[[quoteright:230:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/indpendenceday.jpg]]

->''"On July 2nd, they arrive.''\\
''On July 3rd, they attack.''\\
''On July 4th, we fight back."''

'''''Independence Day''''' is a 1996 movie by Creator/RolandEmmerich, known in its promotional material as '''''[=ID4=]'''''. At its core it is a straightforward AlienInvasion movie with a lot of elements taken from well known sources like ''Literature/TheWarOfTheWorlds''. The archetypical SummerBlockbuster with a large cast of familiar character types, StuffBlowingUp, fighter jets dogfighting alien craft, {{Rousing Speech}}es, {{Area 51}} and is otherwise fairly by-the-book storywise.

President Whitmore (Bill Pullman) is the recently elected U.S. President when a ''massive'' ([[PlanetSpaceship one-fourth the size of the moon]]) spaceship enters the orbit of Earth. Sending out smaller (city-size) ships that scatter across the globe to all the major cities, it doesn't take long before they begin firing their {{Wave Motion Gun}}s to wipe out entire cities at a time.

Humans fight back, with U.S. Marine pilot Steven Hiller (Creator/WillSmith) and computer programmer David Levinson (Creator/JeffGoldblum) pulling together a {{plan}} to save the human race.

The film's success also kicked off a revival of the DisasterMovie in mid-to-late 90s. The influence of this film can be seen even today, with Roland Emmerich himself repeating a similar formula in his later films like ''Film/{{Godzilla 1998}}'', ''Film/TheDayAfterTomorrow'' and ''Film/TwoThousandTwelve''.

In 2009 it was announced that two sequels were being planned, [[DevelopmentHell and for a long time it seemed uncertain if it would happen]], but Fox has officially set a July 3rd, 2016 release date, exactly 20 years to the day after the first one was released. [[http://www.movies.com/movie-news/independence-day-2-jeff-goldblum-bill-pullman/12648 Bill Pullman and Jeff Goldblum are confirmed to be returning]], but it remains to be seen if Will Smith [[http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/trending/Will-Smith-might-do-two-Independence-Day-sequels-after-all.html will come back as well]].

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!!This film provides examples of:

* AbsentMindedProfessor: Dr. Brackish Okun, head of the alien lab at Area 51.
* AchillesHeel: [[spoiler:The open bay of an alien saucer's main cannon. Or to be more exact, the volatile plasma within the bay.]]
* AerialCanyonChase: Steven pulls this against a group of alien fighters.
* UsefulNotes/AirForceOne: The President's F/A-18 fighter is designated "Eagle One", but technically any USAF airplane that is carying the POTUS is automatically designated "Air Force One". Even if the President himself is piloting it and dogfighting aliens. If, however, it was a Marine jet, then technically it should have been "Marine One". Then again, [[ScrewTheRulesIMakeThem Whitmore is the President...]]. Not to mention, after the rousing speech, he basically says that at that point, he's just a fighter pilot not the president because they need those more right now. Also, directly communicating during combat with a fighter identifying itself as carrying the President is probably not a good idea - the entire alien fleet, if they knew what "Air Force One" meant, would start targeting his jet.
** Also, UsefulNotes/AirForceOne becomes the de facto capital of the United States for a portion of the movie, as the President oversees the first counterstrike operation from aboard the plane. After that, Area 51 apparently becomes the de facto capital.
** A Helicopter, presumably Marine One, takes the President away from the White House
* TheAlcoholic: Russell
* AlienAbduction: Russell... or so he claims. The viewer is left to draw their own conclusions about whether or not this was entirely a delusion brought on by alcoholism, war trauma, or just being nuts. The novelization has him see the alien downed by [[WillSmith Captain Hiller]], and think that's it's not the same as the ones who abducted him. Then he starts to wonder whether other aliens are visiting Earth, or if it even really happened. The same novelization strongly implies that it ''did'' happen: inside their bio-suits, the invading aliens look exactly like the ones in Russell's memories.
** There was a {{Marvel}} comic book that shows several events from the earlier lives of the characters, as a sort of "prequel". Russell is clearly shown to be abducted by the invaders.
* AlienAutopsy: Dr. Okun and his colleagues at {{Area 51}} try to surgically extract the unconscious alien brought to them by [[WillSmith Captain Hiller]] from its organic suit. [[spoiler:Unfortunately, [[OhCrap it wakes up before they finish.]]]] Three others are said to have been autopsied after [[RoswellThatEndsWell the Roswell crash]]; their remains are kept on display.
* AliensAreBastards: Nothing remotely sympathetic about 'em.
* AlwaysChaoticEvil: The alien pilot probably doesn't even know what "''coexist''" means.
-->'''President Whitmore:''' I saw its thoughts. I saw what they're planning to do. [[HordeOfAlienLocusts They're like locusts.]] They're moving from planet to planet... their whole civilization. [[PlanetLooters After they've consumed every natural resource]] they move on. And we're next. [[NuclearOption Nuke 'em]]. Let's nuke the bastards.
* AmericaSavesTheDay: And ''how.'' The entire plan to save the world was conceived by the American characters at Area 51, then broadcast via Morse code to the rest of the world. It's a JustifiedTrope, though, considering Area 51 is portrayed in the film as harboring a recovered scout craft used by the very alien race invading -- implying that the U.S. has had decades to study them for forty years prior. Without that ace up its sleeve, the United States was as helpless as everyone else.
** The producers of a British radio {{spinoff}} were even given strict instructions ''not to portray the British as in any way contributing to America's victory'', likely as a pre-emptive move due to fears that perceived British distaste for the US military and distaste for this trope in general would lead the producers to attempt to downplay the US role in the victory strategy. Amusingly, the British radio version hangs a lampshade on this by having one of the characters remark, "What do you want to bet the Americans take all the credit for this?"
** The movie itself features a British commander making a similar TakeThat: "It's about bloody time!" His tone of voice has all the {{subtext}} of "Those bloody Yanks are late to the party ''again!''" Most [[SnarkBait snarkers]] [[AlternativeCharacterInterpretation instead interpret]] the line as playing the trope straight, though.
* AnalProbing: Russell attests to having been abducted by aliens. Those who don't believe him crack jokes and ask if he was ever sexually abused on the flying saucer, suggesting this trope.
* ApatheticCitizens: The few patronizing the strip club while an alien spaceship hovers over their city.
** On the other hand, they're not paying attention to the strippers, but the TV showing the alien ships.
* ApocalypseAnarchy
* ApocalypseHow: The aliens plan to strip Earth of resources until it counts as a Class 4 Apocalypse.
* ArbitrarySkepticism
** Everyone makes fun of Russell for believing that he was abducted by aliens, even after the aliens show up. But it's doubtful that his acquaintances got an opportunity to compare his description of the aliens to the one taken prisoner by Captain Hiller, and in any case, he's the town drunk.
