Top 10 Thrilling Fireworks Scenes (Happy 4th of July!)

Last Updated on August 5, 2021

Happy early 4th of July boys and ghouls…let’s make it a safe one! And by safe, you know what that means, try not to mix too much alcohol with your pyrotechnic fireworks, okay. Wait, did someone say fireworks? Oh hell yes…let’s light this motherf*cker up!

There have many great cinematic fireworks displays over the years. I instantly think of that great scene in THE SANDLOT where the boys play a night-game under the fireworks, set to Ray Charles’ America the Beautiful. Or how about that terrific scene in DUTCH where the entire stockpile of fireworks goes up in flames at once? Classic stuff. But of course, here at AITH, we need something a little more explosive. To see what we mean, check out our Top 10 Favorite Thrilling Fireworks Scenes below!

#1. V FOR VENDETTA (2005)

Because this sequence plays as both a celebratory grand-finale and a riotous exclamation point, the image of U.K. Parliament going up in the flaming fireworks-display in V FOR VENDETTA must be awarded the top spot. It’s a triumphant stint of anarchic bliss, watching the world burn below, and comes as a great cathartic release to end the film. There’s a statement made in the destruction, a larger cause, which gives a whole new meaning to the word independence.

#2. CAPE FEAR (1991)

Counselah? Counselah. Come out come out wherever you are! I don’t care what anyone says, De Niro as Max Cady in CAPE FEAR is downright mortifying! Actually, there’s quite a bit of evidence supporting the reading that Cady isn’t even mortal, that he is a kind of biblical superhuman specter haunting the Bowden family (go read Rob Ager for more on the topic). The scene where Leigh wakes up in the middle of the night to alarming fireworks, only to find a ghastly Cady perched atop the fence, back-dropped by celestial sparks, is more alarming than words can express.

#3. TO CATCH A THIEF (1955)

Leave to the peerless master, Alfred Hitchcock, to frame one of the coolest and most memorable metaphorical fireworks shows in all of cinema. Indeed, Hitch brings two of the most glamorous movie stars of all time, Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, and uses an incendiary fireworks display as a metaphor for the couple’s sexual combustion. Just as the two lovebirds come together, a fountain of fiery sparks is shot into the night sky, reinforcing their heated passion. It’s a great visual allegory!

#4. BLOW OUT (1981)

Brian de Palma has always been one of my favorite directors, and BLOW OUT has always been one of my favorite films of his. Imagine if CHAPPAQUIDDICK and BLOW UP had a baby, BLOW OUT would be the brood. Travolta gives one of his absolute best performances as a soundman who uses his recordings to uncover a murder conspiracy. In the end, as he tries to evade good old John Lithgow (such a great villain, always), he tries to blend into a fireworks parade as neon-mortars explode in the sky above.

#5. SILVER BULLET (1985)

Damn Haim, RIP son. LUCAS, LOST BOYS, LICENSE TO DRIVE…you burned brighter than few other in the late 80s. Mean it. Oh shite, speaking of burning bright, look at our boy here in SILVER BULLET, moments before becoming dog-food for a wildly uncouth werewolf darting right at him. Luckily, as he happened to be shooting off fireworks minutes earlier, he does what any red-blooded American boy would do. Aim the rocket in the dog’s slavering maw and light that shite up!


Can’t say this Ian fella didn’t have it coming. Indeed, during the 4th of July parade in FINAL DESTINATION 3, either drunk or indignant, probably both, this Ian dude walks right into the eye of the storm even when his friends tell him not to. He’s bragging about cheating death and whatnot, feeling immortal, and no sooner than two steps forward is he suddenly blasted with a few mortar-canons. Somehow shaking that off, then the poor douche-bag is squashed into a puddle of piss and blood when a crane collapses on his head. Amber waves of pain!

#7. UNCLE SAM (1996)

Gorgeous. You can almost see the sulfuric glow of this poor bastard getting impaled under nighttime fireworks show in UNCLE SAM, the most overt Independence Day horror flick perhaps ever. The sequence in question comes during final 15 minutes, in which a neighborhood jamboree turns into a veritable bloodbath at the hands of the pissed-off zombie-slasher Uncle Sam. The pyro-show starts with shooting a handful of sparklers in old Robert Forester’s chest, followed by several roman candles blasting into the air, followed by full-on mortar-bombs, missiles and rockets. It’s a hell of a show!


Yeah so, we may be fudging facts a bit with this one, but so what, THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR is not only the best entry of the franchise thus far, it’s also profusely back-dropped by all kinds of fiery 4th of July iconography. That is, the whole movie feels like one giant thrilling fireworks show! Seriously, who can forget the subverted imagery of costumed marauders in the guise of Uncle Sam, Abe Lincoln, the Statue of Liberty, etc., all going buck-wild in an act of anarchic catharsis. Or how about the defiled Lincoln memorial, left asunder with the words PURGE canned in a graffiti?!


While there’s little doubt THE MUMMY: TOMB OF THE DRAGON EMPEROR is the worst overall movie on this list, its actual fireworks-show is pretty damn impressive. The reason is, it all happens on the move, in fluid motion, as a firework-cart is inadvertently set off while careening in and out of tight Shanghai traffic. Brendan Fraser is there to try to control the wheel, but it’s a futile endeavor, as we see showers of sparks and mortar-missiles blowing up all over the place. Check it out, there’s even a nifty BTS video of the destruction on Youtube!

#10. LAND OF THE DEAD (2005)

Trust us, see those hideous undead ghouls looking upward…their desiccated eyeballs are fixed on the rutilant fireworks set off by unsoiled masses living in a walled-off city. For what purpose, exactly? Easy, shiny distractions allow you to rightly rock a zombie block off as you pass by undetected. I remember seeing this one in the theater with my sis, and the feeling of seeing yet another good Romero zombie flick was akin to a kind of holiday celebration. Land of the free, LAND OF THE DEAD!

Tags: Hollywood

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