As the United States of America celebrates it's year of independence, what better way to celebrate than firing up the grill, enjoying a drink (responsibly), and then heading inside and watching a movie. You've got a lot of options, and we at StageBuddy would like to help you narrow the field a little. These are some of our favorite Fourth of July movies separated by genre.
(Some of these movies take place on July 4th, whereas others are just very patriotic.)
What's more American than Will Smith punching an alien in the face and saying "Welcome to Earth!"? Independence Day remains disaster-film director Roland Emmerich's masterwork, even though it is seriously flawed. This alien invasion epic features Will Smith in his first huge summer blockbuster (Bad Boys was a mild success but doesn't match up against ID's $300 million-plus box office) and one of the greatest movie speeches off all time. This is pure fun from beginning to end.
James Cagney stars in this biopic of George M. Cohan, renowned musical composer, playwright, actor, dancer, and singer. Known for his incredible gangster roles in films such as The Public Enemy and White Heat, Cagney surprises us with an Oscar winning performance as he sings and dances his way through this massive delight. Yankee Doodle Dandy also won Oscars for Best Sound and Best Music, and was nominated for Best Picture. Even if you don't consider yourself a musical-lover, you'll enjoy this film. Just watch this clip of Cagney tap-dancing down a flight of steps and tell me you don't love it.
There likely wouldn't be an Independence Day if it wasn't for Jaws, largely considered to be the first summer blockbuster. With the fourth of July drawing near, police chief Brody enlists the help of a marine biologist and a salty, sea-dog fisherman to hunt a Great White shark that is terrorizing the beach of Amity island. Jaws has become a cultural icon, especially its' instantly recognizable score by John Williams.
South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker have some fun with marionettes in Team America: World Police. This over-the-top tribute/indictment of American machismo is as funny as it is bizarre. Honestly, the official MPAA rating says it best: "Rated R for graphic crude and sexual humor, violent images, and strong language - all involving puppets."
It's not Marvel's best effort, but it's about a superhero created by the American government to be the face of America during World War II. He wears red, white, and blue and punches Nazi's. His name is Captain America. How much more American can you get?
This is American patriotism from a different perspective. As I jokingly refer to in some above entries, it's become common for American patriotism to be synonymous with America kicking ass. On the flip side, patriotism can also refer to exercising your American rights to support a cause you believe in, even if it is "against" America. Born on the Fourth of July is the true story of Ron Kovic, a paralyzed Vietnam vet that became a fervent anti-war advocate. The film earned an Oscar for director Oliver Stone, and a nomination for lead actor Tom Cruise.
In 2008, HBO premiered the seven episode series John Adams, an account of Founding Father John Adams' role in America's early years. Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney are masterful in their Emmy and Golden Globe winning roles as John and Abigail Adams. The series follows Adams through the major events of his 91-year life, including his defense of the British troops after the Boston Massacre in 1770 and all the way to his death on July 4th, 1826. Adams' last words were "Thomas Jefferson survives." Little did he know, Jefferson had died hours before, also on July 4th.