The Fourth of July is celebrated in America as Independence Day, commemorating the day in 1776 when the Continental Congress voted to adopt Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence. Or as a history teacher in the famous Richard Linklater movie Dazed and confused (set in 1976) She says, “Remember this summer, when you’re all engulfed in this Bicentennial Fourth of July in the United States, don’t forget what you’re celebrating, and that’s the fact that a bunch of slave owners, aristocrats and whites don’t want to pay their taxes.”

Update July 3, 2023: In preparation for the 4th of July holiday, here are some great snaps of what you can catch between swimming, barbecues, and fireworks.

Ironically, both Jefferson and John Adams died exactly 50 years later, on July 4th, 1826. At the time, Independence Day celebrations consisted of bonfires, concerts, parades, cannons and muskets firing, and lots of heavy drinking ( Therefore, it is not much different from today). However, in the last century Americans have been able to celebrate our independence from the monarchy with some phenomenal films and television chronicling or highlighting this event and the American Revolution. Cheer up, Queen Elizabeth II, because these are the best titles you can watch to celebrate Independence Day on the Fourth of July.

10 Spirit of ’76 (1917)

This movie is a bit of a cheat, as it is considered a wasted movie and impossible to watch; However, reading about the movie is almost as good, as the events surrounding it are absolutely insane. The film uses the morganatic relationship between a poor Quaker girl and King George III as a backdrop to the American Revolution, portraying the British (and the natives) in a cruel and brutal way.

Related: The Best Movies About the American Revolution, Ranked

Exposing British atrocities against Americans was highly controversial at the time; spirit of 76 Unfortunately, he was released only a month after the United States entered World War I and joined the war effort on the side of Britain. As such, the Department of Justice found the film’s highly negative portrayal of the British detrimental to the Allied efforts in World War I, and writer/producer Robert Goldstein was literally arrested for “aiding and abetting the German enemy” and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

It took the de facto US President, Woodrow Wilson, to commute Goldstein’s sentence to three years. Unfortunately, after that time, the director was largely destitute; He attempted to start his career in Europe, but is believed to have died in Nazi concentration camps. Go to the United States!

9 Patriot (2000)

American Revolution Patriot with Mel Gibson
Sony Pictures launch

Notoriously inaccurate but consistently exciting, Roland Emmerich’s film with Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger has been a favorite of all American moviegoers for two decades. Patriot It follows a father and son reluctantly recruited into the Southern Campaign of the Revolution, and is more anti-British than pro-American, troubling audiences in England with its incalculable depictions of British atrocities (killing babies, burning churches full of people, and so on). The film is a bit xenophobic and will appeal to many die-hard apple pie patriots, but Emmerich certainly knows how to craft an entertaining and melodramatic epic.

8 Independence Day (1996)

1996 science fiction film Independence Day
Twentieth Century Fox

No list of exciting Fourth of July movies would be complete without Will Smith’s iconic sci-fi thriller. independence day, which follows the Oscar-winning actor as he battles a ruthless extraterrestrial race that threatens to destroy the planet in the holiday of the same name with the help of Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman. Smith’s portrayal of the fearless Marine F/A-18 pilot Captain Stephen Heller helped establish him as a loyal leading man, and the spirited character fighting to protect all of humanity is undoubtedly one of his most iconic roles.

The epic disaster sent moviegoers flooding into theaters over the weekend and helped resurgence in Hollywood films, becoming the highest-grossing film of the year and grossing more than $800 million. The memorable scene in which the White House is obliterated by alien forces became synonymous with the film and was phenomenal visual effects, which ultimately helped the film become a Fourth of July staple.

7 1776 (1972)

1776 (1972)
Columbia Pictures

1776 It is a film adaptation of the hit Broadway musical about the signing of the Declaration of Independence and includes many of the original production’s voices and cast. Basically Hamilton before HamiltonAnd 1776 is an exciting saga that has a lot of fun with its Continental Congress and has certainly made a history teacher’s job a little easier for many years. Yes, a G-rated musical about the American Revolution wouldn’t be very descriptive or investigative, but it’s a thoroughly enjoyable movie that, despite some historical inaccuracies, actually uses bits of letters and diaries of politicians from 1775 and 1776 to shape it. Its dialogue and song lyrics.

