96% of Americans Can't Name These Patriotic Movies From a Single Image! Can You?

By: Craig
Image: TMDB

About This Quiz

How well do you remember these patriotic movies? Take this quiz to find out.

We Americans love our patriotic movies. And motion picture studios love to give moviegoers what they want. After all, isn't that what they make a living doing?

We've got a ton of movies to choose from for this quiz, but let's chat about some of the more iconic patriotic movies of all time.

Some of our favorite patriotic movies of all time are "Born on the Fourth of July," with Tom Cruise; "The Patriot," starring Mel Gibson; "Black Hawk Down," with Josh Hartnett, and "Pearl Harbor," starring Josh Hartnett, Kate Beckinsale, Ben Affleck, and Jennifer Garner. 

But perhaps one of our most favorite patriotic movies is "Independence Day," starring Jeff Goldblum, Will Smith, Bill Pullman, and Judd Hirsch. The movie, released in 1996, was the highest grossing film of that year. A load of technical special effects earned the film more than one award, and the film grossed more than $800 million at the box office from a mere $75 million budget. The story and the effects of this film are hailed as a turning point for Hollywood movies.

Think you can name each of these patriotic movies? Let's get started.

Recognized as one of the greatest war movies ever made, "Saving Private Ryan" stars Tom Hanks and was directed by Steven Spielberg. The movie's opening sequence of the landings at Omaha beach in Normandy cost $12 million to film. It also required over 1,000 extras. Actor Tom Sizemore, who was battling drug addiction, was subjected to daily drug tests to ensure his continued participation in the movie. If he failed, Spielberg would have had him fired.

One of the biggest blockbusters of the '80s, "Top Gun" stars Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, and Val Kilmer. Cruise plays a Navy fighter pilot sent to train at an elite training school called Top Gun. Here he must overcome the odds in order to try to become the best pilot in his class. Tom Cruise was not the original pick for the lead role. A long list of actors turned it down, including Patrick Swayze, Nicolas Cage, Emilio Estevez, John Cusack, Matthew Broderick, Michael J. Fox, Sean Penn, Scott Baio and Tom Hanks!

Although not strictly a true story, parts of "Forrest Gump" are based on actual people. The Vietnam section of the movie tells the story of Sammy Lee Davis while Louis Michael Figueroa inspired the scenes of Gump running across America. Figueroa ran from San Francisco to New York in 1982 to raise awareness for the American Cancer Society. The movie was a huge success, winning six Academy Awards.

"Men of Honor" tells the true story of Carl Brashear, the first African-American to become a diver in the U.S. Navy. In a time when racism was still firmly entrenched in American society, Brashear fought against the odds to become a master diver. Despite losing his leg in a horrible accident, Brashear continued to dive for the Navy. A true tale of incredible courage, "Men of Honor" stars Cuba Gooding Jr. and Robert de Niro.

With Owen Wilson in the lead role, "Behind Enemy Lines" is loosely based on the true story of Scott O' Grady, a Navy pilot shot down over Bosnia in 1995 who spent over a week living off the land and evading capture. O'Grady was not happy with the movie, bringing a lawsuit against the studio that commissioned it. His main gripes were that he would never, ever disobey an order and that he didn't swear as much as the movie portrayed. The film was directed by John Moore and also stars Gene Hackman.

"Patton," a 1970 biographical film about the famous World War II general, was directed by Franklin J. Schaffner, with the screenplay written by Francis Ford Coppola, amongst others. The role of Patton was played by George C. Scott. Scott was nominated for and won the Academy Award for Best Actor, but he turned it down, citing the fact that he was against competition amongst his contemporaries. Allegedly, John Wayne wanted the role of Patton but was turned down.

"Apollo 13" is a film from 1995, directed by Ron Howard. It features Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton and Kevin Bacon in the lead roles and tells the true story of the Apollo mission to the moon that suffered a major malfunction before it got there. Thanks to the crew and engineers back at NASA, the three astronauts, led by Jim Lovell (Hanks), made it home to a heroes' welcome. The famous quote used in the movie, "Houston, we have a problem," is in fact wrong. First of all, Jack Swigert said the words, not Lovell. In addition, the real quote was, "Houston, we've had a problem."

Nothing is more patriotic than "Rocky IV." After Rocky's friend and former boxer Apollo Creed is killed in an exhibition fight by Russian boxer Ivan Drago, Rocky agrees to a title fight in the U.S.S.R. to gain revenge. Released in 1985, during the height of the Cold War, the movie was extremely well received. Of course, Rocky, played by Sylvester Stallone, triumphs against all odds.

Directed by Peter Hunt, this musical drama focuses on the Founding Fathers of America and their struggle to declare independence from Great Britain. It stars William Daniels and Howard da Silva. Much of the spoken dialogue and songs are from letters from the period. The movie was based on a 1969 Broadway production of the same name.

