Often when we celebrate July the 4th, we can easily let the fireworks, BBQ and fun times with family and friends distract us from taking a minute to remember and appreciate those who sacrificed so much to create this great nation. In a sense, appreciating the fruits of freedom and the pursuit of happiness does exactly that. However, there’s a time to sit and reflect on principals the United States of America was founded upon, as well as the people founded it.
In honor of Independence Day, the Editorial Staff at Movieguide® has compiled 10 movies that celebrate our country and the values upon which it was founded. Many of these you can watch with your whole family this holiday, but some require extreme caution even for older teenagers and adults because of some rough content.
Ron Maxwell's epic film GETTYSBURG, based on Michael Shaara's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel THE KILLER ANGELS, dramatically depicts the three most courageous days in American history when North and South were arrayed against each other in the decisive battle fought on the Gettysburg, Pennsylvania plains. GETTYSBURG is a magnificent movie that should be viewed by every American.
The 1941 gem by Frank Capra, MEET JOHN DOE, is an extremely entertaining comic drama about a hardboiled female reporter and a down-and-out baseball player who discover redemption, and each other, while working for a ruthless oil man turned newspaper magnate who secretly wants to run for president. Starring Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck in two of their best roles, MEET JOHN DOE is a brilliant, must-see masterpiece of American cinema offering lots of humor, drama and pathos in a heartfelt story filled with morally uplifting, inspiring Christian meaning.
JOHNNY TREMAIN is a classic Walt Disney historical drama movie about how the title character changes from an overconfident, selfish silversmith’s apprentice into a principled American patriot ready to lay down his life in the Revolutionary War. JOHNNY TREMAIN is a quintessential historical Walt Disney movie from the 1950s featuring patriotism, positive Christian themes, Bible quotes, prayer, a musical number, and battle scenes with no blood.
SERGEANT YORK stars Gary Cooper in a movie based on the true story of a conscientious objector who became the greatest American hero in World War I. SERGEANT YORK is a profoundly Christian movie, with a brilliant performance by Gary Cooper. It powerfully explores the role Christians should play in times of war.
The classic 1939 movie DRUMS ALONG THE MOHAWK is a tremendous movie about the American Revolution as experienced on the frontier. It has a profoundly Christian worldview, but there’s plenty of war violence and some comical scenes of drunkenness.
With a really good 1860's look, GLORY is a biblical moral lesson about overcoming racism through reconciliation, not rebellion or revenge, set in the context of history that we all need to see. GLORY is a great film for mature, discerning Christians.
The 1939 Frank Capra classic MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON pits the wide-eyed naïve patriot Jefferson Smith, played by Jimmy Stewart in probably his most appealing performance, against a nasty political machine. Cleverly avoiding party labels, this wonderful, brilliant movie has inspired thousands of Republicans and Democrats to go to Washington to “clean things up.”
THE PATRIOT stars Mel Gibson as a family man who wrestles with his desire for revenge and the just cause of the American War for Independence in the late 1700s. The violent battle scenes may concern older moviegoers, while younger moviegoers might chafe at the soul-searching, but at the heart of this movie is faith.
THE LONG ROAD HOME is a dramatic TV miniseries from the National Geographic Channel that follows American forces in Sadr, Iraq in 2004 who are ambushed by Islamic militants and face extreme odds to survive. THE LONG ROAD HOME is an intense war series, but the first two episodes have a very strong Christian, moral, patriotic worldview. Caution is advised for some strong war violence and foul language.
JOHN ADAMS is the acclaimed HBO TV miniseries on one of America’s most important founding fathers, and the second president of the United States, who led a glorious, mostly positive life of great influence. The acting, writing and direction are superb, and this miniseries is rich in political, philosophic and spiritual dialogue that recognizes Christian faith in every critical moment.