Happy 239th Anniversary to you, United States Independence! As we join with family and friends in celebrating Independence Day, here are five classic films we’re watching this holiday weekend!
We’re not sure if you should count yourself as lucky or deprived if you weren’t forced to watch this musical every year in elementary and high school. Boy Meets World Feeny-fans will flip over William Daniels as John Adams in this musical that tells the story of the writing of the Declaration of Independence. It might not be the best musical ever—it didn’t garner the kindest reviews at the time of its release—but it’s still a film we can’t wait to pop into our DVD players (or, if you’re keeping it old school, VHS player) every 4th of July!
Oh, hello there, Revolutionary War action! Hello to you, too, Mel Gibson as the father of the year who takes on the entire British army to defend his family. Overlooking the film’s controversial nature—yes, there are historical inaccuracies, and yes, it may be a bit over-the-top in many ways—it’s still among the favorite film depictions of the American Revolution, and considered one of the most engrossing representations of the Revolutionary War ever brought to the silver screen.
Because Denzel Washington. This Civil War film tells the story of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry in epic fashion, filled with so much patriotism and heroism it makes our hearts swell just thinking about it. Matthew Broderick plays the leader of the first all African-American unit in the U.S. Army, with Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, and Andre Braugher each delivering riveting performances from different perspectives of this complex fight for freedom. The score is amazing, the story compelling, and the film as a whole an amazing depiction of a noble fight for freedom. (And also, when Denzel cries, we cry. We dare you not to shed at least one tear.)
That’s one bad hat, Harry! Set over the Fourth of July holiday and featuring one of the best delayed-arrivals of an antagonist in film history (you do realize we’re like two-thirds of the way through the movie before we actually see a shark, right?!), JAWS will always be a classic. And when it comes to edge of your seat action, you’re “going to need a bigger boat” to hold all the thrills this film has to offer!
“We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive! Today … we celebrate … our Independence Day!” As if we'd leave this film off our list! Jeff Goldblum + Will Smith + telepathic aliens bent on the destruction of mankind = a film that totally set the standard for the summer blockbuster. It’s so classic, AMC is showing it all day on the 4th. So you should, you know … probably watch it at least, like, twice.
BONUS: We couldn’t finish this list without including National Treasure. Not only do they steal the Declaration of Independence in a race against evil, but Nicholas Cage’s performance as what might be the most patriotic dude ever? Fuhgeddaboudit … we love it.