** Even after the attacks, the President refuses to believe in Area51, though in this regards, his disbelief stems from not being told it existed. As the leader of the nation, he assumed that something of such magnitude wouldn't have been kept from him -- especially when aliens began arriving under his watch. It's pretty much the Secretary of Defense's fault for not informing him.
* {{Area 51}}: Really is the site of a crash-landed flying saucer.
** More accurately, the crash took place in Roswell, New Mexico, and the remains of the saucer -- and its crew -- were brought to Area 51.
* ArmorIsUseless: The aliens have biomechanical armor, but it doesn't seem to help them very much from being punched out. The armor might have helped against being shot, if Dr. Okun and the other scientists hadn't cracked it open to vivisect the alien inside. When [[Creator/AdamBaldwin Major Mitchell]] and the other soldiers shot it, its armor is open.
** May be a case of RealityIsUnrealistic. Okun says that aside from their technology, the aliens are quite like us biologically. Even if a human has their head armored, a sharp, sudden impact can still knock them out, because it's the motion and impact that does it rather than any actual damage. Considering the alien had also just been in a high-speed crash, it being knocked out by Hiller despite its armor isn't far-fetched at all.
* ArtisticLicenseGunSafety: Besides the infamous case of firing at the ship's deflector shield, at one point a marine receives orders while pointing his pistol at his superior ''with his finger on the trigger''.
* ArtisticLicensePhysics: The gravitational pull of both the attack ships and the mothership would be enormous, and yet has no effect. And the less said of the [[AdvancingWallOfDoom advancing wall]] [[OutrunTheFireball of fire]] that goes on through the tunnel without entering the room Jasmine is hidden, the better.
* AttackItsWeakpoint: The ship's cores -- if you can get through the forcefield at least.
* AuthorityEqualsAssKicking: The President was a fighter pilot and leads a raid against one of the ships, though he doesn't get the final shot to take them down.
* BenevolentBoss: Marty (Harvey Fierstein), David's CampGay boss at the satellite TV company. His immediate reaction when David warns him of the potential danger is to tell everyone to stop work and get to safety ''now''. This is a media company that is covering the event: shutting off transmission long before others even guess of any danger would cost them $millions.
* BigDamnHeroes: [[spoiler:"It's me, Russell Casse, sir! ''Told'' you I wouldn't let you down!"]]
* BigEntrance: Referenced. "You know me." "Yeah, I know, you always like to make a big entrance."
* BigNo: "JIMMY NOOOO!!!"
* BikiniBar: Jasmine is named as a stripper in dialogue, but we only ever see her in one of these. Justified as when we see her go into her routine, she notices no one is interested due to the invasion.
* BilingualBonus: Julius Levinson (father of David), who had heretofore not been "on speaking terms with" God, is seen leading a group in the sixteenth benediction of the Shemoneh Esrei near the film's climax.
* BlackAndWhiteMorality: The Earthlings defend their home planet against the evil, heartless galactic locusts from outer space.
* BlackBestFriend: A rare inversion. One of the main heroes is black and his white best friend (played by Harry Connick Jr.) is the wise-cracking comic relief. He fulfills almost every trope related to the black best friend, right down to being one of the first named characters to die.
* BlackDudeDiesFirst: The first person to die to alien weapons fire is the black "Welcome Wagon" pilot.
* BlownAcrossTheRoom: When the captured alien breaks loose in the Area 51 laboratory, several guards open fire on it through a glass window. When the bullets hit the alien it's blown backward across the laboratory.
* BondOneLiner: WillSmith does this over and over in this movie, to good effect.
-->'''Steven Hiller:''' ''(to crash-surviving alien) *WHAM*'' Welcome to EARTH!
* ButIReadABookAboutIt: Capt. Hiller basically says he can fly the ship because he's seen it fly.
** Although, David does immediately point out that it's a bit unbelievable that Hiller is capable of flying the spaceship. Hiller retorts that David's virus plan sounds just as unlikely.
** Of course, after decades of studying and reverse engineering the ship, the Area 51 scientists already know what the ships controls do, as they're all labeled (except for one that was backwards), so knowing how to operate the ship isn't much of an issue. Hiller's advantage is that he's the only human who's seen how well they're capable of maneuvering in various situations and lived to make use of that knowledge.
* CallingYourAttacks: "Eagle Twenty, Fox Two!" And for good reason. Pilots call "Fox" one through four to indicate firing of different weapons to help avoid friendlies catching one of them. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fox_%28code_word%29 At least that's what these guys say, anyway.]] Plus it's all dramatic and stuff. In reality, with such a massive fleet of friendlies, this wouldn't be occurring at the outset since the radio feed would get garbled by fifty pilots doing their call while firing a simultaneous opening shot.
** Fox calls are for air-to-air weapons, with the number indicating what type of guidance the weapon has. The Hornets in the final battle are carrying Harpoon air-to-surface missiles and should be making "Rifle" calls instead of "Fox" calls; "Fox Two" is only correctly used for heat-seeking Sidewinders, which are only used in the 'running out of missiles' part of the battle.
* TheCaptain: [[WillSmith Steven Hiller]]
* CapturedSuperEntity: At one point, Hiller captures an alien that crashed along with him and drags it to Area 51. The alien's telepathy and bio-mechanical suit make it a formidable force when it's found to still be alive.
* CassandraTruth
** Quite a few people David initially tries to warn about the alien "countdown" don't take him seriously, including his own ex-wife, who thinks he's either crazy or trying to get back at her for choosing her career over their marriage. However, his boss believes him immediately, and when he manages to meet with the President, Whitmore immediately takes his warnings seriously as well.
** When Julius brings up {{Area 51}}, the [[RoswellThatEndsWell Roswell Incident]], and other alien conspiracies, the President dismisses it. It turns out Julius was entirely correct - the President just didn't know about it because the Secretary of Defense never saw fit to tell him (or, apparently, the Joint Chiefs of Staff) in the name of PlausibleDeniability.
** Russell Casse is a better example. Nobody believes that he was abducted by aliens, and thanks to his less than stable behavior, nobody takes him seriously when he warns that the alien ships are an invasion force.
* ChekhovsGun: When Russell gets inside his new fighter jet, he starts screwing around with the controls and accidentally arms a missile to be fired. Guess which missile jams at the end, [[spoiler:forcing Russell into a heroic sacrifice?]]
* ChekhovsHobby
** A quick mention is made that President Whitmore is a former fighter pilot.
** Similarly, a television reporter mentions in passing that much of the current information that anybody has is being passed around via amateur radio operators, given the widespread destruction of the government-run infrastructures[[note]]Which is actually a role that amateur radio fills in RealLife[[/note]]. Guess how the remaining military forces pass word to each other to coordinate their final counter-attack?
* ChessMotifs: "And when the countdown reaches zero, then what?" "...Checkmate!"
