Friday Top Five: The best July 4 movies
July 1st, 2011
09:45 AM ET

Friday Top Five: The best July 4 movies

Holidays just aren’t complete until you veg out on the couch while watching a movie marathon. These cinematic siestas not only provide down time between festivities and the well-intentioned gorge fest, but they also give us the opportunity to reflect on the true meaning of the holiday.

For many, the Fourth of July has become known for hot dogs, transporting illegal fireworks over state lines, and sporty outfits in red, white, and blue. Nevertheless, fifth grade social studies taught us that the American Revolution was actually about rebellion against tyranny and victory over seemingly insurmountable odds.

To help celebrate Independence Day, tell us what movies will make your holiday list and best embody the spirit of revolution. If you don't want to dwell on dissent, your favorite patriotic films will also suffice. Let the fireworks begin!

1. "Red Dawn" (1984): “Wolverines!" – Robert Morris

2. "Star Wars" (1977): “It's not impossible. I used to bullseye womp rats in my T-16 back home.” – Luke Skywalker

3. "Braveheart" (1995): “They may take our lives, but they'll never take... OUR FREEDOM!” – William Wallace

4. "Patton" (1970): “Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser.” – General George S. Patton

5. "The Legend of Billie Jean" (1985): "Fair is fair!” – Billie Jean Davy

Honorable Mention:

"Rebel Without a Cause" (1955): “You’re tearing me apart!” – Jim Stark

"The Madness of King George" (1994): “His Majesty was all powerful and all knowing. But he wasn't quite all there.” – tagline of film (And, fact-based dramatizations suggest that revolution was the right choice for American colonists.)

"Born on the 4th of July" (1989): “People say that if you don't love America, then get the hell out. Well, I love America.” – Ron Kovic

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  5. Ben

    "1776" is The Fourth of July to watch. Thank goodness TCM shows it on that day every year, along with "Yankee Doodle Dandy".

    August 10, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. T

    Movies to watch for July 4th ? My choices are:
    1. Saving Private Ryan
    2. Yankee Doodle Dandy
    3. Independence Day
    4. Captain America (2011)
    5. Superman (1978) – "I'm here to fight for truth, justice and the American way."

    August 10, 2011 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
  7. krazykat44

    Sad! Not one mention of Sergeant York. Ninety percent of the trash mentioned in this blog pales beside Gary Cooper.

    July 6, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Michael J Hoffman

    can't believe no one mentioned American Graffiti

    July 4, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Javier

    Rocky

    July 4, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Kris

    """"THE PATRIOT""""" the Mel Gibson one, not the other one.

    July 4, 2011 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
  11. Clayton

    Run Forrest Run!
    Great feel good movie, a lot of recent American history, and Independence from those leg braces!

    July 2, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Shannon Nutt

    JAWS has been the No. 1 4th of July movie since 1975 – not having on the list either shows the writer is naive or just stupid.

    July 2, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Sum of Squares

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpZ8qOXA3uY&w=640&h=390]

    July 2, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. gi carl

    How about movies that have something to do about Patriotic American Events? This list is horrible. Boooooo!

    July 2, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Denjski

    Howards of Virgnia...starring Cary Grant..1940

    July 2, 2011 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
  16. calvin ojeniyi

    none of this films qualify for an independence day film.other suggestions are films with great moral values n films that show spirit

    July 1, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Elise Soliz

    Yankee Doodle Dandy not on ur list, WTH!Also Independance Day with Will Smith has my vote as does The Patriot with Mel Gibson.

    July 1, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Makenna

    Have to say The Sandlot on this one. Classic all-American movie. Plus it's clean enough for the whole family to enjoy together.

    July 1, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Dwayne McGraw

    Here are two more great movies for the 4th. The dirty dozen starring an all star cast. A movie called uncle Sam. And the sands of Iowa Jima. I hope I spelled right.

    July 1, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Bob

    I always dig out my copy of 1776. The old musical about the Continental Congress! Watch it just about every 4th of July weekend.

