To celebrate the Fourth, we’ve rounded up 100 of the best 4th of July movies of all time to watch on Independence Day (or anytime you’re in a patriotic mood!).
We’ve included an eclectic mix of movies that are fun and fitting for the American holiday:
- Films (and shows) about the American Revolution.
- Movies about American History.
- American classic movies that explore common themes reflecting American society and its cultural values: Individualism, Freedom and Independence, Equality and Civil Rights, The American Dream, Love and Relationships, Heroism, and Good Vs. Evil, War and Conflict, Redemption and Second Chances, and Coming of Age.
- Fourth of July-themed stories (or movies with 4th of July scenes)
- Romantic military movies or wartime romances
- Hallmark 4th of July movies
- Movies with fireworks.
- Full-blown love stories (aka 4th of July romance movies) fitting for Independence Day!
So, whatever your mood, we’ve got something for you to add to your Fourth of July watchlist – especially when you’re looking to stay indoors and want a list of appropriate movie choices for the summer holiday.
RELATED: MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939) CLASSIC REVIEW -THE INSPIRING STORY OF A PATRIOTIC UNDERDOG
(Editorial Note: This article was republished in June 2023 to include all types of Fourth of July movies but was first published in 2019 with only romantic choices.)
THE 100 BEST 4TH OF JULY MOVIES
(In No Particular Order)
1. 1776 (1972)
History, romance, founding fathers, and music come together in this classic musical about American history. Romance fans will especially enjoy the love song between John and Abigail Adams.
If you watch, you’ll likely recognize William Daniels (aka Mr. Feeny) in the romantic role!
Content Note: G
2. A League of Their Own (1992)
Tom Hanks and Geena Davis star in this classic comedy inspired by the real-life All-American Girls Baseball League. A League of Their Own is the perfect Fourth of July movie. It has humor, female empowerment, American patriotism, baseball, and a little romance.
Content Note: PG for language and mild innuendo.
3. The American President (1995)
Sparks fly between a U.S. President and a lobbyist in this excellent romantic comedy starring Michael Douglas and Annette Bening. It’s a beautiful blend of American storytelling and romance – just right for a 4th of July pick.
Content Note: PG-13 for strong language.
4. Annie (1982)
Besides the catchy music, childhood nostalgia, and all-around great dancing, the movie about the orphan Annie also includes a romance between Daddy Warbucks and Grace Farrell – Annie’s soon-to-be guardians, not to mention an epic fireworks scene.
You can also watch the 1999 and 2014 adaptations! Both have fun music and romance.
Content Note: PG
5. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
This classic movie about World War II veterans won 7 Academy Awards and is one of the best films ever made. The Best Years of Our Lives is a must-see story with a blend of history, emotion, romance, and entertaining drama.
Content Note: NR but would likely be PG for thematic elements and alcohol use.
6. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
The first film follows Steve Rogers as he becomes Captain America during WWII.
Content Note: PG-13 for action violence and some language.
7. Deep Impact (1998)
Unless some heroes can save the day, a comet will collide with Earth for an extinction-level event.
This movie is far superior to Armageddon, even though it made much less money. It’s smart, entertaining, includes sacrificial heroes, and has a cute romance between a young Elijah Wood and Leelee Sobieski.
Plus, with Morgan Freeman playing the President, you have fun patriotic speeches to listen to in the film.
Content Note: PG-13 for intense scenes and language.
8. Far and Away (1992)
Far and Away is an entertaining romantic epic about the American Dream with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman starring as Irish immigrants. This movie is for you if you enjoy the love/hate romance trope.
Content Note: PG-13 for Violence and Sensuality.
9. Forrest Gump (1994)
Forrest Gump is a classic American favorite, with Tom Hanks giving one of his best performances.
Sure, the romance between Forrest and Jenny will move and frustrate you. But as Forrest’s life crosses paths with iconic moments in history, the audience sees history and America through the eyes of a man with an intellectual disability. And it is amazing.
Content Note: PG-13 for strong language, violence, drug content, and sensuality.
