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11 Best 4th of July Movies of All Time

What about taking in a movie this Fourth of July? Sure, setting off fireworks and running around with playfully dangerous sparklers can be fun, but some people would much rather watch other fools launch pyrotechnics into the sky from the safety of their homes. Your uncle may say there’s nothing more American than grilling hot dogs and burgers outside on Independence Day, but who said you can’t celebrate the birth of our nation in front of your TV? Here are 11 films to settle down with for the holiday.

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1. Independence Day (the 1996 version, you heathens)

I mean, it’s kind of all right there in the name.

2. Hamilton’s America (2016)

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You may not be able to make it to New York City to watch the founding fathers rap-battle it out over our nation’s financial system in Hamilton, but you can take a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the Broadway phenomenon. Your den can be “the room where it happens.”

3. Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005)

The maxi-sized Baker family (Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Hilary Duff, Tom Welling, and more) trek to Lake Winnetka to celebrate Labor Day, but watching little Mark Baker (Forrest Landis) set off an entire backpack full of fireworks and causing their boat to explode is much more entertaining than seeing it happen to your cousin.

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4. Born on the Fourth of July (1989)

The Vietnam War tale, based on a veteran’s true story, gets automatic inclusion on this list.

5. American Graffiti (1973)

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It doesn’t get much more American than this coming-of-age comedy with a strong dose of ’60s nostalgia.

6. Jaws (1975)

The action goes down on a Fourth of July weekend, but this horror movie might make you too afraid of sharks to ever celebrate July 4 on a beach again.

7. Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)

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A musical classic about the man who wrote “You’re a Grand Old Flag.”

8. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

Moustacheless Chris Evans. Need I say more?

9. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

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For the more eclectic celebrators, Moonrise Kingdom is the ultimate summery Wes Anderson Americana flick—and probably the only film that could actually make you actually want to go camping.

10. Top Gun (1986)

This is the second Tom Cruise combat movie on this list, and it helped make “Maverick” a part of the American pop-culture lexicon.

11. Cabin in the Woods (2011)

Corn on the cob and a dip in the pool for Independence day? Boring. Instead, try a summer lake-house romp that explores all of America’s scariest lore in one fell swoop.

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