    July 1, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Angela

    You need to add "Patriot" & ID4

    July 1, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
  22. cornelius

    please i want u play the movie predator2 or the expendables

    July 1, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
  23. R L SMITH

    Not exactly the order I would have put them in if I had chosen your picks especially with the honorable mentions. But if you must have a Mel Gibson how about a movie about the war for independane, the Patriot, instead of a movie about 13th century Scotland? And Star Wars? Come on!

    July 1, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
  24. sunni06

    How about? WHITE CHRISTMAS! after all, it's all about our freedom. I should have the freedom to watch White Christmas, Right?

    July 1, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Jessica

    How about Independence Day

    July 1, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  26. LOL

    Ian, Saving Ryan's Privates. That was hysterical.

    July 1, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  27. diamondrick

    Definitely Yankee Doodle Dandy!

    July 1, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  28. justM

    The movie that makes me think of July 4th is Avalon. Scene one: fireworks. "I came to America in 1914."

    July 1, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yosh

      AVALON...that's a great one for the 4th, works well for Thanksgiving too!

      July 1, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  29. phillygirl

    I loved Glory. I know – wrong war.

    July 1, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Andybev

    Whaaa...?

    Was the person who compiled this list born and/or live in America??

    Braveheart? King George? STAR WARS?!

    July 1, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  31. LL

    1. Schindler's List
    2. Star Wars
    3. Full Metal Jacket "Go easy, Leonard."
    4. Gone With the Wind "As God is my witness, I will never be hungry again."
    5. Platoon

    July 1, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  32. A.D.

    War of the worlds; Jaws; E.T.

    July 1, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  33. David

    1776 sucks

    1. Animal House: "Was is it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?"
    2. The Matrix...I guess Matrix Revolutions would be more appropriate for the subject matter, but it sucks
    3. History of the World...Part 1: "The peasants and revolting" "You said it, they stink!"
    4. Rocky: "Do you believe America is the 'land of opportunity?'"
    5. Pee Wee's Big Adventure: "You don't wanna get mixed up with a guy like me. I'm a loner, Dottie, a Rebel."

    July 1, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yosh

      Interesting choices, very original, and hit the the themes very well.

      July 1, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • oooy!

      Peewee's Big Adventure????

      July 1, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      Mainly because PeeWee is a rebel, but also because it is about the American dream: work hard enough and anything can be accomplished, and who doesnt love that opening breakfast scene?

      July 1, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Gary

    Jaws. "This shark, swallow ya whole. Little shakin', little tenderizin', down you go"

    July 1, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  35. bbbb

    What about the Alamo where Americans held of over ,10,000 mexicans

    July 1, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • ehreval

      They weren't Americans, just Texans. Texas wasn't a part of America yet.

      July 3, 2011 at 3:26 am | Report abuse |
  36. Ryan in Michigan

    What about some good old war movies, like:

    The Longest Day
    Sands of Iwo Jima
    The Green Berets
    Desert Rats
    Where Eagles Dare
    Von Ryan's Express
    Full Metal Jacket
    Kelly's Heroes
    Jumping Jacks
    Hogan's Heroes (Series)
    MASH (Series)
    GI Joe (not old, but still a good, if fictional, war movie)

    July 1, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  37. James

    1776 – definately, yes a musical and itself has a number of historical inaccuracies.....but still one of the first times our founding fathers were portrayed as humans with all the warts. Plus the songs are great.

    Gettysburg...another pivotal early July moment in our history.

    July 1, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Seriously?

    What about 1776? Isn't that what its all about?

    July 1, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  39. jenn

    Where is independence day with will smith? That was a great patriotic movie....hello??

    July 1, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Yeeehaw

    Dukes of Hazard or Team America World police.

    July 1, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  41. PurpleKU77

    INDEPENDENCE DAY

    July 1, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  42. cmc

    The one and only, JAWS. Simply one of the best movies ever made. Ahh, the horror of closing the beaches on Fourth of July weekend!

    July 1, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  43. big mike

    1. patton
    2.patriot
    3. 1776
    4. saving private ryan
    5. rocky 4

    July 1, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Gary

    Independence Day and The Patriot

    July 1, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Coldharbor1864

    I guess everybody forgot about Ron Maxwell's movie "Gettysburg". Over 53,000 casualties in three days of bloody fighting which July 1st, 2nd and July 3rd, 1863. In the end 630,000 Americans would DEAD more than ALL other American wars put together.

