Five Films to Watch on the Fourth of July

By Stacy Buchanan

July 3, 2012

Tom Cruise in Born on The Fourth of July (Universal Pictures, 1989).

The Fourth of July is a great time to have that summer barbeque you’ve been daydreaming about, maybe let the kids play with some sparklers, and later watch fireworks with the family. But more importantly, it’s a time to pay tribute to our military efforts and all who have sacrificed to afford us the comfort of this leisurely day.

And what better way to celebrate than to watch some good ol’ American films? Here are some of my favorites to celebrate patriotic efforts and American pastimes:

Born on the Fourth of July (1989)

Based on a true story, Born on the Fourth of July is a fantastic representation of the Vietnam War through the eyes of a veteran. It recounts some of the more gritty and real moments endured during the war and how they changed the perspective of those who fought in it. One of the more startling moments of the film occurs when Ron Kovic (Tom Cruise), who has accidentally shot a member of his own platoon, later encounters the man’s family. The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won Best Director and Best Film Editing. Born on the Fourth of July stars Tom Cruise, Willem Dafoe, and Bryan Larkin.

Independence Day (1996)

WOO HA, let’s kill some aliens! I love this movie; it’s fun and jam packed with pride (the good kind). The U.S. is under one massive alien invasion, and Americans must work together to save not only the country, but the world. Behind its unbelievable action scenes and Hollywood blockbuster appeal, the narrative focuses on bringing people from different cultures and lifestyles together to make it all happen. Although no formal nominations or awards were given, the film was well-received by critics and audiences. Independence Day stars Will Smith, Bill Pullman and Jeff Goldblum.

Glory (1989)

Glory is based on the first all African American, American Civil War regiment, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. It begins during the Battle of Antietam, ends at Fort Wagner, and is a great portrayal of the regiment’s courage, and the courage of over 180,000 volunteer soldiers, who fought in the war. President Lincoln himself considered their efforts instrumental in securing a victory for the Union, and watching this film it’s easy to see why. The film was nominated for five Academy Awards, and won Best Supporting Actor, Best Cinematography, and Best Sound. Glory stars Denzel Washington, Matthew Broderick, and Morgan Freeman.

Captain America: First Avenger (2011)

One of my favorite Marvel Comics film adaptations, Captain America: First Avenger takes place during World War II. It’s about Brooklyn native Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) volunteering to be genetically transformed into a super soldier/secret weapon to help fight the war. The villan is Red Skull, Adolf Hitler’s ruthless head of weaponry, who intends to use a device well known to Marvel fans (the Tesseract) as an energy source for world domination. And let’s not forget that Captain America is played by Boston’s own hearthrob, Chris Evans.

The Sandlot (1993)

Of course, we need a film involving America’s favorite summer pastime, right? In The Sandlot, Scotty Smalls narrates his childhood move to a new neighborhood in the summer of ‘62. Smalls starts hanging out with a group of neighborhood kids who spend their lazy summer days and nights riding bikes, sleeping in tree houses, chasing after pretty lifeguards, and of course, playing baseball. The Sandlot stars Tom Guiry, James Earl Jones, and Boston’s Dennis Leary.


About the Author
Stacy Buchanan Stacy Buchanan
Stacy is California born and raised, and happily living in Boston.  By day, she’s a seasoned digital marketer, social media enthusiast and pop culture consumer. After studying special effects makeup and film for over 20 years, she is also full-time film buff and by night, produces content for horror publications, focusing on classic and contemporary horror films.


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