Get your hot dogs, fireworks and sunscreen bottles ready, it’s the 4th of July.
The holiday celebrating the signing of the Declaration of Independence falls on a Tuesday this year, which may give you an extra-long weekend to enjoy. If you’re looking for something to fill the time before the big fireworks show, we’ve rounded up five appropriately-themed movies for the holiday.
If you want something traditional: Independence Day
Why stray from a classic? Ignore the recent and roundly panned sequel. The 1996 original sci-fi epic has everything you want for the 4th of July: Aliens, giant explosions, patriotic speeches and Will Smith. By the time the film’s president (Bill Pullman) is shouting “Today we celebrate our Independence Day!” you’ll be shouting along with him.
If you love superheroes: Captain America: Winter Soldier
Sure, Cap’s first outing in The First Avenger is set during World War II and recreates the iconic comic book cover of the hero punching Hitler, but the second film is a better, more nuanced portrayal of the patriotic hero. Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, who went on to direct Captain America: Civil War and are currently working on an Avengers film, Winter Soldier is a taut and thought-provoking film that's among the best Marvel has to offer.
If you love Tom Cruise: Top Gun
Are you excited for the Top Gun sequel? Of course you are. The original film, which stars Tom Cruise as hot-shot pilot Lt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, is a classic for a reason. What better time to revisit the rivalry between Maverick and Tom "Iceman" Kazansky (Val Kilmer) than at a 4th of July barbecue?
Stream it on Hulu.
If you want good, clean and cheesy fun: National Treasure
There’s no better movie for an American history nerd than National Treasure, which gives the revolutionary era an Indiana Jones-style historical scavenger hunt. Nicolas Cage and Diane Kruger star as a treasure hunter and historian, respectively, following clues to a supposed historical treasure hidden by the Founding Fathers. Come for the earnest appreciation of history from Cage’s Ben Gates, stay for Sean Bean's villainous Ian Howe and Justin Bartha's Riley Poole as comic relief.
Stream it on Cinemax.
If you missed it in theaters: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
The recent Star Wars spin-off may take place in a galaxy far, far away rather than the U.S., but its themes are similar to any good patriotic story. Felicity Jones stars as Jyn Erso, the daughter of a scientist kidnapped by the Empire and forced to work on a nefarious weapon: the Death Star. Jyn and a team of misfits set out to steal the plans for the planet-killer and deliver them to the Rebellion.
Stream it on Netflix.