If you're spending down time during the holiday at home and looking for some awesome movies to watch, here's a list of some of the best 4th of July related films out there.
#1. 1776 The Musical
Before there was Hamilton, there was 1776!
This musical written in the 1970's is a beautiful, sometimes mournful, and entertaining film chronicling the story of how the Declaration of Independence came about. The song "Mama Look Sharp" pulls back the curtain on the harsh reality of the War of Independence for many who lost their lives and loved ones in the struggle for freedom. But while freedom was the goal for many, it was not the goal for all. In "Molasses to Rum to Slaves," the film exposes how while some of the Founders believed that the promise of liberty may extend even to minorities, that slaveholding elements of the colonial south would prove intractable to the ideals contained within the revolutionary document. A truly excellent film that's streaming on Amazon Prime.
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#2. Independence Day
Will Smith's mega blockbuster hit Independence Day is an action film that is almost unrivaled for its entertainment value and witty one liners. Jeff Goldblum costars as an engaging scientist who teams up with Smith to fight an alien menace that threatens the existence of all life on this planet. If you've seen it before, it's definitely worth another viewing as perfect summer holiday fare.
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#3. The Patriot
Is The Patriot the most accurate movie about the American Revolution? No. Is it one of the most awesome? Absolutely! Starring Mel Gibson alongside a young Heath Ledger, The Patriot tells the tale of Benjamin Martin, who fights to save his family from hostile British forces. Martin's son joins the rebel forces, and fights alongside his father, using grit, guns, and spycraft. This film will have you yearning to grab a flintlock, powder horn, and shoot you some redcoats.
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The story of the passage of the 13th Amendment is one of America's least understood moments from history. Everyone remembers the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed the slaves in the states which were in rebellion, but far fewer people are familiar with the tale of how the actual legal Constitutional process made America great again. Daniel Day Lewis' acting as Abraham Lincoln is superb, and the film shows the legislative process during wartime, warts, bribery, and all. Even better is Tommy Lee Jones as the irascible Thaddeus Stevens, who wrangles the Radical Republican caucus into a compromise that would ensure freedom for the enslaved people in the country.
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While not technically a film about Independence Day, Election starring Matthew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon is a hilarious comedy about the electoral process for student council at your average American high school. Broderick plays a teacher who develops a disdain for (and weird erotic fixation on) one of his students (Witherspoon). The film is an underrated classic, and does a good job showing on a micro scale the gossip, backstabbing, sex, and weird relationships that emerge from an election.
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6. National Treasure
Nicholas Cage's Disney film about a conspiracy revolving around the Declaration of Independence is sure to have you stuffing handful after handful of popcorn in your gullet. National Treasure features Cage on a mission to steal the Declaration of Independence, but not for nefarious reasons! His family is part of an intergenerational plot to protect a national treasure from those who would use it for their own selfish purposes.
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7. Saving Private Ryan
Saving Private Ryan is another film that's not directly related to Independence Day, however it's such a stirring movie related to American freedom that it had to make this list. Steven Spielberg's war movie features an iconic scene recreating the invasion of Normandy in World War 2 that should be required viewing in American high schools. The amount of pain and suffering that American soldiers endured to protect American values will stir up patriotism in anyone who watches it. Saving Private Ryan is the final addition to this list.
Which films are your favorite to watch for the 4th of July? Do you think we missed some on this list? Leave a comment below and let us know, and don't forget to stock up on liberty gear before your Independence Day celebration!