10. Goodbye, Miss 4th of July (1988)
This little-known Disney TV Movie is a lovely story about a Greek immigrant family living in West Virginia. The film follows the family dealing with prejudice, friendship, war, illness, and love between 1910 and 1917.
It’s perfect to watch with the entire family – especially if you love the 1985 Anne of Green Gables adaptation style.
Content Note: NR but PG-like.
11. Hamilton (2020)
Find out why this revolutionary musical about the founding father, Alexander Hamilton, is beloved! Besides the fantastic music and story, Hamilton also has captivating love stories.
Content Note: PG-13 for language, suggestive content, and mild violence.
12. Hidden Figures (2016)
This inspirational movie is perfect to watch on the Fourth of July – or any day. It follows the true story of three women working at NASA as mathematicians and their significant role in history. Hidden Figures received three Oscar nominations.
Content Note: PG for thematic elements and language.
13. Independence Day (1996)
An alien species launches an invasion against humanity in the film Independence Day. It’s the blockbuster of all blockbusters and the ultimate example of a memorable 4th of July movie.
With action, humor, adventure, romance, and more, this iconic film has it all. Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Mary McDonnell, Judd Hirsch, Robert Loggia, Randy Quaid, Vivica A. Fox, Brent Spiner, and more stars.
Content Note: PG-13 for violence, language, and suggestive content. Everything is mild overall.
14. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
Jimmy Stewart stars in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington – one of the greatest American films ever made. Plus, there’s also a sweet romance at the center. It won an Oscar and has become an essential movie in film history.
With epic speeches, an iconic performance, and an inspirational script, you can’t go wrong with this story of a young man fighting corruption in Washington, D.C.
Frank Capra directed.
Content Note: G-like, but it does have a little bit of very mild violence and swearing.
15. My Girl (1991)
If you haven’t seen this cute but heartbreaking coming-of-age story (with a hint of romance) about a quirky eleven-year-old girl and her best friend, you definitely should. But be prepared to cry!
My Girl makes the list, as there’s a Fourth of July scene. It’s also an excellent choice for the entire family.
Anna Chlumsky, Macaulay Culkin, Dan Aykroyd, and Jamie Lee Curtis star.
Content Note: PG for language, mild suggestive content, and intense scenes.
16. The Music Man (1962)
The Oscar-winning musical about traveling con artist Harold Hill, and his romance with the librarian, Marian, is pure Americana!
The Music Man is a fantastic Fourth of July movie not to be missed.
Content Note: G.
17. The Nanny Diaries (2007)
A young college graduate becomes a nanny for a wealthy New York family in this fun rom-com starring Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans. It also contains a funny scene with Johannson dressed up as Betsy Ross!
Content Note: PG-13 for language and mild suggestive content.
18. National Treasure (2004)
If you enjoy romantic adventure movies, this is an excellent choice. Plus, it’s fun escapist entertainment for the whole family with a patriotic theme.
National Treasure follows a historian on a treasure hunt for the Templar Treasure hidden by America’s founding fathers—Nicolas Cage and Diane Kruger star.
Content Note: PG for action violence and frightening moments.
19. Pearl Harbor (2001)
An epic love triangle is at the center of this historical drama about Pearl Harbor. Ben Affleck, Kate Beckinsale, and Josh Hartnett starred in this wartime romance film.
Content Note: PG-13 for war violence, sensuality, and language.
20. Remember Me (2010)
Remember Me is a romantic drama with a surprising connection to American history. It’s a touching romance with a shocking, emotional ending.
Content Note: PG-13 for sensuality, violence, language, and thematic elements.
21. Safe Haven (2013)
If you enjoy romances from Nicholas Sparks, you’ll likely enjoy this love story about a mysterious young woman and a widower! Plus, it has an entire Fourth of July scene.
Content Note: PG-13 for sensuality, violence, and thematic elements.
22. Superman I (1978) & II (1980)
Christopher Reeve brings the legendary character to life in these award-worthy and iconic movies about the superhero. This is the Superman story at its best, utilizing numerous common American themes.
Plus, these films include the classic romance between Lois and Clark.
Content Note: PG for peril, mild violence, some language, and mild sensuality.
