Independence Day has got to be one of my all time favorite holidays. It's a time for us Americans to celebrate our freedom from Britain and gaining our independence. It's a whole weekend filled with fireworks, family, burgers, hot dogs, lots of food, and general summer fun. Even if you aren't from the United States, these five patriotic movies will sure get you in the mood to celebrate our freedom!
5. The Interview
By far the dumbest movie on this list (although entertaining all the same), this movie screams 'Murica! What is more American than trying to assassinate a communist leader to spread the American message of freedom? The movie stars James Franco and Seth Rogen as an unlikely pair of heroes tasked with taking out the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
If you can throw your mind back to 2014, you might remember that the movie wasn't even released in theaters because of the harsh threats from the North Korean government. The Korean Central News Agency, a government-run outlet, promised that North Korea would retaliate in a "merciless" and "stern" manner if the film came out in theaters. KCNA stated releasing the film would be the "most blatant act of terrorism and war." Hackers also threatened Sony if they released the movie. Due to all this backlash, Sony did not release the movie in theaters. But if you still wanted to watch the movie, and perhaps even laugh at some of the idiocy, you can watch it on Netflix. Word of advice: Don't watch it with your kids.
4. A League Of Their Own
Starring such notable talents as Tom Hanks (whose birthday is on July 9th!), Geena Davis, Lori Petty, and Madonna, this movie is based on the real life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Clearly anything that has the words "All American" is a must watch over Fourth of July weekend (and it's about "America's pastime," too).
The story goes like this: After World War II, the stock of young American men was severely depleted and there was a chance that Major League Baseball would be shut down. In order to prevent that from happening, the owner of the Cubs convinces the other team owners to invest in an all-female baseball league. It was also originally released during Fourth of July weekend so it makes sense to revisit this wonderful film to get in the mood to celebrate some American wonders!
3. Wet Hot American Summer
If you needed a reason to watch young Paul Rudd, Bradley Cooper, and Amy Poehler in a movie together, then use the Fourth of July as your excuse! Again, I caution this isn't a film to watch with your children as it's all about the pent-up sexual frustrations of several camp counselors. The official Netflix description reads:
"Everyone wants a final shot at action on the last day at Camp Firewood, in this campy 1980s summer-camp spoof"
It isn't a necessarily patriotic movie, but it's definitely all-American. If you want a good laugh and to be reminded of what America is all about, this is the film for you.
2. We Were Soldiers
Based on the book We Were Soldiers Once...And Young by Lieutenant General Hal Moore, this Mel Gibson-starring movie is one of the greatest American war dramas of all time. Based on the Battle of Ia Drang of the Vietnam War, We Were Soldiers tells the true story of the first major conflict between the United States and Vietnam forces. It is a story about heroism, bravery, valor, loyalty, nobility, and sacrifice in the face of great adversary. Those traits are embedded in the American psyche and are a part of the ideal American culture. It's a wonderful film, but unlike all of the movies listed above, definitely not a comedy.
1. Forrest Gump
Pretty much everyone agrees this is one of the top ten greatest movies of all time. It's a true classic and it puts Tom Hanks on this list yet again (that man must be really patriotic). Forrest Gump is easily the pinnacle of patriotic movies available for streaming on Netflix. The story of the slow-witted but incredibly sweet Forrest Gump is a true American story of overcoming obstacles to live the American Dream. From being a college football star to fighting in Vietnam to captaining his own shrimping boat, Forrest never stops inspiring.
The movie hits on most of the defining moments of the second half of the 20th century and is selected for preservation in the Library of Congress' United States National Film Registry for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." It is truly a distinctive piece of American filmmaking that makes anybody proud to be an American.
Unfortunately, Netflix doesn't offer such classics as The Patriot, Rocky, The Hunt for Red October any longer, but this list should help you find something good to watch to get into the mood to light some explosives on fire! If you're more in the mood for a series to binge watch over the weekend, you can't go wrong with Turn: Washington Spies, Parks and Recreation, or American Dad. So in between BBQing, watching fireworks, feeding your pet eagle, or whatever other patriotic stuff you do this holiday, sit down and enjoy one (or more) of these movies on Netflix!