I hope you enjoyed some fireworks and barbecuing yesterday! I may be a little late with this post, but it’s still Fourth of July weekend, so I thought I’d offer up a list of movies in the spirit of the holiday…
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (review here) is my top pick for Fourth of July, not because it has anything much to do with the revolution (although Mr. Smith’s first name is Jefferson) but because it celebrates, as only Frank Capra and Jimmy Stewart can do, all that is best in American ideals of democracy. Mr. Smith is the dreamer who believes in honesty and fair play and a government that serves and protects the people, going up against a world that isn’t so straight-forward.
1776 is a close second, a comedic, musical look at the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It may not always portray the Founding Fathers positively or entirely accurately (apparently the only historical record indicating John Adams was “obnoxious and disliked” is in his own writing, and Richard Henry Lee wasn’t the idiot he’s portrayed as here), but the whole thing is pervaded with a warm affection for the characters–and it’s just so much fun! With some nice messages about ideals too.
The Sandlot has no revolution or political message, but it does have a scene on the Fourth of July. More importantly, I think it captures a certain slice of Americana, with its innocent story of boys playing sandlot baseball, eating s’mores, making friends and getting into trouble over one long summer when anything seemed possible.
Newsies (review here) has a kind of revolution, although not the 1776 one. Set in New York in 1899 and (loosely) based on real history, it tells the story of newsboys going on strike against the powerful newspaper publishers. It’s a David-and-Goliath story, centers around friendship and fighting for your rights–and features a host of wonderful “rally the troops” songs and adorably enthusiastic newsboys.
National Treasure is no doubt even less historically accurate than 1776, but it’s a fun romp and adventure story based around a mystery/conspiracy theory about the Founding Fathers. It features all sorts of artifacts and monuments, and like Mr. Smith, the main character, Benjamin Franklin Gates, is named after a Revolutionary figure.
So much for my round-up! What do you like to watch on the Fourth of July?