    July 1, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  46. James

    Independence Day. Period.

    July 1, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Lombriz

    Gotta watch Michael Mann's Last of the Mohicans

    July 1, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Yuri Andropov

    Communism rules. America sux.

    July 1, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  49. don

    The Patriot w/Mel AGibson

    July 1, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Melba Toast

    Bladerunner
    Amerika

    July 1, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Vince G

    Independence Day? Too easy? Sorry, I love it

    July 1, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Ruteger

    It may be a little obvious but "The Patriot" is a great 4th movie.

    July 1, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  53. LA

    ID4 = Independence Day
    How the hell is that not even on the list?!?

    July 1, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  54. Chris Nieman

    this list is crazy, unless you think jingoistic crap like "red dawn" represents america. oh, wait. it does. let's add all the "rambo" flix while we're at it.

    July 1, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  55. Jinx

    Independence Day
    and no-one mentioned the Patriot?

    July 1, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  56. BHL

    For us old folks there is "I Am A Yankee Doodle Dandy"–the George M cohan story.

    July 1, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  57. DuffMan

    Independence day??? gotta be the greatest corniest funniest movie ever

    July 1, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  58. scififan

    How can this list NOT include "Independence Day"??? It's my #1 July 4th fav and I watch it every year!

    July 1, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Penis Wrangler

      You watch independence day because you are basically a dimbulb and a dullard.

      July 1, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  59. seriously?

    independence day.

    July 1, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  60. pulsars

    Superman – The Movie (1978). Superman quote: "I'm here to fight for truth, and justice, and the American way."

    July 1, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  61. Li Tai Fang

    What? No Independence Day? The biggest and baddest alien invasion movie ever made!

    July 1, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  62. Dennis

    What about Independence Day?

    July 1, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Larry

      Amen to that! Who can forget "Today we celebrate our Independence Day"! Come writers, this was classic flick and will probably be shown more times this weekend than any of the movies mentioned above.

      July 1, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  63. What?!?!

    "We're going to live on. We're going to survive. Today we celebrate our Indepedence Day!"– Bill Pullman as the President

    Seriously? Independence Day doesn't make this list? Star Wars and Braveheart, two movies that have nothing to do with America, are on the list. But not Independence Day. A movie about the Fourth of the July (with aliens).

    I can't believe CNN paid the guy who wrote this.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  64. Kay

    Love '1776'! As for the language, kids hear worse on 'South park'. And it stars William 'the voice of KITT on Knight Rider' Daniels and John Cullum, better known as Holling on 'Northern Exposure'.

    How about 'Yankee Doodle Dandy'?

    July 1, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  65. Peck's Bad Boy

    Yankee Doodle Dandy!

    July 1, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  66. BobZemko

    "The Right Stuff." Great musical score, too.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  67. Greg

    No Independence Day?!?!?! This list sucks

    July 1, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  68. Boisv

    Umm... Jaws and Independence Day! Those are obvious. What a lousy list. Braveheart and Star Wars? Seriously? How stupid.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  69. gailscott

    Independence Day with Will Smith is a must see in my home on or around the 4th of July!

    July 1, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Paco

      Just as Jennifer Anniston plays Rachel in every movie. Will Smith plays Fresh Prince in every movie. Limited acting skills at best.

      July 1, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Frank T

      That's not a good movie.

      July 1, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Salusa Secundus

      Mexico Bob – It's '¡¡Viva México!!" – Pendejo. You're obviously not Mexican.

      July 1, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • GailS

      @ Paco, great acting skills aren't always necessary for a good action film. The same could be said for Arnold, but Teminator is not a lessor film for his lack of acting skills. Apart from that, brothers were not the heroes and protectors in films when I was growing up and going to the movies, so that alone is reason enough for me to watch this.

      July 1, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      Independence Day is a good one for July 4. I'd also rank "The Patriot" with Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger up there.

      July 1, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  70. Doodee Rustler

    The Human Centipede.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  71. Kevin in Atlanta

    Come on!? Independence Day!!

    July 1, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  72. Ted

    Rocky IV. The most patriotic movie in history.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  73. Matt

    I think saving private ryan should be on there just saying..

    July 1, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  74. bannister

    No Saving Private Ryan? Well, I guess that's a better one for Memorial Day.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  75. Cletus

    Christmas Vacation

    July 1, 2011 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  76. Peace

    Full Metal Jacket...I think that's what it's called...? Good movie, anyhow! How about Independence Day?

    July 1, 2011 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Rose

      Agree with you. A more modern version than most of those listed but the fight for survival and freedom are the same. Plus it has a great cast.

      July 1, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  77. hoofawted

    Born on the 4th of July Oo

    July 1, 2011 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  78. The Måd Ræp3r

    Apocalypse Now, preferably while done up in greasepaint listening to The End on loop, killing a six pack(combat knife optional)

    July 1, 2011 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  79. charlie crack

    "Red Dawn" was good!

    July 1, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  80. Jonathan Webber

    Great blog! Here's my list:

    1. Not Without My Daughter (1984)
    2. Delta Force (1986)
    3. 1776 (1972)
    4. Dave (1993)
    5. The Man With One Red Shoe (1985)

    July 1, 2011 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  81. Russ

    Team America all the way. America F*** YEAH!

    July 1, 2011 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  82. LRoy

    For those of you who believe in (as the Brits call it) Traitor's Day...The Queen.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  83. LRoy

    To me, there is only ONE holiday-must see-movie. And it's broadcast every year one one or more stations (also avail on DVD). Saw this in 8th grade during the Bicentennial in Boston (hey, it got us out of the classroom for a few hours). You saw the Broadway show, you've seen the movie. (Hey Broadway...how about a revival?). The movie?

    1776 (the language may be unsuitable, but hell that's war).

    July 1, 2011 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Ms.Grammar

      Totally agree – 1776 "For God's sake, John, sit down" – Jefferson/Franklin

      July 1, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • RAH

      Absolutely! "1776" is the ONLY one by a long shot.

      July 1, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • CG

      1776 is my number one favorite movie – my kids and I watch it every year on the 4th. Fabulous!!

      July 1, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • dplalpha

      Totally corny, not completely faithful to the facts, but absolutely perfect for the 4th of July! Will it be "unalienable" or "inalienable?" Mr. Adams will speak to the printer about it. Our family watches it every year.

      July 1, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lee

      "FFV! First family of Virginia."

      July 1, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • CPat

      THE classic Independence Day movie of all time is "Yankee Doodle Dandy" starring James Cagney. It is a biographical of George M. Cohan, composer of "Yankee Doodle Dandy", "Over There", and "Give My Regards to Broadway".

      July 1, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharon

      1776

      How could you leave this one out of the top five?

      July 1, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      "1776" Is The Fourth Of July to watch. It shows how difficult becoming an independent nation really was. Great play, wonderful movie. Mostly historically accurate with a few minor changes to the facts, Thank you TCM for showing it every year along with "Yankee Doodle Dandy". Every American should see "1776" at least once.

      August 10, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  84. BHL

    How about PORKY'S??

    July 1, 2011 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Uncle Fetus

      The Madness of King George is a great movie. George become mentally ill, goes crazy, curses everyone and take numerous doookies in his pants. Fun for the whole family. RIGHT RIGHT!

      July 1, 2011 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Yeeehaw

      Team America , World police???

      July 1, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  85. allamerican82

    Coming from somebody that cant spell, I am not too worried.

    July 1, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  86. @ Mexico Bob

    You must be proud of your country that is full of corruption at every corner... even cops have sold their souls to the drug lords... yeah, like the commenter above me said, I am not worried. You guys can't even take care of yourselves... who's to say you can take us on?

    July 1, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  87. trigtwit...tard baby deluxe

    ...drool...

    July 1, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  88. UpYours

    You can change your name but you can't hide the douchness of you comments...Palinwit.

    July 1, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  89. bachmanntwit

    Up yours, UpYours. And you forgot the 't' in palintwit.

    July 1, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  90. The Måd Ræp3r

    Lol at either of them running for the presidency, ones a witch, the others a b¡tch. Both are stoopid.

    July 1, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  91. usadave

    Bob I need my grass cut for my 4th party. Will a quarter cover it.

    July 3, 2011 at 5:26 am | Report abuse |

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