Knowing that Netflix had recently uploaded a hefty list of new movies for instant streaming, I figured there would be plenty of 4 star patriotic titles to choose for this list — not the case. No Jaws, no Patriot, no Gangs of New York, no Independence Day, — yep, Netflix is denying you of Randy Quaid on July 4th — no Lincoln, hell, not even the vampire hunting version.
All is not lost though, there are still some solid patriotic choices available, some of them are just more unconventional about their celebration of America. Ranked by you the Netflix user, here are 12 movies on Netflix Instant that celebrate independence, freedom and the American way of life — in some form or another.
The Avengers 4.5 stars out of 6,310,701 ratings
The Avengers might not directly call out Independence Day, but how much more patriotic can you get than an American-led team of superheroes fighting against an enemy that wants to end freedom? Captain f*cking America is in the movie, dammit! The comic action flick is one of the highest rated titles on Netflix, and with Tony Stark and company fighting a battle for the future of mankind in one of our country’s greatest cities, it’s difficult not to get caught up in the red, white, and blue gusto mixed in with all the explosions. Rotten Tomatoes 91, IMDB 8.2
Forrest Gump 4.3 stars out of 19,058,894 ratings
Forrest Gump might just be the best feel-good movie on this list — minus Bubba dying and Jenny catching HIV. The movie came out Fourth of July weekend 20 years ago and is chocked full of Americana. Nearly every current event that our country went through between 1944 and 1982 is touched upon. And let’s not forget its US-of-A message that anything is possible in the land of the free — even for slow-witted guys from “Greenbow, Ala-bama!” Rotten Tomatoes 95, IMDB 8.8
We Were Soldiers 4 stars out of 3,721,329 ratings
It’s not a law — yet — but watching a military war drama of no less than two hours is a July 4th must. Since there’s No Saving Private Ryan on Netflix Instant and a 10-hour Band of Brothers marathon might be a bit much, We Were Soldiers is an adequate substitute. Mel Gibson leads his troops into the Battle of Ia Drang during the Vietnam war, highlighting both the battlefield and home-front impact of the men who lost their lives. While its got some of the hackneyed war movie scenes you expect, it also succeeds at leaving you looking like you just walked into a diced onion factory. Rotten Tomatoes 84, IMDB 7.1
Rudy 3.9 stars out of 2,992,519 ratings
On the surface, nothing about Rudy is a 4th of July movie, the movie doesn’t even take place in the same season as the holiday. Dig a little deeper though, and you’ll find patriotism and the American can-do spirit flowing through the movie’s storyline. See, Rudy is like the 13 colonies — just go with me on this — and Rudy’s jerk family are England, and what does lil’ Rudy do, he keeps pushing and pushing until he breaks free of persecution and becomes his own country. I mean, he makes the team and gets to play in the big game. Rotten Tomatoes 90, IMDB 7.5
Patton 3.9 stars out of 1,408,561 ratings
Just look at that image and try denying this a patriotic movie, I practically expect the Star Spangled Banner to start playing from simply glancing at it. The biographical war film about General George S. Patton during World War II earned six Academy Awards in 1971, including actor George C. Scott taking home a “best male actor” Oscar. The film burns with such American patriotism that Richard Nixon cited it as his favorite film and watched it for inspiration before meeting with then-Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai in 1972. Rotten Tomatoes 94, IMDB 8.1
Red Dawn 3.8 stars out of 2,180,472 ratings
Unfortunately, the John Milus version of this teenage war film is no longer available on Netflix streaming, so no Patrick Swayze taking out Soviet bad guys. The updated version still has a premise just as ridiculous as the original with Chris Hemsworth stepping in for Swayze as he leads a band of youth trying to save their town from North Koreans instead of Soviets. Rotten Tomatoes 52, IMDB 5.5