Top Gun (1986)/Top Gun: Maverick (2022)
Tom Cruise stars as Lt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, a young fighter pilot at Top Gun, an elite Naval Fighter Weapons School. Thirty years later, Top Gun: Maverick follows him as an instructor. But he never loses his daring personality despite the tragedies he’s faced.
The movies are full of action, incredible soundtracks, memorable characters, and entertaining romances.
Content Note: Top Gun is PG for suggestive content, sensuality, action sequences, and language. Maverick is PG-13 for strong language and some violence.
24. Wonder Woman (2017)
Content Note: PG-13 for violence and suggestive content.
Yankee Doodle Dandy follows the life of the vaudeville performer George M. Cohan. This patriotic Oscar-winning classic has romance, comedy, drama, and, of course, fabulous music!
Content Note: G, but it does include some racism.
26. 42 (2013)
Chadwick Boseman stars in this biographical sports drama about Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play in Major League Baseball.
The movie explores themes of equality, civil rights, and the American Dream, shedding light on an important moment in American history.
Content Note: PG-13 for violence, language, and racism.
27. Air Force One (1997)
Harrison Ford stars in this Oscar-nominated action flick about the President of the United States who must defend his airplane from radicals who have hijacked it. The film includes themes of patriotism and heroism and is just good old-fashioned entertainment.
Content Note: Rated R for violence and some language.
28. An American Tail (1986)
An American Tail is a heartwarming animated film that follows the journey of a young mouse as he immigrates to America with his family. With themes of hope, unity, and the pursuit of happiness, this is a fun movie for the Fourth of July that resonates with audiences of all ages.
Content Note: G.
29. Apollo 13 (1995)
Ron Howard’s Oscar-winning historical drama tells the true story of the Apollo 13 mission and stars Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, and Gary Sinise.
It’s a perfect choice for the Fourth of July because Apollo 13 highlights Americans’ resilience, ingenuity, and teamwork during an important time in history. Plus, the performances are brilliant.
Content Note: PG for thematic elements and language.
30. April Morning (1988)
April Morning is a Hallmark Hall of Fame historical drama set during the American Revolutionary War, as seen through the eyes of one family. The little-known TV movie stars Chad Lowe, Tommy Lee Jones, Meredith Salenger, and Susan Blakely.
Content Note: TV-14 but mild.
31. Armageddon (1998)
Armageddon’s heroic tones align perfectly with the celebratory nature of Independence Day. The blockbuster fan favorite follows a team of oil drillers sent to space to prevent a massive asteroid from destroying Earth.
The plot is silly, but the likable cast (including Bruce Willis), the soundtrack, and the memorable romance between Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler make this a fun watch.
Content Note: PG-13 for action, language, and sensuality.
32. Avalon (1990)
Avalon is a critically acclaimed historical drama about a Polish-Jewish family seeking the American dream during the early 20th century. The film also includes a Fourth of July scene with fireworks and all.
It is a lesser-known period drama gem starring Aidan Quinn, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Elizabeth Perkins, Joan Plowright, and even a young Elijah Wood, and it makes for a heartwarming watch due to its strong performances and amazing script.
Content Note: PG.
33. Back to the Future (1985)
The beloved sci-fi adventure film tells the story of Marty McFly, a teenager who travels back in time to the 1950s and meets his parents – only now he must make sure he’ll still be born.
Back to the Future is an entertaining blockbuster that originally premiered in theaters during the 4th of July holiday. It stars Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd.
Content Note: PG for language and suggestive content.
34. Beyond the Mask (2015)
If you’re a fan of Christian movies, then check out Beyond the Mask, a romantic action-adventure film set during the American Revolution. It follows an ex-mercenary seeking redemption as he attempts to stop a conspiracy against the young nation.
Content Note: PG for violence.
35. Born on the 4th of July (1989)
Tom Cruise stars in this Oscar-winning biographical drama about the real-life story of Ron Kovic, a War veteran who becomes an anti-war activist after becoming paralyzed in combat. Born on the 4th of July explores the complexities of American patriotism and went on to win two Oscars.
Content Note: Rated R for graphic nudity and sensuality, suggestive content, strong profanity, severe violence, and intense scenes.
