The Fourth of July is a time for barbecues and family, hot dogs and fireworks, and red, white, and blue decorations. But is there more to it? Sure there is, and these movies offer a sampling. Some of the movies are out of history (although, weirdly, very few movies were actually made about the first Independence Day), and some merely depict the celebrations and activities of the holiday itself. Some of these visions are dark, and some are heroic. But they all invoke a sense of freedom and the American spirit—that drive to keep going, to keep trying, even if the odds are impossible. For my money, Young Mr. Lincoln (1939) is the best July Fourth movie ever made. There was no more American filmmaker than John Ford, and his complete filmic output (with a few Irish exceptions) coalesce into a great American epic poem. His portrait of Abe Lincoln (Henry Fonda) as a young, idealistic lawyer in Illinois is full of life, beauty, warmth, schmaltz, romance, humor, and suspense. At the Fourth of July celebrations, Lincoln enjoys a pie contest (ever the diplomat, he can’t decide which pie he likes better and keeps on sampling) and a tug-o-war match.But at… Read full this story
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