BEST JULY 4TH MOVIES
“The Music Man” (1962) Though it’s ultimately about more than Independence Day, the holiday does figure into Meredith Willson’s wonderfully tuneful musical that boasts a career-defining performance by Robert Preston as “Professor” Harold Hill, the con artist who promises Iowa townsfolk that he’ll organize a marching band. The piece’s heaping helping of nostalgic American life remains irresistible.
“Jaws” (1975) The centerpiece of the blockbuster thriller that put director Steven Spielberg on the map is the July 4th celebration on New England’s Amity Island, whose profit-minded mayor (Murray Hamilton) refuses to issue warnings about
the Great White shark that has started to decimate the population. He comes to regret that decision ... as do Police Chief Martin Brody, hunter Quint and shark expert Matt Hooper (Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss), who become seafaring partners in tracking down the lethal marauder.
“Blown Away” (1994) Not a traditional Fourth of July movie, this melodrama about old enemies who bring their battle from Ireland to Boston still uses the holiday in a major way, since Beantown’s traditional Independence Day concert factors hugely into the climactic sequence. A terrorist (Tommy Lee Jones) comes to America to target a former comrade turned Boston cop (Jeff Bridges), and the latter’s new wife (Suzy Amis) just happens to be one of the musicians performing in the concert.
“Independence Day” (1996) Well, of course. This earthlings-vs.-aliens adventure is a July 4th natural, and the title still does represent a battle for freedom ... if much more sophisticated technically than what our nation’s forefathers experienced. Bill Pullman (as the U.S. president), Jeff Goldblum, Vivica A. Fox and Judd Hirsch are among the stars – but as a fighter pilot, Will Smith makes a particular impact, thanks to his frequently humorous rejoinders upon being attacked by extraterrestrials.
”The Music Man”