I have recently noticed an abundance of “Fourth of July movie lists” and decided to create my own. I am including some of my favorite patriotic films that didn’t make the other lists. Of course, there are some films on this list that were recognized by other writers, but did you really expect me to leave off “The Sandlot”, “The Patriot”, and “Saving Private Ryan”? While it is my personal belief that the great indoors should be avoided like the plague on the Fourth, sometimes you have to stay inside due to bad weather, the flu, etc. With that in mind, these are ten great movies (including one film series) to watch during your rainy Fourth of July weekend, in no particular order. Happy Independence Day and God Bless America!
The Elephant’s Conscience
- 1776- This Tony-award winning musical was brought to the screen in 1972. It follows the story of how the Declaration of Independence was written. The film focuses on the Continental Congress, in particular John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson and brings the Founding Fathers down from the mountain top. In reality, they were just people with their own fears and passions. This film stars William Daniels, a.k.a. Mr. Feeney from “Boy Meets World”, as John Adams.
- The Sandlot- This classic from 1993 is a great film to enjoy as a family over the Fourth of July weekend. Some of the very best characteristics of the American spirit such as creativity, ingenuity, courage, passion, and loyalty are exhibited by nine boys in their quest to defeat “The Beast”. It also has a great scene where the boys play a Fourth of July night game while America the Beautiful (as sung by Mr. Ray Charles) plays in the backgroung. Starring Mike Vitar (now a member of the Los Angeles Fire Department) as Benny the Jet Rodriguez, Dennis Leary as Smalls’ stepdad, Tom Guiry (who was later in Blackhawk Down) as Smalls, James Earl ‘I am Darth Vader’s voice’ Jones, and Karen Allen (who was also Marian Ravenwood in “Raiders of the Lost Ark”) as Smalls’ mom.
- Speaking of Indiana Jones….all four of the movies, especially “Raiders” and “The Last Crusade” are excellent movies about an American professor killing Nazi’s and Soviets while rescuing rare artifacts of historical significance. After all, those type of things “belong in a museum”! Starring the legendary Harrison Ford as Henry “Indiana” Jones Jr.
- Captain America: The First Avenger- Our first introduction to Captain Steve Rogers is a very good WWII movie about a patriotic young American who goes above and beyond the call of duty in service to his country. Starring Chris Evens, Tommy Lee Jones, and Hugo Weaving.
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier- The second movie about Captain Steve Rogers is a libertarian’s wet dream. It says what everyone with common sense wants to say: “America isn’t the same country it used to be,” and “the government is taking way more power than it should ever have”. It’s also pretty darn critical of government surveillance practices while raising awareness of PTSD and the importance of veterans’ societies. Starring Chris Evans, Samuel “The Black Man in Every Movie” Jackson, and Scarlett “I’ve been in the most Marvel movies, SUCK IT! HAHAHA!” Johansson, and Robert Redford.
- Forrest Gump- This Academy Award winning film focuses on Tom Hanks as a man with a low IQ and a lot of wisdom who takes part in some of the 20th He plays football at Alabama for Bear Bryant, meets President John Fitzgerald Kennedy at the White House, serves in Vietnam, then becomes a successful entrepreneur. He’s also a really good and decent person to everyone else in his life.
- Saving Private Ryan- Does it get much better than a movie about a mission to rescue a paratrooper who’s behind enemy lines at Normandy? Well does it? Actually no. (It won five Oscars.) Starring Tom Hanks, Matt “Bourne to be Wild” Damon, Vin “I am Groot” Diesel, Ted Danson, Paul Giamatti, and a bunch of other notable actors.
- The Patriot- Starring Mel Gibson, this movie centers on a coloninial militiaman-turned peaceful farmer who joins the Continental Army in order to seek vengeance on the entire British Army after his son is murdered in front of him by an English officer.
- Tiger Cruise- This Disney Channel original movie premiered in 2004. The film is focuses on the participants of a “Tiger Cruise”, where the family of Naval personnel are allowed to sail with their loved ones for a short period of time, in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. WARNING: this movie tugs tightly on the heartstrings, so if you are going to watch it, make sure you bring tissues because it is incredibly deep for a movie aimed at children aged ten to fifteen. Starring Hayden “Save the Cheerleader” Panettiere and Bill “Lone Star” Pullman.
- The Interview- What’s more American than a movie made by a Canadian about killing the leader of North Korea? This movie wasn’t shown on the silver screen because the government of North Korea threatened to attack any theater that showed it. So what does Sony pictures do? They give the dictator a big American “Screw you!” and released the movie to an even wider audience on the Google play store, Xbox Live, Youtube, and a few other digital platforms! Starring Seth Rogen and James Franco.