* CollapsingLair: The mothership at the film's climax.
* CombatTentacles: The alien's bio-mechanical suits are equipped with these.
* ContrivedCoincidence: An absurd number of them.
** The only man who figures out the alien signal is a countdown happens to have an ex-wife who works for the President, thus getting him access.
** Hiller's girlfriend in Los Angeles happens upon the First Lady, so when Hiller finds her, he finds the President's wife (who everyone had pretty much given up for dead).
** Hiller, the only known survivor of his unit, is an astronaut wannabe.
** The only object to have survived an atomic-level explosion in LA is a fully functioning truck. With the keys inside.
** Hiller's dogfight with the alien fighter happens to take him near enough to spot Area 51, and his crash put him close to a convoy of refugees he can point in that direction.
** A surprisingly large number of civilians amongst those refugees turn out to be former jet-qualified combat pilots. Although the recruiter specifically says while he is hoping for people with military training, "anyone who can fly a plane would be useful". The novelization takes it a step further, mentioning that they only have so many missiles to load on the jets, and some of them, with the least-experienced pilots, are going up completely unarmed to act as decoys.
** The controls of an alien spacecraft from another star system are apparently so intuitively suited to the human form that all Hiller has to do to fly one is turn the steering wheel instructions around.
** [[HollywoodHacking The aliens apparently use Apple.]]
* ConvergingStreamWeapon: The motherships' primary weapon.
* CreditsGag: When the Humane Society's credit appears during the end credits, it says "[[NoAnimalsWereHarmed no animal or alien was harmed in the making of this film]]".
* CurbstompBattle: The aliens' assault against the humans, until the humans are able to devise a way to deal with the aliens' DeflectorShields.
* CurbstompCushion: Captain Hiller manages to force down an alien ship by blinding it with his plane's dragchute. In exchange, his entire squadron was wiped out.
* DeadlineNews: In the ads, as a ''Radio/TheWarOfTheWorlds'' ShoutOut.
* DeadGuyPuppet: "Release me! Release me... NOW!"
* DeathByCameo: Volker Engel, who was head of the FX unit.
* DeflectorShields: At least half of the film is spent trying to figure out how to get around the alien ship's deflector shields with the technology the humans have.
* DespairEventHorizon: When the alien force fields prove resistant even to nuclear weapons.
* DelayedExplosion: Almost every explosion in the film. The most notable is the explosion of Los Angeles, which apparently moves so slowly that Jasmine has time to grab her son, break open a locked maintenance closet, and even ''call her dog inside'' before the explosion reaches her location. It also, miraculously, does not fill the open closet with fire and debris. Nor does it suck the oxygen out of the tiny space, despite the fact the "sucking oxygen" would be the primary cause of the fire shooting through the tunnel.
** Both issues are mentioned in the novelization: it spends a whole paragraph describing the MindScrew effect of seeing an inescapable wall of fire slowly advancing towards you, and another paragraph to explain why Jasmine, Dylan and Boomer weren't deep-fried contrary to all those who hid in cellars (though the explanation is a bit shaky).
* DeusExNukina: You can destroy the unshielded atmospheric city destroyers and fighters, but the aliens have [[WeHaveReserves billions of reserves]] on board a super mothership in orbit. The heroes have exactly one trans-orbit SpaceFighter; the enemy undoubtedly has thousands just like it, and they're more skilled at flying them. Fortunately it's already going to the mothership to enable the main attack--so the heroes load it with a single "tactical nuclear missile" to cause as much damage as possible. Instead, the entire mothership blows up.
** The only way this could even remotely have been possible is if the nuke set off some kind of [[DisasterDominoes chain reaction]] in the alien mothership's own [[MadeOfExplodium interstellar drive/fuel store/ammunition depot]], as when a [[Film/PearlHarbor single fighter-carried bomb]] [[WorldWarII detonates an entire battleship or carrier.]] Even [[spoiler:Captain Hiller and David Levinson]] weren't expecting this to happen; [[OhCrap the looks on their faces]] when the mothership blew up in a [[ImpressivePyrotechnics spectacular Michael Bay fashion]] is telling. The nuke was meant to cripple the mothership to buy time, not to destroy the whole shebang.
* DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu
** The reaction to the guards in Area 51 when Hiller shows the alien.
-->'''Hiller:''' Okay. Come here. You want to see my clearance?\\
''(pulls back tarp to reveal the unconscious alien)''\\
'''Hiller:''' Maybe I should just leave ''this'' with you?
** Julius has this reaction to finding out that David once punched the President.
-->'''Julius:''' You punched ''the President?''\\
'''David:''' He wasn't the President ''then''.
* DisappearedDad: The father of Jasmine's son has been out of the picture for some time.
* DisneyDeath: [[spoiler:Hiller and Levinson not quite outrunning the explosion of the mothership.]]
* DivorceIsTemporary
* DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything: When Jimmy bends down on the floor to retrieve a wedding ring dropped by Hiller, another Marine passing by thinks he's proposing to his best friend. The other guy helpfully leaves immediately, not wanting to spoil the moment (or not wanting to get his friends kicked out of the military in the "don't ask, don't tell" era).
* DyingMomentOfAwesome: [[spoiler:Russell Casse, who gets his revenge on the aliens by suicide bombing the destruction laser with an F-16 before it can fire]]. "Hello boys! I'm baaaaaaaack!" [[spoiler:Taken UpToEleven in the novelization - he flies his ''old biplane with a missile strapped to it''.]]
** The spoiled scene was filmed for the movie, but rejected as being too silly, even in the special edition. It also doesn't let the audience see Russell make the decision that the only way to save his children (not to mention the entire human race, potentially) is to sacrifice himself.
* EarthIsABattlefield: Featuring some pretty impressive set pieces when the humans fight over recognizable landmarks.
* EarthIsTheCenterOfTheUniverse: Not completely straight, but somehow the Earthlings managed to stop the alien advance when they've stripped who knows how many planets before them.
* EasilyThwartedAlienInvasion: It takes a simple computer [[Literature/TheWarOfTheWorlds virus]] (and, y'know, a large nuclear warhead) to take down spaceships 1/4th the size of the moon and kill millions of aliens. Gotta love that universal Operating System!
* EmergencyPresidentialAddress: The President delivers an address to urge caution to the public as the alien ships enter the Earth's atmosphere and approach major cities. This is later followed by his "We will not go quietly into the night" speech once the aliens plans are revealed.
* EnemyMine: Israeli, Egyptian, Iraqi and English air forces are shown working alongside each other during the scene where the global counter-offensive is planned, seemingly having agreed to a mutual détente in the face of the alien threat.
* EurekaMoment: David's idea to create a computer virus, coming from a simple reminder by his father to take care of himself lest he catch cold.
