Today in the United States we celebrate The Fourth of July and the day we declared our independence as a nation. It is a day of pride and reflection and a holiday that is used to thank and celebrate the sacrifice that many have made for our freedom. It also is a day for BBQ’s, beer, fireworks and movies. So today, I took a look at some of the best and most patriotic films. They vary wildly and differently, but in some form, they all make us look at what it truly is to be an American. I wish you all a happy and safe holiday.
|1. Independence Day|
“Today we celebrate our Independence Day!” I think this is quite possibly one of the greatest speeches given by a cinematic American President and possibly even any character in film. Now, of course he was talking about humanities independence from aliens that are about to destroy the entire earth, but the sentiment is still the same. Aw, it still makes me tear up every time.
|2. Apollo 13|
Back during a time when hearing about astronauts and space travel was a common part of daily life for American citizens, we were confronted by a movie about real life events that brought the nation together. When the Apollo 13 crew had problems on their mission to the moon, the entire country held their breath waiting for their safe return. Even though I know the outcome of the movie, I still cheer every time you see them enter the atmosphere alive and well, and I think everyone in the country did at the time as well.
|3. Forrest Gump|
Another movie starring Tom Hanks that follows the life of Forrest Gump; a man with below average intelligence who leads an extraordinary life. It is not overtly patriotic. However as the character of Forrest, he encounters numerous situations that exemplify American history at the time. He meets with John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B Johnson and in a fiction re-telling of Watergate actually blows the whistle on the entire scandal. He fights in the Vietnam war, but more than anything, he lives out the American Dream. A man who could be considered an under-dog starts with not much, but goes on to make millions of dollars on Bubba Gump Shrimp. There is really nothing more patriotic that an American's ability to do that.
Is there really anything more American than Denzel? I mean, come on. Glory follows the true to life story of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, which was the first African-American military force. It follows the story of these men who are fighting for freedom during The Civil War. It explores many racial and patriotic issues that still exist in to this day. Denzel Washington won the Academy Award for his portrayal. Writing about this movie, makes me realize it has been a long time since I have seen it, but I think I need to change that today.
|5. Saving Private Ryan|
Steven Spielberg’s film tells the story of a group of US soldiers during WWII and the Normandy invasion. It is a film that truly depicts the sacrifice that we ask soldiers (and anybody in the military to make) while protecting our country. It is intense, and sometimes difficult to watch because it is so realistic, but is one that shouldn’t be missed by any American citizen. The film was nominated for several categories at the Academy Awards and won for Best Director, Best Cinematography, among others.
It’s silly and kind of wacky, but the movie starring Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams is just altogether fun. Actually, it provides an interesting perspective when looking at American government through the lens of a couple of teenage girls. A lot of these films can be kind of depressing, so if you are looking for an up-lifting film, it is a fine choice.
|7. Born on the Fourth of July|
I mean Fourth of July is in the title, it has to be patriotic, right? In all seriousness, the film takes a look at the dark side of American history during the Vietnam war. After coming back from the war an injured veteran, Tom Cruise has to confront his disillusionment with the government and lack of patriotism. The film doesn’t exactly show the bright side of America, but it is important to watch and think about the character's journey. The film won a Best Director Oscar for Oliver Stone and garnered Tom Cruise a Best Actor nomination for his role.
|8. Team America: World Police|
I know that it many ways it makes fun of American culture and action movies, but at its heart, you really rooted for those American crime fighting puppets. Ever since I've seen it, I can’t celebrate Fourth of July without at least once singing “America, Fuck Yeah!”