Independence Day comes around every year, but it was 25 years ago that Roland Emmerich’s spectacular alien invasion movie of the same name arrived in cinemas just before the July 4th holiday and became one of the biggest blockbusters of all time. Starring Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman, the movie grossed over $817 million worldwide, delivered some of the most impressive scenes of destruction ever put on screen, and gave us one of the most inspiring movie speeches in history. This is why the film is still loved by many quarter of a century later.
“Independence Day tonight!!! best disaster movie of the 90s or are you just wrong,” said a fan of the movie on Twitter, and it is fair to say, they are not wrong at all. The movie spends its opening half hour building a sense of impending doom, as a mysterious signal from space is interpreted by MIT-educated satellite engineer David Levison (Goldblum) to be a countdown. As he attempts to alert the President of an impending danger, alien spaceships make their presence known around the world, positioning themselves over some of the world’s biggest cities, which obviously include the Washington DC and central New York City.
As the countdown reaches its climax, the aliens unleash destruction that leaves cities in ruins and the humans having to mount a fight back against complete annihilation. Following a rousing speech by President Thomas Whitmore (Bill Pullman), the last half hour sees Will Smith’s Captain Steven Hiller and Co take on the alien onslaught in aerial dogfights and hand to hand combat that escalate to a memorable finale in which the underdog comes good and the main characters all survive to share hugs and pat each other’s back.
Director Emmerich came up with the idea for the movie while promoting Stargate, when he was asked about his personal beliefs about alien life. Together with co-writer Dean Devlin, Emmerich came up with the idea of having a large scale alien invasion where the aliens would make their presence known immediately rather than lurking in the shadows for much of the movie. What he produced was a film that would redefine the scale of disaster movies for years to come, with scenes of destruction that wiped out entire cities, and spaceship gun-fights that brought the same kind of awe that was felt on the release of Star Wars.
Even though the movie had a tough time from some critics, there was no denying that the movie and its legacy outlasted the naysayers opinions. As well as sitting behind Jurassic Park as the second highest grossing movie of all time – it currently holds position number 85 in the list – the film won an Oscar for its special effects. A sequel arrived 20 years later, Independence Day: Resurgence , but it failed to have the same impact, bring in only $389 million from double the budget of the original movie, $165 million.
Despite the relatively poor performance of the sequel, fans still love Independence Day and showed in in some of their anniversary tweets which can be seen below. In addition to this, Bill Pullman this week reprised his role of Thomas Whitmore in an advertisement for Budweiser that encouraged people to get vaccinated and help everyone celebrate this Independence Day by delivering a new version of his famous movie speech. I’m sure we will all celebrate in our own way, and what better way than watching one of the greatest sci-fi blockbusters of all time.
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