* EveryHelicopterIsAHuey: Though most of the aircraft used are period- and setting-appropriate, a Huey ''still'' shows up to escort the doomed S-64 Skycrane "[[IComeInPeace Welcome Wagon]]". It explodes moments later.
* EveryoneKnowsMorse: Except aliens apparently. Although they seemed to break the code pretty quick: first thing they did after the message was to send a WaveMotionGun to Area 51.
** They don't even need to read the message to deduce that a sudden rise in communications from a previously silent location means the enemy has activated a backup command center.
* EyeAwaken: When the alien is being removed from its bio-mechanical suit. Major Mitchell later puts a few more bullets in it until it finally gives out a death cry, obviously aware of the trope.
* FacingTheBulletsOneLiner: [[spoiler:Russell]]'s last words.
* FamousLastWords:
** "It's so pretty..." [[spoiler:Tiffany, Jasmine's friend, looking up at the LA ship's insides moments before the latter disintegrates her and the skyscraper she's standing on.]]
** "[[OhCrap Oh, crap]]." [[spoiler:Marty, David'd boss, when he's stuck in NYC's completely jammed streets and he sees the wall of fire advancing towards him.]]
** "Hello, boys! I'm ''baaaaack!''" [[spoiler: Russel, as he's [[HeroicSacrifice flying his fighter jet into one of the alien's ships to destroy it.]]]]
* {{Fanfare}}: The movie opens with it and plays it constantly.
* FatalFamilyPhoto: [[spoiler:Russell, maybe if you hadn't put that photo in your plane, you might have survived to see the end credits.]]
* FingerTwitchingRevival: See EyeAwaken.
* FiveRoundsRapid: An initial assault with conventional weapons ends in a massacre as the DeflectorShield prevents their weapons from piercing the ships. However, once the forcefields are dealt with, they are susceptible to conventional weapons in their weak spot.
* FlyingSaucer: Played perfectly straight. And for once, actually scary instead of cheesy.
* FourStarBadass: General Grey, as contrast to the mousy, ass-covering Secretary of Defense Nimziki. Honestly, Gen. Grey's pretty much the only person in the government who manages to keep a cool head throughout the crisis, besides President Whitmore, who himself is a badass from the Gulf War. It's really no surprise that in the movie's second act -- by which point the Vice President has been killed off-screen by the alien invaders -- General Grey becomes the President's de facto second-in-command and closest adviser. It's likely that in the movie's universe, General Grey emerges from the crisis with a George Marshall or Dwight Eisenhower-like level of respect, and it's likely that he's either going to be Whitmore's new VP or Secretary of Defense... and the most likely candidate to be Whitmore's immediate successor once his term of office is up.
* FrontlineGeneral: The Commander-in-Chief personally leads the final battle against the aliens.
* GatlingGood: The F/A-18's feature a 20mm Vulcan cannon mounted in the nose. The fighters fall back on this weapon after their missiles are used up.
* GenreSavvy: The characters figure out what the DeflectorShield does just from being aware of them from science fiction. Hiller declares "they must have some kind of protective shield over the hull". Yes, he picked the term "shield" which matches the sci-fi standard, but there's easily enough context for the non-savvy to understand just fine.
* GilliganCut: The president says to leave the cities in an orderly fashion -- cut to anarchy in the streets.
* GuiltFreeExterminationWar: The aliens, in keeping with their HordeOfAlienLocusts nature, have no issues wiping out entire cities full of people. [[spoiler:Humanity has no issues returning the favor for the alien mother ship.]] The US President actually does probe for peace even after they destroy every major city on Earth, with an alien that had just slaughtered a team of scientists no less; the response was a MindRape that would have killed him if the alien wasn't shot, and it showed him that their entire civilization is based upon this, moving from one world to another, wiping out the natives, using up all the resources, and then moving on to the next planet to repeat.
* HackedByAPirate: Oh yes. Also a CrowningMomentOfFunny and PreAsskickingOneLiner. One must wonder how the alien civilization viewed the chuckling skull-and-crossbones -- would it be too culturally specific to understand, or would it be something universal in ominous meaning?
** Since the skull is obviously human, it would probably be more shocking. Humans posed about zero threat to them up to that point.
* HemisphereBias: Pretty much anything South of the Equator isn't worth concern. Though we get to see crashed [=UFOs=] in Sydney and right against Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. There's even a news report with the subtitle "Southern Hemisphere Unaffected" under a map showing where the city killers are appearing (do note that the Southern Hemisphere is home to one of the ten biggest cities in the world - São Paulo, in Brazil -- so in the context it's a wonder that the aliens have passed it up). Possibly justified, in that the aliens initially seem to be targeting the Earth's major military and industrial nation-states.
* HeroicBSOD
** Not quite as severe as normal uses of this trope, but it was made quite clear that Jeff Goldblum's character was not too happy about the circumstances of what happened, eventually causing him to lash out, even litter the whole place quite violently before his dad inadvertently gives him an idea on how to defeat the aliens.
** The President has one, lamenting of all the death and destruction caused by his indecision to prepare if the aliens indeed turned out to be hostile.
-->'''President Whitmore:''' We could have evacuated the cities ''[[ItsAllMyFault hours ago]]''!
* HeroicSacrifice: Godspeed, [[spoiler:Mr. Casse.]]
* HistoricalInJoke: There totally was an alien vessel at Area 51 -- and it was piloted by the aliens invading now.
** HistoryMarchesOn: "There is no Area51", rather than "Okay, turns out there is, but no aliens. We swear."
* HollywoodTactics: The jets sent to fight the aliens that had just wiped out some major cities are kind of underarmed... (the nukes being employed only as a last resort is justified, at least)
* HoistByHisOwnPetard
** First, the aliens' signal, that they used to synchronize their attack on the planet provided humans with a way to interface and access their systems (it's stated in the expanded edition that the same frequency is used for their communications) using a ''Mac'' of all things.
** Second, the "[[WaveMotionGun Hammer]]". This is a nice one: If you look at the L.A. destruction scene, you'll see that the beam turns into a chain-reaction/explosion the moment it hits solid matter, and just keeps going until there's no significant obstacle left. Therefore, the denser the target, the worse the explosion (like the Mothership from ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquer 3'', which was inspired by this movie), making it perfect for leveling cities. When [[spoiler:Russell]] crashed his plane into the generator, he did it at the very moment the beam started, and at the very "tip" of the gun, therefore setting off the chain reaction ''inside'' the alien's ship (which is likely to be just as densely packed as a city, if not more so).
* HordeOfAlienLocusts: They're even directly compared to locusts.
* HorrorDoesntSettleForSimpleTuesday
* HoYay: [[InvokedTrope Invoked.]] Hiller and Jimmy have more than a bit of this going on (''"Hold me!"'') although it's all PlayedForLaughs and purely justified considering that they're HeteroSexualLifePartners.
* HumansAreWarriors: Sky-warriors to be exact, even their President.