36. Casablanca (1942)
The romantic drama film is considered one of the best movies ever made! Casablanca follows an American expatriate, Rick Blaine, during WWII when he crosses paths with his former lover in a Moroccan city.
It would be a good film to watch on the 4th of July because Casablanca showcases the best of American filmmaking and presents themes of sacrifice, honor, and the fight against oppression.
The Oscar-winning film stars Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, and Claude Rains.
Content Note: PG for mild violence.
37. Cold Mountain (2003)
The epic romance film stars Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, and Renée Zellweger and follows a discouraged Civil War soldier as he returns home to his love.
The themes of love, resilience, the human cost of war, and the setting of a significant period in American history make Cold Mountain a good choice for the summer holiday.
Content Note: Rated R for violence, nudity, and explicit sensuality.
38. The Crossing (2000)
Jeff Daniels stars in this made-for-TV historical drama that portrays George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River during the Revolutionary War. The setting, mixed with the cast – makes The Crossing a great choice to add to your watchlist!
Content Note: NR but PG-like for some violence and language.
39. Dances with Wolves (1990)
The Oscar-winning film by Kevin Costner tells the story of a Union Army officer who befriends a Sioux tribe – ultimately leading him to question his allegiances.
The American period drama delves into the broader narrative of the American frontier while exploring themes of cultural understanding, freedom, and justice. Dances with Wolves also includes a lovely romance.
Content Note: PG-13 for violence, explicit sensuality, and mild language.
40. Dear John (2010)
Dear John is a romantic drama (adapted from a Nicholas Sparks novel) about a soldier named John, played by Channing Tatum, who falls in love with a college student named Savannah, portrayed by Amanda Seyfried. When he’s deployed overseas, their relationship is tested.
If you’re in the mood for an American military romance, Dear John is a good choice!
Content Note: PG-13 for sensuality and violence.
41. The Devil’s Disciple (1959)
Based on the George Bernard Shaw play, The Devil’s Disciple is a British-American comedy set during the Revolutionary War. The fun romance film stars Laurence Olivier, Burt Lancaster, and Kirk Douglas.
Content Note: PG-like for mild suggestive content.
42. Drums Along the Mohawk (1939)
Drums Along the Mohawk is a John Ford-directed historical drama set during the Revolutionary War, following a young married couple facing the challenges of frontier life. Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert star.
Content Note: TV-PG.
43. Felicity: An American Girl Adventure (2005)
A young Shailene Woodley stars in this sweet period drama about a young girl trying to rescue an abused horse amid the tensions leading up to the American Revolution. Felicity: An American Girl Adventure is a fantastic choice for the entire family.
Marcia Gay Harden, John Schneider, and Kevin Zegers also star.
Content Note: NR, but it does include some animal abuse.
44. Field of Dreams (1989)
Field of Dreams is a heartwarming fantasy drama about a farmer who builds a baseball field in his cornfield when a mysterious voice inspires him. The Oscar-winning film is a perfect choice for the 4th of July because it celebrates the American pastime of baseball and reaching for impossible dreams.
Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones star.
Content Note: PG for mild language.
45. First Man (2018)
First Man is a biographical drama about Neil Armstrong, the legendary first man to walk on the moon. The period piece stars Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy and celebrates American achievements in space.
Damien Chazelle directs.
Content Note: PG-13 for brief strong language and thematic content.
46. Flags of Our Fathers (2006)
Clint Eastwood directed this Oscar-nominated historical drama about the real-life story of the iconic image of the men raising the American flag at the Battle of Iwo Jima during WWII. It’s an emotional film portraying the realities of wartime.
Content Note: Rated R for graphic war violence and language.
47. Flight of the Navigator (1986)
Flight of the Navigator is the perfect nostalgic throwback for the 80s and 90s kids. The family film follows a boy who becomes the pilot of a futuristic alien spaceship and travels into the future. The movie begins and ends during the Fourth of July celebrations.
Content Note: PG for mild innuendo and language.
48. From Here To Eternity (1953)
From Here to Eternity is a classic romantic drama set in 1941 Hawaii, depicting the lives and loves of U.S. soldiers stationed there months before the Pearl Harbor occurrence. It won 8 Oscars and is a wartime romance film to remember.