Starring Sylvester Stallone and Richard Crenna, in "Rambo: First Blood Part II," John Rambo is tasked with freeing prisoners in Vietnam to secure his freedom after being incarcerated. The movie was co-written by James Cameron of "Titanic," "Terminator" and "Avatar" fame. Sadly, stuntman Cliff Wenger, Jr. was killed during the filming of the movie.

2012's "Argo," directed by and starring Ben Affleck, tells the story of a C.I.A. operative trying to rescue six Americans in Iran in 1980. It is based on the book "The Master of Disguise," by Tony Mendez, the agent involved in the rescue. The movie won three Academy Awards, including one for Best Picture.

When Russian terrorists seize Air Force One with the president of the United States and his family on board, little do they know that the president himself will fight back. How patriotic is that? Directed by Wolfgang Petersen, Air Force One sees Harrison Ford playing the role of the U.S. President Marshall and Gary Oldman as the leader of the terrorists.

Directed by Ivan Reitman, "Stripes" features comedians Bill Murray, John Candy and Harold Ramis. It tells the story of two friends so unhappy with their lives that they join the army. Murray insisted Ramis (his real life friend) should be cast as his character's friend in the movie, especially to help with improv scenes. Interestingly, after the movie came out, the U.S. Army reported a rise in recruitment numbers by as much as 10%!

Starring method actor Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln," released in 2012, was directed by Steven Spielberg. Set during the Civil War, it shows Lincoln wrestling with the war as well as his desire to end slavery. Day-Lewis initially turned down the role, which was then offered to Liam Neeson. He too, turned it down, with Spielberg again approaching Day-Lewis. It is said that Leonardo DiCaprio convinced him to accept the role. A good thing he did, as he won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Lincoln.

Released in 2000, "The Patriot" tells the story of a man driven to take the fight to the British during the War of Independence after his son is murdered. It stars Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, and Jason Isaacs and was directed by Roland Emmerich. Gibson's character in the movie is based on militia leader General Andrew Pickens. Harrison Ford was originally wanted for the lead role but turned the part down.

Released in 1927 and starring silent movie star Buster Keaton, "The General" is based on an incident during the American Civil War. In 1862, Union soldiers stole a locomotive known as "The General" and attempted to ride it back into their territory, destroying bridges, railway tracks and telegraph lines in the process. The conductor and the engineer of the locomotive chased them by rail and at times on foot. The Union soldiers were eventually apprehended and eight were hanged. Interestingly, Keaton's version of the story was filmed as a comedy.

This 2001 movie, directed by Ridley Scott, tells the story of the U.S. military's mission in Mogadishu in 1993. The film focuses specifically on a rescue mission by U.S. Rangers to reach soldiers and crew on two downed Black Hawk helicopters. The movie features many young Hollywood stars, including Josh Hartnett, Eric Bana, Ewan McGregor and Tom Sizemore.

With perhaps Aerosmith's biggest hit driving it forward, "Armageddon" proved a smash in 1998, fueled by the public's love of a good disaster movie. Telling the story of a team of drillers tasked with stopping an asteroid from hitting Earth, the movie was directed by Michael Bay. It stars Bruce Willis, Liv Tyler, Ben Affleck and Billy Bob Thornton.

What can be more patriotic than Captain America! Part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe revival, this is the sequel to "Captain America: The First Avenger." Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, it stars Chris Evans in the lead role.

This 2004 drama tells the story of the U.S. ice hockey team's victory at the 1980 Olympic Games. What makes it even more patriotic is that they beat a formidable squad from the U.S.S.R. during the height of the Cold War. It was directed by Gavin O'Connor and features Kurt Russell in the lead role. Interestingly, Russell, who portrayed Herb Brooks, the famous coach of the team, had to use his left hand for everything as Brooks was left-handed. Sadly, Brooks died in a car accident before the film was released.

"American Sniper," starring Bradley Cooper, tells the story of Chris Kyle, who served in the U.S. Military as a sniper for four tours of duty. During his tour, Kyle actually managed to take out an insurgent at a distance of 1.9 km away. Sadly, Kyle was killed by an unstable fellow veteran after his return to the United States. Directed by Clint Eastwood, the movie was shot in just 42 days.

Starring Nicholas Cage, "National Treasure" sees him searching for an artifact hidden by the Founding Fathers of the United States. Of course, others are after the treasure as well, making his task just that much more difficult. The movie also features Diane Kruger and Sean Bean and was directed by Jon Turteltaub.