* IComeInPeace: Used straight and subverted. The military sends a chopper to one of the huge spaceships with a lit sign displaying greetings in all the languages of the world, and civilians in every major city hold up signs of greetings to said ships. The chopper gets blown out of the sky, and the cities (and associated welcoming parties) get cratered, with very little discussion. Later on, one of the aliens, through Dr. Okun, says, "No peace."
* IfIDoNotReturn: When Casse realizes [[spoiler:he has the only missile left and it's jammed, he says, "Tell my children... I love them very much," and flies his plane into the alien ship's weak point.]]
* IgnoredExpert: When the the City Destroyers arrive, it's a toss-up: ''many'' people are trying to get out of the city, but there's still a great deal of people who are partying and trying to greet the aliens.
* IGotYouCovered: At the end of the film, the President orders the rest of the fleet to cover Casse since he has the only missile left.
* ImmuneToBullets: The aliens, until you disable their force fields, take them out of their ships, and strip off their bio-mechanical suits.
* ImplacableMan: The aliens are this as a whole: throughout the film, they never attempt to make contact with the humans; not [[TakeMeToYourLeader to make demands or threats]], not [[WeComeInPeaceShootToKill to pretend to be friendly]] not even [[IShallTauntYou to taunt us]]. They don't target our military strongholds as an utmost priority. They simply show up, position themselves over the most populated cities, and begin firing away as if [[ButForMeItWasTuesday this is just another workday for them]]. The one alien captive only communicates after it has killed everyone in the room and wants to demand its release. The only expression seen on an alien face is right at the end when the mothership controller realizes it's [[OhCrap about to get nuked]].
* ImprobableCover: Pretty much every time there's an explosion that the heroes escape, they do so by this trope.
* InfantImmortality: Played straight for all of the named kids. Completely averted for several million other kids, some of which are seen being carried away by their panicked parents during the city destruction scenes.
* InscrutableAliens: The aliens just show up and blow up cities, the only time they communicate with humans is when one is taken prisoner and takes telepathic control of a scientist in order to demand its release.
* InWorkingOrder: The crashed alien ship from Roswell ''still'' works. To be fair, though, they have quite obviously patched huge sections of the hull with Earth-made metal plates, and they've had decades to work on it.
* IronicEcho
** "Oops."
** "Checkmate" takes this to ridiculously {{lampshaded}} lengths.
** And the First Lady lovingly calling her husband "Liar."
* IsraelisWithInfraredMissiles: The Israeli military appears in a brief scene and is more than capable of taking out the alien ship in its part of the world. It's also an EnemyMine scene as it shows they have set up camp inside Iraq alongside British and Iraqi forces.
* ItHasBeenAnHonor: Hiller and David have a moment of this at the end of the film when it appears they're not going to survive bombing the alien mothership.
* ItsGoingDown
* IwoJimaPose: A statue of the marines from the original WWII photograph is briefly seen in Washington.
* JewsLoveToArgue: David and his father, who use a lot of Yiddish while bickering.
* JumpScare: Only two, but they're memorable ones:
** The captive alien's biological suit suddenly bursting open during the autopsy.
** The same alien suddenly slamming Dr. Okun against the glass.
*** In the DVD Commentary, the writers comment on this. "It's all about stretching the moment. Everyone already knows something is going to happen."
* JustBeforeTheEnd
* LampshadeHanging
* LandmarkOfLore: {{Area 51}}
* LemmingCops: The three spacecraft chasing the humans out of the mother ship run right into the door.
* MagicCountdown: The nuclear missile used to destroy [[TheMothership the alien mothership]].
* MagicFloppy: Well, magic laptop.
* MatchCut/ TemptingFate: One of the president's speeches, being witnessed in the deserted office building by Levinson and his boss, ends with a close-up of his face as he encourages the nation "If you feel the need to evacuate, please do so in an ''orderly'' fashion". Cue mass pandemonium in the streets, riots and looting spreading like wildfire.
* MeaningfulName: Russ T. Casse. (That would be "Rusty Case" if you didn't know).
* MileLongShip: The saucers are 15 miles in diameter, the mothership is a PlanetSpaceship.
* MissingMom: David Levinson. The Casse kids. [[spoiler:The President's daughter]], presumably, after the events of the movie.
* MistakenForGay: Hiller's wingman gets down on one knee to demonstrate how to properly kiss ass, and then a wedding ring box falls out of Hiller's locker. When he shows it to Hiller, another pilot walks by, sees the scene and quickly excuses himself. "Don't ask, don't tell," of course.
* MonumentalDamage: It's taken to an extreme, which shouldn't be surprising since this is a Roland Emmerich film. Amongst the casualties are the Empire State Building, the White House, The Capitol Records Building and the pyramids of Giza. The trailers spoiled this one big-time. The first thing you see is the decapitated head of the Statue of Liberty, after the alien attack.
* MoodWhiplash: Hiller's line that he's always dreamed of flying in space accompanied with majestic music and the image of the craft flying triumphantly away from Earth... only for the music to suddenly turn dark and ominous as the camera pans to show them heading towards the Mothership.
* MoreDakka
** When the alien at Area 51 [[MindRape telepathically attacks]] the President, pretty much everybody present unloads their weapons into him, followed by [[Creator/AdamBaldwin Major Mitchell]] [[CoupDeGrace finishing him off.]]
** When the President orders his men in the final battle to "Plow the Road". Although, for F/A-18s, that was actually quite ''insufficient'' Dakka. The [[GatlingGood Vulcan Cannons]] carried by American fighter jets fire at a rate of about 6,000 rounds per minute in RealLife.
*** Also in RealLife, the F/A-18 only carries 578 rounds. There's a reason its only mode is burst fire.
* TheMothership: The big ship, obviously.
* TheMountainsOfIllinois
* NerdsAreSexy
** Jeff Goldblum ''is'' in this film, after all.
** Averted however with Brent Spiner, who can be sexy but played the very unkempt and awkward Dr. Okun in this movie. That hair!
* NationsOfTheWorldMontage
* NoEndorHolocaust: Dozens of ships that size hitting the ground would throw up enough dust to blot out the sun. And that's not even considering blowing up something as big as the mothership in Earth's orbit like that.
** The novelization mitigates a bit by putting the Moon between the Earth and the mothership. This makes sense if you consider that something that big would have to have a huge angular velocity to maintain Low Earth Orbit. However, the movie shows an enormous amount of debris racing the delivery fighter back into the atmosphere, and later burning as "fireworks" overhead. If it was actually out beyond the [[ArtisticLicenseAstronomy moon]] when it detonated, the number, implied velocity (a good chunk of the ''speed of light'') and size of those fragments would have been a rather incredible bombardment all on their own.