Content Note: NR but includes mild sensuality and mild violence.
49. G.I. Blues (1960)
G.I. Blues is a classic musical comedy starring Elvis Presley about a soldier with dreams of starting his own nightclub – but he soon falls for a dancer. The light-hearted and patriotic film celebrates American music, featuring a fun military romance.
Content Note: PG
50. George Washington (1984)
You can’t get more fitting than this award-winning miniseries about the life of George Washington. The three-part series chronicles Washington’s life as a boy through the Revolutionary War: Barry Bostwick, Patty Duke, and more stars.
Content Note: NR
51. Gettysburg (1993)
Gettysburg is a solid historical war film depicting the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War – an important part of American history: Tom Berenger, Martin Sheen, and Jeff Daniels star.
Content Note: PG for war scenes and language.
52. Glory (1989)
Glory is a powerful, Oscar-winning war film based on the true story of the first all-black Volunteer Infantry. The movie celebrates the ideals of freedom, equality, and courage. Denzel Washington (he won the Oscar for his performance), Matthew Broderick, Cary Elwes, and Morgan Freeman starred.
Content Note: Rated R for violence and language.
53. Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)
Robin Williams stars in Good Morning, Vietnam, a comedic drama set during the Vietnam War, following an unconventional DJ who brings humor and music to the troops.
It would be a good film to watch on the 4th as it celebrates freedom of expression and the power of laughter during a difficult time in history.
Content Note: Rated R for some language, violence, and suggestive content.
54. Grease (1978)
John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John star in this iconic romantic musical about the love story between Sandy and Danny.
With catchy songs and dance numbers mixed with memorable performances, Grease is a movie you can watch any time of year. But it’s a good choice for the Fourth of July because it captures the carefree spirit of summer, youth, and romance.
Content Note: PG for suggestive content and sensuality.
55. The Great Escape (1963)
Allied prisoners attempt to escape a German POW camp in the classic movie, The Great Escape. The WWII set war drama showcases themes of bravery, resilience, and unity and stars Steve McQueen and James Garner.
Content Note: PG for mild violence and language.
56. The Great Gatsby (2013)
Baz Luhrmann directs this colorful adaptation of the famous American novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald about a writer drawn to his mysterious millionaire neighbor, Jay Gatsby.
The period drama stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, and Tobey Maguire and is a story of excess about the pursuit of success and the dark undercurrents of society.
The award-winning movie is deeply romantic and includes a spectacular fireworks scene.
Content Note: PG-13 for violence, sensuality, and language.
57. Harriet (2019)
Harriet is a biographical drama about Harriet Tubman as she escapes from slavery and becomes one of America’s greatest heroes. Cynthia Erivo gives a standout performance – earning an Oscar nomination for her portrayal.
Content Note: PG-13 for violence, language, thematic elements, and racism.
58. The Howards of Virginia (1940)
Cary Grant and Martha Scott star in this romantic historical drama about the Revolutionary War. The movie follows the marriage between a farmer and an aristocratic Virginian woman while depicting the wartime era.
Content Note: G
59. I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
The iconic teen horror film follows four friends stuck with a maniac out for vengeance. It would be a good film for its summer setting (which takes place on the 4th of July) and suspenseful storyline.
Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr., and Ryan Phillipe star.
Content Note: Rated R for horror violence and language.
60. In the Heights (2021)
The romantic Broadway musical comes to life in this brilliant adaptation about a young New York bodega owner with dreams of a better life. Besides the fitting themes, In the Heights also includes a musical number called “Blackout,” which contains fireworks – both in the lyrics and in the sky!
Content Note: PG-13 for language and suggestive references.
61. Jaws (1975)
Steven Spielberg’s Jaws won 3 Oscars and became a pop culture phenomenon. The movie takes place during the Fourth of July weekend – making this one of the best choices to add to your celebratory watchlist.
A dangerous great white shark disrupts the festivities and creates fear among the residents. The classic film is full of suspense and fun entertainment.
Content Note: PG for violence, nudity, language, and frightening situations.
