Saturday, July 2, 2016

Patriotic Movies


It's that time of year again. Time to dust off favorite patriotic movies and celebrate the old red, white, and blue. I love watching what I consider to be great holiday movies for the Fourth of July. Many of these movies are ones I've watched hundreds of times, and I still love them.

Let's with the family friendly films:

My favorite is still Stars and Stripes Forever, which is a fantastic musical about the life of the March King, John Phillips Sousa. I've always been especially fond of his "ballads".

Liberty's Kids is my favorite series for teaching kids, both young and old, about the Revolutionary War. The stories followed three kids: Sarah, a British subject from England, James, an American-born orphan, and Henri, a French orphan, as they sought to tell the stories behind the Founding of America.

The American Girl movies, especially Felicity, Kit, Samantha, or Molly. Each shows what life was like for kids living in America during a particular era, from the Revolutionary War to WWII.

Schoolhouse Rock: America is educational with a fun twist. These shorts help introduce kids to interesting facts about our country with catchy songs and fun animation. I still remember watching the one about how a bill becomes a law.


I grew up watching Disney's American Legends, a simple retelling of stories that have grown to become legend. From the true story of Johnny Appleseed and Casey Jones, to the tall tales of Paul Bunyan and John Henry, and John Henry, these family friendly stories will help kids get a glimpse into American history.

National Treasure 1 & 2 are a fun mix of historical fact and fiction. I love the idea that the Founding Fathers left clues to a treasure of significant importance hidden in some of our most beloved national symbols. The first movie also provides a glimpse into the wisdom and foresight of the men who created our system of government. The second looks into events from the end of the Civil War and the long lasting effects they've had on America, as well as the search for another treasure.

Captain America: The First Avenger is an action packed look at what could have happened if a man who simply wanted to fight for his country was given an unexpected advantage to do so. Most of the film takes place during WWII, with Steve Rogers proving that sometimes it's what's in your heart that matters the most.

And now films that are more appropriate for teens and adults:

1776 is another musical, which takes place, as the title suggests, during the Continental Congress of 1776. The film stars William Daniels  (better known to Boy Meets World fans as Mr. Feeny) as John Adams, along with most of the original Broadway cast. It's a wonderful sneak peek into the minds of the Founding Fathers at one of the pivotal moments in our nation's history.

The Patriot, although somewhat depressing, is an intense look at one family's struggles during the American Revolution. While not appropriate for children, it's a fascinating look at our fight for independence.

Glory, while definitely not for children, is one of the best Civil War movies. Its an intriguing look at the first all-black volunteer company that fought for the Union. This movie is intense, but also a very interesting look at what these men had to overcome to fight for what they believed in.

The John Adams mini-series is told from the perspectives of both John and Abigail Adams, and how each worked, both separately and together, to forge our nation.

Independence Day, which has a sequel in theaters this month, is an alien invasion movie with action, adventure,  and a hefty dose of comedy. It also has my favorite presidential speech of all time.

Cinderella Man is a look at the true story of one man's life during the Depression. A former boxer whose fallen on hard times, James Braddock, with the help and support of his family, overcomes the odds to become a champion and a national inspiration in the 1930s.

Forest Gump, while not obviously patriotic, shows American society at its best and worst over several decades. It is the story of the American Dream, and the wisdom that the attainment of that dream isn't always what you expect.

If you're like me, you see nothing wrong with celebrating our freedom and this great country of ours for an entire month, or maybe even longer. So I hope you will watch at least a few of these great films. And who knows, maybe you'll find a new favorite, too.

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