Skip to main content

There is a lot of time left after the fireworks. If you're like some people, you made this a 4-day weekend. Good for you! One good way to enjoy that extra chill time is to watch some movies. Pop some popcorn and make a pitcher of lemonade and fire up your amazon instant video or Netflix. Or, if you're like me, you own a few of these on DVD, These are my top half-dozen movies for the 4th of July...

*WARNING! SPOILERS*

Crossposted at Addicting Info

1776- My number one choice for 4th of July viewing (which some of you may remember from a previous diary). Besides just being appropriate to the holiday, it is a good movie. This musical is drawn from the Congressional Record, biographical journals, family accounts, personal letters, et cetera. The writers took poetic license, as all writers do. But there is much that is factual in the screenplay and even the songs. Large portions of spoken and sung dialog are taken directly from the letters and memoirs of the actual participants. While it isn't a perfect history lesson, it is enough to get one headed in the right direction. Even though license was taken, there is quite a lot of historical accuracy here. I dare you not to tear up when the final words are read out: And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor. The last song is sung by John Adams and based loosely on his writings about the day and how he believed it would celebrated. It always gives me chills and brings tears to my eyes.

I see fireworks!
I see the pageant and
Pomp and parade
I hear the bells ringing out
I hear the cannons roar
I see Americans - all Americans
Free forever more!
I highly recommend that you give this one a shot, even if musicals are not your thing. Especially considering that the subject matter and the holiday could hardly coincide more happily. amazon instant video

Captain America: The First Avenger - What would the 4th be without a genuine American hero? And Cap fits the bill for me. Sure, I love Superman but Cap is more human and easier to identify with. Besides, Chris Evans is pretty easy on the eye. Captain America starts life as weakling Steve Rogers (the effects they use to make Evans fit this description are clever) but, when he is chosen for an experimental super-soldier program, becomes Captain America... USO war bond shill. On an overseas trip to entertain the troops, Cap begins throwing off the rules and heading off on his own. He manages to kick a lot of Nazi butt and save his buddy with the help of Howard Stark (yep, Tony's daddy). Cap chases down the Big Bad and ends up crashing his plane into the sea (with a really cool MacGuffin that sets up The Avengers, which you could add to the list if you like). He wakes up now, having been in suspended animation since 1941, to have it all explained to him by Nick Fury. Well, maybe not all. I enjoy this film because I love comic book heroes. It's perfect for July 4th because, hey, Captain America! amazon instant video  

The Patriot - The only other film actually set during Revolutionary times on the list, this historical drama boasts some excellent performances by Heath Ledger, as Mel Gibson's eldest son, Gabriel, and Jason Issacs (Malfoy the elder from Harry Potter) as the British Commander, Tavington. It also features one of my favorite character actors, Rene Auberjonois. Gibson stars as a veteran of the French and Indian War, a widower raising his seven children in South Carolina. He tries to stay out of the escalating revolution but his older boys are keen to get involved. They travel to Charleston to attend a meeting of the South Carolina legislature who, against Mel's advice, votes to join in the war. Ledger joins up without telling Dad. A couple of years later, there is a battle near Mel's farm and, for helping all of the fallen (ours and British) he is repaid by the nasty Tavington by having his second eldest son shot and his home burned. This is enough to get Mel to fight. It ends up becoming a bit of a revenge flick when Tavington kills Gabriel, too. You can't help but cheer when Mel wins out in the end. Though there is some historical accuracy, the usual poetic license is taken for dramatic effect. It's good to get an idea of how we won our independence; with blood and tears and pain. amazon instant video  