62. John Adams (2008)
Paul Giamatti stars as John Adams in this Emmy-winning miniseries about the historical President and the founding fathers of the United States. It’s a powerful series with a focus on historical accuracy.
Content Note: TV-14 for violence, sensuality, nudity, and mild profanity.
63. John Paul Jones (1959)
In this little-known classic film about a real-life historical figure, Robert Stack stars as the Revolutionary War hero, John Paul Jones. On a fun note, Bette Davis makes a cameo appearance – making this worth watching for that moment alone!
Content Note: NR but nothing of note.
64. Johnny Tremain (1957)
The Disney classic follows the story of Johnny Tremain, a young man fighting for America’s freedom during the Revolutionary War. Johnny Tremain is a great choice for the entire family and is full of adventure.
Content Note: NR but G/PG-like for a little bit of violence.
65. Kiss at Pine Lake (2012)
Mia Kirshner and Barry Watson star in this Hallmark 4th of July rom com about second chances. While there are numerous adorable Hallmark summer romances to enjoy, Kiss at Pine Lake includes a Fourth of July setting – making it the perfect time to check this one out.
Content Note: TV-PG
66. Lincoln (2012)
See Daniel Day-Lewis’s Oscar-winning performance as Abraham Lincoln in this incredible historical drama from Steven Spielberg. The movie explores a fascinating time in American history and does so with artistry and the entertainment factor.
Content Note: PG-13 for war violence and some language.
67. The Little Mermaid (2023)
The new live-action musical adaptation of Disney’s The Little Mermaid (about a young mermaid seeking love and a life that suits her) is perfectly cast and fun to watch! But this Disney film is a fantastic choice for the Fourth of July because it includes a fireworks scene!
That said, if The Little Mermaid is not your cup of tea – numerous other Disney films include fireworks scenes such as Alice in Wonderland, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Mulan, Sleeping Beauty, The Rescuers, Melody Time, The Little Mermaid, and more! So, take your pick!
Content Note: PG
68. Live Free or Die Hard (2007)
Bruce Willis stars in this action-thriller about a NYC detective trying to save the United States from a violent strike. Full of action and excitement, Live Free or Die Hard is a fun watch – and even takes place over a Fourth of July weekend.
Content Note: PG-13 for action violence, language, and suggestive content.
69. Love and Sunshine (2019)
The Fourth of July-themed Hallmark romance movie tells the story of a woman fostering a military dog – only to have sparks fly when his military partner returns. Love and Sunshine is a cute love story starring Danica McKellar and Mark Deklin.
Content Note: TV-G
70. The Lucky One (2012)
The Lucky One is a military romance movie about a marine seeking out the woman who was his good luck charm while at war. Zac Efron and Taylor Schilling star in the Nicholas Sparks adaptation.
Content Note: PG-13 for sensuality and violence.
71. Mary Silliman’s War (1994)
The low-budget but historically accurate TV movie about the American Revolution follows the true story of a woman whose husband was kidnapped by Tories during the War of Independence and her fight to save him.
Content Note: NR
72. Miracle (2004)
If inspirational American sports movies are your jam, you can’t go wrong with Miracle. It follows the true story of the hockey coach, Herb Books (Kurt Russell), as he leads the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team to triumph.
Content Note: PG for action and language.
73. A More Perfect Union: America Becomes a Nation (1989)
If you’re in the mood for a more educational film than entertaining, check out A More Perfect Union: American Becomes a Nation. It’s a well-done historical drama showing the founding fathers writing the Constitution.
Content Note: NR but nothing of note.
74. Nashville (1975)
An ensemble cast stars in this drama about the lives of multiple characters, including musicians, politicians, and ordinary citizens, as they navigate personal and professional struggles against the backdrop of the country music scene and politics in Nashville. It’s an Americana classic from director Robert Altman.
Content Note: Rated R for brief nudity, sensuality, and language.
75. The New World (2005)
Terrence Malick directed this gorgeous historical drama about the early settlers of Virginia and the life and loves of Pocahontas. It’s a beautiful, slow-moving film about American history seen through the eyes of a young woman.
