We’ve made it to the mid-point of summer, the zenith of the season if you will. The Fourth of July is a great time to relax, celebrate our nation and partake in barbecues, fireworks and time with friends. I’m sure we all have our traditions—mine is watching the Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island and then watching the ultimate Fourth of July film, Jaws. In honor of the holiday, this week I decided to offer a few bingeable classics that fit in with the Fourth of July.
About: This essential battle of the Civil War actually took place in the run up to the Fourth of July. In fact, the Confederate retreat occurred on the Fourth of July, with the battle beginning on July 1. This biopic, based on the novel The Killer Angels from Michael Sharra, is pretty long. It runs nearly five hours, but it has a great cast and captures this epic battle, filming on the site of the battle, which is a National Memorial. It’s one of my favorite films, sometimes I like to watch it over four days (the action begins on June 30) to celebrate and remember the battle.
About: This musical from Lin Manuel Miranda was a hit on Broadway for years. The filmed version with the original cast dropped as a Fourth of July gift from Disney+ in 2020. It was great and is a great way to celebrate some of our founding fathers! I loved the music and the story.
Independence Day (1996)
About: This classic from Roland Emmerich stars Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum in a tale of aliens coming to invade Earth. Along the way, Smith’s plucky pilot and Goldblum’s neurotic scientist team up to find a way to stop things. Meanwhile the President (Bill Pullman) gives a rousing Fourth of July speech and hops in a fighter jet to save the world. This one is an absolute gem no matter what time of year you watch it. I first saw it in theaters during the summer after my freshmen year in high school and it’s been a favorite ever since.
About: It’s possible this is the film I’ve seen the most. I first saw it when I was a child, and I’ve watched it annually to celebrate the Fourth of July for more than 20 years now. It’s based on the novel from Peter Benchley and is largely regarded as the original summer blockbuster, crafted by director Steven Spielberg. It’s an incredible film and an iconic classic that can never be equaled or re-made.
The Patriot (2000)
About: This one also comes from Emmerich, and it’s a tale of the Revolutionary War, which is timely for the Fourth of July. This one features Mel Gibson as a soldier and family man who is forced to fight for freedom. It features Jason Issacs as a nefarious baddie and Heath Ledger in a supporting role. This one has good action and gets you right in the feels as you watch the birth of our nation unfolding as told by a German action film director. God bless America.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.