The essential Fourth of July movie list

Alex Williams

As the Fourth of July approaches this weekend, it’s important to remember a few things: We live in Texas, and it is really, really hot outside. It’s also illegal to shoot off fireworks in Austin, and with the drought, you may end up burning the city down. Also, odds are you have an air conditioner. So what could possibly be more American than sitting on your couch all day watching movies and celebrating the awesomeness of the United States of America?

Here are a few movies, carefully selected by The Daily Texan, to send you into a patriotic fervor.


Steven Spielberg’s horror masterpiece is seasonally appropriate, as the small town of Amity tries to survive a series of shark attacks leading up to the Fourth of July weekend. While hero Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) wants to close the beaches, the mayor refuses to lose out on that sweet, sweet commerce, a quintessentially American decision. Maybe avoid this one if you have any plans to spend your Fourth near an ocean, a pool or even a larger-than-average puddle.



“Rocky IV”

In the midst of the Cold War, Rocky Balboa travels to Russia and punches its most intimidating fighter in the face until he falls, just like the Berlin Wall did a few years later. It’s impossible to directly credit “Rocky IV” for winning the Cold War, but we all know who the real hero is in this situation.



“Team America: World Police”

This is simply one of the funniest films of the 2000s, and even though some of the jokes are unapologetically stupid, they’re easily outnumbered by the brilliant potshots directors Matt Stone and Trey Parker take at jingoism, activism and Michael Moore. The film’s crooning country song, “Freedom Isn’t Free,” is an unintentional American anthem, and Team America’s gleeful destruction of Paris and Cairo is almost as funny as watching puppets try to fight.


“The Patriot” 

Mel Gibson stars in this awesomely dumb story of a family man fighting in the Revolutionary War, and while “The Patriot” is far from a good movie, it’s full of golden exchanges. Plus, it’s got a great performance from a young Heath Ledger, and in the final battle, Gibson impales the British villain with an American flag. What else could you possibly want from a historical epic?



Speaking of dumb but awesome, “Armageddon” is the best film that Michael Bay has ever put his name on. Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck lead one of the best ensemble casts of the ‘90s into space to save the world from an asteroid the size of Texas, and in true American fashion, they even find time to destroy the International Space Station on the way. Bay’s known for his unapologetic military fetish, and “Armageddon” has so many slo-mo shots of American flags waving in the wind while Steven Tyler wails in the background, it’s surprising that people don’t bleed red, white and blue by the time the end credits roll.