Content Note: PG-13 for some violence.
76. An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)
Richard Gere and Debra Winger star in this classic military romance about a young man who enlists in the U.S. Navy’s Officer Candidate School while also forming a relationship with a local factory worker. It won 2 Oscars with numerous more nominations.
Content Note: Rated R for explicit sensuality and strong language.
77. Patton (1970)
Patton is a historical drama about the American general George S. Patton. George C. Scott and Karl Malden starred in this award-winning film that won 7 Oscars, including Best Picture.
Content Note: PG for some violence and language.
78. Private Benjamin (1980)
Goldie Hawn stars in this comedic story about an unlikely high-society woman who joins the U.S. Army – leading to hilarious results. It’s a funny story but also inspirational at the same time.
Content Note: Rated R for nudity, sensuality, some language, and an attempted assault.
79. Red Dawn (1984)
The cult favorite became a commercial success in 1984 and is still a fun watch today. Red Dawn follows a team of American teenagers who group to defend their town against Soviet troops. The all-star cast includes Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey, Lea Thompson, C. Thomas Howell, and Charlie Sheen.
Content Note: PG-13 for violence, implied assault, and language.
80. Remember the Titans (2000)
Remember the Titans is a biographical historical drama about a high school football team becoming racially integrated in Virginia. The inspirational sports movie stars Denzel Washington, Will Patton, Hayden Panettiere, a young Ryan Gosling, Donald Faison, and more.
The film is a good movie to watch because it celebrates the triumph of unity over division as a high school football team learns to overcome racial tensions while embodying ideals of equality, teamwork, and the pursuit of a common goal.
Content Note: PG for language and thematic elements.
81. Revolution (1985)
Sure, Revolution was a box office disaster and received numerous negative reviews. But it still makes for an interesting watch. The historical drama stars Al Pacino and follows the story of a trapper involuntarily pulled into the American Revolution to help his son.
Content Note: PG for violence and language.
82. The Right Stuff (1983)
The Right Stuff is an Oscar-winning film about the early development of the U.S. space program. The excellent historical drama stars Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris, Dennis Quaid, Barbara Hershey, Fred Ward, and more.
Content Note: PG for language and innuendo.
83. Rocky (1976)/Rocky IV (1985)
The Rocky films follow the inspirational underdog tale of a small-time boxer who becomes a champion. While all the movies make for a good 4th of July viewing, Rocky IV is particularly patriotic! Sylvester Stallone stars in the Oscar-winning films.
Content Note: PG for violence and language.
84. Romeo + Juliet (1996)
Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes star in this brilliant adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet of doomed star-crossed lovers. While Romeo + Juliet does not occur during the Fourth of July, fireworks are onscreen – not to mention the sizzling chemistry between the leads!
Content Note: PG-13 for violence and sensuality.
85. The Rosa Parks Story (2002)
Angela Bassett stars in this moving historical drama about Rosa Parks and the 1955 bus boycott in Alabama. The well-acted TV movie focuses on an important part of American history and is worth checking out.
Content Note: TV-PG for language and racism.
86. The Sandlot (1993)
The Sandlot is a nostalgic classic capturing the essence of childhood, friendship, and the love of baseball, all set against the backdrop of a summer in 1962.
The movie is one of the best classic 4th of July movies because besides the sentimental Americanisms in the film – it also has a memorable Fourth of July sequence with fireworks.
Content Note: PG for some language.
87. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Steven Spielberg directed this Oscar-winning war epic about a group of U.S. soldiers during WWII who go on a mission to save a paratrooper. The heartbreaking film full of heroism stars Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, and Tom Sizemore, among numerous other fantastic actors.
Content Note: Rated R for graphic (and disturbing) war violence and language.
88. The Scarlet Coat (1955)
The Scarlet Coat is a classic spy film about the Revolutionary War of an American Major trying to uncover treason and a British plot. There is a love triangle too!
Content Note: TV-PG for mild violence.
89. Selma (2014)
Selma is the award-winning biopic about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his fight for equal rights. David Oyelowo played him brilliantly in what is a strong film about this essential part of American history.
Content Note: PG-13 for suggestive content, violence, language, and thematic elements.
