This is the second part of our suggestions for movies to consider for your July 4 holiday. Each one tells its part of the drama of the American story.
Glory (TriStar Pictures)
Glory is the true story of the first African-American military fighting force. No, this film does not take place during World War II. This is the Civil War and in Glory, these men have gathered in the North as former slaves seeking to literally earn their freedom. Glory is tense, dramatic, powerful and beyond compare when it comes to witnessing the birth of the racial coming together that in 2008 would elect America's first black president. Starring Denzel Washington and Matthew Broderick.
Top Gun (Paramount Pictures)
Tom Cruise is not the only star burning bright in Top Gun. The U.S. Military is the true star of this patriotic classic. Bruckheimer would not have such a hit in Top Gun if not for those incredible flying and battle sequences that gave a country something to cheer about in the fading days of a Cold War that still could have gone either way
Patton (Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment)
Does it get any more rah-rah American military tough guy than Patton? Chronicling the infamous General's career culminating in the great war -- World War II -- we truly understand that it's men that fight wars, not countries in this classic.
Apollo 13 (Universal Pictures)
Sometimes brave Americans aren't fighting on the battlefield, but exploring space and risking their lives in the pursuit of knowledge, and our country's reputation. This true mission to the moon story has it all -- danger, valor, and devotion.
Air Force One (Columbia Pictures)
How could we leave out a movie that features a tough-talking, gun-toting president taking down a bunch of terrorists? Harrison Ford plays an American president whose plane is hijacked by evil Soviets. Being both the president and Harrison Ford, he knows that he has no choice but to hunt them all down himself.
Tora! Tora! Tora! (20th Century Fox)
This 25-million dollar epic collaboration accurately recreates the events that led to the Japanese attack on the American naval base during World War II. Key American personnel ignored warnings of the possibility of Japanese aggression. The first part of the film divides scenes from both countries. Part two contains spectacular battle scenes of the bombing that destroyed the American naval base of operations in Hawaii. Governmental errors on both sides add to the confusion, but the Japanese ultimately carry out the deadly mission. The film remains an insightful and well crafted World War II action drama that was the result of years of negotiations between the two countries.
Casablanca (Warner Bros. Pictures)
At first glance, Casablanca is hardly a patriotic movie. Rick is an ex-patriate living in France. He might not be a fan of the Germans, but he’s also run guns for different sides of the war, and generally takes care of himself and nobody else. But Rick’s love for Ilsa starts him on the path to doing the right thing – and soon, he and everyone else are making sacrifices to do what’s right. He might not be draped in the American flag, but Rick shows his heart is true red white and blue.
The Hunt for Red October (Paramount Pictures)
The Hunt for Red October is a well-crafted political thriller about a reputed Soviet submarine captain who plays a cat-in-mouse game with the Americans. Piloting a submarine with a revolutionary new propulsion system, Marko Ramius (Sean Connery) plays a brilliant game of strategy with the CIA. Definitely a great pro-American feel to this one, and the best Tom Clancy novel-to-film adaptation.
Field of Dreams (Universal Pictures)
This is a movie that has a subtle patriotic message; if you build it, they will come. Kevin Costner stars in this quirky drama about an Iowa farmer who receives a message to build a baseball diamond in his corn field. He’s told that if he builds it, a mysterious “they” will come. Of course, baseball and America are practically synonymous. But beyond that, a certain spirit of “if you build it, they will come” has been urging America on for decades; building up cities, technologies, and other advancements.
To Kill A Mockingbird (Universal International Pictures)
Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning autobiographical novel was translated to film in 1962. Set in a small Alabama town in the 1930s, the story focuses on scrupulously honest, highly respected lawyer Atticus Finch, magnificently embodied by Gregory Peck. Finch puts his career on the line when he agrees to represent Tom Robinson, a black man accused of rape. The trial and the events surrounding it are seen through the eyes of Finch's six-year-old daughter Scout. To Kill a Mockingbird won Academy Awards for Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Art Direction
Red Dawn (MGM/UA)
Set at an indeterminate point in the future, this drama with an overt anti-communist message begins as an ostensible war movie: Russian and Cuban forces have invaded the U.S. and are viciously eliminating the inhabitants of a small town, when a group of teens escapes and plans a counterattack. Jed (Patrick Swayze), Robert (C. Thomas Howell), and six of their friends watch in amazement as soldiers parachute into their town and start shooting. The teens grab a pickup truck, stock up on supplies at the local store, and head for the hills. After a successful ambush, the teen guerrillas gear up for future forays, when they are suddenly betrayed by one of their number and by doubts about the morality of what they are doing.