Movies for the Fourth of July

Fourth of July weekend has long been a time for Hollywood to release big blockbusters – aliens, terrorists, explosions. All are par for the course.

But what if you’re in the mood for something more patriotic? Something central to what our Independence Day commemorates? My favorite Fourth of July movie is the musical 1776. Originally a stage production, it premiered on Broadway in 1969 and was turned into a movie in 1972. The movie version stars William Daniels (aka Mr. Feeny from Boy Meets World) as John Adams and details the events around the creation of The Declaration of Independence. The founding fathers are presented as real men, not faultless saints, as they struggle to convince The Continental Congress to declare independence. The music and mood are upbeat, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t shed a patriotic tear toward the end. As a bonus, there is also an appearance by a young Blythe Danner as Martha Jefferson.

Honorable Mention: If the fireworks tonight aren’t enough explosions for you, try Independence Day (the 1996 blockbuster starring Will Smith). Bill Pullman is the president. There are appearances from Brent Spiner and Judd Hirsch. Patriotism and pyrotechnics – What more could you want?

Oh, right – Aliens. It has those too.