* NoPeripheralVision: Captain Hillard, a U.S. Marine pilot whose job depends on having excellent vision, steps outside to get the paper, looks left and right and above and [[FailedASpotCheck only notices a gigantic 15-mile-wide, black saucer hovering over Los Angeles when he looks]] ''[[FailedASpotCheck directly at it]]?''
** When Will Smith takes the day off, he takes the day ''off''.
* NoSell: The aliens' force fields are effectively impenetrable as far as earth's defensive forces are concerned. At one point, they shrug off a direct nuclear attack. They seem to hardly notice counterattacks- until, that is, their shields are disabled, and then things start going the other way.
* NuclearOption: Nuclear weapons are used only once, over UsefulNotes/{{Houston}} (a city that's about to fall victim to one of the leviathans), and after significant consideration (primarily over the fact that, whether it works or not, the city is about to get razed to the ground anyway). When the first one doesn't work (read: didn't even get through the target's shields), the rest are immediately called off.
** DarkerAndEdgier in the novelization: this is only briefly mentioned in the movie, but not only is Houston still completely intact at the time of the attack, ''it hasn't been fully evacuated yet.''
** Of course the only other nuke is used in a "safer" context without human casualties, detonating from within the mothership after Hiller and Dave bring it inside.
* ObstructiveBureaucrat: Secretary of Defense Albert Nimziki. Before he became the Secretary of Defense job he was the CIA Director. They had evidence of a hostile alien race, they KNEW what they were capable of, and yet they DIDN'T. TELL. THE GOVERNMENT. This results in the initial counterattack against the aliens being utterly annihilated due to the shields and the US losing hundreds of pilots that could have been more useful if they actually had a way to beat them. The guy eventually tries to talk Whitmore out of attacking the aliens before the end battle, claiming it would be a mistake. Whitmore replies:
-->'''Whitmore:''' The only mistake I made was appointing a sniveling little ''weasel'' like you as my Secretary of Defense. Fortunately, that's a mistake I'm glad to say that I don't have to live with. Mr. Nimziki... you're fired.
** Although to be fair, they didn't that know that much about the aliens other than what the crashed craft had brought with it. They didn't know what to expect in terms of weaponry and defensive systems.
* OhCrap
** It's hard to read expressions on an alien face but it's easy to imagine that's what it was thinking when it found itself staring at a countdown on a nuclear missile that just ticked to zero...
** These are Harvey Fierstein's character's [[FamousLastWords last words]].
** An amusing example occurs when Steven Hiller is reading the paper on his front lawn. He looks left and right, bewildered at all his neighbors apparently moving out at once. Then he looks straight ahead and sees the miles-wide spacecraft hovering over the city.
** The Air Force flies out to engage one of the giant flying saucers, they fire their missiles at it, and... the missiles hit a DeflectorShield.
** While performing an AlienAutopsy, the alien ''opens its eyes''.
** The president finally authorizes the use of [[NukeEm nuclear weapons]], a B-2 bomber launches a Tomahawk cruise missile at a giant flying saucer while it's over an evacuated city, the bomb explodes, the air clears, and... the flying saucer is undamaged.
** Connie asks Major Mitchell what happens if the aliens get there before they plant the computer virus. He mentions that the mountain should afford them some protection. She then asks him about the people on the surface. Aahh.
** They've finally brought down the flying saucer's shields, they're hammering away at it with missiles that just aren't taking big enough chunks out of it, and then, right when it's over their base... it opens its city-incinerating gun port. The background music at this moment plays the most OhCrap-ified version of the alien motif in the movie.
** "It's jammed! It won't fire!" ''Not'' what you want to hear from the guy whose got your entire squadron's last missile. [[spoiler: [[HeroicSacrifice Until, of course, he decides to personally jam it down their throat, plane and all]].]]
* OldSchoolDogfight: Two dogfighting scenes: the first where the alien ships are invulnerable due to their shields, and the second at the end [[spoiler:where they aren't]].
* OminousFloatingSpaceship: You'd better believe it.
* OneBulletLeft:
-->'''Whitmore:''' DOESN'T ANYONE HAVE ANY MISSILES LEFT?!\\
[[spoiler:'''Russell:''' Sorry I'm late, Mister President!]]
* OrganicTechnology: The alien's [[PoweredArmor suits]] are more like a second organism that they ride inside of. WordOfGod states that most of their technology is at least partly biological as well.
** WordOfGod isn't even really needed -- Okun specifically states that the suits are "biomechanical", indicating that the suits are either fully organic technology, or a mix of organic and manufactured technology. In fact, the whole design aesthetic of the alien race implies that biology is a major influence on their "look".
* OurPresidentsAreDifferent: Our presidents are ace jet fighter pilots.
** This one is actually TruthInTelevision in that the 1990s and the TurnOfTheMillenium were when a lot of former Vietnam veterans were running for public office.
* OutrunTheFireball
** [[UpToEleven While carrying your kid and still being able to save the dog.]]
** And later in a tiny spaceship after a nuclear bomb annihilates the mother ship. [[spoiler:The fireball quickly caught up, but it survived well enough to safely crash-land on Earth.]]
** Air Force One does it too during the first attack.
* PatrioticFervor
* PlanarShockwave
* PlanetLooters: [[spoiler: "I saw... his thoughts. I saw what they're planning to do. They're like locusts. They're moving from planet to planet, their whole civilization. After they've consumed every natural resource, they move on. And we're next."]]
* PlanetSpaceship: The alien mothership was estimated to be several hundred kilometers in diameter, or nearly a quarter the size of Earth's (''very'' large) moon.
* PlausibleDeniability: Played straight and directly mentioned, as the Secretary of Defense kept the President in the dark, and also the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by judging his reaction to learning this.
-->'''President Whitmore:''' My God... Why wasn't I told about this place?
-->'''Secretary Nimziki:''' Two words, Mr. President: PlausibleDeniability.
** Also more indirectly:
-->'''President Whitmore:''' I don't understand, where does all this come from? How do you get funding for something like this?\\
'''Julius Levinson:''' You don't actually think they'd spend $20,000 on a hammer, $30,000 on a toilet seat, do you?
* PlugNPlayTechnology: See above. How could we have known they would have a weakness to [[ShoutOut a computer]] [[Literature/TheWarOfTheWorlds virus]]?
** FridgeBrilliance: The scientists at Area 51 had been studying the craft for years. Odds are they had some idea of how its systems work. (Granted one scientist states things switched on since the invaders arrived. This has no qualifiers, however, for if the ship runs on electricity, there is no reason the scientists couldn't jury-rig a generator to run parts of the ship during their research.) If the scientists knew the basics of how the aliens' computers operate, they could write a virus for them. What if they are not compatible? FridgeBrilliance covers this as well. If they know how the software works they could write an emulator to operate on a terrestrial computer for the specific task of uploading the virus. This would even explain the HollywoodHacking where a window pops up saying "Uploading Virus" rather than a more generic "Uploading File".
