This Fourth of July weekend, turn to films that capture not just the holiday, but the American spirit. While war movies, particularly those focused on the American Revolution, are always good choices, this weekend could be the time to revisit iconic films that showcase the greatest nation on earth.
Does any film better exemplify the American dream than “Rocky,” both on and off screen? While the fourth installment in the franchise is overwhelmingly patriotic, with the eponymous boxer defeating cold war Russia for the US, the initial offering’s quieter rags-to-riches tale epitomizes the beauty of the American Dream and its infinite possibilities.
If you feel the need… the need for speed this Independence Day, “Top Gun” could be the film for you. With a killer soundtrack and quotable dialogue, this ’80s action drama has cemented its legacy as a classic. The pro-military stance paired with a theme of balancing individualism and teamwork embodies the July 4th spirit.
With the Olympic trials still fresh in everyone’s minds, what better film is there to celebrate this country than one which details an exciting, unexpected win at the games? “Miracle” follows the 1980 Olympic U.S. national hockey team, who defeated the Soviet Union team in the medal round against great odds. It’s a powerful, exciting, and inspirational sports film that will stoke the fires of patriotism in all viewers.
‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington’
“Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” is the quintessential film for those who have both lost faith in the government but want to believe that there are still good people who genuinely want to help the country rather than just themselves. When a wholesome, ethical man is chosen to replace a recently deceased senator, he is almost broken by corruption and politicization of the legislative branch, as he is only interested in helping people. However, his earnestness and idealism eventually win out in a beautiful display of the power of hope and goodness. Jimmy Stewart’s charming onscreen persona is ideal for this classic government tale.
‘Team America World Police’
If something a little more satirical would suit your interests, “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone have you covered with “Team America World Police.” The crude, absurd animated feature is not your traditional patriotic fare, but that’s part of the charm. The exaggeratedly passionate opening anthem is equal parts hilarious and exciting, inspiring an impassioned “America, f*** yeah” amidst the laughter.
Paulina Enck is a writer who recently graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service with a degree in Global Business. Follow her on Twitter at @itspaulinaenck