Here Are The Five Best Movies To Awaken Your Inner Patriot On The Fourth Of July

Soon, Americans will officially celebrate their independence, so here’s one movie for each night leading up, and one for after the fireworks.

Five movies for the Fourth of July
Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Soon, Americans will officially celebrate their independence, so here’s one movie for each night leading up, and one for after the fireworks.

So what do you do when you have finished watching fireworks? Turn in? Call it a night? Of course not. Now it’s time to sit down and watch a movie to remind yourself the true meaning of patriotism.

In 2018, it seems patriotism means something different to everyone, but whether left, right, or somewhere in between, here are five movies anyone can enjoy and make themselves feel a little extra prideful about where they call home.

5. Braveheart

Okay, so it doesn’t take place in the United States. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to. In this movie, William Wallace fights to win Scottland’s freedom from England. America had to do a similar thing in the 1700s. Mel Gibson made a movie about that, too. It wasn’t as good. The Patriot lacks a war cry from an unbroken William Wallace expressing “FREEDOM!” Braveheart decidedly delivers in that department.

4. Saving Private Ryan

You’ve probably read enough about the opening scene to Saving Private Ryan, the hyperrealism, the flashback-inducing depiction of war, and it’s cinematic brilliance. Well, you just read some more about it, because it simply can’t be overstated. Saving Private Ryan was a masterfully crafted Steven Spielberg film about a war which transcended partisan divide.

3. Red Dawn

If you’re looking for good, action-packed fun with Patrick Swayze, drop that terrible 2012 remake and watch the real deal. America is invaded by the USSR. This movie works for both sides of the fence because those on the right consider Red Dawn a terrifying depiction of America’s worst nightmares come to life, while those on the left find it humorously satirical of right-wing fears. While it works for both sides of the aisle individually, it may be a good idea for hard partisans with opposing viewpoints to watch this one separately.

The late Patrick Swayze. If he’s not in your copy of Red Dawn, you’re watching the remake. Carlo Allgery / Getty Images

2. Good Night, and Good Luck

Senator Joeseph McCarthy is now famous for McCarthyism. Blacklisting celebrities for their political affiliation while asserting them as communists. Careers were destroyed. In today’s political climate, right-wingers accuse the left of Neo-McCarthyism for labeling them as racists. Alternatively, the Washington Post has an entire article on the McCarthyism of today’s conservatives. Who’s right? Watch Good Night, and Good Luck. Afterward, do a lot more research, because one film doesn’t encapsulate all one needs to know about McCarthyism. Then, decide for yourself.

1. Independence Day

Of course this is the one; Independence Day is always the one. Rather than as separate nations, but as a planet, we declare in one voice “we will not go quietly into the night.” And it all happens on the Fourth of July. Bill Pullman’s monologue is still chill-inducing more than 20 years later. Also, there’s Jeff Goldblum.

Have a happy Fourth of July.