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10 Best 4th Of July Movies | ScreenRant

Highly anticipated every year, the 4th of July, also known as Independence Day, celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, which signified that the 13 US colonies were no longer under British rule. For many Americans, the day is a celebration of freedom and patriotism, often marked with barbequing, outdoor activities, fireworks, and time with loved ones.

RELATED: 10 Best Horror Movies To Watch On Independence Day

Given the historical significance of this event, there are many films that depict the US Revolutionary War and the founding of the country. Additionally, there many other films that either take place on Independence Day or embody the ideals of freedom and the American spirit.

10 I Know What You Did Last Summer

Loosely based on a novel, I Know What You Did Last Summer is a teen slasher horror movie from 1997 that follows a group of friends who cover up a hit-and-run accident involving a pedestrian, only to find themselves stalked by a killer one year later.

The 4th of July features prominently in the film as the friends hit the pedestrian after a night of wild partying in celebration of Independence Day. While not as polished as Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer is a fun guilty pleasure horror film.

9 National Treasure

National Treasure is an action-adventure movie that follows Benjamin Franklin Gates, played by Nicolas Cage, as he hunts for an immense treasure hidden away by Freemasons during the Revolutionary War. As part of this, he must steal the Declaration of Independence, since there is a secret map on the back of the historical document.

While certainly over-the-top, National Treasure is a fun and exciting movie that incorporates many different notable sites, events, and objects from American history, including the document at the heart of the 4th of July.

8 Born On The Fourth Of July

Based on the true story of anti-war activist Ron Kovic, Born on the Fourth of July is a drama about Ron Kovic's life, military service in Vietnam, and anti-war activism. Director Oliver Stone, who was also a Vietnam veteran, won the Oscar for Best Director for this anti-war film.

Additionally, Tom Cruise delivers one of the best performances of his career in a role unlike any of his others. It is a different type of 4th of July movie, but one that represents an important experience and point of view.

7 The Patriot

The Patriot is a war drama that tells a fictionalized version of the events of the American Revolutionary War. After his home and family are attacked by the British military, Benjamin Martin, played by Mel Gibson, joins the colonial militia and helps the colonies fight for their freedom.

The movie may not be completely historically accurate but it is a rousing depiction of freedom, family, and revenge. Watching the colonial army emerge victorious at the final battle at Yorktown is the perfect way to capture the 4th of July spirit.

6 The Sandlot

The coming-of-age classic The Sandlot follows a kid named Smalls as he and his family move out to the suburbs, forcing him to make new friends. He joins a group of kids who frequently play baseball in a sandlot in the neighborhood. The film takes place over a summer in which the boys get into trouble, make memories, and form a lasting bond over America's pastime.

RELATED: 20 Most Memorable Quotes From The Sandlot

In one particularly memorable sequence, the boys are able to play a rare night game on the 4th of July as the fireworks light up the night sky. Watching these friends play baseball as fireworks explode and "America the Beautiful" plays is a perfect slice of Americana.

5 Selma

Directed by Ava DuVernay, Selma is a historical drama that tells the true story of the 1965 voting rights marches led by Martin Luther King Jr. The demonstrators face immense opposition and violence as they march from Selma to Montgomery, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivers a rousing speech in front of the State Capitol.

While the movie does not take place on the 4th of July, few films have ever depicted the fight for freedom and justice for all as effectively and powerfully as Selma.

4 Independence Day

Independence Day is a blockbuster sci-fi disaster movie about a large-scale alien invasion that threatens all of humanity. Soldiers, politicians, and scientists from all around the world are forced to work together to launch a counterattack on the aliens on the 4th of July. The movie features a number of great performances and helped cement Will Smith as an A-list movie star.

The film is far from grounded, but the idea of all of humanity coming together and working as one to fight for freedom is inspiring, summarized in President Whitmore's speech about the 4th of July becoming an international celebration of freedom.

3 Rocky

Best Picture Academy Award winner Rocky is an inspirational sports drama about an underdog everyman boxer who gets the break of a lifetime when he is given the opportunity to fight for the heavyweight championship against defending champion Apollo Creed. The film is considered one of the greatest sports films ever made.

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Apollo Creed, a showman who wears American flag trunks, wants to have a high profile, patriotic, title fight in Philadelphia on the United States Bicentennial. His original opponent is forced to pull out of the fight, prompting Creed to give local fighter Rocky the opportunity instead. With the 4th of July as the background, Rocky's underdog story of hard work and determination is a great representation of the American dream.

2 Hamilton

With founding father Alexander Hamilton as the central figure, Hamilton is a historical musical that tells the story of the early days of America including the fight for freedom, the struggle to find unity, and the establishment of the political foundations of the country.

The film is filled with great characters, memorable songs, and important themes and messages. The unique decision to focus on Hamilton's perspective as an immigrant makes the story of Independence Day accessible and relevant to a wider audience of people than many other historical movies.

1 Jaws

Few movies have had as big of a pop culture influence as Jaws has, permanently changing the way generations of audiences look at the ocean. Set in the beach town of Amity Island, a man-eating shark wreaks havoc on the 4th of July weekend, prompting three men to set out to hunt down the beast.

Jaws is one of the most rewatchable movies of all time thanks to Steven Spielberg's masterful direction, compelling characters, and a terrifying movie monster. Set against the backdrop of the 4th of July, Jaws is a tense, thrilling movie that has captivated audiences for decades.

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