No patriotic movie list would be complete without one war movie and as far as I'm concerned there is no better war movie than Saving Private Ryan. It doesn't sugarcoat war - the opening scenes at Normandy are some of the most brutal you could experience - but it also celebrates the unsung heroes, the men who gave everything to complete their mission. There is a reason this is known as the "Greatest Generation" - and sometimes it's good to be reminded of the sacrifice that was made in order for freedom to continue to ring.
While Saving Private Ryan takes itself very seriously, Top Gun is all about "the need for speed". Tom Cruise at his most magnetic - fast planes, smooth talk, rivalries and coming together to win the day - it's about as 80s as you can get, but it is guaranteed to make you cheer, plus it has the best version of "You've Lost That Loving Feeling" you're bound to find anywhere.
Sometimes the most important battles aren't won during war, but rather on a neutral field. The Olympics are a perfect example of countries proving their mettle by winning the most medals. In 1980 it was a given that Russia would dominate the hockey event, seeing as they had the most talent and took the sport quite seriously. The U.S. was almost an afterthought - what is hockey to most Americans who consider baseball and football dominant sports? Yet coach Herb Brooks took essentially an untested group of college kids and managed to beat Russia at their own game. This was a major upset and it couldn't have come at a better time: the height of the Cold War. This is just one of those films that makes you feel good, and the fact it really happened? Get those USA! USA! USA! chants ready.
I mean, it's right there in the title and though Roland Emmerich's movie is mainly about aliens coming to, you know, destroy humanity, it's also about fighting back, and no one fights back like the U.S. of A. At least according to the rousing speech given by the president (Bill Pullman). There is nothing subtle about this film - it's all flag waving and Will Smith one-liners. It certainly makes America look like the cream of the crop when it comes to taking on a vastly superior alien invasion force. Bombastic and proud - this is like a 4th of July fireworks display on its own.
James Stewart plays an idealistic young man who finds himself as a fresh-faced U.S. Senator. What does he find in Washington D.C.? Probably the same as you'll find today: corruption, crooked politicians and a political machine that seems impossible to change. Yet Mr. Smith doesn't give up - he fights for democracy, for the people if you will, and won't just give up. If this doesn't make you proud to be an American, I don't know what else will. Should be required viewing for anyone elected to any position in government just to remind them what they're actually fighting for.
As the 4th roles around, take a moment and swell with pride over some of the most patriotic movies around. There are plenty more to be found too: Apollo 13, Rocky, Glory and Forrest Gump all fit in that category and I'm sure you can think of even more.
Chris Kavan is the Community Manage for FilmCrave.com and he never hesitates to support the red, white and blue.