6 Transit (2000)

the passage
Columbia TriStar Television Distribution

Jeff Daniels is incredible as the surprisingly funny George Washington the passage, a clever and somewhat irreverent TV movie about the famous crossing of the Delaware that has been immortalized in many paintings, and the Battle of Trenton. Daniels is comically profane in a show that celebrates Washington’s eccentricity and the fanatical extravagance of his soldiers. the passage It won a Peabody Award, and while it may not be flawlessly accurate, it’s a very entertaining, almost suspenseful film set during the American Revolution. Rene Ohashi’s award-winning cinematography perfectly captures the sense of the time.

5 Revolution (1985)

Al Pacino in the American Revolution (1985)
Columbia Canon Warner

revolution It is another anomaly of sorts, although this anomaly is available to see. The movie is about the American Revolution but was produced and directed by the British. revolution It stars Al Pacino as a poor and illiterate father in the 18th century (I tell you he was an anomaly) who is forced to engage in war against the British. The film is also awful for not presenting the American Revolution in any heroic or romantic terms – it’s a gritty, gritty, bleak film that honestly depicts the poverty and realities of life in the 1770s. It’s not a pretty movie (with the exception of actress Natasja Kinski), and it painfully but accurately shows the horrors of war.

4 Hamilton (2020)

Disney +

Chronicling the life of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton and his pivotal role during the American Revolution, Musical Biography Hamilton It took the world by storm when it premiered Off-Broadway in 2015, both entertaining and educating audiences with its groovy tunes and stellar performances. Created and written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the Tony Award-winning hip-hop-inspired musical is best known for its non-white cast portraying the Founding Fathers and other notable historical figures, with Miranda basing the show on a biography of Ron Chernow.

Related: These are the revolutions best depicted on film

With live musical numbers like “The Story of Tonight,” “The Room Where It Happens,” and “One Last Time,” the charming drama was released on Disney+ and became one of the most streamed movies of the year. It promotes a diverse group led by Miranda, David Diggs, Renee Elise Goldsberry, and Leslie Odom Jr., which is a great way to celebrate the holiday while learning about the history of the country and the individuals who helped shape it. Disney+ premiered the special on July 3, 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and for many Americans it was a communal way to celebrate the holiday.

3 Mary Silliman’s War (1994)

Mary Silliman's War (1994)
Heritage Films/Castle Films

This greatly underrated TV movie depicts the American Revolution from a different perspective and power dynamic, portrayed by Mother Mary Fish Silliman. By being one of the few films that explores the subject outside of Men on the Battlefield, Mary Silliman’s War Able to provide a complete historical picture of the time period, its societies and its politics. The film is a tender and visually stunning look at civilians in wartime, drawing its subtle little details from the fascinating biography of Silliman by W.W. Norton, The Way of Duty: A Woman and Her Family in Revolutionary America. The film is available to watch for free online.

2 Jaws (1975)

Art for the jaws
Universal Pictures

Beaches, sun, and a huge summer movie from Steven Spielberg, what a great way to celebrate the holiday. Jaws Initial action takes place through the Fourth of July weekend, when shark attacks threaten potential summer dollars from tourists who come to the beach town of Amity. As the mayor says “Ab?! For Christ’s sake tomorrow is the 4th of July, and we’ll be open for business!”. Jaws It is a must for the national holiday.

1 John Adams (2008)

John Adams on HBO
Warner Bros.

Although it is a short (long) series, John Adams A must watch for anyone interested in the American Revolution and Independence Day. With almost impeccable historical accuracy (thanks to a screenplay by Kirk Ellis, who adapted his Pulitzer Prize-winning biopic of Adams) and tremendous production value, HBO has outdone itself with this historical epic that is at once educational and engrossing.

The miniseries received 23 Emmy Award nominations and won 13 Emmy Awards, setting a record that remains to this day. Paul Giamatti has garnered plenty of accolades for his stellar performance as the titular Adams, but the rest of the cast (Tom Hollander, Laura Linney, Justin Theroux, Tom Wilkinson, and many more) are equally incredible in this detailed portrayal of American independence.


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