3 patriotic movies to watch on July 4th on Netflix (and 2 to skip)

American actor Tom Cruise on the set of Born on the Fourth of July, based on the book by Ron Kovic and directed by Oliver Stone. (Photo by Universal Pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
American actor Tom Cruise on the set of Born on the Fourth of July, based on the book by Ron Kovic and directed by Oliver Stone. (Photo by Universal Pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images) /

It’s officially the Fourth of July, which means Americans across the country are gathering to get some barbequing in, spend quality family time together, and maybe even relax poolside. The federal holiday, of course, celebrates the United States’ independence, honoring this day in 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was ratified. What better way to commemorate an important day in history than to get together with your loved ones?

And if it’s too hot outside this July 4 for outdoor time, you’re likely flipping through the channels on TV and your various streaming services to find something good to watch. Whether you’re with family or spending the day alone, if you’re in the mood to celebrate the holiday with a patriotic movie, you’ve come to the right place.

We’re breaking down our three recommended patriotic movies streaming on Netflix, along with two you can probably just avoid this July 4.

Patriotic movies to watch (and skip) on Netflix for July 4, 2023

Purple Hearts - Netflix movies
Purple Hearts. (L to R) Nicholas Galitzine as Luke, Sofia Carson as Cassie in Purple Hearts. Cr. Mark Fellman/Netflix © 2022. /

A League of Their Own

Watch! Who doesn’t love A League of Their Own? The dramedy from 1992 follows a fictionalized story of the real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League during World War II. Through the journey of the league being established, we meet two sisters named Dottie and Kit who join the Rockford Peaches team. As the team faces various obstacles, they also grow closer and form a strong bond. The movie explores themes of women’s empowerment and touches on gender roles, as well as the impact of WWII on the United States.

Not only is A League of Their Own a great story, but it also features a stellar cast including Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Madonna, Tom Hanks, and other familiar faces. If you’re looking for a feel-good movie this Fourth of July, we’d recommend this one.

Purple Hearts

Skip! Netflix’s original movie Purple Hearts was released in July 2022 and received mixed reviews. The musical romance, starring Sofia Carson and Nicholas Galitzine, follows an aspiring singer named Cassie who struggles to make ends meet after being diagnosed with diabetes. After meeting a U.S. Marine named Luke who’s also in financial trouble, they decide to get married to reap the benefits.

While Purple Hearts definitely found an audience, becoming one of the most-watched movies on Netflix in 2022, it was also shrouded in controversy. For starters, many viewers weren’t happy with some of the language throughout the movie, including xenophobic and ableist remarks. Others called the movie “military propaganda” and found the plot points to be sexist.

While Purple Hearts touches on patriotism with the military storyline, the negative reviews and controversy are enough to skip this one.

Rocky IV

Watch! The fourth installment of the Rocky franchise was released in 1985 and sees Sylvester Stallone as the star, director, and screenwriter. The movie takes place during a time of political tension between the United States and the Soviet Union, and this is further explored by the rivalry between Rocky Balboa and Ivan Drago which serves as the main storyline.

Rocky IV sees Rocky representing the underdog, training relentlessly to prepare himself for the big match. The movie focuses on patriotism and the human spirit as the titular character pushes himself harder and harder. There are so many iconic moments in the movie, in addition to the awesome soundtrack.

Want to watch Rocky IV but haven’t seen the previous entries? We come bearing good news! The first five Rocky movies are currently available to stream on Netflix.

Born on the Fourth of July

Watch! Based on the name, Born on the Fourth of July has to be essential viewing on Independence Day, right? Well, it’s not just about the name. The 1989 true story war movie is also a great watch worth checking out if you haven’t already. Directed by Oliver Stone, the film is based on the autobiography of the same name by Vietnam War veteran Ron Kovic, who is played by Tom Cruise.

Throughout the movie, we get to see Ron Kovic’s journey spanning 20 years, watching him transform from a patriotic high school student into a paralyzed veteran and anti-war activist.

Born on the Fourth of July does a great job depicting the real-life aftermath of enlisting in the military, exploring Kovic’s physical and emotional struggles as he tries to reintegrate into society and suffers from PTSD. The movie was nominated for eight Academy Awards and Stone took home the award for Best Director in 1990.

America: The Motion Picture
AMERICA: THE MOTION PICTURE – (L-R) Killer Mike as “Blacksmith”, Olivia Munn as “Thomas Edison”, Judy Greer as “Martha Dandridge”, Channing Tatum as “George Washington”, Jason Mantzoukas as “Samuel Adams” and Bobby Moynihan as “Paul Revere”. Cr: America, The Motion Picture, LLC. © 2021 /

America: The Motion Picture

Skip! If you’re looking for something silly and mindless to watch this Fourth of July, then maybe America: The Motion Picture is the movie for you. But we’d recommend a long list of other comedies to watch before this one. While the cast of the animated feature is strong, including voice acting from Channing Tatum, Jason Mantzoukas, Will Forte, Judy Greer, Andy Samberg, Olivia Munn, and other popular stars, it just doesn’t hit in the way they thought it would.

America: The Motion Picture is a parody of the Revolutionary War, depicting figures in American history like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, and Paul Revere. However, the movie alters various real-life events and figures for comedic effect. Though viewers might’ve been drawn to how ridiculous it is, it unfortunately just falls flat.

Funnily enough, the two “skip”s on this list have the same Rotten Tomatoes score at the time of this writing — a measly 35%.

Have other patriotic movies on your watch list today? We know what we’ll be throwing on the TV when the temperatures get too high!

Next. 5 best Netflix shows to watch (and 2 to skip) in July 2023. dark