Fourth of July is usually a day filled with fun activities. You likely have a BBQ to attend, a beach outing planned or a parade to watch. You’ll be eating plenty of red, white and blue-themed desserts and sipping some refreshing themed cocktails. You and the family might even find yourselves testing each other about 4th of July trivia as you just lounge in the backyard. And of course, when it’s time to settle down, you’ll watch your local fireworks outdoors or stream the Macy’s Fireworks Spectacular. But you don’t have to stop the festivities after the show’s over.
Grab your favorite snacks and end the night with a 4th of July movie. Whether you’re looking for something funny, patriotic or educational, our list of the best Fourth of July movies has something for you and the family to enjoy. We’re talking Hamilton, National Treasure and of course, Independence Day.
This musicial blends hip-hop, jazz, R&B and Broadway to tell the story of Alexander Hamilton, an American revolutionary, statesman and Founding Father of the United States. You’ll watch a live show so riveting, you’ll think you’re sitting front row.
Where to Stream: Disney+
Cynthia Erivo stars as abolitionist Harriet Tubman. The movie tells the story of Tubman’s incredible legacy, including leading the Underground Railroad and guiding enslaved people to freedom.
Where to stream: Stream On demand
Independence Day (1996)
In this movie released the day before the 4th of July in 1996, Captain Steven Hiller (Will Smith) and President Whitmore (Bill Pullman) are on a mission to save the United States … from an alien invasion. This sci-fi action film is a twist on your classic war movie.
Where to stream: HULU
Born on the Fourth of July (1989)
Just three years after Top Gun, Tom Cruise starred in the movie based on former Marine Ron Kovic’s life. You’ll see how he transforms from dedicated soldier to a critic of the war that left him paralyzed.
Where to stream: Peacock
National Treasure (2004)
A treasure map on the back of the Declaration of Independence? It’s not the craziest thing that happens during this story’s running time. This Nicolas Cage action flick is pure campy fun.
Where to stream: Disney+
Rocky IV (1985)
There’s only one movie on this list that delivers the cinematic beauty of a robot presenting a birthday cake and a live James Brown performance, and that’s Rocky IV. In this movie, Rocky Balboa’s friend, Apollo Creed, dies in the ring while fighting Soviet boxer Ivan Drago. The Italian Stallion heads to the USSR and has an epic battle with Drago. Keep in mind, this released during the tail end of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, so this was more than just a boxing movie for us in the U.S. It was the morale boost America needed.
Where to stream: Philo, Roku
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Captain America’s origin story is truly the adventure of the American spirit, standing up for what’s right, and taking down fascism and crazy, red-faced dudes with super-powerful weapons. Chris Evans plays a scrawny, puny man who does whatever he can to fight for justice in World War II. However, the only way he can get in is through a secret super-soldier experiment, thus becoming Captain America.
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Undoubtedly one of the best movies about World War II–this is a quick reminder Band of Brothers was an HBO series–Saving Private Ryan follows a group of U.S. soldiers who are on a mission to take a paratrooper out of battle and return him home after his brothers are killed in battle. One of Steven Spielberg’s best films, the beaches of Normandy scene is horrifying and brilliantly shot and gives the rest of us an understanding of how terrifying war can truly be.
Where to stream: Pluto TV
Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)
We all know about President Abraham Lincoln’s accomplishments in the White House, but this dramatized version of his early life takes us back to his time as a lawyer in Illinois. Starring Henry Fonda, we see how Lincoln rose to power and found love (twice) in a film that is 100% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
Where to stream: Tubi
Forrest Gump (1994)
Tom Hanks’ iconic character Forrest Gump lives a life full of adventure as history unfolds. Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, the Vietnam War, and Watergate are all shown in this fictional story. We bet everyone will be yelling, “Run, Forrest!” long after the credits roll.
Where to stream: Netflix
Miracle recounts the story of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, as they took on what was thought to be the unstoppable team from the USSR. With the help of player-turned-coach Herb Brooks, played by Kurt Russell, the team overcomes the odds as viewers around the world find a reason to believe in miracles. This against-the-odds tale is full of hope and based on an unbelievably true story.
Where to stream: Disney+
Top Gun (1986)
Training to become a Navy fighter pilot, Maverick (Tom Cruise) certainly has his work cut out for him. But with a new bestie named Goose and a crush on his flight instructor, we see just how much this young pilot can accomplish. It went on to win the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Movie and reigns as one of the most popular Halloween costumes of all time.
Where to stream: Amazon Prime