After all the fireworks, barbecues, and other celebrations on Independence Day, you might want to sit back and unwind in bed with a good movie. There’s no better way to end your celebrations than with a movie that kindles the fire of patriotism inside you from the comfort of your own couch. And if you have a Netflix account, you'll find a ton of brave American stories to choose from. So if you’re planning to spend your evening chilling at home, here are ten patriotic movies to watch on Netflix this Fourth of July.
From war movies to fictional adventures, Netflix has a great variety of patriotic films in their current catalog. While some favorites, like The Patriot and Independence Day are absent from the titles, the streamer is still offering a few great, epic American movies, including a few spectacular Netflix originals.
No matter what you’re in the mood for — dark, humorous, or thrilling — here are some terrific movies to watch this Fourth of July, as you celebrate the US of A.
1. Sand Castle
When I think of patriotism, the first thing that comes to mind is the bravery, honor, and strength of the soldiers that fight for this country’s freedoms everyday. War movies help bring a military perspective to the masses, and Netflix’s original film, Sand Castle, does just that. The 2017 film gives a first hand account of writer Chris Roessner’s story of the broad, sometimes unnoticed effects of war. It follows Private Matt Ocre (Nicholas Hoult) and his fellow soldiers in 2003 Iraq, where they attempt to repair bomb-damaged water system in a village full of hostile residents. The story is contemplative, but it will give you a deeper appreciation of the complicated struggles the troops face everyday.
What better way to get your patriotism on this Fourth of July than by watching the insightful story of the country’s first Black president? Netflix’s original biopic, Barry, tells the story of President Barack Obama’s (Devon Terrell) younger days, as he tries to find his place and identity as a young student at Columbia University in 1981 New York City. Pushing aside the polarizing political climate of today, Barry is a patriotic and inspirational story of a young unknown man, who went on to become one of the most iconic American presidents in United States history.
3. War Machine
I know war movies can be grim and dark, so if you’re in the mood for a little laughter, put War Machine on your Independence Day watch list. Starring Hollywood a-listers like Brad Pitt, Anthony Michael Hall, Ben Kingsley, and Tilda Swinton, this satirical comedy is based on Michael Hasting’s book, The Operator: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America's War in Afghanistan, and follows a fictional U.S. general’s overzealous efforts to win the war in Afghanistan.
4. Full Metal Jacket
The beauty of America is that patriotism comes in all different perspectives. While many war movies are pro-war, the Academy Award-winning film, Full Metal Jacket, focuses on the real, human cost of war and how it affects the soldiers that are trained to kill. Directed by Stanley Kubrick, Full Metal Jacket follows a group of soldiers from basic training to the Vietnam War, and offers some perspective on the struggles soldiers face from the beginning of their journey in the military through to the end
5. Gangs of New York
If there is one city in the United States that is a perfect example of the diversity and tolerance this nation was built on, it’s New York City. Martin Scorsese’s award-winning film, Gangs of New York, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, and Daniel Day-Lewis, tells an epic story about late 1800’s Manhattan and the gang violence centered around the New York Draft Riots of 1863. The movie offers insight into how New York City went from a chaotic hub of immigrants, to become the (relatively) tolerant melting pot it is today.
6. National Treasure
For some history fueled, patriotic action, add National Treasure to your Netflix watch list. As one of my favorite patriotic movies of all time, this adventure follows fearless historian Benjamin Franklin Gates (Nicholas Cage) as he fights to find and save the mysterious national treasure that is secretly mapped out on the original copy of the Declaration of Independence. It’s definitely a popcorn flick, but it has a few real historical tidbits you can munch on as well.
While it may not have any historical references, Armageddon is just one of those patriotic films that has you cheering “U.S.A.” throughout. Starring Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, and Bruce Willis, Armageddon is science fiction, action-packed thriller directed by Michael Bay. It follows a group of NASA-recruited blue collar drillers who are sent out into space to split an asteroid that is headed towards Earth. It just reminds you of how brave and strong Americans are, and how much they sacrifice to make the world a better place.
Take yourself back to the 1863 this Independence Day with Daniel Day-Lewis’s portrayal of one the most significant presidents in United States history with Lincoln. It follows Abraham Lincoln and his struggle to abolish slavery and unite the country in his final months of office, as he pushes to end the Civil War. Not only is this great historical perspective, the film features an Academy Award-winning performance by Lewis, along with captivation production and set design.
9. USS Indianapolis: Men Of Courage
Starring Nicholas Cage and Tom Sizemore, USS Indianapolis: Men Of Courage follows the real-life story of an American navy crew that was stranded in the Philippine Sea in 1945. With a lack of food and supplies, and a sea infested with sharks, the movie depicts the crew’s harrowing story of struggle and courage as they navigated through the harshest of circumstances at sea.
10. The Kingdom
Full of patriotic intrigues and diplomatic strategies, The Kingdom follows FBI Special Agent Robert Fleury (Jamie Foxx) as he brings together a secret team to investigate the deadly bombing of American forces in Saudi Arabia. It’s an action-packed thriller, that’s full of suspense and patriotic tingles, so it’s definitely a great Fourth of July watch.