‘The Sandlot’: Remembering the Iconic 4th of July Game

by Caitlin Berard

As children, we experience holidays in a way we can never quite recapture in adulthood. From the mythical magic of Santa Clause and the Easter bunny to the everyday enchantments of fireworks and jack-o-lanterns, there are certain things that just mean more to those in the beginning stages of life. And nothing – no piece of film, television show, or song – captures the beauty and magic of childhood in America better than The Sandlot.

Released in the spring of 1993, The Sandlot is a movie about the joys of childhood, told through the story of a group of young boys who share a strong friendship and an indelible love of baseball. Does it sometimes venture into the cliche? Of course. Any nostalgia-fueled film is bound to do so. But when it comes to wholesome, patriotic depictions of coming of age in America, The Sandlot is tough to beat.

The Spectacular 4th of July Scene in ‘The Sandlot’

From Ham Porter’s exasperated exclamation, “You’re killin’ me, Smalls!” to Squints’ unforgettable declaration that Smalls, the neighborhood newcomer, is an “L-7 weenie,” The Sandlot is absolutely loaded with timeless scenes. Perhaps the most iconic of all, however, is the film’s portrayal of the 4th of July.

With countless fireworks popping overhead, the boys gather on the sandlot for their sole night game of the year, the glow of the fireworks mimicking stadium lights. A stirring rendition of “America the Beautiful” plays in the background while an adult Smalls narrates the experience.

“We all knew [Benny] was gonna go on to bigger and better games,” he explained. “Because every time we stopped we stopped to watch the sky on those nights, like regular kids, he was there to call us back.”

The camera pans down to illustrate Smalls’ narration, and we see the boys in the midst of a rousing game of baseball, the night sky alight with colors. It isn’t long, however, before each youthful face is pointed skyward, open-mouthed in sheer amazement at the bursts of color and light.

This scene is far from the only Hollywood depiction of Independence Day. It is, however, heralded by many as the best of the best.

In a 2018 interview with Today, the cast of The Sandlot shared the unforgettable experience of creating the film. “The film was made with the same amount of love that people have for it,” director David Micky Evans explained. “And it was the greatest summer of our lives.”

Tom Guiry, the actor behind Scotty Smalls, shared Evans’ assessment. “It made a big impact on a lot of people’s lives,” he said.