out of ten Independence Day celebrations feature BBQs, star-spangled decorations, and parades. The pattern has been pretty much set ever since the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain, and it doesn’t look like it’s changing anytime soon. However, there's no reason why you can't add a new tradition to your celebrations. So this year, after a day's worth of festivities in the sun, sit back and enjoy a movie or two. Here are a few patriotic movies you can watch this Fourth of July!
Independence Day (1996)
20th Century Fox
Independence Day (1996)
If you are looking to watch a quintessential Fourth of July film that fills you with American pride, this is definitely the one. Independence Day, co-written and directed by Roland Emmerich, is an action-filled summer movie that delivers even after 25 years of its release. The sci-fi action film unravels the events that follow a worldwide attack by an extraterrestrial race. The goal is clear: total devastation over the Fourth of July weekend. The people of major cities are forced to dig deep and find their survival instincts. After the U.S. government converges all the survivors and takes them to Area 51, they hatch a plan to bring down the alien forces. The face-off between the survivors and the aliens begins on the Fourth of July. Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, and James Robert Rebhorn play the central characters who are the driving force behind the mission to fight the aliens. The movie did well at the box office despite receiving mixed reviews, earning over $800 million worldwide, and won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. It’s one of those movies we cannot stop watching! It's now streaming on Amazon Prime and iTunes.
Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
Sony Pictures Releasing
Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
The Fourth of July isn’t the right time to remember 9/11, but it’s the perfect occasion to commemorate the military’s brave mission of taking down the former Al-Qaeda chief and one of the most dreaded names in the country, Osama bin Laden. Zero Dark Thirty is based on a true story that chronicles a decade-long chase for bin Laden--the brain behind the September 11 terror attacks.

Two U.S. presidential administrations make it their mission to seize the terrorist; however, it is the tenacious Maya, a CIA intelligence analyst played by Jessica Chastain, who makes it possible to track down bin Laden's place of hiding. Navy SEALs eventually initiate a secret nighttime strike, killing the chief in his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The movie takes you through the finer details of the gruelling mission. While the film received tremendous critical acclaim and excellent reviews, it came under fire for certain aspects. You can watch this war drama on Netflix and Hulu.

Lincoln (2012)
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Lincoln (2012)
This Steven Spielberg movie, starring Daniel Day-Lewis as President Abraham Lincoln, explains how the 16th American Head of State abolished slavery through the 13th Amendment. Tony Kushner's screenplay is loosely based on Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, a biography by Doris Kearns Goodwin. It sheds light on the final four months of Lincoln's life and his efforts to eradicate slavery and involuntary servitude by having the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution passed by the United States House of Representatives.

The movie also highlights President Lincoln's dispute with his own cabinet to end slavery, all while the American Civil War continues to rage at full throttle. As the country gets to grips with its conscience over the freedom of its entire population, the president has his own dilemma--end slavery or end the war. Powerful performances and gripping direction made the film a megahit, as it collected over $275.3 million at the box office. The movie stars David Strathairn, Sally Field, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Hal Holbrook, James Spader, and Tommy Lee Jones in pivotal roles and is available on Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Air Force One (1997)
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Air Force One (1997)
Air Force One, directed by Wolfgang Petersen, the man behind the warfare classic Das Boot, is a political thriller featuring Harrison Ford as President James Marshall, who was once involved in the Vietnam War. While on the way back to the country, Air Force One is hijacked by a group of Kazakhstani terrorists led by Ivan Korshunov. This happens after the president promises to not negotiate with terrorists at a diplomatic dinner in Moscow, Russia. While the Vice President negotiates with the terrorists from Washington D.C, Marshall is forced to put his principles to the test and now has to devise a plan to free the plane from its perpetrators.

Korshunov's group plans to kill one hostage every half-hour until its demands are met; however, the terrorists are in for a surprise because the president is a tough cookie and a former Medal of Honor winner. The movie can be streamed on Amazon Prime and Netflix this Independence Day. It received positive reviews and did well at the box office, earning over $300 million. It features Gary Oldman, Wendy Crewson, Xander Berkeley, Glenn Close, Dean Stockwell, William H. Macy, and Paul Guilfoyle in supporting roles.