Glory- If all you know of Matthew Broderick is Ferris Bueller or The Producers, you're in for an eye-opening treat. Matthew plays Col. Robert Gould Shaw, the commanding officer of the first all-black Union regiment, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. Some of the actors making up that regiment are among the best actors today: Denzel Washington, Andre Braugher and the inimitable Morgan Freeman. The 54th is seen by some as "for show" and many believe they will never be called into action, but they train hard nonetheless. Shaw uses a bit of blackmail (no pun intended) to get his C.O. to allow his men to fight. They win a few battles and gain some respect. They are eventually ordered to aid in the campaign to take Charleston harbor, eventually volunteering to lead the charge. As you would expect - and might already know if you're a history buff - it doesn't end well for the regiment. But their bravery inspires the Union to recruit more black soldiers who go on to help the North win the War. This is a wonderfully acted film that should make anyone with a heart cry at the end. But you will never forget this group of men, both real and on-screen. amazon instant video  

Independence Day - If you enjoy action/adventure with a bit of sci-fi thrown in then you will love this one. This film made Will Smith a hot box office commodity and also showed that he can swash a buckle or two. Smith stars as a Marine Hornet pilot who ends up saving the world when it is threatened by aliens. Along with Jeff Goldblum (as the scientist who figures out the alien's game), Bill Pullman (as the President) and Randy Quaid (well-cast as a crazy guy with unfinished business),  leaving only dozens more. To defeat the aliens they have to take out the Mothership, high in orbit above the earth. A plan is hatched that you could drive a Mack truck through (aliens  use a Mac OS - who knew?). But it's all a rousing good time and with minimal objectionable stuff for the younger set. amazon instant video  

Yankee Doodle Dandy - Many people don't know that Jimmy Cagney was a song-and-dance man before he was a tough guy onscreen. In this classic musical he goes back to his roots and portrays George M. Cohan, the man who wrote the title song. The story is told in a clumsy flashback fashion but once you get into it, that doesn't matter. Cohan actually was born on the 4th of July and, as the narration tells it, thought the country was celebrating his birth until he was 6 (my Sister was born on July 4th, too, and we told her that same thing for about as many years). Cohan's life is mythologized, as these sort of films did, but it's the age-old tale of patriotism and success so it's hard to frown on that. Cagney's performance won him a Best Actor Oscar, and remains one of the screens best-loved musical roles. If you're into cinema minutiae, the cinematography was done by the brilliant James Wong Howe and directed by Michael Curtiz, the man who gave us Casablanca. As one of my heroes, Roger Ebert, wrote about Cagney's performance:

He doesn't dance so much as strut; he doesn't act so much as sell you his desire to entertain. In dialogue scenes, when other actors are talking, his eyes dart across their faces, silently urging them to pick up the energy; he's like Michael Jordan impatiently willing his co-stars to keep up with him. And when he's in full sail, as in “Give My Regards to Broadway” or “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” it's like regarding a force of nature.
amazon instant video  

There are many other films that could be a part of a July 4th film fest, some of which appear on this list. It all depends on what you want to celebrate: history, music, action, romance... All are suitable for the 4th, IMO. But those six are the ones I try to watch. If I don't get to see at least one of them, my 4th of July just isn't complete (I watched 1776 last night). Maybe one or two (or all six) could make your holiday that much more fun while emphasizing the things we celebrate on July 4th. As I see it, if you don't take just a few moments to remember those who sacrificed for us to have something to celebrate about, then you aren't properly honoring the holiday. Besides, what's more American than a movie and all that goes with it? You're making hot dogs anyway, right?



So what movies will you be enjoying this weekend?
EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Hubby has a 4-day weekend - Yay! (16+ / 0-)

    So we'll be doing some cinema time over the next couple of days. I hope that your 4th was fun and safe and that you enjoy the rest of the holiday weekend!

    Thank your stars you're not that way/Turn your back and walk away/Don't even pause and ask them why/Turn around and say 'goodbye'/Just wish them well.....

    by Purple Priestess on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 03:53:04 AM PDT

  •  Not a Movie But I Watched the History Channel (7+ / 0-)

    on the Revolution. Yankee Doodle Dandy was on TCM last night.

    The movie channels I watch most seem to be off holiday related fare.

    If I had to choose one movie to temper the over-the-topocity of patriotic fare, it's the 60's comedy The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming with Alan Arkin starring as the mate of Soviet sub that strayed too close to Martha's Vinyard and accidentally ran aground, as they struggle to borrow a power boat to pull off while both they and the residents panic over each other. Also Johnathan Winters, Paul Ford, Brian Keith, Carl Reiner.

