Independence Day conjures up images of sparklers, hot dogs, fireworks and Will Smith saving the planet from aliens.
To get into the proper spirit before watching the rockets’ red glare, first spend some high-quality time in your air-conditioned dwelling and view some uplifting movies. This handy list is sure to provide something to get you in a flag-waving mood.
“Hamilton” (2020) — The film version of this Broadway hit was supposed to arrive in theaters in 2021 but was pushed up for a Disney+ release on Friday. The movie stars the original stage cast.
“Back to the Future” (1985) — Celebrate this time- traveling adventure, released exactly 35 years ago, with Doc, Marty and Einstein.
“Field of Dreams” (1989) — According to Terrance Mann (James Earl Jones), baseball reminds us of all that once was good and that could be again. Chances are you’ll feel pretty good watching this film centered around a father and son’s bond with the national pastime.
“Captain America: The First Avenger” — Few fictional characters symbolize the American ideal better than Steve Rogers. The red, white and blue outfit, complemented by a shield that would make Betsy Ross proud, gives Cap an 11/10 on the Patriotic Scale.
“Top Gun” (1986) — Ride into the Danger Zone with everyone’s favorite flyboy as fighter pilot Maverick completes the quintessential American comeback story. When you’re done, get the family to reenact the volleyball scene in the backyard.
“Apollo 13” (1995) — This star-studded film, based on the real-life and nearly disastrous voyage of Apollo 13 in 1970, exemplifies the indomitable American spirit.
“Glory” (1989) — Morgan Freeman and Denzel Washington are former slaves fighting for the Union army’s first African American military unit in this film based on a true story.
“National Treasure” (2004) — Follow the exploits of historian Benjamin Franklin Gates (Nicolas Cage) as he uses a map on the back of the Declaration of Independence to find hidden treasure.
“The American President” (1995) — Rob Reiner directs this Aaron Sorkin- penned movie about a widowed president (Michael Douglas) who starts dating an environmental lobbyist (Annette Bening) during an election year.
“McFarland USA” (2015) — This family film focuses on coach Jim White (Kevin Costner) and his team of underdog young runners. It’s a heartwarming and inspirational feel-good flick.
“Dave” (1993) — A kind-hearted temp agency owner (Kevin Kline), who has an uncanny resemblance to the president, temporarily becomes the commander-in-chief in this romantic comedy.
“A League of Their Own” (1992) — Geena Davis and Madonna play tough-as-nails baseball players in this film based on the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League that helped unify the country during World War II.
“Independence Day” (1996) — Will Smith “welcomes” alien invaders to Earth with plenty of witty one-liners and action-packed set pieces.
“The Patriot” (2000) — Farmer Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson) loses his house and two sons ,but when evil Col. William Tavington (Jason Isaacs) tries to take his liberty, war breaks out.
“Jaws” (1975) — This is the film that started the summer blockbuster craze, so watching it in the prime of the season makes sense. Plus, as Mayor Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) consistently points out to Chief Brody (Roy Schneider), it takes place around the Fourth of July.
“Night at the Museum” (2006) — Likable loser Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) takes a night job at the American Museum of Natural History and quickly learns there’s a lot more to his new gig than he expected.
“Air Force One” (1997) — President James Marshall (Harrison Ford) politely asks Russian terrorist Ivan Korshunov (Gary Oldman) to remove himself from his air conveyance in this ‘90s classic.
“Hidden Figures” (2016) — During the 1960s space race, NASA relies on three brilliant African American female mathematicians to solve the riddle of astronaut John Glenn’s pioneering mission.
“Lincoln” (2012) — Daniel Day-Lewis’ Academy Award- winning performance as the nation’s 16th president focuses on the last four months of Abraham Lincoln’s life as he fights to pass the Thirteenth Amendment.
“Miracle” (2004) — Do you believe in miracles? Relive America’s greatest sports victory as Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) leads the 1980 men’s hockey team against overwhelming odds.
“The Shawshank Redemption” (1994) — There’s never a bad time to watch one of the greatest films of all time, but the themes of identity, hope and the fight against injustice are certainly appropriate for Independence Day. Few films will make you appreciate your freedom more than this one.
Gazette TV critic Terry Terrones is a member of the Television Critics Association and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association. You can follow him on Twitter at @terryterrones.