Family Movie Night: Fourth of July Edition

America’s birthday is just around the corner, and with it comes delicious treats, the scent of hot dogs on the grill, and the excited shouts of little children as they rediscover smoke bombs and sparklers.

But with all the rain we’ve been getting here in East Tennessee, it’s good to have a back up plan if Mother Nature isn’t cooperating with your Fourth of July plans.

Family movie night is a long standing and enjoyable tradition in our household. While board games and puzzles are a fun diversion, a Fourth of July themed movie night can serve as a fun back up plan or follow up to the post-fireworks blues. But what kid friendly movies are out there?

All Ages

  • An American Tail/ An American Tail: Fievel Goes West: Animated mice struggle with immigration woes showing a kid-friendly historical account of our country’s past- with a some musical numbers you won’t mind them singing (the first few hundred times).
  • The Sandlot: While this film does have some language and a few small suspenseful moments, little ones mostly latch on to the baseball moments and dog. We’ve been watching it with our four and six year old since the eldest was maybe four and the youngest was two, and they have yet to pick up on the language. We did warn them (spoiler alert) that the dog is actually a good dog.
  • Annie: Fireworks. Finding family. Seeing FDR. A cute dog. Winner! The musical aspects are a great transition for little ones used to animated musicals into the world of live action films.
  • Free Willy: Okay, I’m pretty sure there aren’t any fireworks here. But watching these graceful giants swim and the theme of freedom is good enough for me.
  • The Goonies: What’s more American than a treasure hunt? It’s a cult classic, though beware- I do recall them finding a body. And confession time- I’ve only seen it once, but I remember it fondly. So if there’s something big I’m forgetting, please shout out in the comments so I can amend it!


Older Kids

Here’s where the classics come in!

  • A League of Their Own: Nothing is as American as baseball and women struggling for equal rights. With powerful women and Tom Hanks, this one is always a winner in my book. Between fashion and banter, this movie hits it out of the park.
  • Hidden Figures: NASA’s women charted the course of astronauts in this wonderful film. It’s a great conversational door opened to discuss civil and women’s rights, too.
  • Field of Dreams: Clearly I associate baseball with the Fourth!  But this is a great summer movie regardless, so you can always relegate it to after the fourth, if you must.
  • Independence Day: Oh, hey, Will Smith saving the day. Nice to see you again. This alien filled action romp does have some scary moments as well as a couple of scantily clad scenes, as Will Smith’s romantic interest is a dancer…of the exotic variety. But you know your kids and what they’re capable of handling, so this one is a judgement call on your part.


What’s your favorite family movie to watch around Independence Day?


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