    This is the trailer, a simulated interview of Arkin in character by Carl Reiner, who plays a key character in the movie (not an interviewer).

    It's about time for a remake as "The Muslims are Coming."

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 06:18:38 PM PDT

    •  Such a great movie! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ericlewis0, Gooserock

      All the cameos, some by "old-time" comic actors. I don't know if I'd go for a remake just because we could never get such a good cast assembled again.

      Thank your stars you're not that way/Turn your back and walk away/Don't even pause and ask them why/Turn around and say 'goodbye'/Just wish them well.....

      by Purple Priestess on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 07:05:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thinking of the Political Message. This Was a Very (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Purple Priestess

        courageous film for its time, when we were doing duck & cover and the missile crisis was only 4-5 years earlier.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 07:36:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The "boys' loved Skyfall but... (4+ / 0-)

    I just did a great big double take when I saw the 1965 "Goldfinger" Aston Martin in the storage garage. Then when I found out it was made by a humongous 3-d printer out of plastic, I just laughed and laughed.

    Mindless, no politics except the subtle jabs between the young nerdy Q and the decidedly aging 007.

    Just have a ball.

  •  My 4th was good-- (3+ / 0-)

    and not only because I went forth on the third to get a fifth.

    Did you know fireworks are legal in Montana? They are. Right up to howitzer-sized I think. In the town I'm camping in, they have a unique tradition on the 4th: after dark, they line up on either side of the 4 lane rural hwy, AND BLAST EACH OTHER WITH FIREWORKS. This morning, as I drove 'into town', the side of the hwy was littered(for about a 1/2 mile) with exploded tubes & shreds of blown up 'fireworks'. Now, c'mon--that's too stupid even for a movie!

    Oh, wait--there WAS 'Dumb & Dumber'...

    The better I know people, the more I like my dog.

    by Thinking Fella on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 06:20:11 PM PDT

    •  Our firework legality is complicated. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Thinking Fella

      I'm in a rural area near at least 2 reservations where they sell damn near everything. You're supposed to stay on the res to fire off your mortars and such but people never do. They are lax about it out here but in town, Seattle especially, they are all illegal and they are serious. Last night, an errant bottle rocket set a boat storage ablaze, so that's why. Since Montana is so big and sparse, they can afford to be freer with them. I guess.

      Glad you had a good 4th!

      Thank your stars you're not that way/Turn your back and walk away/Don't even pause and ask them why/Turn around and say 'goodbye'/Just wish them well.....

      by Purple Priestess on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 07:09:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You listed some nice films (4+ / 0-)

    "Glory" is a wonderful film full of great actors. I have a special place in my heart for "Yankee Doodle Dandy," particularly the end when he's going down the stairs.

    And "Independence Day" is so AWESOMELY bad! Think I might watch that tonight.

    Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

    by moviemeister76 on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 06:25:58 PM PDT

    •  LOL (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      moviemeister76

      Yep, it's one of those "so bad it's good" films. Just some mindless entertainment to go with your popcorn.

      Did you know that part when Cagney danced down the stairs was impromptu? Genius!

      Thank your stars you're not that way/Turn your back and walk away/Don't even pause and ask them why/Turn around and say 'goodbye'/Just wish them well.....

      by Purple Priestess on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 07:11:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I did not (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Purple Priestess

        Makes it even more special. I can't imagine it any other way.

        And, yes, I love disaster/apocalyptic/alien invasion films. None of them are really good, but many of them are FUN!

        Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

        by moviemeister76 on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 07:16:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I Am On Like My Third Viewing (3+ / 0-)

    of this Smithsonian Channel show. The Doors: Story of LA Women. I own his poetry. Huge fan. I had no idea the history.

    •  History is so much easier to learn now (0+ / 0-)

      Though I sometimes question what THC shows (is Swamp People really history?), they sure make it easier to learn about the past.

      Yeah, I'm a History Channel junkie.

