Top Ten Patriotic Movies to Watch This Independence Day

The Best Movies to Get You in a Patriotic Mood
Fireworks Behind the Statue of Liberty

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July, meaning hundreds of millions of people will be celebrating American Independence Day. Everyone will be conjuring up their patriotism with fireworks, hotdogs, beer, and even movies. So in the patriotic spirit, I have compiled a list of the top ten films to watch this Independence Day!

Independence Day

Definitely the most obvious of them all, Independence Day, starring WIll Smith is the go to movie for the Fourth of July. If you have not already seen it, the plot is as follows: On July 2nd, communications systems worldwide are sent into chaos by a strange atmospheric interference. It is soon learned by the military that a number of enormous objects are on a collision course with Earth. At first thought to be meteors, they are later revealed to be gigantic spacecraft, piloted by a mysterious alien species. After attempts to communicate with the aliens go nowhere, David Levinson, an ex-scientist turned cable technician, discovers that the aliens are going to attack major points around the globe in less than a day. On July 3rd, the aliens all but obliterate New York, Los Angeles, and Washington. The survivors set out in convoys towards Area 51, a strange government testing ground where it is rumored the military has a captured alien spacecraft of their own. The survivors devise a plan to fight back against the enslaving aliens, and July 4th becomes the day humanity will fight for its freedom. July 4th is their Independence Day... The film also stars Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, and Vivica A. Fox


Another somewhat obvious pick for the Fourth of July: Jaws was the first movie to have a purposeful release date of July 4th and was the first blockbuster of all time. It is also a perfect summer movie in general due to it's story taking place on a beach. Plot: It's a hot summer on Amity Island, a small community whose main business is its beaches. When new Sheriff Martin Brody discovers the remains of a shark attack victim, his first inclination is to close the beaches to swimmers. This doesn't sit well with Mayor Larry Vaughn and several of the local businessmen. Brody backs down to his regret as that weekend a young boy is killed by the predator. The dead boy's mother puts out a bounty on the shark and Amity is soon swamped with amateur hunters and fisherman hoping to cash in on the reward. A local fisherman with much experience hunting sharks, Quint, offers to hunt down the creature for a hefty fee. Soon Quint, Brody and Matt Hooper from the Oceanographic Institute are at sea hunting the Great White shark. As Brody succinctly surmises after their first encounter with the creature, they're going to need a bigger boat. Jaws stars Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, and Richard Dreyfuss.

Die Hard

This is a great movie to get in the patriotic mood for the holiday. All Die Hard movies are, really. What's better than your average NYPD officer taking down terrorists? Nothing. Anyway, the plot: New York City Police Officer John McClane has just arrived in Los Angeles to spend Christmas with his wife and kids. Unfortunately, it is not going to be a Merry Christmas for everyone. A group of terrorists, led by Hans Gruber is holding everyone in the Nakatomi Plaza building hostage, the building where McClane's wife works and the location of their Christmas party. With no way of anyone getting in or out, it's up to McClane to stop them all. Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson, Paul Gleason, and Alan Rickman all star alongside Bruce Willis

Saving Private Ryan

Saving Private Ryan is another great movie to instill a sense of patriotism. Combining family and war, this movie tugs on all of your heart strings. Plot: Opening with the Allied invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944, members of the 2nd Ranger Battalion under Cpt. Miller fight ashore to secure a beachhead. Amidst the fighting, two brothers are killed in action. Earlier in New Guinea, a third brother is KIA. Their mother, Mrs. Ryan, is to receive all three of the grave telegrams on the same day. The United States Army Chief of Staff, George C. Marshall, is given an opportunity to alleviate some of her grief when he learns of a fourth brother, Private James Ryan, and decides to send out 8 men (Cpt. Miller and select members from 2nd Rangers) to find him and bring him back home to his mother. This movie has a very impressing cast list, including Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns, Vin Diesel, Ted Danson, and Paul Giamatti.

