The 12 Highest Rated Patriotic Movies On Netflix To Stream Over The July 4th Weekend

Whether you’re escaping the heat after a cookout or hunkered inside because of Tropical Storm Arthur, you’ll probably find yourself enjoying the comfort of the indoors and Netflix at some point over the long weekend.

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

M*A*S*H 3.8 stars out of 1,080,513 ratings

Making a good war comedy isn’t the easiest thing to pull off, and after Stripes the only thing we got was Hot Shots and In the Army Now (*shudder*) until Tropic Thunder came along. As for genuinely funny war comedies, it all goes back to M*A*SH. The Vietnam-era war satire can lay claim as the modern blueprint for how a war comedy should be done, and is still considered by many to be one of the funniest comedies of all time. (How many other movies have spawned a spin-off television show that was just as good, if not better?) Rotten Tomatoes 84, IMDB 7.7

God Bless America 3.8 stars out of 826,491 ratings

I like to imagine that Lee Greenwood accidentally streamed God Bless America thinking it would be cinematic red, white, and blue fest that would perfectly accompany his similarly titled hit song. Then of course, he’s horrified by the movie’s first 10 minutes. It isn’t your standard July 4th family fare to put on after the fireworks show is over. Bobcat Goldthwait’s black comedy highlights the uglier, superficial side of American culture and attacks it with a gun-blasting middle-aged beta male and teenage girl hellbent on taking out America’s trash. Rotten Tomatoes 69, IMDB 7.3

A League of Their Own 3.7 stars out of 5,795,427 ratings

You really can’t get more American than baseball, and while there are some great baseball movies streaming on Netflix (Major League, Bad News Bears), League has more heart than any of them. The fictionalized story of the real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League balances out its tearjerker moments with plenty of comedy from Tom Hanks, and somehow manages the impossible of making both Madonna and Rosie O’Donnell enjoyable to watch onscreen. Rotten Tomatoes 84, IMDB 7.2

Thelma & Louise 3.7 stars out of 1,883,970 ratings

Thelma & Louise doesn’t have the standard Independence Day movie attributes of say Glory or Patton: there are no heroic battlefield scenes or patriotic speeches about country. It does though embody the idea of freedom from oppression — which happens to be in the form of a dickhead husband — and a certain “FU, you won’t boss me around” spirit that America has been about since the beginning. Plus, its final shot plunges into one of the most beautiful landscapes in America. Rotten Tomatoes 82, IMDB 7.4

Coming To America 3.6 stars out of 6,184,149 ratings

Not only is Coming To America one Eddie Murphy’s best comedies and you should never need a holiday to watch it, it tells the classic story of an immigrant coming to America to make a new life. Except that the immigrant is an African prince and he’s really just here to score a hot girl and then go back home. Still, Murphy’s character Akeem is all about pulling himself up by his boot straps and working towards the American dream, one McDowell’s burger at a time. Rotten Tomatoes 85, IMDB 6.9

Hot Rod 3.6 stars out of 1,674,433 ratings

Hot Rod is less of a patriotic movie and more of cinematic version of a ‘Murica meme. If you enjoy the silliest of slapstick humor involving pyrotechnics and motorized stunts, then of course you should watch this movie over the weekend — preferably with a good buzz and a role of Black Cats nearby. Andy Samberg’s portrayal of a suburban wannabee Evil Knieval plays on the notion that with enough determination and torque, anything is possible. Rotten Tomatoes 64, IMDB 6.7