The 10 Greatest Patriotic Movies to Get You In the Fourth of July Spirit, Ranked
Celebrate our independence with these red, white and blue blockbusters.
Staring down the barrel of a mid-week holiday means you’ll probably spend the day sitting on your ass, watching movies on TV. Skip that. With a little preparation, you could be making your own movie marathon of these super patriotic movies.
The movie that reminded everyone that chanting “USA” was cool again, Miracle’s story is also a reminder that America used to dominate Russia, and that’s something we’d all do well to remember nowadays.
Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, John Candy are a rag tag group of misfits who came together to make the army proud. All the charm of Animal House but with a healthy dose of Uncle Sam, Stripes is a staple of the patriotic genre.
8. Top Gun
Whether you’re spending July 4th watching the Blue Angels fly over a stadium or just playing some beach volleyball, chances are someone is gonna drop a Top Gun reference—and there’s damn good reason they will. The call signs, the soundtrack, the way you could tell that both Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer would end up batshit crazy, it’s all there in this classic about a time when the U.S. still put pilots in super cool jet fighters.
When it comes down to a bunch of rough and tumble American oil drillers to save the Earth, there’s a certain level of pride involved. When one of them sacrifices his own life to push the plunger that saves the planet while Aerosmith plays in the background, you know you’ve got an American classic on your hands.
6. Captain America: The First Avenger
An underdog from Brooklyn with not enough muscle and too much heart gets beefed up and sent straight into WWII Germany to dish out a helping of the American Way. Cap’s intro movie to the MCU plays like an Army recruitment film and, as long as we could share a foxhole with Agent Carter, you can sign us up.
5. The Patriot
We won’t let the fact that that The Patriot stars two Australians get in the way of loving this movie. Guerrilla warfare during the American Revolution is the untold story of America’s beginnings that we all need to hear. Eat your heart out, Howard Zinn.
4. Apollo 13
Is there anything more American than a story of triumph over disaster while exploring our galaxy and winning the space race by a light year? Yes. There is when you add the American treasure that is Tom Hanks into the mix. And Kevin Bacon too. And then Ron Howard direct it.
3. Air Force One
If Harrison Ford ran for President, there’s no doubt he’d win in a landslide and it would be almost entirely because of this movie. He won’t negotiate with terrorists, he won’t leave innocent people behind and he can’t turn his back on a fight. Hell, Harrison Ford is just two presidents’ names mashed together to make one, amazing full name. Give this guy the keys to the oval office already.
2. The Sandlot
Summertime and baseball and the 1960s. No movie captures the nostalgia of Americana as thoroughly as The Sandlot. Even if you didn’t grow up in the era, this movie made everyone romanticize the essential summer moments of their youth; from getting wild at carnivals to crushing on the hot lifeguard.
1. Independence Day
The name of this movie is the name of the holiday we’re celebrating, so there you go. Coincidentally, the sequel, which also includes the words independence and day in its title, does not make this list at all because Will Smith fucking owns July 4th and they were stupid to make a sequel without him. Not even Jeff Goldblum could save that disaster. But the original somehow holds up decades later, even if giving it the tagline ID4 never made a shred of sense.