The Fourth of July is traditionally celebrated with a display of fireworks and a BBQ. A good patriotic movie and embracing air conditioning can be a nice combination, though! 15 highly recommended patriotic films to watch on the Fourth of July or any other day of the year are included here.
1. Casablanca (1942)
Casablanca continues to be one of the most universally adored and celebrated films of all time. The adapted screenplay by Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, and Howard Koch, which is commonly referred to as the sharpest and most quotable script ever written, is just one of the many reasons for this. In addition, Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman share a passionate chemistry that you can’t put a price on. It’s as if they’re going to set the screen on fire, and it’s so exhilarating. Another reason we all love this movie so much is that we are all so proud of the characters at the conclusion of it. Because of this, Rick and Ilsa split ways and put the human face on wartime sacrifices, both on and off the battlefield. It is true that the Greatest Generation was actually the greatest generation. Audiences will always be able to relate to Casablanca’s challenging themes of viewing the world as a whole and doing the right thing. Rewatching Casablanca is always a good idea. Even great than you remembered.
2. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Before and after Saving Private Ryan, war films can be divided into two distinct eras. Steven Spielberg mentions Lewis Milestone’s All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), the most important war film since then, as a crucial inspiration for Saving Private Ryan. It’s hard to believe that Spielberg didn’t storyboard the D-Day landing scenario because he wanted it to be as authentic as possible, but the battle scenes are equally astonishing for their breathtaking technical skill and gut-wrenching intensity. There are several World War II films that now look like quaint, fake movies after the premiere of Saving Private Ryan. For veterans and their loved ones, this film has a special resonance.
3. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
Frank Capra’s political comedy-drama is one among the best of 1939, which is frequently recognized as Hollywood’s greatest year in filmmaking history. With 11 Academy Award nominations, Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz and Stagecoach all beat out the film for Best Original Story. Although Capra’s picture is heartfelt and uplifting, it is darker than his prior efforts. Critics of the time were terrified by Mr. Smith Goes to Washington’s ability to fight injustice and corruption in novel ways. In Nazi Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, Franco’s Spain, and Stalin’s USSR, the picture was outlawed. Some German theaters chose to exhibit this film as the final before a wartime ban on American films was put into place in 1942.
4. United 93 (2006)
Paul Greengrass directed this masterpiece about the hijacked United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on September 11, 2001, between The Bourne Supremacy (2004) and The Bourne Ultimatum (2007). A number of people objected to the idea of making a film about this tragedy in the months before its debut, even going so far as to demand Universal Pictures remove trailers from theaters. Greengrass’ meticulously researched, hyperrealistic vision honors the memory of the victims in a way that some could say is never too soon to make a brilliant and sympathetic picture. You won’t be able to shake United 93, one of the most heartbreaking films ever made. It pays off in the end, so it’s well worth the struggle. Handle with caution.. One of the most laudable films of this century, Greengrass was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director for his efforts on the film.
5. Patton (1970)
Patton, directed by Franklin J. Shaffner, was a massive commercial and critical triumph upon its premiere.
Gen. George S. Patton’s portrayal by George C. Scott in World War II is one of those lighting-in-a-bottle performances that is so uncanny and memorable that it is hard to separate the two men in memory. Scott, a Hollywood outsider, made history when he refused to accept his Best Actor Oscar (the film won seven Oscars in total) in person. At the time of its premiere, Patton was branded as “anti-war” by some, but the truth is that it is anything but. Francis Ford Coppola and Edmund H. North’s brave and often amusing screenplay ensures that the film, despite its age, holds up surprisingly well nearly 50 years later. The opening scene of Patton giving a speech in front of the American flag is one of the most famous in film mythology because of the film’s use of ultra-widescreen 70mm photography. Take advantage of each opportunity you get to see this film on the big screen and enjoy it to the fullest.
6. Flags of Our Fathers / Letters From Iwo Jima (both 2006)
Both the American and Japanese perspectives were depicted in Clint Eastwood’s two-parter, shot back-to-back.
In the film based on the book of the same name, five Marines and a Navy Corpsman recount their experiences in raising the flag on Iwo Jima and the significance it had for them personally and professionally.
The intimacy, intensity, and bravery of Letters From Iwo Jima are all heightened by the fact that they are written almost exclusively in Japanese. Letters from Iwo Jima is one of Clint Eastwood’s creative zeniths, nominated for Best Picture and Best Director Oscars. You’ll gain a fresh appreciation for one of cinema’s most perceptive, empathetic, and experimental filmmakers if you see these two films back-to-back.
7. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Chris Evans’ character, a World War II warrior who has been frozen in time, is awakened in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, one of the best Marvel films to date. Evans is fantastic in both films, and Steve Rogers’ effort to comprehend how his country and society as a whole have changed for the better or worse is a compelling story. The Winter Soldier is a popcorn movie that has something for everyone to enjoy. With superheroes, it’s like an old-fashioned spy thriller.
8. Notorious (1946)
All classic film lists can never have enough Ingrid Bergman. This is, along with Casablanca, the most important performance of her career. It’s a great romance, a thriller, and a fiercely patriotic film from the Golden Age of Hollywood: Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious, set in South America immediately following World War II, is all of the above. Cary Grant stars as Devlin, a handsome American agent who recruits Alicia Huberman (Bergman), the daughter of a notorious Nazi, to infiltrate a network of German conspirators to redeem her name. As Devlin does when he sees Alicia on film rejecting her father and declaring her love for the United States, we fall head over heels for the complex and troubled Alicia. For those who want to understand more about vintage Hollywood style and storytelling, Notorious, by Alfred Hitchcock, is an excellent choice.
9. Miracle (2004)
When it comes to sports biopics, it’s uncommon to find one that truly stands out from the crowd.
One of the most inspiring true stories in the history of athletics, Miracle is based on US men’s ice hockey team’s victory over the Soviets at the 1980 Winter Olympics. With the help of Gavin O’Connor (The Americans), Kurt Russell, Patricia Clarkson, and others, Miracle rises to a level that is both lovable and exciting to watch because of the strength of its true-life story. Regardless of your age or political leanings, you won’t be disappointed with Miracle.
10. Hacksaw Ridge (2016)
Hacksaw Ridge, director Mel Gibson’s triumphant return to the spotlight after a hiatus of several years, was a pleasant surprise for everyone. Hacksaw Ridge is one of those rare films that feels both familiar and brand new at the same time, thanks to its masterful fusion of a stately, old-Hollywood pace and classical feel with revolutionary, immersive battle sequences. Andrew Garfield’s Oscar-nominated performance as Desmond Doss, a real-life WWII veteran, makes this a war film to be reckoned with. It packs a powerful punch. American hero Hacksaw Ridge is portrayed in a unique and compelling way in this film.
11. Platoon (1986)
Oliver Stone’s harrowingly humanistic Platoon was a historic moment in war pictures when it was released in the wake of exaggerated fantasies like Rambo.
After eight Academy Award nominations, Platoon was awarded the Best Picture and Director prizes for Stone’s Vietnam War picture, based on his actual experience. AFI named this film the 86th greatest film ever made. It was voted the greatest picture of 1986 by Roger Ebert and the ninth best film of the 1980s by critics. Gene Siskel, Ebert’s colleague, compared the image to a Vietnam memorial.
12. Glory (1989)
It was directed by Edward Zwick and stars Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, and Morgan Freeman, who portray one of the first African-American regiments in the Union Army during the Civil War.
For Washington, who was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar, Glory won three Oscars.
13. Courage Under Fire (1996)
It was Washington and Zwick’s second film together, following the success of Glory. As a troubled, guilt-ridden U.S. Army officer assessing the merits of a female helicopter commander (Meg Ryan) for the Medal of Honor, Washington is captivating. As a combat medic-turned-heroic junkie, Matt Damon shed more than 50 pounds for the role. Curious emotional and logistical puzzles—almost courtroom movies, with the desert as the courthouse,” Roger Ebert said of Courage Under Fire.
14. M*A*S*H* (1970)
Filmmaker Robert Altman is known for his ability to make even the most mundane situations entertaining, and that’s exactly what you get in this irreverent dark comedy about medical staff at a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital. Despite the fact that the film takes place during the Korean struggle, the subtext deals with the (at the time still ongoing) Vietnam War. With Donald Sutherland and Tom Skerritt in the lead roles, M*A*S*H* was a box office smash. There were nominated for five Oscars (three of which went to Patton), and Cannes Film Festival awarded it top prizes. It is worth noting that the film served as an inspiration for the acclaimed television series of the same name, which aired from 1972 to 1983 and was ranked by TV Guide as the eighth greatest television program of all-time. The American Picture Institute ranks M*A*S*H* as the 54th greatest film of all time, and it’s listed eighth on their list of the funniest American films.
15. The Longest Day (1962)
Filmed over three decades before Saving Private Ryan, the D-Day landings were recreated in this epic military drama produced by famed Hollywood executive Darryl F. Zanuck.
Featuring a large international cast, including John Wayne, Richard Burton, and Sean Connery—in his penultimate movie appearance before becoming Bond—The Longest Day was made as a docudrama. The Longest Day, which was nominated for five Oscars, including Best Picture, won two, for its cinematography and visual effects.