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The best movies to commemorate the 4th of July

'Saving Private Ryan,' 'Top Gun,' 'Independence Day' and 'Lincoln' are some of the movies that will make any citizen proud to wave the American flag and enjoy the fireworks while celebrating Independence Day.

Las diez mejores películas para celebrar el 4 de Julio.

Top Movies to Celebrate the Fourth of JulyPexels / PNG Wing

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If there's one American holiday represented in movies and on tv, it's undoubtedly the 4th of July. Thousands of movies and series have used this holiday to show how a true American celebrates this day and the countless events that are organized throughout the United States.

This day sparks patriotism within fellow Americans. Feeling proud to be an American is the true meaning of the Fourth of July, and it's also well represented on both the big and small screen.

One of the great myths of American cinema, in fact, is that the American flag is required to appear for at least 20 seconds. Many people think the flag has to be displayed at some point in every series or movie.

Although this isn’t true, it shows American sentiment about the country since there are very few movies made in the United States that do not show the American flag.

That is not the only way to depict American patriotism. The sentiment is evident after watching some of these movies, which are the perfect way to celebrate this 4th of July:

1. 'Saving Private Ryan' (1998)

Fotograma de la pelicula

Still from 'Saving Private Ryan', a movie starring Tom Hanks in 1998.Cordon Press

The most patriotic movie in history is, without a doubt, "Saving Private Ryan." Directed by Steven Spielberg and with a cast that includes Tom Hanks, Matt Damon and Vin Diesel, among others, the plot focuses on the efforts of Captain Miller (Hanks) and his team to bring Private Ryan, played by Matt Damon, home safe.

The story takes place during the Normandy landings, in World War II and is the perfect movie to re-watch on the night of the Fourth of July.

Where can one watch this movie? "Saving Private Ryan" is available to watch in the U.S. on Amazon Prime Video and Pluto TV.

2. '1776' (1972)

1776, Ken Howard, Howard Da Silva, William Daniels, 1972
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Still from '1776', a moovie starring Ken Howard, Howard Da Silva and William Daniels.Courtesy Everett Collection / Ev Everett /Cordon Press

What was it like to sign the Declaration of Independence? That's precisely what "1776" is about. The 1972 movie, starring Ken Howard, Howard Da Silva and William Daniels, takes place in the summer of 1776 in the city of Philadelphia, the very place where the historic text was signed.

The movie shows, in a fictional way, this historic moment. However, it is not all fiction. Mag El Comercio reveals that some dialogues and letters in the movie were inspired by the "letters and memoirs of the actual participants of the Second Continental Congress."

Where can you watch the movie? "1776" is available in the United States on the streaming platform Tubi.

3. 'Top Gun' (1986)

Tom Cruise in 'Top Gun,' 1986 movie.©Paramount/Courtesy Everett Coll

If there's one thing actor Tom Cruise is known for, besides his dozens of action movies, it's for being one of the few conservative actors. One example of this is seen in "Top Gun" or, even, in its sequel "Top Gun: Maverick."

In them, the actor plays Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, a decorated pilot who serves on the USS Enterprise and must participate in several combats. The movie has several impressive aerial scenes and a magnificent soundtrack.

This classic action movie has a particularly patriotic poster. Most people will never forget the image of Cruise on his plane with the American flag in the background.

Where can you stream this movie? "Top Gun" is available in the United States on Paramount Plus and Pluto TV.

4. 'Air Force One' (1997)

Still from 'Air Force One,' a 1997 movie starring Harrison Ford.United Archives / Cordon Press

The plane usually used by the U.S. president for state trips has also made several appearances on the big screen. The one that stands out above the rest is in "Air Force One," the movie starring Harrison Ford that hit theaters in 1997.

In the movie, Ford plays the (fictional) president of the United States, James Marshall. He boards the Air Force One for a state visit when a group of Russian terrorists hijack the plane. It was one of the most recognizable action movies of the 1990s.

It received two Oscar nominations for Best Sound and Editing although it didn't end up receiving the award.

Where can you stream the movie? "Air Force One" is available to watch in the United States on Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV Plus.

5. 'Gettysburg' (1993)

Gettysburg, Gettysburg, Gettysburg, Gettysburg, Der Film zeigt die Schlacht der Suedstaaten gegen die Nordstaaten in Gettysburg.   V.l.h: Lames Lancaster, Royce Applegate, Tim Ruddy, Richard Jordan, Ivan Kane, Tom Beringer, Kieran Mulroney, Cooper Huckabee, Patrick Falci. V.l.v: Stephen lang, Martin Sheen, Bo Brinkma *** Local Caption *** 1993

Still from 'Gettysburg,' a movie released in 1993.United Archives / Cordon Press

This year, "Gettysburg" turns 31 years old. The movie, which hit the big screen in 1993, tells the story of the Gettysburg battle that took place in Pennsylvania. 

Directed by Ronald F. Maxwell and based on the novel "The Killer Angels" by Michael Sharra, it stars Tom Berenger and Jeff Daniels. The movie tells the story of what American soldiers went through during one of the most important battles in the history of the United States that took place on July 1, 1863.

Where can you stream the movie? "Gettysburg" is available in the United States on Apple TV Plus (although only available as a limited-time rental).

6. 'The American President' (1995)

The 1995 movie, 'The American President,' was directed by Rob Reiner and stars Annette Bening and Michael Douglas.United Archives / Cordon Press

Love and the presidency are not usually a good combination, at least not in the movies. That's precisely what happens in "The American President," the movie directed by Rob Reiner, released in 1995.

