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If you want to save money on gas, money on tickets and even more money on popcorn and drinks at theater prices, the July 4th weekend is a great weekend to check out some of the great movies that carry on the legacy of patriotism, the July 4 weekend, or, ehm, that are just really red-white-and blue movies.
“Saving Private Ryan,” “The Patriot,” “Thirteen Days,” “Gettysburg,” and “Patton” are the best that I think of, although they’re deep and require work to watch. They’re not light fare, but then neither is patriotism. There are also great movies about patriotism that aren’t rooted in United States history, including “Braveheart,” “The Gladiator,” and “Chariots of Fire.”
The July 4th weekend has traditionally been a powerful release date for Americana movies such as “Armageddon” ($36 million in 1998), “The Perfect Storm” ($41mm in 2000), “Men in Black” ($51mm in 1997) and its sequel ($52mm in 2002). The one you don’t have to rent or buy is “Independence Day” ($50 million in 1996) which will be playing almost continuously on the Fox Movie Channel this weekend.


Then there are also the red-white-and-blue-themed movies such as “The American President,” “Dave,” “A Few Good Men,” “Nixon” and the most red-white-and-blue movie of the black-and-white era, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” For visual learners like me, even seeing the colors and the Capitol’s buildings is enough to make me feel more patriotic.
Of course, if you’re well-rested and willing to sacrifice Hollywood production quality to learn from solid documentaries, The History Channel is running “The Revolution” all day long on July 4th.
In any case, regardless of your choice, films can increase our sense of patriotism and inspire us to be more focused on it, giving some purpose to a weekend in which we mostly kick back, thanks to the efforts of the many who came before us and gifted us the right to do so.

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