The Right Stuff! 13 Must-Watch Films for the Fourth of July

American classics have never been more patriotic with this line-up of flicks that explores loyalty, bravery and country for the Fourth of July.

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Buena Vista Pictures
When college coach Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) is hired to helm the 1980 U.S. men's Olympic hockey team, he brings a unique and brash style to the ice. After assembling a team of hot-headed college all-stars, who are humiliated in an early match, Brooks unites his squad against a common foe, the heavily-favored Soviet team. As the U.S. squad tries to overcome insurmountable odds and win the gold medal, the team becomes a microcosm for American patriotism during the Cold War.
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Paramount Pictures
The Top Gun Naval Fighter Weapons School is where the best of the best train to refine their elite flying skills. When hotshot fighter pilot Maverick (Tom Cruise) is sent to the school, his reckless attitude and cocky demeanor put him at odds with the other pilots, especially the cool and collected Iceman (Val Kilmer). But Maverick isn't only competing to be the top fighter pilot, he's also fighting for the attention of his beautiful flight instructor, Charlotte Blackwood (Kelly McGillis).
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20th Century Fox
Three brilliant African-American women at NASA -- Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) -- serve as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn (Glen Powell) into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation's confidence, turned around the Space Race and galvanized the world.
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Universal Pictures
In the mid 1960s, suburban New York teenager Ron Kovic (Tom Cruise) enlists in the Marines, fulfilling what he sees as his patriotic duty. During his second tour in Vietnam, he accidentally kills a fellow soldier during a retreat and later becomes permanently paralyzed in battle. Returning home to an uncaring Veterans Administration bureaucracy and to people on both sides of the political divide who don't understand what he went through, Kovic becomes an impassioned critic of the war.
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Amblin Entertainment
Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) takes his men behind enemy lines to find Private James Ryan, whose three brothers have been killed in combat. Surrounded by the brutal realties of war, while searching for Ryan, each man embarks upon a personal journey and discovers their own strength to triumph over an uncertain future with honor, decency and courage.
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Columbia Pictures
When the idealistic young Jefferson Smith (James Stewart) winds up appointed to the United States Senate, he gains the mentorship of Senator Joseph Paine (Claude Rains). However, Paine isn't as noble as his reputation would indicate, and he becomes involved in a scheme to discredit Smith, who wants to build a boys' campsite where a more lucrative project could go. Determined to stand up against Paine and his corrupt peers, Smith takes his case to the Senate floor.
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United Artists
After reclaiming the boxing championship title, Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) plans to retire and live with his wife, Adrian (Talia Shire). However, during an exhibition match, Rocky's friend Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) is mercilessly beaten to death by hulking Russian newcomer Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren). Rocky vows payback against Drago and flies to Russia to train for a Christmas Day fight. Despite their different training methods, Rocky and Drago both wage a long and intense match.
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With the nation embroiled in still another year with the high death count of Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis) brings the full measure of his passion, humanity and political skill to what would become his defining legacy: to end the war and permanently abolish slavery through the 13th Amendment.
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TriStar Pictures
Following the Battle of Antietam, Col. Robert Gould Shaw (Matthew Broderick) is offered command of the United States' first all-African-American regiment, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. With junior officer Cabot Forbes (Cary Elwes), Shaw puts together a strong and proud unit, including the escaped slave Trip (Denzel Washington) and the wise gravedigger John Rawlins (Morgan Freeman). At first limited to menial manual tasks, the regiment fights to be placed in the heat of battle.
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This adaptation of the non-fiction novel by Tom Wolfe chronicles the first 15 years of America's space program. By focusing on the lives of the Mercury astronauts, including John Glenn (Ed Harris) and Alan Shepard (Scott Glenn), the film recounts the dangers and frustrations experienced by those involved with NASA's earliest achievements.
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Paramount Pictures
The story of how frail Steve Rogers became the first and greatest Avenger helps sets the foundation for many of the Marvel films to follow.
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Warner Bros.
Brought to the White House to receive a Congressional Gold Medal from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Broadway legend George M. Cohan (James Cagney) reflects on his life. Flashbacks trace Cohan's rise, from a childhood performing in his family's vaudeville act to his early days as a struggling Tin Pan Alley songwriter to his overwhelming success as an actor, writer, director and producer known for patriotic songs like "Yankee Doodle Dandy," "You're a Grand Old Flag" and "Over There."
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Centropolis Entertainment/Mutual Film Company
Mel Gibson portrays Benjamin Martin, an unassuming man who is forced to join the American Revolution when the British threaten to take his farm away from him. Together with his patriotic son, Gabriel, the pair faces the vicious Redcoats with a heroism that reflects the stubborn pride of a young country's most dedicated supporters.
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