If parades, fireworks and picnics aren’t your thing, maybe a good movie is what you need to get you in the proper Fourth of July mood.

Nothing like a good film to get the emotions stirring. So whether you want rousing patriotic music, heart-pounding patriotic action or more serious historical studies, there’s a film out there for you. Here are just a few rental suggestions:

“YANKEE DOODLE DANDY” (1942) — A rousing patriotic musical about rousingly patriotic showman George M. Cohan. He penned the film’s title tune as well as the World War I anthem “Over There.” James Cagney is electric as Cohan, and won an Oscar.

“JOHN ADAMS” (2008) — A serious study of one of our lesser-known founding fathers, a Massachusetts man who became our second president (and died, appropriately enough, on July 4, 1826, along with Thomas Jefferson). The TV mini-series based on the book by historian David McCullough features Paul Giamatti as a very compelling Adams.

“MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON” (1939) — James Stewart is forever remembered as the idealistic young senator who gets caught up in Washington’s corrupt politics, but refuses to give in and mounts a fight for the principles of American democracy.

“SAVING PRIVATE RYAN” (1998) — Steven Spielberg’s epic, starring Tom Hanks, helped put in place the “Greatest Generation” lens through which we now view World War II. It was also one of the first films to really bring home the up-close horror of that conflict.

“STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER” (1952) — A huge part of Fourth of July celebrations is the music, so here’s a film about the man who gave us some of our best-loved patriotic marches, John Philip Sousa. Clifton Webb stars.

“GLORY” (1989) — You want to talk about patriotism? How about recently freed slaves fighting for a country that allowed the inhumanity of slavery in the first place? This Civil War drama stars Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman and Matthew Broderick.

“THE PATRIOT” (2000) — Not exactly a history lesson, this Mel Gibson action flick about a Colonial family torn apart by the Revolution does get you in the fighting spirit. Also stars Heath Ledger.

“BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY” (1989) — Director Oliver Stone’s biopic of Ron Kovic, a paralyzed Vietnam veteran who becomes an anti-war and human rights activist after his war experiences. Tom Cruise is memorable as Kovic.

“INDEPENDENCE DAY” (1996) — Mostly just a fun action film with a vague tie-in — Americans repelling an alien invasion around July Fourth, with the president as one of the combatants! Will Smith and Bill Pullman star.

“1776” (1972) — Film based on the Broadway musical, with our founding fathers singing such show stoppers as “But, Mr. Adams,” “Molasses to Rum” and “The Lees of Old Virginia.” Ken Howard, TV’s “The White Shadow,” stars as Thomas Jefferson.


Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:

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