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Tom Tangney

Best movie to get you into a patriotic mood

There's one film that defines the 4th of July and patriotism better than any other: the 1942 bio-pic Yankee Doodle Dandy. (Warner Bros)

Movies may not be on the top of anyone’s priority list when it comes to celebrating the 4th of July, but there’s nothing like a great patriotic movie to get you in the mood to celebrate.

You have a lot of options when it comes to finding movies that make you proud to be an American. Daniel Day Lewis’ star turn as Lincoln is only the most recent film to join the honor roll. There are a lot of good movies set during World War Two, including Saving Private Ryan and Patton, but if you want something set during Revolutionary War times, it’s hard to beat the John Adams mini-series, starring Paul Giamatti. But most of us don’t have nine hours to spare, so then what?

For me, there’s one film that defines the 4th of July and patriotism better than any other: the 1942 bio-pic Yankee Doodle Dandy. Sure, it’s a bit creaky and in black and white, but Jimmy Cagney won his only Oscar in it and it was well-deserved.

He plays the uber-patriotic George M. Cohan, the song and dance man and show biz giant, who wrote one patriotic hit after another in the early 20th century.

Actually born on the 4th of July, Cohan adopted and adapted Yankee Doodle Dandy as his trademark song. Cagney sings and tap dances it into cinema history.

Cohans’ biggest hit was “Over There,” a song dedicated to our troops fighting overseas during World War One.

Cohan’s patriotism was even recognized by an Act of Congress, an honor immortalized in the final scene of the movie when he meets President Franklin Roosevelt.

I mean who can’t be inspired by “You’re a Grand Ol’ Flag?”

Tom Tangney on KIRO Radio

About the Author

Tom Tangney

Tom Tangney is the co-host of The Tom and Curley Show on KIRO Radio and resident enthusiast of...everything. As the film and media critic on the Morning News on KIRO Radio, he espouses his love for books, movies, TV, art, pop culture, politics, sports, and Husky football.


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