      Thank your stars you're not that way/Turn your back and walk away/Don't even pause and ask them why/Turn around and say 'goodbye'/Just wish them well.....

      by Purple Priestess on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 07:12:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  as long as you take any new ideas you get there (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Purple Priestess

        and cross-check them 6 ways from sunday... Wiki, Google, and follow at least half-a-dozen links...

        let's just say, as long time SCA "private scholars" of the Viking period, for instance? it's not a pinch of salt, it's a cup or two with almost anything.

        Quality varies WIDELY, let alone WILDLY. The products you get from History Channel, Discovery, PBS, BBC, BBCA, etc., will be of varying quality. The theories, the "experts", the re-enactors who help productions "come to life" -- question authority! here as well as anywhere else.

        We used to find the History International Channel pretty reliable, but don't know what state it is in these days. A fair number of the channels that used to be pretty educational now seem to be far more "edu-tainment-al" -- lots and lots of hours to fill, eh?

        "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

        by chimene on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 08:11:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's true. (0+ / 0-)

          Being the history buff that I am, I know that they sometimes play fast and loose. I also can't figure out all the Christian stuff. History is not the Bible's strong suit.

          Thank your stars you're not that way/Turn your back and walk away/Don't even pause and ask them why/Turn around and say 'goodbye'/Just wish them well.....

          by Purple Priestess on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 08:21:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I saw Much Ado for the 2nd time today (3+ / 0-)

    So the writer's not American, but it was adapted for the screen by one. Most of the actors are American. And Texas girl Amy Acker is effing brilliant in it. A couple of Canadians are really good, too - Nathan Fillion as Dogberry (though between Castle & this, he really needs to do a heavy, intellectual role next)

    And now I'm watching the Walking Dead, which has a surprising number of Brits.

  •  I watched the HBO production (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Purple Priestess

    of John Adams.

    I had watched it when it first ran, but to watch it again, one episode after the last, was very cool.

    Made me have a very lazy day, but very cool.

    My husband and I also watched Independence Day.

    Interesting thought from my husband:  Since we also watch Falling Skies, and Revolution and my husband is a major "B" rated sci-fi movie fan, he wondered this:  

    "Why do all these movies and shows depict aliens as some evil we can't fathom, when, if aliens did visit here as many think they did, they did so to biuld the pyramids, Mayan temples, those 'airstrips' gave early man much needed technology.  Why do we now think they want to destroy us?  Because we f***ed the planet?  Is that it."  He stopped for a minute and said, "Makes sense to me after all."

    Growing old is inevitable...Growing up is purely optional

    by grannycarol on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 09:15:25 PM PDT

    •  He has a good point. (0+ / 0-)

      I watched the John Adams HBO series yesterday, too. I missed the first episode but was so happy were running it and watched the rest. I am trying HBO again but am not pleased with it, even with 5 different HBO channels. It's not worth $17/month for me. But I'm glad I got to see that.

      Yes, I cried at the end....

      Thank your stars you're not that way/Turn your back and walk away/Don't even pause and ask them why/Turn around and say 'goodbye'/Just wish them well.....

      by Purple Priestess on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 09:34:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I find brothers and sisters I can enjoy (0+ / 0-)

    one bottle of beer a week.  Be generous and share your favorite beer with me so I can select one once a week.

    Thanks

  •  4 hour extended Gettysburg, TNT (0+ / 0-)

    original, can be found on You Tube. After the 12 hours of Programming from C-Span 3 Live on June 30 (all archived for re-watching), it was interesting to go back and see this again. A flawed and incomplete rendering, according to historians, but still holds up. My take: Shakespearean like speechifying from the principals (Martin Sheen just awful as Lee), dedicated re-enactor filming interspersed. It is a wonder anyone had ear drums left. I guess those guys do wear ear plugs.

  •  2 films (0+ / 0-)

    (well, DVD's) I watch every July 4th:

    1776.
    The Music Man.

    Both are pure Americana.

    I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

    by trumpeter on Sat Jul 06, 2013 at 08:52:12 AM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site