Forrest Gump (1994)
Paramount Pictures
Forrest Gump (1994)
Based on Winston Groom’s novel of the same name, the comedy-drama stars Tom Hanks as a person with a relatively low IQ and physical disability, whose only desire is to be reunited with his childhood love, Jenny. After all, he and Jenny go "together like peas and carrots." However, life takes unwanted turns as he witnesses historical events in the country. What makes this movie truly endearing to watch is Hanks' portrayal as Forrest, the “wise fool.” His acting prowess makes us root for and believe in the character. We, too, get to view things in a less addled way through Forrest's childlike perception. Forrest Gump created a buzz at the box office and earned over $677 million worldwide during its theatrical run, making it the second highest-grossing film of 1994 after The Lion King. It won six Academy Awards, and Hanks bagged the award for Best Actor. Did you know? John Travolta was offered the role of Forrest; however, he turned it down because he didn’t find the script compelling enough. Well, we are not complaining because Hanks nailed the role, and how! If you are up for a cheeky political and social satire, don't forget to check this movie out on Amazon Prime and Netflix.
National Treasure (2004)
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
National Treasure (2004)
Stories about a certain treasure hidden in remote places and protected by witches, monsters, and what-not are nothing new. Benjamin Franklin Gates or Ben, played by Nicholas Cage, is inspired by a similar search in this Jon Turteltaub action-adventure film. Ben, who comes from a long line of historians, intends to find a treasure hidden away in the country. The clues leading to the treasure chest are, however, ciphered and scattered all over the country.

The plot involves stealing the Declaration of Independence as a key component to landing the greatest treasure on earth. Unfortunately, when his accomplice Ian Howe, played by Sean Bean, betrays him, Ben has to make sure he gets his hands on the document before Howe does. What ensues is an action-filled adventure to find the most valuable treasure in history. Watch the movie for the entertainment and action sequence without focusing too much on the screenplay. It is available on Disney+, Amazon Prime, and iTunes.

Hamilton (2020)
Disney+
Hamilton (2020)
What better way to celebrate the Fourth of July than watch a musical about one of the Founding Fathers of America? Hamilton, created by Lin Manuel Miranda, sheds light on the events in the life of Alexander Hamilton, with bits and pieces about the former presidents George Washington, James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson, which adds even more charm to the story. The 2020 American historical fiction musical drama film includes a live stage recording of the 2015 Broadway musical of the same name.

The musical has two acts: the first chronicles Hamilton’s journey to becoming the Secretary of Treasury of the newly-formed United States of America, and the second act focuses on Hamilton's journey after he takes up his newfound position as the Secretary of State, with James Madison, a friend and fellow Cabinet member. The musical was very well received and won many prestigious honors, including the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. You can stream Hamilton on Disney+ this Independence Day.

The American President (1995)
Columbia Pictures
The American President (1995)
This quintessential romantic film, set in a political backdrop, is regarded as one of America’s Greatest Love Stories. The American President stars Academy Award winner Michael Douglas as President Andrew Shepherd, a widower who is nearing the end of his first term. His reelection is all but ensured until he meets Sydney Ellen Wade, played by Annette Bening, a paid political activist working for an environmental lobby group. The two hit it off, but the President’s image is at risk, as his supporters question the relationship.

Shepherd ignores that to follow his heart and date Sydney, which gives his political opponent, Senator Bob Rumson, played by Richard Dreyfuss, the opportunity to attack the President's character and steal a march on him in the Presidential race. The movie is a fun watch, and Douglas seems to be the perfect pick for this role. Did you know? The actor is actually distantly related to quite a few U.S. Presidents. He is associated with the Bush family, Richard Nixon, and Barack Obama through their common English Baldwin ancestry. If you are up for a light comedy-drama, check out the movie on Amazon Prime.

The Patriot (2000)
Columbia Pictures
The Patriot (2000)
Based on fictional events surrounding the American Revolutionary War, The Patriot stars Heath Ledger and Mel Gibson in lead roles. Gibson plays Benjamin Martin, a character that couldn’t be more different from him: a widowed farmer haunted by his harsh military past. Benjamin wants to forget all that and live peacefully on his farm. Meanwhile, his sons, Gabriel and Thomas, who wish to join the fight against Great Britain, enroll in the newly formed Continental Army.

Gabriel enters the war but is murdered by Colonel William Tavington, played by Jason Isaacs. This angers Benjamin, and he decides to renounce his newfound pacifist principles and join the war by leading the Colonial Militia against the British. The Patriot did fairly well at the box office, collecting over $215 million. Some of the historical sequences in the movie sparked controversy, but that didn’t hamper its box office revenue. You can stream the film on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu.

Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Paramount Pictures
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan is undoubtedly one of the best movies out there as far as war classics go. It is chilling and full of emotion, and the movie is a reminder of just how far humanity can go if it decides to help one another. The movie stars Matt Demon as Private James Ryan, a paratrooper who has lost his three brothers in the war. While his mother is about to receive a telegram informing him about the death of her three sons, the United States Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall is keen to save her fourth son.

