The fourth of July is the perfect time to celebrate the United States of America with family and friends. Whether that means having a backyard barbecue or shooting off fireworks, there are plenty of ways to celebrate our country and the men and women who have served to give us our freedom.
In honor of our nation's holiday, we've rounded up the best patriotic movies to enjoy after all of the festivities wind down. You'll relive some of the most important moments in our nation's history or just feel inspired in general to be an American.
1. Independence Day
Sure this movie is a bit ridiculous but it's also a timeless classic for a reason. Will Smith teams up with the President of the United States (Bill Pullman) and Jeff Goldblum to save the world from an alien invasion taking place on the 4th of July. It's pure '90s gold -- you'll laugh, you might cry, and you'll feel proud to be an American when the U.S. saves the day.
2. The Patriot
Potentially one of the most memorable war movies of all time stars Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger as a father and son during the American Revolution. Gibson plays a veteran of the French and Indian War who is currently a farmer, raising his children after his wife's passing. After the colonies go to war with Britain he finds himself in a tough position to not only fight for freedom but to protect his family at all costs.
Written by Francis Ford Coppola, this World War II drama follows George C. Scott as Major General George S. Patton. The film won numerous Academy Awards including Best Picture, Director, and Screenplay, and Scott famously refused to accept his award for Best Actor. Regardless, the film holds up as one of the most iconic in history, with Patton's speech in front of the American Flag being one of the most legendary scenes in film lore.
Glory follows the true story of the first all-black Army regiment in American history. Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, and Matthew Broderick round out an all-star cast with Washington winning a Best Supporting Actor for his captivating performance as a member of the Union Army during the Civil War.
This epic war film follows the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War. Some of the most legendary actors of their time appear in the movie including Sam Elliott, Tom Berenger, Martin Sheen, and Jeff Daniels. Based on the novel The Killer Angels, it's widely regarded as one of the most accurate war portrayals ever brought to the screen. It's also one of the longest coming in at a whopping four hours in length. It's definitely worth it though.
6. Hidden Figures
One of the most recent patriotic films on this list, Hidden Figures tells the true story of three African-American women who were the real brains behind helping NASA launch astronaut John Glenn to space. Set during the 60s, Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson deal with sexism and racism in the workplace while helping to make history.
7. Saving Private Ryan
Steven Spielberg's mind-blowing war drama is set during the Invasion of Normandy in World War II. Tom Hanks stars as a captain in the United States Army Rangers in what is known as one of the most graphic war films ever made. It was nominated for 11 Oscars, winning five.
8. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Frank Capra's legendary masterpiece stars Jean Arthur and Jimmy Stewart, with the actor starring as the idealistic Jefferson Smith who seeks to bring down corruption in Washington.
9. Yankee Doodle Dandy
James Cagney plays Broadway legend George M. Cohan in this biographical musical adaptation of Cohan's life after he's invited to receive the Congressional Gold Medal from the White House.
10. National Treasure
Sure, Hollywood can get a little crazy with its conspiracy theories but that doesn't make this movie any less fun. Nicolas Cage comes from a family of history fanatics who believe their ancestor knew about a secret treasure hidden during America's history. When he actually discovers the map is on the back of the Declaration of Independence, he rushes to preserve the declaration while trying to protect the rumored treasure from rival treasure hunters.
Daniel Day-Lewis is Abraham Lincoln in Spielberg's masterpiece. That's all there is to it.
12. Air Force One
Harrison Ford plays the president of the United States who must save the country and his family when Air Force One gets hijacked.
Kurt Russell plays the real-life Herb Brooks who gets hired to coach the 1980 U.S. men's Olympic hockey team. This Disney movie tells the inspiring story of how the underdog team brings down the favored Soviets, becoming symbols of American patriotism during the Cold War.
14. Captain America: The First Avenger
Yes, it's a Marvel movie but don't let that fool you. Chris Evans stars as Steve Rogers, a frail man who just wants to serve his country in 1941. When he becomes part of a government experiment, he not only gains incredible strength but becomes the symbol of American hope.
Oliver Stone based his incredible drama on his own personal experiences serving in the Vietnam War. Platoon won numerous Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director. The film itself is believed to be a Vietnam memorial and is widely regarded as one of the best movies of all time.
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