If you’re like me and were permanently scarred by a fireworks accident when you were little so that you can’t even see them anymore without freaking out, you probably just want to watch a movie on the Fourth of July instead.
Just kidding, that didn’t happen, but I do get uncomfortable around sparklers.
Anyways, here are five titles that are worth watching today as they embody everything that makes America totally awesome, whether it’s killing British people, killing communists or killing aliens. Check them out below.
1. The Patriot
Once upon a time, Roland Emmerich made moves that didn’t involve the entire world collapsing, and from that peaceful era, we got The Patriot, the story of Mel Gibson killing a whole bunch of Redcoats.
Yes, he’s a crazy racist today, but back then he was still in solid movies, and I really think The Patriot is an underrated classic. It’s got some sickly good violent action, and a solid performance from pre-death Heath Ledger as Gibson’s son.
Sure, it fictionalizes almost everything that happened in the American Revolution, but it sure as hell makes you proud of our forefathers, fictional or not.
Watch Mel Gibson go apeshit with a tomahawk:
2. Red Dawn
Moving on from a real war to a fake one, Red Dawn imagines what would have happened if Russia and Cuba decided to one day invade the US.
Well guess what? It totally worked, and they take over without so much as a scuffle from the mighty American military.
Instead, they must be defeated by a group of rogue high school students led by Patrick Swayze who call themselves “The Wolverines” and run the Commies out of town with guerilla warfare. Definitely one of the best/worst movies I’ve ever seen.
You can actually watch the whole movie on YouTube, but here’s the epic intro:
3. Top Gun
Another ‘80s classic, Top Gun is probably the most quintessentially American movie to ever exist, complete with closeted homoerotic undertones.
Yeah they fight some Russians eventually, as you kind of have to in any 80s movie ever, but it’s the rest of this movie that just scream American badassery with fighter planes, shirtless Val Kilmer and Maverick’s trademark ridiculousness.
It’s always appropriate to watch Top Gun at any point in time, but even more so on the Fourth of July. If anyone in your family objects, they’re probably a Russian spy.
Top Gun, the love story:
4. Saving Private Ryan
Alright, let’s get serious for a moment here. Sure, Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan might be more appropriate for Memorial Day, but as the story of America’s greatest moment in history, it certainly works for the fourth as well.
It can be a tough movie to watch, but it’s particularly inspiring to see our country at its strongest, and witness the courage of our soldiers.
Yes, we make similar sacrifices today, but not on the scale of WWII (we lost a million people then) and it’s good to stop and remember that on a patriotic day like today.
The incredibly intense Omaha Beach scene:
5. Independence Day
Annnd back to the crazy. Yes, Roland Emmerich makes his second appearance on this list with Independence Day, possibly the greatest movie about the holiday that will ever exist.
Sure, it’s more about the world fighting aliens on a day that happens to be the fourth of July, but this is still probably THE most appropriate movie to watch today, mainly because it’s totally awesome, and never stops being awesome more than a decade later.
It was my favorite movie for years and years, and says that our country can overcome any obstacle, even massively powerful aliens, as long as we have Will Smith.
And I leave you with this annual tradition: