Feeling patriotic on the Fourth of July? Spend some quality family time watching movies that celebrate the United States of America. This collection of classic films celebrates not only our country's origins, but also some of the heroic individuals who have given their lives to make her great. You can find each of these films on disc, via live streaming, and if you check your listings, you'll find a number of them airing on television. —Brett Leveridge
This beloved 1972 musical humanizes the founding fathers, reminding us that they each had quirks and failings, but by bonding together and making sacrifices, they created a country like that none that preceded it.
This 1940 portrait of, arguably, our greatest president celebrates the legend and lore of his amazing life. Star Raymond Massey went on to portay Honest Abe three more times in the course of his career.
This memorable picture celebrates the heroic role that a battalion of African-American volunteer soldiers played in preserving the union and fighting for their own inalienable rights. Violence and some language make this unsuitable for some viewers.
This beloved 1942 biopic depicts the life and career of George M. Cohan, proud patriot—he composed the title song, "You're a Grand Old Flag," and "Over There," among many others—and a giant in the world of late 19th- and early 20th-century entertainment. Cohan was a playwright, composer, lyricist, actor, singer, dancer and producer, and James Cagney does him a great turn.
Gary Cooper plays Alvin C. York, a devout Christian who applied for conscientious objector status during World War I. When that request was denied, he went on to become one of the most decorated soldiers in the First World War and a Medal of Honor recipient.
Jimmy Stewart, in one of his greatest roles, plays Jefferson Smith, an idealistic if naive average Joe who is selected to fill a vacant seat in the U.S. Senate. The power brokers behind him expect him to be an ineffectual dupe whom they can control, but when Smith sees widespread corruption in the halls of power, he sets out to do battle with them, mounting a memorable filibuster. One of director Frank Capra's greatest efforts, Mr. Smith shows the power to achieve change that a committed individual can possess.
This classic 1946 film, directed by William Wyler, depicts the trials and travails of three World War II veterans, portrayed by Dana Andrews, Fredric March and Harold Russell, as they return to their families and civilian life. It illustrates the demands we make on those who protect our freedoms and the challenges they face when the fighting has ended. This acclaimed motion picture won seven Academy Awards, plus an honorary Oscar for Russell, who made his acting debut in the film. Here's more budget-friendly summer fun for the family!
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