Ilana saluting the flag on Broad City
(Comedy Central)

The Best Movies to Make You Yell “AMERICA!” on July 4th

It is the Fourth of July, and while there isn’t much to celebrate in America right now (looking at you, Supreme Court), it is a holiday that can give us an excuse to watch some great movies. Many of those movies will have you cheering for the U. S. of A. even when you don’t want to.

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We love movies about our history, war, and days like the Fourth of July, but some movies just stand apart from the rest. You wouldn’t really try to watch Lincoln on July 4, would you? Some movies really feel like they were made to be watched on this holiday, in particular, and others decidedly weren’t.

To help us get through the holiday in style, let’s dive into some of the best movies that feel so incredibly American.

10. Hit Man (2024)

Glen Powell in 'Hit Man'

Let me cook here for a second. Hit Man is a movie about an American man working with the police. The film focuses on people who try to hire a hitman (a very American idea if you ask me). I also just think this movie is fun, so why not spend the holiday watching Glen Powell play Gary Johnson?

Not every movie has to be about the Fourth of July, and there is really nothing more all-American than Texas-born Glen Powell and his love of football.

9. Tropic Thunder (2008)

Ben Stiller and others in Tropic Thunder.

Again, hear me out: Why watch a serious movie about war on the Fourth when you can instead watch this and laugh at the concept of actors and movies like this? Tropic Thunder is one of those movies where people don’t know where it stands nowadays, but it still is pretty funny. I am well aware of the fact that this is a satire that doesn’t necessarily work in 2024 and wouldn’t be made today. I am someone who does love to point out what the film is trying to say, however.

Do I think about that montage of Kirk Lazarus’ (Robert Downey Jr.) movies at the beginning of this often? Yes, I do. But I also think if you’re determined to watch a movie about war on the Fourth of July, at least this one is fun to watch.

8. Hamilton (2020)

Lin Manuel Miran and Phillipa Soo in Hamilton

If you’re going to have a history lesson on the Fourth of July, at least make it a musical, right? Hamilton is an American musical. No really, the full title is Hamilton: An American Musical. It is a show that tells the story of Alexander Hamilton’s political rise. You’ve probably heard about Hamilton.

If not, how is it under that rock? You can watch the full show and everyone can sing along. A win-win for you guys, really.

7. National Treasure (2004)

The main trio in National Treasure
(Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Okay I know I said that Hamilton was a history lesson but at least this movie is really fun, right? National Treasure is itself a national treasure to fans. Benjamin (Nic Cage) is trying to steal the Declaration of Independence to find a treasure hidden away by the Founding Fathers. I don’t know what is more American than the dream of randomly finding a treasure.

This franchise is great and I miss Benjamin Franklin Gates so much. BRING HIM BACK.

6. The American President (1995)

The president and his wife dancing together in front of an American flag in The American President
(Warner Bros.)

Unfortunately, I had to include one Aaron Sorkin property here. That just happened to be The American President. No one quite loves talking about presidents like Sorkin does. The film, which stars Michael Douglas and Annette Bening, is a love story between a widowed president and a lobbyist he meets along the way.

I mean, sure, it is weird that this is a love story within American politics (and it’s even weirder that we have a few movies like this) but I also grew up watching this movie, so I have a soft spot for it.

5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson and Chris Evans as Captain America in Captain America: The Winter Soldier
(Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

America’s Ass is important to remember every Fourth of July. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) was born on this sacred day, so why not celebrate by watching Captain America: The Winter Soldier? Despite my favorite Cap movie being Civil War, I picked this one because a lot of the film takes place in Washington D.C—but if you want to watch Captain America: Civil War instead, I won’t blame you.

Honestly, you can probably throw this whole list out and watch all three Captain America movies instead, and you’ll find yourself screaming and cheering for America because Steve Rogers just does that to people.

4. Miracle (2004)

Kurt Russell with his arms crossed in a hockey rink
(Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Nothing screams America like hockey before the Cold War, am I right? The movie Miracle has a unique ability to force patriotism to jump right out of your soul. Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) is brought on to coach the U.S. Olympics male hockey team and look, it is a sports movie. Obviously, we’re going to start cheering for the American team to win.

Miracle, like many other American sports movies, is undeniably inspiring, and you probably will end up chanting “U.S.A.”, and that’s okay.

3. Air Force One (1997)

Harrison Ford in Air Force One
(Sony Pictures Releasing)

Air Force One asked an important question: What if Harrison Ford was the president? The film puts President James Marshall on the iconic Air Force One, but it is hijacked by terrorist Gary Oldman, and he has to fight to keep his family (and his plane) safe.

I still think this movie rules. It is so very ’90s but hey, if you want to celebrate America, what better way than watching Harrison Ford kick some ass?

2. Dave (1993)

Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver in Dave
(Warner Bros.)

Dave really said “Plenty of guys look like Kevin Kline” and that’s hilarious to me. No one looks like Kevin Kline but Kevin Kline. The movie has Dave (Kline) playing a stand-in for the president (also played by Kline) because they look alike. The problem is that Dave falls in love with the First Lady, (Sigourney Weaver).

We were really up to something in the ’90s with these movie ideas, but also, Dave rules so we’ll let it slide.

1. Independence Day (1996)

Bill Pullman leaning on a computer looking upset in Independence Day
(20th Century Studios)

No list about the Fourth of July would be complete without Independence Day. President Bill Pullman joining Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum to save the world from an alien invasion? There really isn’t anything more patriotic than that!

This Roland Emmerich movie is a classic for a reason. We love seeing Americans band together to fight a common foe. This time, it just happens to be aliens who have come to Earth and want to wipe us out. If you don’t cheer for America while watching Independence Day, what are you even doing?!

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.