In this comedy, fictional president Andrew Shepherd (played by Michael Douglas) must choose between his extensive political career and the recent romance that is emerging between him and environmental advocate Sydney Wade (played by actress Annette Bening) whose life changes when she becomes the target of attack by those who want to end the president's term in office.

Where can you stream the movie? "The American President" is available to watch in the United States on Apple TV Plus.

7. 'Independence Day' (1996)

INDEPENDENCE DAY, Will Smith, 1996

Will Smith played Captain Steven Hiller in 'Independence Day,' released on July 3, 1996 to celebrate Independence Day.©20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett/Cordon Press

One movie that celebrates the Fourth of July says it all right in the name: "Independence Day."

Released in 1996, the movie starring Will Smith tells the story of an alien invasion that begins on July 2. Fortunately, Captain Steven Hiller (Will Smith), a U.S. Marine Corps pilot decides to cut his vacation short and help fight the aliens in a battle that culminates on July 4.

Where can you stream the movie? "Independence Day" is available in the United States on Hulu and Fubo TV.

8. 'Captain America: The First Avenger' (2011)

Chris Evans fotograma

Chris Evans played Steve Rogers / Captain America, the first Marvel Comics superhero in the 2011 movie 'Captain America: The First Avenger.'Paramount Pictures / Cordon Press

Marvel Comics introduced the most patriotic superhero it could think of with Captain America, a character who not only bears the name of his nation but wears the colors of the American flag proudly.

This was one of the characters that the company decided to portray on the big screen with "Captain America: The First Avenger," released in 2011. The movie introduces us to Steve Rodgers (played by Chris Evans), a young man who has just joined the United States Army and who decides to take part in a scientific experiment that will turn him into a super soldier.

Steve shows off his patriotism by revealing, at every moment of his life, how proud he is to be an American and, particularly, to be a member of his country's army.

Where can you stream the movie? "Captain America: The First Avenger" is available in the United States on Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus.

9. 'Hamilton' (2020)

HAMILTON, center: Lin-Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton, 2020. © Disney+ / Courtesy Everett Collection

Still from 'Hamilton,' which premiered in 2020 on Disney Plus and stars Lin-Manuel Miranda.©Disney+/Courtesy Everett Collection / Cordon Press

A musical to celebrate the Fourth of July? It's also possible. In 2020, Disney Plus premiered "Hamilton," an adaptation of the Broadway musical directed by Thomas Kail and written by composer and screenwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda who also stars in the movie. 

The movie shows us a different side to Alexander Hamilton, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. It does so through a combination of musical genres (with mixtures of jazz, hip-hop and many other contemporary music styles) that will lead viewers to discover what Hamilton would have been like if he were alive today.

Where can you stream the movie? "Hamilton" is available on Disney Plus.

10. 'Lincoln' (2012)

LINCOLN (2012) DANIEL DAY LEWIS STEVEN SPIELBERG (DIR) MOVIESTORE COLLECTION LTD Credit: Moviestore Collection/face to face - Editorial use only -

Daniel Day Lewis starred in the Steven Spielberg-directed movie 'Lincoln,' released in 2012.Cordon Press

Decades after Steven Spielberg showed his American pride with "Saving Private Ryan," the filmmaker showed his patriotism once again with "Lincoln," a movie centered on the American president that hit the big screen in 2012.

This time, Spielberg relied on Daniel Day Lewis to play President Abraham Lincoln in a movie that focuses on how the politician bravely and intelligently conspired to get the necessary votes to allow him to abolish slavery in the United States.

Where can you stream the movie? "Lincoln" is available to watch in the U.S. on Paramount Plus and Apple TV Plus.

11. 'Private Benjamin' (1980)

Schütze Benjamin, (PRIVATE BENJAMIN) USA 1980, Regie: Howard Zieff, GOLDIE HAWN, Stichwort: Soldat, Militär, Uniform, Stacheldraht, Zaun

Goldie Hawn played the leading lady in 'Private Benjamin,' a movie released in 1980.United Archives / Cordon Press

Men aren't the only ones who can star in military movies. Women also have the honor of demonstrating their patriotism. Goldie Hawk is a good example of this. The actress signed on in 1980 as the lead in "Private Benjamin," directed by Howard Zieff.

The actress plays Judy Benjamin, a woman who, after losing her husband on their wedding night, decides to enroll in the army.

What at first seems like a terrible idea ends up turning out to be her vocation. She has to choose between love and her profession. She finally proves to herself that she doesn't need a man by her side for her life to have meaning.

Where can you stream the movie? "Private Benjamin" is available to watch in the United States on Apple TV Plus.

12. 'Superman II' (1980)

Superman II,Sience Fiction / Superman 'fliegt' seine  Einsätze mit der Besorgnis, daß seine Freundin seine wahre Identität entdecken könnte...  (Christopher Reeve)  / *** Local Caption *** 00006708

Christopher Reeves starred in 'Superman II,' the movie based on the DC Comics superhero released in 1980.United Archives / Cordon Press

Two years before Marvel Comics created Captain America, DC had introduced its American superhero: Superman.

The character has made several appearances on the big screen. The most recognized and patriotic movie, Superman II, stars Christopher Reeves and was released in 1980. 

In it, the superhero faces his archenemy, General Zodd who, at the beginning of the movie, manages to conquer the White House and take over the entire planet. But it doesn't last long, since Superman manages to defeat him. This movie stands out for having one of the most patriotic scenes in the history of American cinema, when the superhero returns with the American flag and puts it back at its rightful place, on top of the White House.

Where can you stream the movie? "Superman II" is available on Max.