If you are having a relaxing day today, then some of these Classic movies might be a good idea to watch on this special day. You can get them on DVD or some of the old classic movie channels or the Turner Classic Movie cable channel.
Have a wonderful Independence Day
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939). This must-see Frank Capra film skyrocketed the career of James Stewart, cast as a wide-eyed junior senator in our nation’s capital. His idealized vision is shattered when he realizes that some of his most trusted friends in Washington are corrupt. Along with his worldly, wizened secretary, Jean Arthur, he devises a scheme that will have you glued to your seat.
Foreign Correspondent (1940). Directed by the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, this film focuses on a naïve reporter (Joel McCrea) who is sent to Europe to cover the Universal Peace Treaty and unexpectedly is involved in espionage after a foreign diplomat is kidnapped by enemy agents.
Sergeant York (1941). Gary Cooper won an Academy Award for his performance as real-life World War I hero Sergeant Alvin C. York, who single-handedly captured 132 German prisoners in the Battle of Argonne in 1918. Directed by the great Howard Hawks (Bringing Up Baby, His Girl Friday), this remains a perennial favorite and a quintessential flag-waver.
Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942). The story of songwriter, producer and playwright George M. Cohan is played to perfection by the energetic James Cagney in his only Academy Award-winning performance. Directed by Michael Curtiz (The Adventures of Robin Hood, Angels with Dirty Faces, Casablanca), the movie has a wonderful supporting cast, including Joan Leslie, Walter Huston, Rosemary DeCamp and Cagney’s real-life sister, Jeanne, playing his sister.
This Is the Army (1943). This superior musical is based on Irving Berlin’s musical revues Yip, Yip, Yaphank and This Is the Army. George Murphy portrays the father of a soldier, played by none other than Ronald Reagan (our 40th president), who is putting on a musical. In a new DVD version in the Warner Bros. and the Homefront Collection, the movie has been newly restored in gorgeous Technicolor.
Hail the Conquering Hero (1944). Preston Sturges’s patriotic satire tells the story of Woodrow Lafayette Pershing Truesmith (Eddie Bracken), who has been honorably discharged from the US Marine Corps due to chronic hay fever. He meets up with a group of marines who take pity on him and devise a scheme to bring him back to his hometown as a hero.
Pride of the Marines (1945). John Garfield is superb in his portrayal of real-life marine private Al Schmid, who was blinded at Guadalcanal when a hand grenade was thrown in his face. Returning to his hometown and the girl he loves, he learns to adapt to his new life without losing his pride and sense of dignity. The war scenes in this tense drama are harrowing.
They Were Expendable (1945). This is director John Ford’s tribute to the PT-boat squadron in the Philippines following Pearl Harbor. John Wayne and Robert Montgomery lead the cast. This overlooked gem is one of the best World War II movies — the combat scenes are unusually realistic for a movie of this era.