Saturday is the Fourth of July in the United States, but thanks to the coronavirus pandemic it's one that looks quite a bit different from what most Americans are used to. Instead of festive backyard barbecues and big, bombastic fireworks displays people come together to watch light up the skies, things are a bit quieter and a bit more distanced this year. Many cities have cancelled their fireworks while in some places, social distancing has scaled down barbecues or cancelled them outright in the name of public safety. But a pandemic doesn't mean that all celebrations are cancelled. If you can't go out to commemorate the star-spangled holiday, you can always stay home and watch movies -- and if you're trying to figure out what, don't worry. We have you covered with some patriotic fare on Netflix.
That's right, if you're staying home for the Fourth of July, we've come up with a list of movies and even a couple of series to watch today on Netflix -- or even all weekend if you're making a real celebration out of it. Now, these aren't all films specifically about the Fourth of July. Instead, the entertainment we've selected include films with patriotic themes, a feel-good sports movie, plenty of action, and even some action fare as well. We've also chosen some films and series that shine a light on some of the more complex issues that are a part of America, including racial injustice, which are equally as important to reflect on -- not to mention truly engrossing.
So, if you're not heading out to celebrate the Fourth then grab some snacks and get comfortable. Here's some of the best films and series to watch on Netflix for the Fourth of July.
Starring Mel Gibson and Heath Ledger, 2000's The Patriot isn't exactly historically accurate -- there was a good bit of controversy over the film's portrayal of historical British figures and a few specific atrocities -- but despite that, the Revolutionary War-drama is ultimately a film about family and what people will do to protect -- or avenge -- their own.prevnext
War films can be kind of heavy and they're not everyone's cup of tea and if that's the case then we have a more feel-good option for you: 2004's Miracle. The film stars Kurt Russell and tells the story about the United States men's ice hockey team that won the gold medal in the 1980 Winter Olympics, defeating the Soviet team in a medal round that was called the "Miracle on Ice". While the outcome of the game is one viewers know going into it thanks to it being a real-world event, you just can't help but cheer when the American team pulls off what remains one of the biggest upsets in sports history.prevnext
You can't celebrate America without examining some of her darker chapters and that's where the Academy Award-nominated 13th comes in. The Ava DuVernay-directed documentary explores the intersection of race, justice, and mass incarceration in the United States and takes its name from the THirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution -- the amendment that abolished slavery. It's a difficult, but deeply thought-provoking watch.prevnext
Air Force One
One of the most popular action films of the 1990s, 1997's Air Force One has it all. You've got Harrison Ford as the President of the United States, Russian terrorists, the hijacking of Air Force One, and a whole lot of butt-kicking when Ford's President James Marshall attempts to take on the terrorists and take back the plan himself. Bonus: Glenn Close plays the Vice President.prevnext
Olympus Has Fallen
Keeping with the "attack on the President" theme, another fun action flick for the holiday is 2013's Olympus Has Fallen. Directed by Antoine Fuqua, the film stars Aaron Eckhart as President Benjamin Asher, Morgan Freeman as Speaker of the House Allan Trumbull, and Gerard Butler as Mike Banning, disgraced former head of the President's security detail who must rescue the President after North Korean-led guerrilla assault on the White House and do so before the invasion of South Korea and the decimation of the United States thanks to the detonation of the American nuclear arsenal.prevnext
Angel Has Fallen
If Olympus Has Fallen wasn't enough for you, then we've also included the third film in the Fallen series, 2019's Angel has Fallen. Butler and Freeman return for the film, this time with Freeman as President Allan Trumbull. In the film, Butler's Agent Mike Banning has to clear his name after being framed for an attack on the President. There's action, escape, attempted assassination, a near war on Russia and treason. It's a lot -- but also a lot of fun.prevnext
Medal of Honor (Docuseries)
If you don't want to watch a movie as part of your Fourth of July celebration, but still want to do something that feels patriotic, you can check out Medal of Honor. The eight-episode 2018 docuseries honors service members whose courage merited the awarding of a Medal of Honor with the series recreating their inspiring true stories.prevnext
Based on the Broadway play of the same name and starring Kerry Washington, Steven Pasquale, Eugene Lee, and Jeremy Jordan, American Son film follows an estranged interracial couple as they wait in a Florida police station for news of their missing teenage son and takes on issues of race and police brutality -- timely topics in the wake of the death of George Floyd. Interesting fact about American Son: Washington, Pasquale, Lee and Jordan all starred in the Broadway play as well.prevnext
When They See Us (series)
Another series rather than movie, Ava DuVernay's When They See Us explores the 1989 Central Park jogger case by specifically taking on the stories of the lives and families of the five male suspects who were falsely accused, then prosecuted and wrongly convicted on charges related to the sexual assault of a woman in Central Park. The critically acclaimed series examines justice and race in America.prevnext
Last on our list is Quentin Tarantino's 2009 Inglourious Basterds. The wild, violent war film is an alternate history that tells the story of two plots to assassinate the leadership of Nazi Germany, including one by a team of Jewish American Soldiers. It's violent, wild, and even campy romp through a fictional World War 2 that makes it an unconventional, but entertaining holiday viewing choice.prev