* PowerArmor: Bio-Mechanical in nature, and offers little protection from a punch to the face (which doesn't actually line up with the real head), but with several built-in weapons and decent protection from bullets.
* PreAsskickingOneLiner
** Russell Casse, [[spoiler:before he proceeds to shove his F/A-18 up the alien ship's ass and completely ''annihilate'' it in a glorious (and, for him, quite satisfying) HeroicSacrifice.]]
-->'''Russell Casse:''' "Hello, boys! ''I'M'' '''''BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK!!'''''
** The President moments prior: "All right, boys, let's give Mr. Casse some cover. '''''GENTLEMEN! [[GatlingGood LET'S PLOW]] [[MoreDakka THE ROAD!]]'''''"
** Deep in the mothership and not expecting to get out, Hiller makes a V-sign to the alien in charge of the hangar, shouts "PEACE!" and fires the nuke. And just beforehand, David activates a special option in his virus causing [[spoiler:all the alien display screens to show an [[HackedByAPirate animated laughing skull and crossbones]], complete with demonic-sounding digital laughter.]]
** After the captured alien launches a mental assault on Whitmore and shows him their plans, we get this:
-->'''Grey:''' Is that glass bulletproof?\\
'''[[Creator/AdamBaldwin Mitchell]]:''' No, sir.\\
''(all observing military personnel pull out handguns and open fire)''
* ProductPlacement: The best-known example is Jeff Goldblum using a [=PowerBook=] 5300 (ironically considered even by die-hard Apple fanboys to be one of the [[http://www.lowendmac.com/roadapples/5300.shtml worst Macs ever made]]) to hack into the alien ship.
* RammingAlwaysWorks: [[spoiler:Well done, Mr. Casse. Rest in peace.]]
* RandomSmokingScene: WillSmith's character and his comrade both take cigars along with them when they plan to defeat the aliens for once and for all. And they do smoke them after all the aliens are dead.
** This seems to be standard for Capts. Hiller and Wilder as they both take cigars along without any prior conversation and they both take waiting until "the fat lady sings" to smoke it very seriously.
** It appeared to be a tradition with the Black Knight squadron. They would take a cigar along on the flight and smoke it after a successful (and they ''are'' Marines so all are) missions. That's why when Hiller needed the cigars before he and David left to go deliver the package.
-->'''Hiller:''' Almost put a hex on the whole thing.
* RealityEnsues: Once they figure a way to get around the alien force fields, they realize that they are still trying to take down ''city-sized'' spaceships with regular aircraft missiles. It isn't until they find the AchillesHeel that they stood a chance short of nuclear weaponry.
* RedSkyTakeWarning
* RightOnTheTick: The aliens are going to attack at a precise, pre-determined time.
* RiskingTheKing: President Whitmore takes up a fighter and leads the final battle against the aliens. Justified, as he's one of the few men around who can fly a plane (and has combat experience) and if they lose, he won't have a country to lead anyway.
* RockBeatsLaser: Played with as the aliens used Earth's satellite system to coordinate their attack, giving David a chance to study their signal system and turn their own trick back on them.
* RousingSpeech: "We will not go quietly into the night. We will not vanish, without a fight. We're going to live on. We're going to survive. Today... we celebrate... our [[TitleDrop Independence Day!]]"
* RuleOfCool
* RuleOfPerception: Steven and later Jasmine walk out onto their front lawn with a view over Los Angeles and don't notice the alien ship hovering silently over the city -- until the camera shows it.
* ScareChord - Two of these can be heard within the timespan of a few minutes.
** The first one occurs when Dr. Brackish Okun and a few medical assistants at Area 51 are attempting to remove the biomechanical suit from the unconscious alien and it suddenly rips open.
** The second one occurs ''after'' the alien wakes up, kills the medical assistants plus Dr. Okun, and destroys most of the containment laboratory. With most of the room in a dense fog, President Whitmore gets near the glass separating the rooms when Dr. Okun's lifeless body abruptly appears from out of the fog right up against the glass.
* SceneryGorn: This film revels in the wholesale destruction of the populated centres of the world. (Emmerich returned to make similarly spectacular carnage in ''Film/TheDayAfterTomorrow'' and ''Film/TwoThousandTwelve''). Love of this trope must be the reason that a movie which features the destruction of the White House is shown on American television every year on the Fourth of July.
* SchizoTech: For the aliens. They have the space travel, laser beams, indestructible forcefields... but their computer security technology is so primitive a guy with a laptop can hack it; they didn't even ''[[GenreBlindness think]]'' about the possibility of a security breach, even though they were [[HoistByHisOwnPetard interfacing]] with the Earth's satellite network. It wouldn't be the first time an alien race of invaders had some technological deficiency that lead to them being defeated (it goes all the way back to ''War of the Worlds'') but this one is particularly egregious.
** The computer security thing could well be justified. Considering that they appear to be a monolithic hive culture, it's entirely logical that these aliens would have never created computer viruses of their own, and therefore never needed firewalls and anti-virus programs on their own world. Then, once they were out in space, they might never have encountered them until us. After all, most of their victims were probably less advanced than us, and even we win only due to a 'perfect storm' of circumstances, i.e. 1: We're advanced enough to have the concept of a virus program. 2: We're flexible-minded enough to conceive of using such in this way. 3: We're lucky enough to have a functional alien ship with which to carry out the attack.
** Of course, you have to wonder how our primitive computers could interface with something so alien, let alone shut it down.
* ScrapHeapHero: Russell Casse.
* SeeTheWhitesOfTheirEyes
* SemperFi: Marines have a strong presence in the films cast. Will Smith is a cigar chomping Marine Corps F-18 pilot. William Grey, the President's most trusted right hand man throughout the film, is a Marine Corps General.
** Grey is alluded to (if not outright referred to) as the President's former commander, which strongly suggests that President Whitmore is a Marine as well.
* ShellShockedVeteran: The news report on Russell claims he got this as a result of being a fighter-pilot in Vietnam, but he claims it's from his abduction.
* ShoutOut
** To ''Franchise/JurassicPark''; Creator/JeffGoldblum's character says, "Must go faster. Must go faster. Go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go!" in the same way as he does in one scene in ''Jurassic Park''. Exactly the same way, in fact: the audio was cut directly from ''Jurassic Park'' and pasted into this movie.
** There are also shout-outs and {{Easter Egg}}s to classic sci-fi shows and films dating all the way back to the 1940s. Most specific among these is the bomber sent to deliver the nuke - the Northrop B-2 Stealth bomber is the direct descendant of the Flying Wing tasked with the same mission in George Pal's version of ''War of the Worlds'', which was a real Northrop XB-49 and ''not'' a Hollywood prop.
** The strategy to defeat the aliens mirrors the defeat of the aliens in [[spoiler:''Literature/TheWarOfTheWorlds'', with a different interpretation of the word "virus".]]
