In addition to prepping fireworks and the grill for the annual Fourth of July bacchanal, I also like to select a few fun flicks to get my friends and I into the holiday spirit. When I scanned the internet for a few suggestions, I discovered that most posts and/or lists were comprised of similar, if not exactly the same, films. JAWS, THE SANDLOT, 1776, BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY, etc., etc. If you're like me, you've seen all of these already and are looking for a few sleeper picks to give your holiday an extra shot in the arm.

Enter the "Renegade 4th" Movie List.

If there's one thing that defines America, it's that we like to make our own rules. Sometimes this is a good thing (innovation, entrepreneurship); other times, it's not so good (Guantanamo Bay, Kyoto Protocol). In the movies, though, the American renegade is one of my favorite character types, and she's also one of the most interesting. What follows is a list of films that feature that most American of characters: the renegade.


1. STRIPES (1981)

Bill Murray in the Army? Where do I sign up? 

2. THELMA & LOUISE (1991)

Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis re-invent the road trip movie.


Not only did it help change the way movies were made, it also put a distinctly modernist (not to mention cool) stamp on two of the most infamous renegades in American history. 

4. THEY LIVE (1988)

Former professional wrestler "Rowdy" Roddy Piper has "come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and [he's] all out of bubblegum." It doesn't get more renegade than this 'Murican classic from John Carpenter.

5. THE GOONIES (1985)

"Down here, it's our time. It's our time down here. That's all over the second we ride up in Troy's bucket." Some of the original underdogs: "Goonies never say die."



Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) is a renegade small town lawyer that stands up for what he believes in, at great risk to both himself and his family. A true American original.

7. NORMA RAE (1979)

"Fight the system" flicks don't get much better than this, and Sally Field has never been stronger than as the spitfire union organizer Norma Rae. 

8. SLAP SHOT (1977)

SLAP SHOT helped create the template for the underdog sports movie and there are few better examples of American gumption than Reg Dunlop (Paul Newman) and the Charlestown Chiefs.

9. NASHVILLE (1975)

Robert Altman's singular masterpiece that is the veritable definition of "Americana." The music...the characters...the locations. NASHVILLE is a film in which the sum of the parts generate a magic arithmetic that results in a transcendent whole. 

If I've missed any, I'd love to know what else you think should be on this list, so please let me know below in the comments.

Happy Fourth!