What To Stream To Celebrate The Fourth Of July?

Harshita Das

Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (1939)

This film stars James Stewart as an idealistic man who replaces a deceased senator. Directed by Frank Capra, it portrays Smith's battle against political corruption, highlighting his righteous character.


Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)

Starring Jimmy Cagney, as George M. Cohan, this musical biopic is a patriotic 1900s entertainer. Directed by Michael Curtiz, this Oscar-winning film features hits like "You're a Grand Old Flag" and "The Yankee Doodle Boy." Despite its overt patriotism, it remains an endearing celebration of American spirit, especially post-Pearl Harbor.


Rocky (1976)

This story follows Sylvester Stallone's underdog boxer on his journey to achieve the American Dream, embodying hard work and perseverance. Rocky's no-frills, working-class heroism contrasts with Apollo Creed's manufactured patriotism. The iconic scene of Rocky running up the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps, set to Bill Conti’s trumpet fanfare, evokes optimism about the American spirit.

Born on the Fourth of July (1989)

It features Tom Cruise as disillusioned Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic. Directed by Oliver Stone, it explores Kovic's paralysis and loss of faith in America. This nuanced, anti-war drama delves into counter-cultural dissent and the antiwar movement, offering a complex view of American patriotism.


Independence Day (1996)

This film features Bill Pullman as a rousing President who leads a fight against hi-tech aliens. With Will Smith's fighter pilot and Jeff Goldblum's tech wizard, they combat Earth’s imminent extinction. Directed by Roland Emmerich, the film delivers a perfect escapist slice of American exceptionalism, showcasing spectacular leadership and teamwork. This July 4, some might find it nostalgic to witness such heroic leadership on screen.


The Patriot (2000)

This epic tale follows Benjamin Martin, a peace-loving farmer with a violent past, who reluctantly joins the Revolutionary War after the British threaten his family. Leading a group of rebels with guerrilla tactics, he turns the tide of the war. The film offers a visceral look at the human cost of the conflict, bringing the era to life and reminding viewers that the nation's founders were real people fighting for their families and freedoms.


We Were Soldiers (2002)

This patriotic film stars Mel Gibson as Lt. Col. Hal Moore, leading the first major U.S. engagement against North Vietnamese forces. The film delves into the soldiers' lives, their families, and the brutal realities of war. Offering an immersive experience of fear, bravery, and camaraderie, highlighting the sacrifices of servicemen and women, it’s a must to add this to your July 4th watchlist.


National Treasure (2004)

It features Nicolas Cage as Benjamin Franklin Gates, a cryptologist who steals the Declaration of Independence to find clues to a Freemason treasure etched on its back. This adventure-filled film serves as an engaging primer on the history of the Founding Fathers, perfect for a Fourth of July watch.’


Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

This superhero movie stars Chris Evans as a super-soldier embodying American patriotism, battling Nazis in a film that recreates the US war effort. Beyond being a superhero origin story, it highlights basic training, propaganda campaigns, and one man's quest to defend his country. For a quick dose of patriotism, watch the song-and-dance number "Star Spangled Man."


Lincoln (2012)

As the name suggests, this film portrays President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, navigating the challenges of preserving the nation while pushing for the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery. The film, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, depicts Lincoln's political strategies and personal struggles, offering a gritty, human portrayal of one of America's greatest presidents.


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