Fourth of July Film Fest: 13 Patriotic Favorites!
There’s nothing like the medium of film to really convey the spirit of America. In honor of the Fourth of July holiday, here are 13 salute-worthy patriotic flicks, one for each original colony!
1. The Patriot - Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Joely Richardson, Tom Wilkinson
He may have proved his manliness in “Braveheart,” but Mel Gibson took that masculinity to a whole new level in “The Patriot.” Of course the eye candy coming from Heath Ledger definitely didn’t hurt either, and as a result this film had plenty to offer for both the male and female audience.
Everyone loves a good mystery, and despite some of his subsequent career missteps, Nicolas Cage picked a winner with “National Treasure.” The blending of historical facts and nail-biting action sequences served to both engage viewers and teach them a little something about the founding of our great nation. As an added bonus, Diane Kruger was quite the cutie curator.
3. Independence Day - Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum
Will Smith is widely known as the King of Summer Blockbusters (we’ll just overlook that whole “After Earth” incident), and he got that all started with “Independence Day.” Even though there’s a bit of a cheesy sci-fi element going on, Big Willie brings the heat and kills the aliens, all to save the good ol’ US of A!
4. Captain America: The First Avenger - Chris Evans, Tommy Lee Jones, Samuel L Jackson
Bringing together the childhood whimsy of comic books and the fascinating realm of big-screen special effects, “Captain America: The First Avenger” was a welcome throwback to the American values of yesteryear. Additionally, the flick helped boost Chris Evans’ career to new heights and united him with legends like Jones and Jackson. The result was a high-grossing kickoff to a fabulous franchise.
5. Saving Private Ryan - Tom Hanks, Vin Diesel, Giovanni Ribisi, Matt Damon, Paul Giamatti, Ted Danson
The epic war film genre got a big boost when this cast of already-and-not-quite-yet movie stars came together under the direction of Steven Spielberg for an almost-three-hour drama that left audiences emotionally moved. Before Matt Damon was Jason Bourne he was Private Ryan, and Tom Hanks effectively added yet another stellar line to his impressive resume.
6. Forrest Gump - Tom Hanks, Sally Field, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise
Credited by some as one of the best movies of all time, “Forrest Gump” gave viewers a unique look at some of the most revolutionary moments of American history since the Revolution itself. And it was all done through the eyes of a loveable simpleton who couldn’t help but find himself in extraordinary situations. No wonder this film won six Oscars!
7. Glory - Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman
Showing his impressive range, Broderick went from playing teen con artist Ferris Bueller to Civil War figure Colonel Robert Gould Shaw in three short years. Washington and Jackson also had impressive performances as part of the first all-black volunteer company who fought prejudices in both their own Union ranks and those of the Confederate Army.
8. Apollo 13 - Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon, Gary Sinise, Ed Harris
While “Apollo 13” was certainly not the first film to tackle the topic of travel in outer space, the spirit of heroism and ingenuity took the project far beyond its peers. And with a cast that boasted big names like Tom Hanks (yes this is his third mention on this list), Bill Paxton, and Gary Sinise, the two Oscar wins almost seemed inadequate.
9. Top Gun - Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards, Tim Robbins, Meg Ryan
The Navy’s Aviation branch got a huge publicity boost thanks to Tom Hanks’ “Maverick” and Kelly McGillis’ stunning portrayal of a flight instructor “Charlie.” While the military is often only glorified in wartime, “Top Gun” got folks excited about our country’s armed forces with some highly-skilled piloting and a killer soundtrack.
10. The American President - Michael Douglas, Annette Bening, Martin Sheen, Michael J. Fox
While there have been many movies that deal with the public persona of the Office of the President of the United States of America, few have taken the personal approach used in “The American President.” Douglas does a masterful job of convincing the audience that he may actually be the first morally-upright Commander-in-Chief the Oval Office has ever seen. In the wake of countless scandals over the years, Michael’s widowed President is endearing as he pursues Annette Bening’s lobbyist while running the country and being a good dad to his daughter.
11. Miracle  - Kurt Russell, Patricia Clarkson, Noah Emmerich
The Olympics bring out the best in American athleticism and with “Miracle,” the USA National Hockey team from 1980 took center ice. Kurt Russell played player-turned-coach Herb Brooks, who led the Americans to victory over the formidable Russian squad. Who says Canada is the only North American country with puck-handling skills?!
12. Rocky  - Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers
One of the reasons America is so appealing to people from around the globe is because the underdog always gets a shot. That’s the whole idea behind “Rocky”- a lower-class Italian American who loves to box and gets a once-in-a-lifetime shot at the heavyweight title after champ Apollo Creed snatches him out of obscurity. Against all odds, Rocky works hard and sacrifices everything to make a better life for himself and his lady Adrian.
13. Lincoln - Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Hailed as one of the great historical flicks of all time, “Lincoln” follows the 16th President of the United States of America as he navigates the racial tension that led to the Civil War. Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field knock it out of the park on this one, depicting President Abraham and First Lady Mary Todd. Lincoln’s emancipation of the slaves was a huge step towards equality in the States, though many believe he paid for it with his own life.