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With the Fourth of July right around the corner, you are probably like me and love to sit on the couch with a cold one, a plate of ribs, and watch a good movie after spending the afternoon blowing stuff up on your front lawn. The trouble is, with so many great films about the Fourth of July or released each Fourth of July, it can be very hard to find just one film to watch with family and friends. Well trouble no more; here are the top ten greatest Fourth of July films to watch with family and friends. So grab a cold one, sit down, and enjoy.
10. Glory (1989)
Coming out in 1989 and starring a fantastic cast led by Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman, the story follows the U.S. Civil War’s first all-black Company. Broderick plays Robert Gould Shaw, who fights prejudices of both his own Union army and the Confederates. This film has all the fixings for your Independence Day needs: war, drama and the acting chops of the great Morgan Freeman and Denzel Washington. Plus, when can you get a film that has Ferris Bueller fighting side by side with Denzel and Morgan Freeman?
9. Rocky (1976)
Released in 1976, Rocky tells the tale of the American Dream. A small time boxer gets a once in a lifetime chance to fight the heavyweight champ in a bout in which he strives to go the distance for his self-respect. This film, an American classic, is a perfect choice for the Fourth of July because it features a man fighting for his dream, both literally and figuratively, and Americans seem to always love an underdog.
8. The Patriot (2000)
Released in 2000, the film stars Mel Gibson as peaceful farmer Benjamin Martin, who is driven to lead the colonial militia during the American Revolution when a sadistic British Officer murders his son. Again, this film has all the big selling points for a Fourth of July film: murder, war and the story of the American Revolution. A must watch for the lovers of war.
7. The Sandlot (1993)
Ah, The Sandlot. This piece of art follows the story of Scotty Smalls, who moves to a new neighborhood with his mom and step-dad. While there, he wants to learn to play baseball. The neighborhood baseball guru Rodriquez takes Smalls under his wing, and soon he’s part of a local baseball team. They fall into adventures involving baseball, tree house sleep-ins, the desirous lifeguard at the local pool, the snooty rival ball team and the traveling fair. Beyond the fence at the back of the sandlot menaces a legendary ball-eating dog called The Beast, and the kids inevitably must deal with him. This movie has everything that describes summer in America; baseball, friendship, dogs and more. Plus, when the hero of the film is portrayed by the great James Earl Jones, what more can you ask for?
6. Forrest Gump (1994)
Life is truly a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get. In this American classic from Robert Zemeckis and starring the ever talented Tom Hanks, Forrest Gump follows the title character, a simple man, who may not be the smartest tool in the shed, as he tries to get his one true love, Jenny Curran, and, in the process, becomes involved with all the big events of the 60s and 70s.
5. 1776 (1972)
1776 is the film version of the Broadway musical comedy of the same name. This film tells the story of what happened leading up to that fateful day that we celebrate each year. This film has war, drama, and with the addition of William Daniels, AKA George Feeney of Boy Meets World, fame, portraying John Adams, this is a must for this list.
4. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
In Captain America: The First Avenger, we follow the story of Steve Rogers, who, after being deemed unfit for military service, volunteers for a top secret research project that turns him into Captain America, a superhero dedicated to defending USA ideals. This film makes the list for so many reasons, mostly though for its focusing on the American ideals, Americans fighting the Nazis and a solid story about fighting for what you believe in.
3. National Treasure (2004)
In National Treasure, we follow a treasure hunter by the name of Benjamin Gates, played by the polarizing figure of Nicolas Cage, who is in hot pursuit of a mythical treasure that has been passed down for centuries, while his employer turned enemy is right behind him. With this film, it has all the elements of a great Fourth of July film: history, America, treasure and the borderline crazy Nicolas Cage. What could be better than that?
2. Miracle (2004)
With Miracle, we have the unbelievable true story of Herb Brooks, the player-turned-coach who led the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team to victory over the seemingly invincible Russian squad. This film was truly remarkable. It has sports, the Olympics, and the background of the cold war that brought the country together for this one event which made it all truly special and left us all exclaiming, “Do You Believe in Miracles?”
1. Independence Day (1996)
Independence Day tells the epic tale of an alien invasion. The aliens are coming and their goal is to invade and destroy. Fighting superior technology, Man’s best weapon is the will to survive. With the stellar cast of Will Smith, Bill Pullman, and Jeff Goldblum, and being directed by the ever talented Roland Emmerich, this film is a great disaster film. But what makes it great is the speech that the President of the USA makes where he says “Good morning. In less than an hour, aircraft from here will join others from around the world. And you will be launching the largest aerial battle in the history of mankind. 'Mankind.' That word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can't be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests. Perhaps it's fate that today is the Fourth of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom... Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution... but from annihilation. We are fighting for our right to live. To exist. And should we win the day, the Fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day the world declared in one voice: 'We will not go quietly into the night!' We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on! We're going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day!”
With all of these films, all you have to do is grab a cold one, some good old food and enjoy your Fourth of July!