Happy Fourth of July! Four score and seven years ago (plus about 15 decades, during which we stopped measuring time with “scores”), the colonies of the New World claimed our independence from England. It took eight years of war to get them to agree, but we’ve been our own country ever since, and every year we celebrate the anniversary with hotdogs and explosions!
A handful of movies commemorate these historical events, but that’s not what this post is about.
It’s about all the classic films that just happen to be set during the summer holiday! Today, your friends here at Lunacy Productions are going to figure out the perfect movie for you to enjoy over your four-day weekend.
INDEPENDENCE DAY (1996)
You know what brings people together? Barbecues! But also, aliens. Aliens attacking your world, more specifically. The genius of Independence Day is that the story doesn’t just take place on a holiday weekend, the theme of independence and fighting for freedom are baked into every aspect of the movie. If you’re going to feature a holiday in a movie, make it an inextricable part of the story.
Are you all about the fireworks? If your favorite part of July 4th is the part where things go BOOM, this Will Smith flick is the celebratory movie for you.
FLIGHT OF THE NAVIGATOR (1986)
12-year-old David Freeman goes missing on July 4th. One minute he’s playing frisbee with his dog and hanging out with his family by the lake, the next he’s transported to the future, at the helm of an alien spacecraft. That’s about all the impact the holiday has on the story — but it sure comes in handy when David’s brother needs to guide him home by setting off the fireworks!
For all the 80s babies out there, Flight of the Navigator will be a nostalgic Sci-Fi trip down memory lane this Fourth.
THE SANDLOT (1993)
The light of the July 4th fireworks display illuminates the memorable “night game” in this cult classic. Scored by Ray Charles’s “America the Beautiful” the scene really captures the spectacle of the holiday as, one by one, the players lose concentration because the exploding art is so captivating. Only Benny, who lives and breathes baseball, keeps rounding bases.
What’s more American than baseball? If you’re all about mom, apple pie, and our national pastime, The Sandlot is your wholesome holiday fav.
BLOW OUT (1981)
Philadelphia’s massive Independence Day blow out serves as the backdrop for the finale of… well, Blow Out. As John Travolta’s paranoiac sound engineer and Nancy Allen’s hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold try to unravel a political assassination, they are stalked by a shady operative played by John Lithgow. Brian De Palma’s masterpiece relies heavily on sound design, never more so than in the climactic scene, where the fireworks display masks Allen’s screams.
Do you find all the seasonal patriotism a little jingoistic and suspicious? Then this is the perfectly jaded Fourth of July movie for you!
There’s a terror in the waters! But it’s also the biggest day of the year for beach business! The Fourth is a major plot point as the town of Amity Island, dependent on tourism for its survival, must choose between safety and that sweet, sweet holiday moolah. Luckily for us, the mayor makes the wrong decision, and carnage ensues.
A classic any time of year, but the perfect holiday film for anyone who needs a good excuse to stay out of the water.
What are you looking forward to this Independence Day weekend? Is it a time to watch movies? Or make them? Tell us your plans in the comments below, or recommend some summertime classics we missed!