10 patriotic movies to watch on July 4 to honor Independence Day

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Celebrate Independence Day by watching our 10 favorite patriotic movies, from Private Benjamin to Captain America.

How are you celebrating Independence Day this year? On Wednesday, July 4, 2018, we’re set for a patriotic binge of all our favorite movies that focus on the United States. Join us as we cheer for films ranging from Yankee Doodle Dandy to Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

1. Yankee Doodle Dandy

Haven’t watched Yankee Doodle Dandy because you think it’s outdated? You’re missing out on an experience to which famed film reviewer Roger Ebert awarded five stars. James Cagney took home the Oscar for his dancing, singing role as Broadway legend George M. Cohan in this flag-saluting film.

2. Captain America

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a patriotic superhero! We’re talking, of course about, the Captain America franchise, including Captain America: The First Avenger and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America and a cast including Tommy Lee Jones and Stanley Tucci make Captain America a natural hero to watch on July 4.

3. Private Benjamin

We heart all of Goldie Hawn’s films, but there’s something special about her role in Private Benjamin, combining patriotism with pathos and humor. Hawn described herself as “honored” to star in Private Benjamin, and she also served as one of the producers for the movie about a woman who transforms her life by going into the Army.

4. Independence Day

The cast of Independence Day overflows with star power, from Will Smith as Capt. Steven Hiller to Mary McDonnell as Marilyn Whitmore to Harry Connick Jr. as Capt. Jimmy Wilder. And while the title sounds like either a coming-of-age story or a documentary about July 4, Independence Day is actually a stunning sci-fi movie. The film depicts people who come together in a desert in Nevada after an extraterrestrial race has attacked the world.

5. Air Force One

In addition to rocking his roles as Han Solo in the Star Wars franchise films and as Indiana Jones in those movies, Harrison Ford earned praise for his role in Air Force One. This drama unveils what happens when terrorists hijack Air Force One. Can the President of the United States overcome evil? Get ready to cheer as you celebrate July 4 by watching this suspenseful film.

6. Lincoln

What happens when legendary Steven Spielberg directs a film featuring Daniel Day-Lewis in the seemingly dry role of President Abraham Lincoln? Patriotic movie genius, of course. Sally Field, Hal Holbrook, and Tommy Lee Jones also star in the movie that explores the last four months of President Lincoln’s life. Gather up the kids and watch Lincoln seeking to get the U.S. House Of Representatives to pass the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Please pass the apple pie.

7. Hidden Figures

In his famous “I have a dream” speech, Martin Luther King shared his dream that his four children would “one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Hidden Figures is a film that King would cheer. The movie follows three black women who are NASA mathematicians. They use their knowledge to help the nation win over the Russians in space while also seeking professional recognition.

8. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Just as with Yankee Doodle Dandy, it’s all too easy to pass on Mr. Smith Goes To Washington because of its age. But this iconic film is timeless for both its ability to make us feel patriotic and the acting talents of the incomparable James Stewart, making it the perfect choice for July 4 film fans.

9. Miracle

The patriotic film Miracle is the perfect panacea for an era where believing in miracles sometimes requires a leap of faith. The sports docu-drama, starring Kurt Russell and Patricia Clarkson, celebrates patriotism as seen by the U.S.A. Hockey’s team miraculous win over the Soviet team during the 1980 Olympics.

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10. Apollo 13

In contrast to the sports docu-drama Miracle, Apollo 13 is a space docu-drama. Ron Howard gets credit for focusing on the technical accuracy of this tale about what happened when three astronauts climbed aboard Apollo 13 hoping to land on the moon. But it’s the cast including Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, and Bill Paxton who make this film so believable, causing us to root for them and for our country as NASA fights to get the astronauts home. Get those July 4 firecrackers ready to set off for the film’s heart-warming conclusion.