13 of the Best Anti-Patriotic Fourth of July Movies

Second Amendment


It’s America’s birthday. But if you’ve watched the news, there doesn’t seem to be much to celebrate. That is unless you think inflation, greed, and prejudice are good things.

While many commentators and politicians believe everything is fine, you need only watch the right movies to hear otherwise. Whether it’s a documentary about the perversion of the 2nd Amendment or a stylized look at what’s really going on behind the white picket fences in a seemingly idyllic small town, the through-line for the following baker’s dozen films is a hard look at the problems the Founding Fathers probably didn’t anticipate when they signed the Declaration of Independence.

If you’re avoiding the flags and fanfare this holiday, here is a list of films that will set off fireworks (metaphorically). They won’t scare the shit out of your pets, but will give you plenty of reasons to act to improve our current state of the nation.


Bowling for Columbine (2002)

Bowling for Columbine Official Trailer #1 – Michael Moore Movie (2002) HD

According to the Bill of Rights, it’s an American’s privilege to “keep and bear arms,” although the country’s violent crime rate is higher than those of other nations. In this award-winning documentary, which gets its title from what the two students responsible for the Columbine massacre were allegedly doing the morning of the event, Michael Moore interviews everyone from Matt Stone of South Park fame to former National Rifle Association president (and actor) Charlton Heston to understand what leads to mass shootings. He uncovers plenty of hard truths and no easy answers.

Where to stream: Pluto TV, Tubi


Heaven’s Gate (1980)

HEAVEN’S GATE (1980) | Official Trailer | MGM

If you have the day off on July 4, you have plenty of time to watch the nearly four-hour director’s cut of this epic Western. It feels like an allegory of what America has become. Critically maligned during its initial release, the film, which stars Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Walken, and Jeff Bridges, revolves around cattle barons in Wyoming declaring war upon their county’s immigrant population. Violence ensues.

Where to stream: Pluto TV, Tubi, Prime Video (director’s cut)


Falling Down (1993)

Falling Down – Original Theatrical Trailer

Filmed as the 1992 Los Angeles riots were underway, this action dramedy follows old white guy William Foster, played by Michael Douglas, as he journeys across the urban landscape to visit his estranged daughter. Annoyed by his perceived lack of rights wherever he goes, including a convenience store and a fast food restaurant refusing to serve him breakfast minutes after it switched to its lunch, he destroys everything around him. Controversial during its release, parts of this film feel like a right-wing fantasy.

Where to stream: Digital rental


Blue Collar (1978)

Blue Collar Official Trailer #1 – Harvey Keitel Movie (1978) HD

The poster for this drama, directed by Taxi Driver screenwriter Paul Schrader, declares that if you’re rich, you can buy the American dream, but if “you’re anything else, you gotta fight for it.” That’s what three Detroit assembly workers, played by Richard Pryor, Yaphet Kotto, and Harvey Keitel, are trying to do. But when they aren’t battling the factory’s corrupt management, they’re arguing with their union or each other as they try to get ahead.

Where to stream: Showtime, digital rental


Idiocracy (2006)

Idiocracy 2006 Trailer HD | Mike Judge | Luke Wilson | Dax Shepard

Five centuries into the future, the president is a former pro wrestler and porn star and a sports drink company owns the FDA, FCC, and USDA. The country’s only hope is Joe Bauers, an average man forgotten in a top-secret government human hibernation program. When he wakes up, he’s the most intelligent person alive. Office Space’s Mike Judge co-wrote and directed this sci-fi comedy that somehow managed to predict some of the events of the last decade, even if its unspoken theme of eugenics rings a bit, uh, problematic.

Where to stream: Hulu


There Will Be Blood (2007)

There Will Be Blood (2007) Official Trailer – Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano Movie HD

In one of the finest performances of his career, Daniel Day-Lewis plays Daniel Plainview, a corrupt early 19th century oilman who will do anything to become rich, including disowning his son and corrupting a preacher. If there’s one thing you take away from watching this masterpiece (besides how to drain an oil reservoir like a “milkshake”), it’s that capitalism and religion shouldn’t mix.

Where to stream: Paramount+, Pluto TV


Born on the Fourth of July (1989)

Born On The Fourth Of July Trailer 1989

Before he jumped from moving vehicles, Tom Cruise portrayed real life anti-war activist Ron Kovic. He becomes paralyzed while fighting in Vietnam, only to return home to a nation that has abandoned him. Director Oliver Stone, a veteran of the Vietnam War, uses Kovic’s story to show the realities of combat and how it can change a country and the men who fight for it.

Where to stream: Netflix, digital rental


Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)

Glengarry Glen Ross 1992 | Classic Trailer

Masculinity and desperation clash in this drama written by David Mamet, based on his play of the same name. The film revolves around a group of real estate salesmen who endure verbal abuse by their managers, causing them to question the lengths they’ll go to get ahead and if what they do matters. This cult classic, famous for Alec Baldwin’s monologue about how “coffee is for closers,” shows how capitalism corrupts workers and manipulates and dehumanizes consumers.

Where to stream: Amazon Prime, Hulu, Peacock, Pluto TV


Us (2019)

Us – Official Trailer [HD]

A lot is going on in Jordan Peele’s wild concoction about doppelgängers attacking their counterparts. This sci-fi horror film explores issues of privilege, classism, and the duality that has plagued our country since its founding. To reveal any more would ruin the fun. (“Fun.”)

Where to stream: Digital rental


Blue Velvet (1986)

Blue Velvet Official Trailer #1 – Dennis Hopper Movie (1986) HD

In the opening scene of David Lynch’s magnum opus, the camera moves beneath the surface of a neatly manicured suburban lawn to reveal the insects crawling and cavorting below. It’s a metaphor for what’s to come: an unsettling tour of the seedy underbelly of a seemingly picture-perfect small town that’s actually filled with violence, sexual temptation, and dark desires come to life. Anchored by an unnerving performance by Dennis Hopper, this award-winning film shows what really went on (or what it felt like was going on) in the shadows of Reagan’s America.

Where to stream: Max


Easy Rider (1969)

Easy Rider (1969) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers

The film’s trailer describes Peter Fonda’s character as a man “looking for America,” but he can’t find it anywhere. While this landmark independent film, directed by Dennis Hopper, is perhaps better known for its classic rock soundtrack, it drew the ire of many in power, with then-Vice President Spiro T. Agnew saying it was an example of the permissiveness of the 1960s counterculture.

Where to stream: Digital rental


Dead Presidents (1995)

Dead Presidents / Trailer / 1995

As one character states in this sophomore outing from co-directors the Hughes Brothers, “That’s Uncle Sam for you.” And much like Born on the Fourth of July, this film begins showing how the government glamorized war to recruit soldiers, only to ignore them when they came home from Vietnam. But when Anthony Curtis (Larenz Tate) fails at his attempts to adjust to civilian life, he hatches a plan to rob an armored car in the Bronx.

Where to stream: Tubi


Do the Right Thing (1989)

Do the Right Thing Official Trailer #1 – Danny Aiello Movie (1989) HD

In the more than three decades since its release, Spike Lee’s film (sadly) still feels relevant. Dedicated to the families of Eleanor Bumpurs, Michael Griffith, Arthur Miller, Edmund Perry, Yvonne Smallwood, and Michael Stewart (six Black people killed, with five at the hands of police officers), the film takes place on a sweltering day in Brooklyn when racial tensions at a local pizza joint are running high. The film doesn’t choose a side for the viewer. Rather, it starts a much-needed conversation.

Where to stream: Digital rental



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