May the Fourth be with you: My Favorite Independence Day Films
Here is a sampling of some of my all-time favorite Independence Day films.
This is a great family about the patriotic life of Broadway star and composer George M. Cohan played by James Cagney. I think it is Cagney’s best acting role in a movie. I first saw this film when I was in elementary school and watch at least yearly to give myself that patriotic shot in the arm. The music, dancing, and patriotism are all very addictive! It includes the musical numbers “Over There,” “It’s a Grand Old Flag,” “Give My Regards to Broadway” and the film’s rousing title number.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
When idealistic junior senator Jefferson Smith (James Stewart) arrives in Washington, D.C., he’s full of plans and dazzled by his surroundings — qualities he retains despite widespread corruption among his cynical colleagues. Jean Arthur puts in a sharp performance as Smith’s streetwise secretary, who helps him navigate his way through Congress, in this Academy Award-winning classic from director Frank Capra.
Cast: Claudette Colbert, Henry Fonda, Edna May Oliver, Eddie Collins, John Carradine, Dorris Bowdon, Jessie Ralph, Arthur Shields, Robert Lowery, Roger Imhof
The Farmer’s Daughter (1947)
In this engaging comedy of manners, the radiant Loretta Young plays Katrin “Katie” Holstrom, a naïve Minnesota farm girl who leaves home to study nursing in the big city. Bilked out of her cash the first day, Katie lands a job as maid to U.S. Sen. Glenn Morley (Joseph Cotten) and soon finds herself thrust into politics when she takes a public stand for immigrants. Young’s performance netted her the Academy Award for Best Actress.
Cast: Loretta Young, Joseph Cotten, Ethel Barrymore, Charles Bickford, Rose Hobart, James Arness, Jason Robards Sr.
John Adams (2008)
Paul Giamatti shines in the title role of this epic Emmy and Golden Globe winner in this mini-series that recounts the life of founding father John Adams as revolutionary leader, America’s first ambassador to England, the first vice president and the second president.
Cast: Paul Giamatti, Laura Linney, David Morse, Sarah Polley, Rufus Sewell, Justin Theroux, Tom Wilkinson, Danny Huston, Stephen Dillane, Clancy O’Connor