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4th of July: The 10 Best Patriotic Movies of all Time


4th of July: The 10 Best Patriotic Movies of all Time

Compiled by Ron Peltier

The 4th of July is a great holiday for getting together with family and friends.  Spending the day and night grilling hotdogs, shooting off fireworks, playing backyard games is a great way to celebrate our nation’s birthday. It also occasions the opportunity to watch a flick or two. Below is a top-ten list of “patriotic” films that are good viewing on the Fourth, along with a short trailer for the movie and a link to the site it can be viewed on.


10. Independence Day

Will Smith stars as a fighter pilot who helps defend the Earth against invading and hostile aliens—blowing up the White House is, after all, an act of war. The films also stars Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman as the President. Together they defeat the aliens, even with their superior technology. The film’s final act rouses and asserts the greatness of America.http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116629/

9. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

The 1939 film stars Jimmy Stewart as an earnest and naïve Jefferson Smith. He is appointed to the Senate, where he eventually comes into conflict for challenging a well-connected bill to build a national boy’s camp. He is attacked and smeared, but preserves after a dramatic filibuster. The film affirms doing the right thing and sticking to one’s beliefs.  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0031679/

  8. Patton

The film opens with General Patton, played by George C. Scott in his Oscar-winning performance, standing in front of a giant American flag extoling the virtues of battle in a profanity-laced speech. It hardly gets more patriotic than that. Scott’s Patton epitomizes patriotism and machismo as the film depicts his leadership in what’s still referred to as “The Last Good War.” http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi3499819289/

7. Rocky

It might make sense to include Rocky IV on this list, as in that film Rocky single-handedly beats the “commies” when he knocks out Ivan Drago. However, the original Rocky is a better film and serves to capture one of America’s values—overcoming overwhelming odds. Plus, Rocky’s opponent, Apo1lo Creed, has the best boxing Uncle Sam outfit ever. Oh, and let’s not forget the excellent Burgess Meredith and swelling score. Go Rocky! http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi2997093657/


6. Glory

Robert Shaw, played by Matthew Broderick, leads the first all-black volunteer company to fight against their oppressors—the Confederates during the Civil War. The film also stars Denzel Washington in his Oscar-winning performance and Morgan Freeman. The film is based on a true story and reminds us of the incredible and self-less sacrifices many have made for our country’s benefit.  The film’s final scene is both exhilarating and haunting. It’s a terrific film. http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi732561689

5. Forest Gump




How many people will quote Forest Gump over the holiday? “I felt like running,” surely will be uttered. The Oscar-winning film focuses on Forest, played by Tom Hanks, as he leads a uniquely profound and simultaneously simple life where he finds himself involved in most of the most significant cultural events on the 20th century. It reminds us of what’s important through Gump’s undying commitment to his Jenny and his family. http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi732561689/


4. The Patriot

 Before we knew how much Mel hated Jews, he had a serious hatred for the British. Granted they gave him good reason. Gibson plays a peaceful farmer, who is forced to avenge his son’s death as a result of the cruel British. Set during the American Revolution, the film pays tribute to the country’s tentative start. It also stars the late Health Ledge as one of Gibson’s sons. Besides, a movie called The Patriot deserves inclusion on a list of “patriotic” movies. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0187393/

3. The Great Escape

If there was an actor’s hall of fame, surely most of this cast will be in: Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, James Coburn, Donald Pleasance represent some of the stellar cast in the 1963 war film. Equal parts comedy and suspense fill, it focuses on the true story allied POWs attempts to escape Germany’s ‘escape-proof’ Stalag. Who could forget McQueen’s awesome motorcycle chase scene? While the film does not have the standard happy Hollywood ending, (true stories often don’t) its ending still reminds us that fighting for one’s freedom is all that matters.   http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi1130535193/

2. Born on the Fourth of July

Oliver Stone’s film stars Tom Cruise, playing a real-life Ron Kovic, who is paralyzed after being shot in Vietnam. The film examines the patriotism that leads individuals to volunteer to fight in wars and the devastating consequences some encounter as a result. The film earned Stone an Oscar for direction and Cruise a nomination for his excellent work playing Kovic; many consider it Cruise’s best acting performance. The film is not for the entire family, but does ask us to consider what is owed to those who fought for this country. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096969/

 1. Saving Private Ryan

 There isn’t another film that captures the horrors of battle more convincingly than the first 30-minutes of Saving Private Ryan.  Spielberg’s masterpiece provides insight into the tremendous sacrifices so many have made for this country.  It is impossible to watch this film and not think of the soldiers who fought in WWII and other wars. As we pay tribute to our country this upcoming holiday, it is also worth considering all those who have made it possible for us to get together with family and friends. This film does that very well. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120815/

Well those are my top ten favorite patriotic movies of all time, and I’ll bet your favorites are a little bit different than mine. Let me know yours. Leave me a comment.

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