A staggering 271 minutes in length, "Gettysburg" tells the story of the most crucial battle ever fought on U.S. soil. It stars Martin Sheen and Tom Berenger and was directed by Ronald Maxwell. Of course, at the conclusion of the battle, which the Union won, Abraham Lincoln gave his most famous speech. Gettysburg is the longest U.S. movie ever released.

A true classic, "Gone with the Wind," released in 1939, saw Clark Gable and Vivian Leigh in the lead roles. It was a runaway success and became the first movie to win an Academy Award for Best Picture. As for patriotic, it is set during the Civil War, perhaps the most important patriotic war ever fought in U.S. history. "Gone with the Wind" clocks in at almost four hours, making it the longest movie ever to be handed an Academy Award.

With Matthew Broderick in the lead role, 1989's "Glory" tells the story of the first all-black company of Union soldiers during the Civil War. Although they face prejudice, their bravery was unwavering, even in the face of death. Most perished at the assault on Fort Wagner, including Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, their commanding officer, played by Broderick. Glory won three Academy Awards, including Denzil Washington winning for Best Supporting Actor.

This 1955 Walt Disney production tells the story of American legend, Davy Crockett. It stars Fess Parker and was directed by Norman Foster. The movie was first a TV series that many Americans had already seen. That didn't stop it from being a box office success.

"Flags of our Fathers" was filmed along with "Letters from Iwo Jima." Both movies were directed by Clint Eastwood and show the American and Japanese perspective towards the end of the Second World War. "Flags" also features the story behind the iconic picture seen around the world of the five Marines raising the American flag on Mount Suribachi. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards.

Another Civil War movie, "Gods and Generals" is based on Jeffrey Shaara's novel of the same name. It features Robert Duvall, Jeff Daniels, and Stephen Lang. Directed by Robert Maxwell, who also shot "Gettysburg" in 1993, the movie is set before the battle. Much like "Gettysburg," "Gods and Generals" is an extremely lengthy movie, clocking in at 219 minutes. Originally, it was over six hours long!

In 1836, a small band of soldiers, frontiersmen, and others gathered at a fort known as the Alamo to hold of the Mexican Army determined to lay waste to the newly declared state of Texas. What could be more patriotic than that! "The Alamo," released in 1960, was directed by John Wayne, who also played the part of Davy Crockett.

1984's "Red Dawn" tells the story of a bunch of teenagers who fight back against a U.S.S.R. invasion of the United States. Calling themselves the Wolverines, they use guerrilla tactics against the Soviets. The movie stars Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen and Lea Thompson. It was rebooted in 2012 with the new threat coming from North Korea.

"I want the truth!" "You can't handle the truth..." These are lines that all who have seen "A Few Good Men" will remember for the rest of their lives! A military courtroom drama released in 1992, the film has a stellar cast, including Demi Moore, Jack Nicholson and Tom Cruise. Nicholson was only needed for 10 days filming and received $5 million for his work. He did that famous scene around 50 times, however. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards but didn't win an Oscar.

When aliens invade the Earth, only a concerted effort led by the U.S.A. has any hope of saving the planet! "Independence Day" was a massive hit in 1996 and starred Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, and Bill Pullman. It includes some iconic action scenes, including an alien mothership destroying the White House. Interestingly, the alien species in the movie are beaten with just a stiffy disk and a computer virus. They must have been running Windows 95 on their computer systems as well.

"We Were Soldiers," released in 2002, sees Mel Gibson in the lead role. It tells the story of the Battle of Ia Drang, which takes place during the Vietnam War. Unlike most movies, "We Were Soldiers" was filmed in chronological sequence. Interestingly, many of the Vietnamese actors in the production had actually fought in the war. The film was directed by Randall Wallace.

A 2004 movie from the creators of "South Park," Trey Parker and Matt Stone's "Team America: World Police" is an over-the-top comedy featuring puppets. As with much of Stone and Parker's content, nothing is sacred and the movie rips off Hollywood stars, dictators and others. All the puppets in the movie were manufactured by the Chiodo Brothers.

With Chris Evans as Captain America, this 2011 film brings one of the most patriotic characters to the modern silver screen. Evans initially turned down the role three times before he was convinced by Robert Downey Jr. to become Captain America. As with all Marvel superhero films, Stan Lee makes a cameo appearance. "Captain America: The First Avenger" was directed by Joe Johnston.

"The Longest Day" tells the story of the Allied invasion on the beaches of Normandy, France during World War II. It stars John Wayne, Paul Anka, Sean Connery, Henry Fonda and Robert Mitchum. Military veterans didn't like the inaccuracies in the movie. In fact, Eisenhower refused to watch it because of them. Over 23,000 troops from Britain, the United States, and France were used during filming.