Apollo 13

Stepping away from physical combat, Apollo 13 is a very inspiring, true story. Plot: Based on the true story of the ill-fated 13th Apollo mission bound for the moon; Astronauts Jim Lovell, Fred Haise and Jack Swigert were scheduled to fly Apollo 14, but are moved up to 13. It's 1970, and America has already achieved their lunar landing goal, so there's little interest in this "routine" flight.. Until things go very wrong and prospects of a safe return fade. The three astronauts must devise a strategy to return to Earth safely after their spacecraft undergoes massive internal damage. This is another Tom Hanks masterpiece, with co-stars Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Gary Sinise, and Ed Harris

The Natural

Simply put, baseball. It's America's pastime and there may not be anything more American than baseball itself. The Natural stars the Sundance Kid himself, Robert Redford (an American icon) playing Roy Hobbs, a down-and-out baseball player. Plot:  When Roy Hobbs was younger he was a rising pitcher, until he was inexplicably shot by a young woman. Now an unknown middle-aged batter with a mysterious past, he appears out of nowhere to take a losing 1930's baseball team to the top of the league. With the aid of a bat cut from a lightning-struck tree, Hobbs lives the fame he should have had a long time ago. The film, also starring Robert Duvall, Glenn Close, and Kim Bassinger, is as American as it gets. 

Air Force One

Something that may be forgotten in the midst of all the fireworks and grilled meats is the fact that our government is a very important aspect of American Independence Day. In Air Force One, the president himself, played by Harrison Ford, is in the middle of all the action. Plot: The President of the USA, James Marshall, goes to Moscow and gives a stirring speech outlining the USA's new "Zero-tolerance" policy with respect to terrorism. On the flight home, terrorists take over Air Force One and take the passengers (including the president's wife and daughter) hostage. The terrorists plan to execute one hostage every half-hour until their demands are met. However, the President is a former soldier and Medal of Honor winner, so the terrorists may be in for a surprise... Gary Oldman and Glenn Close also star in this action thriller. 

On Netflix Instant

Black Hawk Down

Based on the best-selling book (based on a true story) by Mark Bowden, this film follows many different soldiers during a mission-gone-wrong in Somalia. Plot: On October 3, 1993, nearly 100 U.S. Army Rangers, commanded by Capt. Mike Steele, were dropped by helicopter deep into the Somali capital city of Mogadishu to capture two top lieutenants of a Somali warlord. This lead to a large and drawn-out fire fight between the Rangers and hundreds of Somali gunmen, leading to the destruction of two U.S. Black Hawk helicopters. This film focuses on the heroic efforts of various Rangers to get to the downed black hawks, centering on Sgt. Eversmann, leading the Ranger unit Chalk Four to the first black hawk crash site, Warrant Officer Durant who was captured after being the only survivor of the second black hawk crash, as well as the crash survivors who must stick together to fight the local militia. This film also has a very impressive and lengthy cast list, including Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Tom Sizemore, Eric Bana, Hugh Dancy, and many more. 

Coming to America

Changing the pace, Coming to America is a comedy starring funny-man Eddie Murphy. Plot: It is the 21st birthday of Prince Akeem of Zamunda and he is to marry a woman whom he has never met. Prince Akeem decides to break with tradition and travels to America to search for love, hoping to find a woman who will love him for his personality, not his money. The prince, pretending to be poor, gets a job at a fast food restaurant and ends up falling in love with his boss's daughter. Murphy acts alongside Arsenio Hall, John Amos, and James Earl Jones

Captain America: The First Avenger

Based on the Marvel comics, Captain America, played by Chris Evans, is as patriotic and they come: he's a good guy who only wants to fight for America, and it doesn't hurt that he's superhuman. Plot: It is 1942, America has entered World War II, and sickly but determined Steve Rogers is frustrated at being rejected yet again for military service. Everything changes when Dr. Erskine recruits him for the secret Project Rebirth. Proving his extraordinary courage, wits and conscience, Rogers undergoes the experiment and his weak body is suddenly enhanced into the maximum human potential. When Dr. Erskine is then immediately assassinated by an agent of Nazi Germany's secret HYDRA research department (headed by Johann Schmidt, a.k.a. the Red Skull), Rogers is left as a unique man who is initially misused as a propaganda mascot. However, when his comrades need him, Rogers goes on a successful adventure that truly makes him Captain America, and his personal war begins: Captain America vs. the Red Skull. This sci-fi action flick also stars Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Dominic Cooper, Stanley Tucci, and many many more. 

Independence Day poster
Jaws poster
Die Hard poster
Saving Private Ryan poster
Apollo 13 poster
The Natural poster
Air Force One poster
Black Hawk Down poster
Coming to America poster
Captain America: The First Avenger poster