Get in the patriotic spirit this weekend by watching these staff picks!
Air Force One (1997)
It features Harrison Ford at his confident best, sneaking around the presidential aircraft, taking out Eastern European hijackers one by one. Meanwhile a Constitutional crisis brews in Washington as Vice President Glenn Close and the cabinet debate whether or not to invoke the 25th Amendment in order to defang the hijackers. Nothing makes a fella’s chest swell with national pride like the president stomping a terrorist while shouting, “Get off my plane!”
— Benjamin Harrison, Director & Producer, Defy Media
Yes, it’s 2 hours and 52 minutes long. If that’s too much for you, just watch the epic George C. Scott speech that opens the movie: “The Nazis are the enemy. Wade into them. Spill their blood. Shoot them in the belly. When you put your hand into a bunch of goo that a moment before was your best friend’s face, you’ll know what to do.” Then paint your face red, white and blue and run through a brick wall.
— Steve Mazzucchi, Editor in Chief, Made Man
Unbroken is Angelina Jolie’s World War II story of survival, resilience and redemption. It’s portrayed through the experiences of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner-turned-US Air Force bombardier who spends 47 days adrift at sea, completely emaciated by the end, before he’s captured by the Japanese, with whom he spends years as their prisoner in a brutal camp. It’s the only movie longer than two hours that I can sit through, and I cry the entire time. Every time. A lot of times.
— AnnaMarie Houlis, Associate Editor, Made Man
The Godfather: Part II (1974)
The Godfather movies are the most patriotic movies of all because they give credence to the American Dream regarding social mobility. The Godfather: Part II is perhaps the best illustration of this. It chronicles the ascension from immigrant family to stable and contributing citizens of America. (Albeit as a crime family.) The scene that makes you want to shout, “America!” from the rooftop of Cowboys Stadium is when a young Vito Corleone is greeted by the Statue of Liberty on his arrival to Ellis Island. Only in America could this poor boy from a foreign land rise up and create an empire.
— Evan Terrell, Intern, Made Man
There is no better way to get behind your country than watching this true story. Miracle features the rise of many young hockey players under coach Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell with a killer Minnesota accent), who ultimately become a team and take home the 1980 Olympic gold medal. Their win over the highly favored Soviet Union team is considered one of the biggest upsets in sports history. But it’s not about hockey; it’s about America. At a time when off-the-ice tensions ran so high with the Soviets, this victory and this movie make every citizen proud to be American.
— Maxwell Mandell, Intern, Made Man
American Movie (1999)
A bit lost in history, American Movie should not be forgotten. Especially around Independence Day. The fact that we live in a country where a loser-ish guy from Milwaukee named Mark Borchardt can try to make a horror film, and that another guy named Chris Smith can document the attempted making of said horror film, is just tremendous. In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote that all men should have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and this guy Borchardt is pursuing happiness–or something–hard. America is a land full of dreamers, and one of those dreamers made a movie called Coven. Not to be missed in American Movie: the bloodcurdling scream of Mark’s quiet friend, Mike (see video above). It’s totally unexpected and totally excellent.
— Shawn Donnelly, Deputy Editor, Made Man
Saving Private Ryan (1998) and Full Metal Jacket (1987)
— Angel Baez, Desktop Support Analyst, Defy Media
Easy Rider (1969)
There’s just about as much patriotic iconography in the opening of this flick as there is in Patton (just swap out the giant flag background for Peter Fonda’s Captain America motorcycle and helmet), but the vibe here is much different. We are looking not at a nation boldly fighting a just war but one coming to terms with deep cultural, political and racial divides. Still, when drug-smuggling bikers Fonda and director Dennis Hopper rumble across the country to the strains of Steppenwolf, The Band, The Byrds and Jimi Hendrix, you can’t help feeling this groundbreaking indie film is as American as they come.
— Steve Mazzucchi, Editor in Chief, Made Man
GIFs by Evan Terrell, via GIPHY