Hollywood fireworks can’t match the spectacle of a live show in the night sky – but that doesn’t stop movie and TV folks from trying. They use fireworks to illustrate everything from patriotism and protest to love and longing. See for yourself.
LOVE AMERICAN STYLE
I have fond memories of watching this anthology TV series from 1969-74, which was perfect for its era and featured everyone from Flip Wilson to Julie Newmar. Particularly memorable was its intro, which had some groovy fireworks.
Woody Allen’s use of fireworks – black and white fireworks, no less – and the music of George Gershwin is nothing short of brilliant. In the opening of his 1979 ode to the Big Apple, Woody shows us a wide shot of fireworks over the city skyline to suggest the excitement and majesty of New York.
LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING
Old Gandalf (Ian McKellen) was sort of the Grucci Brothers of Middle Earth. Here, in the 2001 movie adaptation of the book, Gandalf’s pyrotechnics are peerless.
TO CATCH A THIEF
Ba-Boom! Film fireworks have never been sexier than in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1955 thriller, starring Grace Kelly and Cary Grant.
V FOR VENDETTA
Fireworks stand for liberty in “V For Vendetta,” a 2005 movie about freedom fighters trying to overturn a fictitious, totalitarian regime. The explosions might not be everyone’s idea of a good time, but the fireworks are amazing.
RETURN OF THE JEDI
There’s only one thing to do after you’ve defeated Darth Vader and the Emperor, and you find yourself on a planet full of teddy bears: set off some kickass fireworks. This is how George Lucas did it back in 1983.
In one of the most magical sequences in 1964’s “Mary Poppins,” a fusillade of fireworks chase a group of dancing chimney sweeps off the rooftops of London. Despite one of the goofier British accents in film history, Dick Van Dyke is still too cool for words.
What are fireworks doing in this 1977 TV Christmas movie? Well, they’re a sign that you have to live for today. Ed Asner plays a cold, distant father who brings his family together for one last holiday before he meets his maker.
THE BOY WHO COULD FLY
“The Boy Who Could Fly,” from 1986, is not a terribly well-known movie. Among other things, it is the story of a new kid in town who befriends an autistic boy. One of film’s most beautiful scenes is a dreamlike flight with fireworks.
Best fireworks scene ever. 1990’s “Avalon” has a lot to say about families and about America, but here it’s simply about one immigrant’s first Fourth of July in Baltimore.
To all those seeing fireworks in the next week, enjoy!