He sends a group of soldiers, led by Captain Miller, played by Tom Hanks, to rescue Private Ryan and bring him home. The mission, however, is dangerous, as the soldiers must go behind the enemy lines. Saving Private Ryan was a massive success and has been preserved in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." It was tremendously successful for the depth and intensity of the many visuals. Watch it on Amazon Prime or Netflix.

Red Dawn (1984)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Red Dawn (1984)
A sudden attack by Soviet troops on a school compels a group of teenagers to flee into the wilderness. They are forced to survive the chilling cold as the Soviet K.G.B. patrols the area to capture those who dare to resist. After killing a group of Soviet soldiers in the highlands, the kids decide to defend their land and town and begin their own guerrilla warfare under the banner of “Wolverines!” Charlie Sheen, Jennifer Grey, Patrick Swayze, and Christopher Thomas Howell, among others, are leading members of the cast and portray their roles beautifully.

Here's a fun fact: Red Dawn was banned in Finland because it had excessive violence and was "too anti-Soviet." This John Milius movie made over $38 million—more than double its production cost. Impressive, right? If a teenage action film is what you are craving this Independence Day, go ahead and stream Red Dawn on Amazon Prime or iTunes.

A League of Their Own (1992)
Columbia Pictures
A League of Their Own (1992)
It wouldn’t be Independence Day without any sports films, would it? Directed by Penny Marshall, the 1992 comedy-drama narrates how Jimmy, a former baseball star, is made to manage the Peaches, the first female professional baseball league, in which two sisters, Dottie and Kit, played by Geena Davis and Lori Petty, respectively, are drafted. Dottie becomes a world-beater and almost single-handedly saves the league from closure.

The film, featuring Tom Hanks and Madonna in pivotal roles, was preserved in the National Film Registry back in 2012. We wonder how the film would turn out if Brooke Shields weren't written out as the lead female role after the writer's strike in 1988. That said, we are glad Geena Davis got to play Dottie because she made the movie memorable. If you are up for some good ol' female-driven sports action film, tune in on Amazon Prime and iTunes and give this one a whirl!

Glory (1989)
TriStar Pictures
Glory (1989)
Despite being a war movie, Glory has more emotions than guns. Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, and Matthew Broderick take up leading roles in this true story centered around the Civil War's first all-Black regiment. Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, played by Matthew Broderick, is a white officer serving the Federal Army during the Civil War. He volunteers to lead the first regiment of Black soldiers, despite facing prejudices from his own group and the Confederates, who had received orders to kill commanding officers of Shaw's union.

Glory wasn’t a big office success, but it received smashing reviews. It was nominated for five Academy Awards, of which it won three. It also won the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, the Golden Globe Awards, the Kansas City Film Critics Circle, the Political Film Society, and the NAACP Image Awards. The movie is available for viewing on Netflix, iTunes, and Amazon Prime.

Hidden Figures (2016)
20th Century Studios
Hidden Figures (2016)
The Fourth of July is about heroes: men, women, or anybody, who played a role, no matter how big or small, to get the United States of America where it finds itself today. Theodore Melfi’s Hidden Figures honors three such African American female mathematicians—Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Katherine Johnson—who worked through the numbers to get the NASA astronauts into space. The three geniuses, known as "human computers," quickly rose the ranks at NASA, despite facing resistance due to their gender and race. The movie features Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe as Katherine, Dorothy, and Mary, respectively.

Here's a fun fact: Paul Stafford, played by Jim Parsons, and Vivian Mitchell, played by Kirsten Dunst, are not based on actual people. Instead, both characters are a blend of various team members who worked at NASA. Their roles were created to highlight the almost-dismissive attitudes held by a few white co-workers during the 1960s.Hidden Figures was a grand success, both commercially and critically. It made over $235 million worldwide and received three Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. Head over to iTunes or Amazon Prime to watch this cinematic beauty.

Born on the Fourth of July (1989)
Universal Pictures
Born on the Fourth of July (1989)
The transformation of Ron Kovic from a U.S. Marine to an anti-war activist is what this movie is all about. Ron Kovic served the country in the deadly Vietnam War, where he was wounded and later paralyzed. He was awarded the Bronze Star with Combat "V" for heroism in battle and the Purple Heart, but none of that could deter him from the path he had now chosen. Based on Kovic's 1976 autobiography, the Tom Cruise starrer paints a magnificent picture that explains Kovic’s suffering in the Vietnam War and why he now vehemently hates the concept of conflict altogether.

The anti-war activist wrote the screenplay for the movie, which won him the Golden Globe Award in January 1990. Oliver Stone bagged the Academy Award for Best Director, while Tom Cruise received a nomination for Best Actor. Born on the Fourth of July also had commercial success, earning over $161 million. The film is perfect for watching with your family this Independence Day and is available on Hulu and Amazon Prime.