Celebrating the 4th of July might look a little different for 2020, since everyone should be quarantining inside since COVID-19 cases are rising once again. Maybe there will be a few fireworks, but cities and parks aren’t going to be filled with crowds of people for that one big show. This American holiday will be a little different, but that won’t stop small family gatherings from happening.
However, not all families get to go into their backyards and set off a million fireworks safely and undisturbed. And even if your family can for this Independence Day, it’s not like that’s going to take the whole day like many big city firework events do. Well sometimes, there’s nothing better than simply watching movies all day with your family. And here are 10 patriotic movies you and your family can watch to celebrate the American revolution.
1. Top Gun (1986)
This 80s favorite with Tom Cruise is an American classic, following the evolution of aviator pilot Maverick. It won the People’s Choice Award for “Favorite Movie” and we can see why. Tom Cruise will be returning in December 2020 for a sequel over 20 years later in the new Top Gun: Maverick. You might want to watch it again around Halloween anyways, considering the amount of costumes that portray Maverick and his movie love interest, Charlotte Blackwood.
2. Independence Day (1996)
This 90s classic puts a sci-fi twist on the typical 4th of July movie war plot. You and your family can watch Will Smith, as Captain Steve Hiller, try and save the United States from an alien invasion. Not exactly a time to write up a declaration of independence, but a patriotic movie all the same. Bill Pullman also stars in this movie.
3. Glory (1989)
An important movie to watch these days, this movie is about Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, played by Matthew Broderick, leading the first African-American regiment during the Civil War. Although not a movie about the American Revolution, it’s important to celebrate all of those who have given up their lives in the name of country. Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman also star in this movie.
4. The Sandlot (1993)
For a more family-friendly, light-hearted classic, this movie is the one to pick. Follow Scottie Smalls and his new friends on the baseball field, as they go on hilarious adventures that make for nostalgic childhood memories that date before today’s kids were consumed in their own Iphones and Ipads.
5. Forrest Gump (1994)
Everyone knows and loves this long, but funny classic, watching Tom Hanks iconically play the life of Forrest Gump, a man who has seemingly done it all in American history. This fictional story goes through two different presidents, the Vietnam War, and Watergate, and it’s no surprise that “Run, Forrest, Run!” is an appropriately iconic saying, especially since Forrest is basically running through American history.
6. The Patriot (2000)
An actual Independence Day movie, Mel Gibson stars as a farmer who decides not to fight in the American Revolution, despite his military accolades. The movie follows his journey as he decides to take arms once again after his son enlists and is captured. Mel Gibson won the People’s Choice Award for “Favorite Movie Actor” for this movie.
7. Pearl Harbor (2001)
This World War II movie follows Rafe McCawley, played by Ben Affleck, and Danny Walker, played by Josh Hartnett, as they fight in the war as pilots. Caught in a love triangle when reconvening in Hawaii, the drama is quickly moved aside when the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor. Definitely a tear-jerker, as if most war movies already weren’t like this.
8. Hidden Figures (2017)
This important movie highlights three underrated heroes from NASA. Katherine Johnson, played by Taraji P. Henson, Dorothy Vaughan, played by Octavia Spencer, and Mary Jackson, played by Janelle Monáe work together to launch astronaut, John Glenn, into orbit. Octavia Spencer was nominated for the Oscars award “Best Supporting Actress” and the movie was Oscar nominated for “Best Picture.”
9. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Another one to watch with the kiddos, this Marvel favorite follows Steve Rogers, played by Chris Evans, and his story to becoming the all American superhero/super soldier, Captain America. Taking place during World War II, the fictional story portrays how he helped defeat the Nazis.
10. Born on the Fourth of July (1989)
Another Tom Cruise classic released three years before Top Gun, this movie is based off of Ron Kovic. The movie follows the former Marine’s life, as he evolves from a top-notch, passionate soldier to a critic of war. The movie highlights the realities of serving the military and the repercussions that come with it.
Obviously, most of these movies are war movies, but there’s something patriotic about watching heroes save the day. However, any combination of these ten best movies can make for a lovely Independence Day with the family, while staying safe and social distancing. If you really need your fireworks fix, you can always watch an old Disney’s fireworks video below. It may not be the same, but it’s still a grand show. Happy Independence Day!