90. Sergeant York (1941)
Gary Cooper won the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in this inspirational biographical drama film about a Tennessee farmer who becomes a war hero during WWI. Howard Hawks directed.
Content Note: PG-like.
91. Sleepy Hollow (2013-2017)
Okay, so Sleepy Hollow isn’t a movie or a miniseries – but it is the perfect series to binge-watch during the Fourth of July holiday season.
The fun supernatural adventure series follows the Revolutionary War soldier who wakes up in the modern-day only to begin unraveling a conspiracy connecting to the founding fathers of the United States – men he once knew.
Romance fans will like the unspoken love between Ichabod and Abbie Mills, the policewoman who helps him.
Content Note: TV-14 for some language, violence, and frightening scenes.
92. Sons of Liberty (2015)
Ben Barnes stars in this three-part miniseries about men fighting for freedom in the American Colonies during the Revolutionary War. Sons of Liberty is inspired by true stories and even includes a musical score from Hans Zimmer. Expect to see numerous famous historical figures throughout the show.
Content Note: TV-14 for violence, language, and semi-explicit sensuality.
93. Star Wars (Original Trilogy)
The Oscar-winning films about Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo trying to save the galaxy from an evil Empire are full of heroism, romance, and adventure. The movies won numerous Oscars, created a pop culture phenomenon, and continue to gain new fans!
The original trilogy remains the best of all the Star Wars films and shows. Plus, Return of the Jedi has an entertaining scene with fireworks!
Content Note: PG for sci-fi-fantasy violence, language, and suggestive material.
94. Steel Magnolias (1989)
Steel Magnolias is a heartwarming (and heartbreaking) movie about the lives and friendships of a group of women in a small Southern town. The film includes a memorable Fourth of July scene, making it a fantastic choice to add to your watchlist!
Content Note: PG for language and some thematic elements.
95. Sunrise (1927)
Sunrise is a silent romantic drama and an absolute masterpiece from film history. The classic story is about a married farmer tempted by an affair with a seductive woman – only to change his mind after spending more time with his wife.
The artistic film includes a romantic scene with fireworks in a movie known for its early use of special effects in cinema.
Content Note: TV-PG for some violence.
96. To Catch A Thief (1955)
Cary Grant and Grace Kelly star in Hitchcock’s romantic thriller about a retired jewel thief suspected of being a cat burglar stealing from wealthy tourists.
To Catch a Thief includes a scene of fireworks on the Riviera – both between the actors and in the sky! Proof that not every fitting Fourth of July movie needs to take place in the United States.
Content Note: PG for action violence and mild suggestive material.
97. Turn: Washington’s Spies (2014-2017)
Turn is one of the few TV series I included on the list because it’s all about the American War of Independence. The entertaining period drama series follows a farmer and his childhood friends as they become spies in the Revolutionary War and fight against the British.
Jamie Bell stars.
Content Note: TV-14 for violence, semi-explicit sensuality, and thematic elements.
98. United 93 (2006)
United 93 is the Oscar-nominated film about the tragic but heroic events aboard United 93 on September 11, 2001. The historically important film is horrifying, heartbreaking, and frightening to watch – but it’s also inspirational.
Content Note: Rated R for strong language and intense, frightening situations.
99. When Sparks Fly (2014)
Meghan Markle stars in this Fourth of July-themed Hallmark romance film about a journalist sent back to her hometown to write about the 4th of July – only to discover some romance. It’s a cute, formulaic Hallmark movie – which may be just what you’re looking for.
Content Note: TV-G
100. Young Mr. Lincoln
Henry Fonda stars as Abraham Lincoln in director John Ford’s Oscar-nominated biographical law drama. The mythic interpretation of Lincoln makes for fitting viewing during the Fourth of July holiday.
Content Note: G-like.
Do you have romantic films, patriotic comedy movies, or other fitting Fourth of July movies to recommend? Or a personal favorite from the list? Let me know in the comments!
Featured image credit: Music Man (Warner Bros); Superman (Warner Bros.); Top Gun (Paramount Pictures); Hamilton (Disney); Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Columbia Pictures).