Top 10 Most Patriotic Movies of All Time (Video Edition)
Today is America's birthday and as we all enjoy barbeques, fireworks, alcohol, and more it is also the perfect time for a good movie. So, if you want to sit back with a cold beer and gather your family around to watch a movie that will stir your red, white, and blue blood, here is the list for you. Whether they be about sports, war, family, love, honor, or good old fashioned science fiction, here are the ten most patriotic movies you can pop on your TV to celebrate the Fourth of July. If your favorite didn't make the list, make sure to add it to the talk backs below.
RED DAWN is the ultimate in Cold War propaganda film-making. A violent western where the cowboys are All-American teenagers and the Indians are the Russians, RED DAWN is exactly the type of movie you would expect in the 1980s. Like ROCKY IV, RED DAWN plays off of the fears instilled in all Americans to fear Communism and the entire Soviet Union. It may not be the best movie but damn it makes you feel like a 'Merican.
All of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have an American streak in them, but this movie carries it right in the title. Director Joe Johnston set his film during World War II rather than make it a contemporary superhero flick which gives the movie a pulpy red, white, and blue vibe that works wonderfully. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER is the ultimate good ('Merica) versus evil (HYDRA) without any apologies or compromise. THE WINTER SOLDIER may be the better film, but THE FIRST AVENGER is by far the most fun movie Marvel has made to date.
Michael Bay movies are the definition of 'Merica: explosive, violent, and goddamn fun. ARMAGEDDON was his last truly accomplished summer movie that actually blended ra-ra patriotism and the idea that blue collar Americans can save the world from absolutely anything. Bruce Willis' team of heroes are all variations of American stereotypes that band together to save the girl and the world, in that order. True Americans will feel themselves getting a boner the moment Liv Tyler hits the screen for the first time.
Nothing screams patriotism more than World War II. The finest hour for our Greatest Generation, WWII symbolizes what America can do to save the rest of the world. While we sometimes can take for granted just how significant our role was versus Nazi Germany, movies like SAVING PRIVATE RYAN bring the story down to a personal level rather than making them massive battle spectacles. Plus, the story of a group of guys going to save the life of just one of their brothers is just so damn 'Merican it makes my eyes hurt.
The almost tragic events that inspired APOLLO 13 were a moment in history that united all Americans to hope and pray for the trio of astronauts who almost didn't make it home. Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon, and Tom Hanks do an admirable job in their roles, but it is Ed Harris and the crew at NASA using stubborn ingenuity and hard work to find a solution for an impossible problem. The literal unity we see between every single group in this film showcases why we all feel like cheerleaders for 'Merica.
What is more 'Merican that a President who kicks ass and takes names? The answer is nothing, assuming that President is played by Harrison Ford. AIR FORCE ONE is an action-packed adventure, again versus the former Soviet Union embodied by the evil Gary Oldman. This time, the hero is not a Secret Service agent or a cop with the odds stacked against him. It is President Indiana Jones! Ford combines aspects of every one of his roles into this roller coaster of a movie. If you don't stand and applaud when he says "get off my plane" then I don't think you are an American.
Forget warfare, active or cold. When you want to examine the deep patriotism of a nation, turn to sports. MIRACLE represents a moment in American sports history that nobody thought would be possible. The Soviet Union, a powerhouse in ice hockey, fell to the upstart U.S. team in nailbiting fashion. Kurt Russell leads the squad that defied the odds in a movie that is a metaphor for many Americans for how our country came to power over the years. A moving and sentimental film, MIRACLE is also as 'Merican as sports movies can get.
BRAVEHEART may be one of the movies that almost every man names as a personal favorite, but it is Mel Gibson role in THE PATRIOT that brings that emotion to the Western Hemisphere. Essentially a structural copy of BRAVEHEART, THE PATRIOT is so patriotic that all you have to do is look at the title and the poster of Mel Gibson holding the American flag to know this will be another British-bashing, Continental favoring, bloodbath. Violent and brimming with 'Mericanism, THE PATRIOT is mandatory Fourth of July viewing.
FORREST GUMP is a sentimental journey of one simple man through every major moment of modern American history. While it may be a bit saccharine, FORREST GUMP is still a movie that will pull tears from your eyes no matter how hard you try not to. Robert Zemeckis showcased amazing special effects to insert Tom Hanks into everything from Vietnam, meeting Presidents and John Lennon, to running across the country, all in the name of the girl he loves. There is certainly flag-waving in FORREST GUMP, but it is really more of a symbolic journey of our simple nation growing to adulthood.
The movie so 'Merican it named itself after our most 'Merican holiday. Roland Emmerich's INDEPENDENCE DAY is a cultural melting pot that brings together every type of American alongside the nations of the world to defeat the unified threat of alien invasion. It has all of the elements of a great 'Merican movie: mild profanity, some vague sensuality, explosions, Will Smith, a kick ass President, a smart nerd who saves the day, and a stirring speech before we save the world. Yeah, INDEPENDENCE DAY is easily the most patriotic movie of all time.