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On this day in 1996, alien invaders destroyed the major cities of the world; however, they also made Independence Day a bonafide classic in the process. Now, 25 years later, Roland Emmerich’s sci-fi blockbuster is still talked about whenever the holiday roles around in America, and on this special anniversary, Budweiser has done something movie fans are going to love. The brand has resurrected the character of President Thomas Whitmore, and Bill Pullman has returned to the role he made famous once again.
Spinning President Whitmore’s big Independence Day speech as a call for unity in 2021’s America, Budweiser obviously picked the best time to drop this inspiring ad. It also helps that in addition to the actual holiday being upon us, this year is the 25th anniversary of a time when the world declared in one voice that it wouldn’t go quietly into the night. Watch the ad below, and try not to get too emotional:
Instead of rallying the troops to fly into battle against extraterrestrial foes, this 4th of July sees Bill Pullman’s character reaching out to a fractured nation. The solution to such little divides like hybrids vs combustion engines, meat or veggie patties, and of course choice in beer, is naturally a rousing speech from a commanding fictional leader. When that leader is the president who saved Independence Day, it's easy to buy in.
There’s just something about Bill Pullman falling back into the character of President Thomas Whitmore that truly feels wonderful. To think that he almost lost out on this role to Kevin Spacey, the original candidate for Independence Day’s commander-in-chief, who was ultimately turned down because in the mid-’90s he just wasn’t a big enough star. His loss was the world’s gain, and a quarter of a century later, Pullman can still prove just why his casting was as important as landing Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, and the rest of that film’s epic ensemble.
Watching Independence Day’s influence on this beer ad shows just how memorable this movie still is after all this time. Even as time may pass, and audiences may find new angles to debate the film’s merits, certain aspects are just unimpeachable. One of those moments that can never be taken away by the ravages of time and internet commentary is Bill Pullman’s grand speech before the movie’s climactic battle.
Dear readers, the Fourth of July may be known primarily as a national holiday in the United States, but that shouldn’t stop us all from celebrating. July 2nd, 1996 gave us all a movie that has lived on, survived, and not gone quietly into the night for two and a half decades. So today, and throughout the weekend that saw a fictional world fighting against extinction and oppression, let’s celebrate our Independence Day, and the part that Bill Pullman played in making it happen.
If you’re a subscriber to HBO Max, you can make that celebration a little more special by streaming Independence Day. But if you’re still waiting for the right excuse to jump aboard, check out the current subscription offer. After which, you can kick the tires and light the fires, in fitting tribute to the day we fought back.