The Independence Day Drinking Game

The American Independence Day. Despite being thoroughly British (and having my own Northumbrian occasion to mark), I’ve spent the last 2 years celebrating the 4th July with American friends. Last year, I was in the States and spent the day chilling with friends, watching The Mummy and The Mummy Returns (their family tradition) and set off fireworks by Lake Niagara. The previous year we had a party in my uni common room with lots of American food and English beer. I dressed as (sexy) George III and my Ohio friend threw a teabag in an already-heavily-polluted lake. We had a great time.

Anyway, to celebrate this year, I’m nowhere near a lake and I’m going to watch one of my favourite films of all time. I could go on about how much I bloody love Independence Day all day. It is a classic of modern cinema and anyone who disagrees can bite me. (I even used the President’s epic speech in my A level English Writing to Persuade coursework analysis.) Sure, it’s cheesy, overblown and got its crap bits but that’s partly what makes it so epic. It’s not pretending to be something other than entertainment. It’s a truly great summer blockbuster that ticks all the right boxes and it’s got suspense, Will Smith, and Jeff Goldblum (and they never made a sequel to it. That never happened). And all these elements make up for a great drinking game…*

*Please drink responsibly. Really now.

Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum back to back in front of an alien spaceship.

Image from 20th Century Fox.

Take a drink every time:

  • You see a US flag (for purposes of liver safety, this means an actual flag, not one printed on the side of a plane).
  • Someone smokes or holds a cigar.
  • Someone says the terms “checkmate” or “the fat lady sings”.
  • Russel mentions being abducted by aliens.
  • A coke can or coke advert is seen.
  • The 90s tech looks adorable.
  • Jeff Goldblum goldblums (the “ah”, the laugh…you know what you’re looking for).
  • You realise that the practical effects have aged really well…and the computer effects have not.
Gif of the White House being blown up by an alien spaceship from the film Independence Day

I can, and will, bang on about the frankly iconic practical effects till the cows come home. From giphy.

Continuous drinking:

  • During the President’s EPIC speech.
  • During the “Must go faster” scene.

Last person downs their drink:

  • Last person to sing the chorus to “The Hero of Canton” when Adam Baldwin first appears finishes their drink. Any viewer who hasn’t seen Firefly is immediately sent away until they’ve watched the series.
  • Last person to go “it’s Data!” when Brent Spiner appears finishes their drink. Any viewer who doesn’t have massive love for Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation must leave and reconsider their life choices.
  • Last person up and saluting at the end of the President’s epic speech downs their next drink (after they’ve finished the one they were drinking during the speech).
Adam Baldwin as Jayne Cobb in sci-fi series Firefly wearing a distinctive orange and yellow bobble hat with earflaps.

Man walks down the street in that hat, people know he’s not afraid of anything. Image from

Drink water

  • When panicked people run. (Trust me, your liver will thank you. Goldblum goldblums A LOT.)
Gif of Jeff Goldblum saying "oops" in an alien spaceship from Independence Day.

From IFC on giphy.

Finish your drink:

  • “Welcome to Earth!”
  • When the nuke doesn’t work.
  • When you feel so patriotic you start searching your neighbour’s house for oil.

Bonus round for people with a 13-year-old’s sense of humour: watch the alien autopsy scene with no visual, just the audio. It’s just…SO wrong.

So let’s raise a glass to celebrate America’s real Independence Day and the destruction of a fictional alien invasion fleet – drink responsibly now, but don’t go quietly into that night!

Will Smith smoking a cigar, captioned "Now that's what I call a close encounter" after punching an alien in Independence Day.

From (you guessed it) Giphy.

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