Happy 4th of July: Top 10 Most Patriotic Movie Characters

July 4th, 2013 11:00am EDT

Cage God bless America! What better way to celebrate the 4th of July than to hunker down with some of the best movies celebrating our beloved nation and beat the heat inside with some air conditioning? In American cinema, there are plenty of films that center on patriotic themes and storylines. But what often doesn’t get looked at are the characters who make these movies tick.
These 10 characters are true patriots who love the United States of America just a little more than the average person on your movie screen. From colonial soldiers, to superheroes who proudly display the red, white and blue, these characters fight for freedom and the stars and stripes with every chance they get. Take a look:

With a name that quintessentially American, how could this historian, cryptologist and freelance treasure hunter NOT love his country? Nicolas Cage played Gates, a man who tried to stop a team of rival treasure hunters from stealing the Declaration of Independence and ultimately tracking down a long hidden national treasure. Following a list of clues and guidelines set forth since colonial times, Gates risks life and limb to keep that precious document safe and protect other important relics of American history along the way. He was even offered a huge cut of the treasure when it was discovered, and he turned it down because he loved America too much. Geez dude, get a room.

This superhero was designed by the US government to protect and serve his county. Steve Rogers, played in the most recent incarnation by Chris Evans, was a pale and sickly man, who underwent government experimentation to emerge a bonafide WWII hero. This super soldier is developed to combat Red Skull, Hitler’s head of weaponry, and the man who could make Nazi world domination possible. As Captain America, Rogers dresses in full red, white and blue regalia, complete with a star-spangled shield. There’s no contesting what country he represents.

Maya was just a simple girl with smalltown dreams. Find a husband, settle down somewhere nice…track down and kill Osama bin Laden. The protagonist of Zero Dark Thirty, played by Jessica Chastain, was a ruthless and ambitious CIA agent who spent every waking moment of her life post-September 11th trying to track down the elusive terrorist mastermind. Where other young women spent their twenties going to parties, starting careers and hanging out with friends, Maya sacrificed a normal life for the sake of her country, and the safety of the American people. That’s true patriotism!

The year is 1984, and the United States has been occupied by communists from the USSR. It’s up to a group of intrepid high school students, who have banded together and named themselves the Wolverines, to take down the enemy soldiers who have set up camp in their hometown. These amateur American soldiers, including a young Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen, love their country so much that they battle the troops through armed resistance – some even losing their lives. The updated remake, which pitted the Wolverines against North Korean enemies, starred Josh Peck and Chris Hemsworth as the brave freedom fighters.

US Capitol Police Officer John Cale (Channing Tatum) wants nothing more than to become a Secret Service Agent, but his hopes are dashed when his interviewer doesn’t find him fit for the job. He spends the rest of White House Down thoroughly proving her wrong, as the White House, and the president himself, come under deadly attack. Cale leaps into action to save the president and the other people inside the White House before time runs out. The fate of the nation – and the rest of the world – depend on his sole work nabbing the bad guy. Hey, it doesn’t hurt to have President Jamie Foxx as your partner.

For some people, Independence Day is that fateful date in 1996 when alien forces attacked the American people and Captain Steve Hiller (Will Smith) saved the nation through his bravery. While taking down the aliens was really a joint effort by the president and some skilled fighters, Hiller manages to destroy the mothership with a nuclear explosion, not to mention kick alien ass in innumerable other attacks. Welcome to Earf.

The titular character of Saving Private Ryan didn’t show up until well into the film, but his presence was incredibly important. An American soldier fighting in Europe during WWII, Ryan’s two younger brothers, also soldiers, had already been killed in combat. It was up to a band of soldiers to find Private Ryan (Matt Damon) and bring him home safely so that he could carry on the family name. But when he is finally located, he chooses to stay and fight for his country, feeling that that defeating the Germans is more important than his family’s welfare. Am I crying?

Listen, if all presidents were as kickass as President Marshall, then maybe America wouldn’t be so politically divided. First, the man takes down a dictator who’s hoarding Soviet weapons. Then, when terrorists hijack Air Force One (disguised as journalists), the former military aviator and Vietnam vet springs into action, formulating a clever plot to take down the terrorists and save both his family and the people of his great nation. He could have let his plane go down, or let his government work out a deal with his captors, but remember – WE DON’T NEGOTIATE WITH TERRORISTS.

What patriotic movie list would be complete without a mention of a Revolutionary War hero? Benjamin Martin, played by Mel Gibson, is reluctant to get involved in the war, but does so when his sons join the cause. Like any good father, he feels he must protect his children, and the fledgling country they call home. It just helps that he’s an amazing fighter and pretty damn skilled with a tomahawk and bayonet. You don’t get nicknamed “The Ghost” by the Redcoats for nothing.

Not that Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) wasn’t particularly patriotic in the first three Rocky movies, but he really stepped up his game in this film. When his buddy Apollo Creed is killed in the ring attempting to fight gruesome Soviet boxer Ivan Drago, Rocky vows to avenge his death. He plans to fight Drago in Russia to honor Creed, and bring back glory to the American people. And how! Rocky trains without using fancy equipment to show Drago that he’s a hardworking AMERICAN man, not a cold piece of Soviet machinery, and a man who knows how to fight. He beats Drago, and uses his platform to tell his divided audience that they should band together, and not let his whole Cold War thing get out of hand. Slow clapping ensues.

Related: Channing Tatum, Charlie Sheen, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Harrison Ford, Jamie Foxx, Jessica Chastain, Josh Peck, Matt Damon, Mel Gibson, Nicolas Cage, Patrick Swayze, Sylvester Stallone, Will Smith, Zero Dark Thirty, Starpulse Exclusives, Movies, Funny, Evergreen

Photo Credits: MVLFFLLC.& Marvel , Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Inc. , Sony Pictures Digital, Inc. , Open Road Films , Sony Pictures Digital Inc. , , Paramount Pictures , Courtesy Channel 5 , Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. ,

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