In "Patriot Games," Harrison Ford plays the role of C.I.A. agent Jack Ryan. While in London, he foils an I.R.A. attack on a politician, killing one of the assailants in the process. This makes both him and his family future targets. Interestingly, the character of Jack Ryan has been played by no less than four Hollywood actors, including Ford, Alec Baldwin, Ben Affleck and Chris Pine. Ryan originally appears in books written by author Tom Clancy.

This fictional account of Abe Lincoln in his youth was released in 1939. It stars Henry Fonda and was directed by John Ford. Fonda was required to wear special boots to ensure that he was taller than in real life. After originally turning down the role, Fonda was persuaded by Ford to do a scene in full makeup, where he quickly changed his mind.

This political drama follows James Stewart's character, Jefferson Smith, as he is appointed to the United States Senate. A naïve Smith is used by an unscrupulous congressman who eventually tries to destroy him. "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" was nominated for 11 Academy Awards. This true classic from Hollywood turned Stewart into a household name.

A Joseph Pevney film, "Tammy and the Bachelor" was released in 1957. This comedy romance stars Debbie Reynolds and Leslie Nielsen in the lead roles. Interestingly, Reynolds was pregnant during filming. She would later give birth to a daughter, Carrie Fischer who herself became a famous actress and played Princess Leia in the "Star Wars" franchise. Reynolds also sang the title song, "Tammy," from the movie, which earned her gold single status.

1941's "Sergeant York" sees Gary Cooper in the lead role. It tells the story of Alvin C. York, an American war hero from World War I. York, a conscientious objector, is forced to go to war. A deeply religious man, a Bible reading changes his mind as to the need for war against Germany. In the desperation of war, York managed to take two German positions, capturing 132 of the enemy in the process. This earned him the Medal of Honor. The movie won two Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Gary Cooper.

Set in the American Civil War, this 1954 movie's running time is a mere 20 minutes. It tells the story of a truce between Union and Confederate soldiers on either side of a river. "A Time out of War" was directed by Dennis Saunders and won an Academy Award for Best Short Subject. It is based on the short story "The Pickets," by Robert W. Chambers.

This movie tells the true story of the heroes aboard flight United 93, hijacked on 9/11. Released in 2006, five years after the incident, the movie was written and directed by Paul Greengrass. It received two Academy Award nominations. Interestingly, the film is a real-time account of the events of that day.

"Lone Survivor" tells the story of an unsuccessful Navy SEAL mission to capture a Taliban leader in Afghanistan in 2005. It stars Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, and Emile Hirsch and was directed by Peter Berg. The film used U.S. veterans as extras and in minor acting roles.

A depiction of the battle of Iwo Jima from the Second World War, this 1949 movie has John Wayne in the lead role. Wayne initially turned the part down, convinced that the public had seen enough war films. It was a good thing he reconsidered, as he received his first ever Oscar nomination for his role, although he did not win an Oscar. Included in the movie is the historic Iwo Jima flag-raising scene. Interestingly, three surviving Marines who actually raised the flag on Iwo Jima have a brief cameo in the film.

A movie spanning many years, "How the West Was Won" follows the Prescott family and tells the story of their journey from the east coast of America to the west. It contains five specific sequences, each relating a portion of their story. The movie was directed by John Ford and stars John Wayne, Gregory Peck and James Stewart, amongst a host of others. Over 12,000 extras were used during this epic production.

"Operator 13" is a 1934 romantic spy movie telling the story of a woman tasked with spying on a Confederate general during the Civil War. Unfortunately, she soon falls in love with him. The movie stars Marion Davies and Gary Cooper. Curly Howard, from Three Stooges fame, has a part as a Confederate soldier in the film, although most of his film time was edited out.

A 1949 John Wayne classic, "She Wore A Yellow Ribbon" was the second in John Ford's "Cavalry" trio of movies. The legendary actor, who was 42 at the time of shooting, had to play a 60-year-old cavalry captain, Nathan Cutting Brittles. Ford didn't want to cast Wayne in the role, thinking him too young, but eventually did and was blown away by Wayne's performance.

"The Birth of a Nation" tells the true story of Nat Turner, a preacher, and a slave who in the 1830s led a slave uprising. It was written and directed by Nate Parker. He started the project in 2009 and invested over $100,000 of his own money into the production. The movie was first shown at the Sundance Film Festival in 2016.

One of only a few movies directed by John Wayne, "The Green Berets" is set during the Vietnam War. It stars Wayne as well as his son Patrick along with Jim Hutton and Aldo Ray, amongst others. It is very loosely based on a 1965 novel by author Robin Moore. Wayne intended for the movie to be a pro-Vietnam War film, especially with the anti-war rhetoric around at the time. He even wrote to President Lyndon Johnson to request help from the military in the making of the movie. The film, although a financial success, was poorly received by critics.

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!

Explore More Quizzes