10 Of Netflix's Best Patriotic Movies To Watch On The Fourth Of July
From hilarious comedies to heart-wrenching drama, Netflix has everything you need to celebrate Independence Day.
The Fourth of July is almost here.
In between all the fireworks, beer and burgers, you'll probably have some quiet down time to enjoy yourself and be thankful for everything we have as Americans. One of the best ways to get into the spirit of the Fourth is by watching a patriotic movie. Whether you like your patriotic movies as comedies, dramas or sports documentaries, Netflix has you covered.
1. "Forrest Gump"
Tom Hanks stars as the titular character in this American classic about an Alabama boy who finds himself in the middle of many major American historical evens from the 1950s-1990s, including the rise of Elvis, the Vietnam War and Nixon's resignation. It's a great film to watch for the Fourth of July; we get to see our patriotic history unfold through the eyes of someone just as unassuming as the rest of us.
Genre: Historical fiction, comedy-drama
For Fans Of: American history, memorable movie quotes and nostalgia-driven time trips
Netflix Rating: Five stars
2. "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby"
Will Ferrell is Ricky Bobby, a man from a poor town with two first names and big aspirations of becoming number one on the NASCAR circuit. Success gets to Bobby's head in this sports/comedy mashup that expertly parodies a major niche of Americana we've all laughed at at one time or another. It's just as funny to NASCAR patriots as it is to someone who's never been a fan of the sport.
Genre: Comedy, parody, sports-comedy
For Fans Of: Parody, Nascar, Will Ferrell's brand of ridiculous and very quotable humor
Netflix Rating: Two and a half stars (criminally low, IMO)
3. "We Were Soldiers"
Mel Gibson, starring as real-life Lieutenant Colonel/Colonel Hal Moore, leads troops into the Battle of Ia Drang during the Vietnam War. Based on the book "We Were Soldiers Once... And Young" written by reporter Joseph L. Galloway and Hal Moore himself, the movie takes a realistic look at the US's role in the war.
Genre: War, drama
For Fans Of: Realistic battle scenes, US military history
Netflix Rating: Four stars
4. "Varsity Blues"
High school football is a uniquely American tradition. You could probably say the same for James Van Der Beek. "Varsity Blues" has a lot of both, and will surely leave you pining for some of the nostalgia of your high school days. Some, but not all, because the movie isn't a brainless homage to youth—it values intelligence as well as one of the games that brings us all together.
Genre: Comedy-drama, sports
For Fans Of: Teen movies, sports dramas and James Van Der Beek
Netflix Rating: (just over) Three stars
5. "Wet Hot American Summer"
"Wet Hot American Summer" is a hilarious, and often bizarre, sendup of typical "summer camp movies" and experiences just about every American kid had at camp. Combining adult humor and pure silliness unlike anything else you're likely to see in theaters any time soon, the movie's become a cult classic and even inspired its own Netflix prequel series. It's not for everyone, but if you love it, you'll re-watch it every year.
Genre: Comedy, parody
For Fans Of: Satire and the stereotypical "summer camp movie"; if you loved "Meatballs," you should definitely see this
Netflix rating: Three stars
6. "The Battered Bastards of Baseball"
What's more American than an underdog baseball story? Not much. Owned by actor Bing Russell (father of Kurt Russell) and playing from 1973 through 1977, the unaffiliated minor league Portland Mavericks broke records and defied the odds in several monumental baseball firsts. This is a genuinely awesome sports story that will appeal to non-sports fans and baseball fanatics alike.
Genre: Documentary, sports
For Fans Of: "No No," baseball, Bing and Kurt Russell, uplifting stories
Netflix Rating: (nearly) Five stars
7. "World Trade Center"
Directed by Oliver Stone, "World Trade Center" tells the story of Port Authority police officers John McLoughlin and Will Jimeno, both of whom were trapped beneath the rubble of the South Tower during the 9/11 attacks. The movie doesn't deal much with political themes, and instead focuses on the heroism and actions of the police officers and fire fighters during the national tragedy, making it an ideal watch for a pure dose of patriotism.
Genre: History, biography, disaster
For Fans Of: Emotionally moving stories, police and firefighters, history
Netflix rating: Three stars
8. Unsung Heroes: The Story of America's Female Patriots
The role of women in combat for the last century has been greatly under-appreciated. This documentary sets the record straight, showing how women have fought alongside men (and have done much more) to guarantee our freedom. You'll be surprised you've never heard some of these stories before, and you'll get to see high-ranking female officers profiled. It's American as it gets.
Genre: Documentary, history
For Fans Of: Military history, gender equality, America
Netflix Rating: Four stars
9. "Coming to America"
In my opinion, "Coming to America" is Eddie Murphy's funniest and most original film. It's also one of the most touching portrayals of an outsider's view of the grittier parts of America, and the happiness he finds within them. Though he plays a wealthy African prince, the movie is all about how finding love and success in America aren't necessarily dependant on the money you have. It's a quintessential American dream film, but the dream is a little more emotionally wrought in this film's original concept.
Genre: Comedy, romance
For Fans Of: Eddie Murphy, the 80s, classic comedies, an original love story
Netflix Rating: Three stars (it's criminally underrated)
While it's not necessarily a patriotic movie in the traditional sense, "Adventureland" is a movie that concerns itself with a summer of fading youth. Theme parks are a wonderful American summer tradition, and the film nails them with perfect comedy. There's also a pretty great Fourth of July scene in the film, and the whole thing feels like one giant American summer holiday, so it is kind of patriotic in that sense.
For Fans Of: Coming-of-age films, nostalgia, Saturday Night Live humor mixed with solid dramatic storytelling
Netflix Rating: Two and a half stars (trust me, it's good)