Independence Day is July 4th, 1776. That’s what history books tell us (well, the lazy, non-nuanced ones). However, for several Americans of our generation, the real Independence Day is July 3rd, 1996. On that day, President Thomas J. Whitmore led us to victory over the alien threat with the help of fighter pilots and civilian volunteers… in theaters.

Independence Day was a massive summer blockbuster hit that is now a go-to post-fireworks movie that we gather together to watch on the Fourth of July. It’s turned into a film that we as a country watch every year, much like It’s a Wonderful Life around Christmas time. We don’t talk about the 2016 sequel though, or else your citizenship is revoked.

But while all of us have seen the movies dozens of times, there are still some things you may not know about during the making of it, or there are some hidden gems/references you didn’t pick up yet. Celebrate America’s birthday with these behind the scenes facts and Easter eggs about Independence Day

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Bill Pullman and Kevin Spacey

INDEPENDENCE DAY KEVIN SPACEY WAS GOING TO PLAY THE PRESIDENT. The role was written specifically with Spacey in mind, but an executive argued that he wasn't a movie star. The production ended up going with Bill Pullman (a smarter move than anyone thought). CRACKED.COM

Source: UPROXX

James Brown

40 INDEPENDENCE DAY JAMES BROWN'S VOICE HAS A CAMEO. The Godfather of Soul's trademark scream was mixed into the sound. You can hear it just before the explosion as Randy Quaid flies into the alien ship. 98 CRACKED.COM

Source: People

Shakespeare

INDEPENDENCE DAY THE PRESIDENT'S ICONIC SPEECH WAS BASED ON HENRYV. The speech was inspired by the St. Crispin's Day speech by the title character, in which he rallied to his troops before the Battle of Agincourt. If you're going to steal, you might as well steal from the Bard. CRACKED.COM

Source: Complex

UFO

INDEPENDENCE DAY PEOPLE THOUGHT THERE REALLY WAS A UFO DURING FILMING. Several folks reported to authorities that they had seen a UFO. It was actually a helicopter that was retrofitted with lights, blinking Morse code to shoot the Operation Welcome Wagon sequence. CRACKED.COM

Source: Cinemablend

Will Smith and Ethan Hawke

INDEPENDENCE DAY ETHAN HAWKE WAS ORIGINALLY CONSIDERED OVER WILL SMITH. Hawke was coming in hot after his performance in Reality Bites, so the movie's script was sent to him. Hawke hated the dialogue so much he threw the script out of his car onto a Texas highway. CRACKED.COM

Source: IndieWire

Jeff Goldblum

INDEPENDENCE DAY SEVERAL OF JEFF GOLDBLUM'S SCENES WERE IMPROVISED. Goldblum's dialogue with Judd Hirsch and Will Smith was ad-libbed, including the scene where Smith and Goldblum fly the alien craft into the mothership. CRACKED.COM

Source: Mental Floss

Harry Connick Jr. and Matthew Perry

INDEPENDENCE DAY HARRY CONNICK JR.'S ROLE WAS MEANT FOR MATTHEW PERRY. The Friends star had to drop out before shooting. Connick was able to find a space in his recording and touring schedule to shoot his scenes. CRACKED.COM

Source: Cinemablend

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