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Need a break from the summer heat? Before the barbecue and fireworks extravaganza, cue up one of these 10 Fourth of July movies. Some are patriotic favorites, while others deliver summer vibes in spades. All are guaranteed to keep you entertained for a couple of hours. 

‘Born on the Fourth of July’ 

Tom Cruise earned an Oscar nomination for his performance as paralyzed Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic in Oliver Stone’s Born on the Fourth of July. Based on the real-life story of Kovic, the movie follows him from his childhood through his time as a Marine in Vietnam to his return to the U.S. and embrace of anti-war activism.  

Born on the Fourth of July is streaming on Netflix.

‘Top Gun’ and ‘Top Gun: Maverick’

In the mood for some lighter Tom Cruise fare? Top Gun delivers a hefty dose of action and romance with its story of a cocky Navy fighter pilot (Cruise), his best friend Goose (Anthony Edwards), and their “Top Gun” instructor Charlie Blackwood (Kelly McGillis). Cruise returns in the 2022 sequel Top Gun: Maverick, which also stars Miles Teller as Goose’s son Rooster, who follows in his dad’s footsteps as a fighter pilot. 

Both Top Gun and Top Gun: Maverick are streaming on Prime Video

‘A League of Their Own’

A League of Their Own hit movie theaters just ahead of the July 4 weekend in 1992. Celebrate the 31st anniversary of this beloved sports comedy by watching it this holiday. The movie focuses on a pair of sisters (played by Geena Davis and Lori Petty) who sign on with All-American Girls Professional Baseball League during World War II. Tom Hanks also stars.  

A League of Their Own is streaming on Netflix

‘The Sandlot’ 

Looking for another movie about America’s pastime the whole family can enjoy? The Sandlot fits the bill. This 1960s-set movie follows a boy who moves to a new neighborhood and becomes part of a ragtag baseball team. They face off against a terrifying junkyard dog dubbed “The Beast” and play their biggest game of the year on the Fourth of July, when fireworks illuminate the night sky.

The Sandlot is streaming on Starz. 

‘Red Tails’

Red Tails is inspired by the real-life story of the famous Tuskegee Airman, a group of Black U.S. Air Force pilots in World War II. Despite racism and the military’s skepticism about their abilities, the pilots proved themselves to be a crucial part of America’s efforts to defeat the Germans. It stars Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding Jr., Nate Parker, and David Oyelowo.  

Red Tails is streaming on Disney+.


Lin-Manuel Miranda’s blockbuster musical Hamilton tells the story of Founding Father Alexandar Hamilton – and the origins of the United States – in a mix of R&B, hip-hop, and Broadway styles. The 2020 movie version was filmed on stage on Broadway with the original cast, which includes Miranda as Hamilton, Leslie Odom Jr. as Aaron Burr, Phillipa Soo as Eliza Hamilton, Daveed Diggs as the Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson, and Jonathan Groff as King George III. 

Hamilton is streaming on Disney+.  

‘The Patriot’ 

Surprisingly, the American Revolution has inspired relatively few movies. One of them is The Patriot, a 2000 historical epic about an American colonist (Mel Gibson) and his son (Heath Ledger) who get swept up in the war against the British. 

The Patriot is streaming on Pluto TV.


Open-mouthed shark from 'Jaws'
‘Jaws’ | Universal Pictures/Courtesy of Getty Images

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It’s probably best to watch Jaws after your afternoon at the beach. In this 1975 blockbuster movie, which takes place on July 4, a small-town police chief (Roy Scheider) faces off against a killer Great White shark that’s been terrorizing Amity Island. 

Jaws is streaming on Peacock. 

‘Independence Day’

Will Smith plays a Marine captain who springs into action when aliens attack Earth in the 1996 sci-fi/action blockbuster Independence Day. Bill Pullman also stars as the president of the United States, while Jeff Goldblum plays the scientist who helps figure out how to defeat the invaders. 

Independence Day is streaming on Starz. 

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