*** ''3001: The Final Odyssey'' (which [[TimeyWimeyBall came out the year after ID4]]; presumably Clarke had decided on or even penned the ending before ''[=ID4=]'' came out) has the heroes dispatch the aliens with the exact same strategy. ArthurCClarke writes in the ending notes that he doesn't know "whether to congratulate them for their one stroke of originality or accuse them of retroactive plagiarism". (not exact quote)
** David's Mac boots up with a picture of HAL-9000 and the greeting [[Film/TwoThousandOneASpaceOdyssey "Good Morning, Dave."]]
** Hiller [[WesternAnimation/DuckDodgers having the darn thing]] [[HadTheSillyThingInReverse in reverse.]]
** The hangar housing the alien craft has "[[Franchise/StarWars R2]]" painted in large letters of the wall.
** After punching the alien, Hiller says "Now, that's what I call [[Film/CloseEncountersOfTheThirdKind a close encounter]].".
** Russell Casse, [[{{Airplane}} "I picked a hell of a day to quit drinkin'."]]
* SingleMomStripper: Jasmine. She's not at all ashamed of her line of work, declaring simply that her son is worth it.
* SlowDoors: The exit to the mother ship.
* SmartPeoplePlayChess: Julius and David Levinson are shown playing chess together early on, with David winning easily. He spends much of the rest of the movie talking in ChessMotifs.
* SomeKindOfForceField: When the first air-to-air missiles reveal a invisible barrier surrounding the big flying saucer, Hiller declares, "They must have some kind of protective shield over the hull!"
* SomeoneHasToDie
* SoulBrotha
* SoundToScreenAdaptation: Inverted with ''Independence Day UK'', a BBC radio drama based on the movie, but set in the UK with original characters. The one stipulation Fox placed on the BBC was that the Brits couldn't substantially contribute to the Americans' victory. This leads to one character muttering, "I bet the Yanks are going to take all the credit!"
* SpiritualSuccessor: To ''{{Film/Stargate}}''.
* StuffBlowingUp: A whole lot, to be exact. The line of fire even [[Film/MarsAttacks blows up Congress!]]
* SuckingInLines
* SurprisinglySuperToughThing: The government attempts to nuke one of the alien spaceships. They fail.
* SurveillanceStationSlacker: The guy in S.E.T.I. playing OfficeGolf near the start.
* SwissCheeseSecurity: The Area 51 guard lets Steven and his huge convoy into the base without so much as a phone call.
* TakingYouWithMe: [[spoiler:Russell gets revenge for his abduction years back and shows humanity how to win the war.]]
** Steven and David [[spoiler:fire the nuke as a last resort after being trapped in the mothership.]]
* {{Telepathy}} / TelepathicSpacemen: The alien's natural means of communication. It also seems to work across species in a limited manner: the captured alien is able to control Dr. Okun's body to speak for it, and can even attack President Whitmore telepathically. Supplemental material states that the aliens are designed to reflect their telepathic ability, having their huge heads shaped a bit like antennae.
* TelevisionGeography: A few examples, the most blatant being the Empire State Building (which is located in the middle of a block in real life, and yet in the movie has a nearby street).
* ThisIsGonnaSuck: David when the city destroyers show up and he realizes that the mysterious signal he found in the satellites is actually a countdown to a global alien attack.
* ThoseTwoGuys: David Levinson and Captain Hiller, neither are the most important person in any scene they are in, yet keep saving the day.
** Also, the two USAF officers who work side-by-side from Air Force One to Area 51.
* ThrowAwayCountry
* TitleDrop: "''Today we celebrate our Independence Day!''" And to make it more awesome? Bill Pullman ''ad-libbed'' that line.
* TooDumbToLive
** The people that were waiting to the aliens in the rooftop of a building in UsefulNotes/LosAngeles. Including Tiffany, who promised Jasmine she wouldn't. At first, these people had no explicit reason to believe the aliens were hostile, so they were more optimistic than foolish. It's only when they ignored police loudspeakers urging them to evacuate that they became idiots.
** Also those "scientists" that were diagnosing the alien without any security nearby despite the fact that they knew the alien wanted to kill them.
** While he doesn't show much stupidity anywhere else, David Levinson asking Major Mitchell to fire a bullet at the alien spaceship definitely qualifies. Has the man never heard of gun safety? The bullet ricochets dangerously around the room containing what's left of the American administration and the only scientists on Earth with knowledge of the aliens' technology. He's a scientist with either little or no knowledge of guns, and he probably assumed that the bullet would just flatten against the shields instead of ricocheting.
* TooFastToStop: The alien dogfighters, inexplicably, towards the end of the movie, even though they are stated to be extremely maneuverable.
* TrojanHorse: The alien fighter that crashed in Roswell (and the Area 51 scientists repurposed for humans to pilot) is used to invade the mothership (where Dave will shut down the forcefields and Hiller fire a nuke to destroy the thing from within).
* TropesAreNotBad: There's a reason this movie spawned the "Big Willy Weekend" tradition.
* UniversalDriversLicense
** Hiller claims that he is one of the few fully aware of the alien fighter capabilities and that being a pilot he can figure out how it works. Parodied in that his first attempt in the cockpit ends with him going in reverse. Although admittedly the controls seem fairly intuitive, using dual joysticks. The movement directions being labled wrong by the scientists wasn't helpful.
** Lampshaded earlier, when David asks him quietly if he really believes he can fly it.
-->'''Hiller:''' [[MathematiciansAnswer Do you really believe]] ''you'' can do all that bullshit you just said?
* VomitDiscretionShot: Assumed when David Levinson is closing an airsickness bag and again when he runs off after Julius Levinson gives a particularly nauseating description of motion on a plane.
* TheWallsAreClosingIn: [[spoiler:Variant, as Hiller is flying the ship towards the closing blast doors to escape.]]
* WeHaveBeenResearchingPhlebotinumForYears: When they visit {{Area 51}}, it turns out TheGovernment knew about the aliens all along.
* WiperStart: A jet fighter version -- as VietnamWar-era pilot (gone to seed) Russell Casse tries to ready his F/A-18, he almost fires a missile.
-->'''Russell Casse:''' [[Film/{{Airplane}} I picked a hell of a day to quit drinking.]]
** Becomes a bit of a FunnyAneurysm when you realize [[spoiler:that was probably the missile that failed to fire, meaning he had to die instead of just firing it and going home to his kids]].
*** The missile arms correctly, the malfunction is from the release mechanism and the ignition of the rocket won't start until it detaches. His problem is that he has a live missile up and no way to dump it except ramming it against the target. It would have happened even if he didn't arm it by mistake. [[spoiler: That's why it's one of the few genuinely moving scenes in the movie: Russell knows there is only one way to deliver the payload and that it will take his life. HeroicSacrifice played to the hilt and with a believable reason.]]
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