(PCM) Grills are firing up across the country and fireworks are being arranged today as America’s United States gear up to celebrate the Fourth of July, despite some impending showers and cloudy skies.
In case the weather doesn’t clear up, we here at PCM wanted to provide you with a list of the best films to celebrate USA’s Independence Day inside, so pop some popcorn, grab the pigs-in-a-blanket, and hunker down for some of cinema’s greatest celebrations of and homages to the USA.
Let us know if we failed to include your favorite patriotic film!
What’s more American than Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum saving America and the rest of the planet from world-dominating aliens on Independence Day? This 1996 Best Visual Effects Oscar-winner is a classic and includes one of the best and cheesiest shots of the White House being blasted into a million little pieces. Catch Independence Day on AMC, where it’ll be showing all day long.
Mel Gibson stars in this 2000 Academy Award-nominated historical drama as peaceful farmer Benjamin Martin, a reluctant leader of the Colonial Militia fighting to defend his land and country during the American Revolution after a British officer murders his son.
A much bigger hit with audiences than with critics, 2004’s National Treasure is an action/adventure starring Nicolas Cage as Benjamin Franklin Gates, a third generation treasure hunter on the hunt for a fabled treasure hidden by America’s Founding Fathers. In order to crack a centuries old mystery and find the treasure, Gates has to steal the Declaration of Independence. Chock full of fun conspiracy theories based on the founding of our country, National Treasure is a great PG way to celebrate with the whole family.
An American classic, Forrest Gump won six Oscars in 1995 for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Writing, Best Film Editing, and Best Visual Effects. Take a nostalgic trip through America’s 20th Century as Forrest fights in Vietnam, meets several Presidents, becomes a shrimping tycoon, inspires the nation with his running, and searches for his childhood sweetheart, Jenny.
A musical retelling of the American Revolution’s political struggle in the Continental Congress to declare independence. One of the lesser-known entries on this list, 1776 earned an Oscar nomination for Best Cinematography in 1972.
Born on the Fourth of July
Writer-Director Oliver Stone won an Oscar for 1989’s Born on the Fourth of July, a biographical account of the true story of Ron Kovic, an idealistic small-town athlete whose decision to enlist in the Marines and fight in Vietnam changes his life irreparably. After a horrible turn of events leaves Kovic distraught and paralyzed from the waist down, he returns home and becomes incredibly disillusioned and depressed. Eventually tuning his life around, Kovic becomes an outspoken anti-war activist. Long and sad but most definitely worth a watch, Born on the Fourth of July is often considered Tom Cruise’s best performance.
Another Oscar-winner on the list, Lincoln stars Daniel Day-Lewis as the most convincing Abraham Lincoln ever as he presides over a warring nation struggling with the ideas of freedom and independence. Lincoln details the USA’s 16th President’s time in office navigating the Civil War and struggling to pass the Emancipation Proclamation. On a day when we celebrate our Founding Fathers’ establishment of their own freedom and independence from British Rule, it’s good to reflect on a time when the citizens of our own country had to pick up arms and fight each other for the freedom and independence of slaves.
One of the most patriotism-inducing sports films to come out of Disney, 2004’s Miracle is well-loved for it’s feel-good nostalgia. Kurt Russell stars in Miracle as real-life Herb Brooks, the player-turned-coach who led the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team to victory over the seemingly invincible Russian squad.
So maybe Jaws doesn’t have a lot to do with patriotism or the Declaration of Independence, but it does take place over the Fourth of July weekend and that’s good enough for us. Be grateful you’re at home watching movies and not celebrating at the beach while Steven Spielberg’s monstrous creation creates mass havoc on a small island community over the summer holiday weekend.
What better way to celebrate America than with the country’s own superhero, Captain America? Captain America: The First Avenger has more of a historical storyline than The Winter Soldier, but both pack a patriotic punch.