Independence Day is a 1996 American military science fiction disaster film about an alien invasion of Earth. The narrative focuses on a disparate group of people who converge in the Nevada desert and, along with the rest of the human population, participate in a last-chance counterattack on July 4, the same date as the Independence Day holiday in the United States.
On July 2, an enormous alien ship enters Earth's orbit and deploys 36 smaller saucer-shaped ships, each 15 miles wide, which position themselves over major cities around the globe. David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum), a satellite technician for a television network in Manhattan, discovers transmissions hidden in satellite links that he realizes the aliens are using to coordinate an attack. David and his father Julius (Judd Hirsch) travel to the White House and warn his ex-wife, White House Communications Director Constance Spano (Margaret Colin), and President Thomas J. Whitmore (Bill Pullman) of the attack. The President, his daughter, portions of his Cabinet and the Levinsons narrowly escape aboard Air Force One as the alien spacecraft destroy Washington D.C., New York City, Los Angeles and other cities around the world.
Meanwhile, USMC Captain Steven Hiller (Will Smith) is part of a counterattack against the ships. His girlfriend Jasmine Dubrow (Vivica A. Fox), her son, Dylan Dubrow (Ross Bagley), and their pet dog survive the destruction of Los Angeles. The next day, July 3, Jasmine commandeers an abandoned maintenance truck to drive to Hiller's military base. Along the way, she picks up several survivors and also finds the injured First Lady (Mary McDonnell), who had been flying out of Los Angeles by helicopter when it was knocked down in the alien attack.
Captain Hiller leads a squadron of F/A-18 Hornets on a sortie against the spaceship over Los Angeles. The ships are found to be guarded by force fields that repel any attack, and they also release fighters armed with similar shields and weaponry. After the rest of his squadron is annihilated in a one-sided dogfight, Hiller captures an alien pilot after luring an alien fighter to the Grand Canyon, then causing it to crash into the canyon walls. While dragging the unconscious alien across the desert, Hiller is picked up by a ragtag group of refugees driving campers and trucks to a nearby military base. The group includes Russell Casse (Randy Quaid), an alcoholic crop-duster who claims to have been abducted by aliens years earlier.
The refugees take the captured alien to Area 51, where Air Force One has already landed. Area 51 conceals a top secret facility housing a recovered spacecraft and alien bodies stored since the Roswell incident in 1947. The captured alien regains consciousness in a sealed lab and reveals that its species roams the galaxy, consuming planets' resources before moving on. The alien tries to psychically attack President Whitmore, but is killed by the base commander, Air Force officer Major Mitchell (Adam Baldwin). A nuclear attack against a shield protected ship over Houston results in failure. Captain Hiller, wanting to find Jasmine, steals a helicopter and travels back to his abandoned base where he finds Jasmine, the First Lady and other survivors. The President and his daughter, Patricia Whitmore (Mae Whitman), later visit the First Lady in the base hospital, where she eventually dies from her internal injuries.
On July 4, David devises a plan to use the 1947 spacecraft to sneak into the mothership and introduce a computer virus before detonating a nuclear weapon inside the ship. The computer virus will filter down to the smaller vessels, deactivating their shields; the plan is to simultaneously attack the 36 city ships once their shields are down. Hiller volunteers to be the pilot, since he is the only person to have seen them in action and survive, giving him unique knowledge of the ship's capabilities, and David decides he must go along to upload the virus. With few military pilots left, the President, a former fighter pilot, rallies the refugees and garners a number of volunteers, including Casse. Morse code is used to contact forces around the world in order to coordinate the attack.
After the virus is implanted and lowers the shields, Whitmore leads an attack against a ship approaching Area 51. Although the fighters damage the alien ship, they run out of missiles without inflicting critical damage. The ship prepares to fire its main weapon at Area 51. Casse has the last missile, but it jams. As his children are sheltering within the Area 51 base and would likely be killed by a successful firing of the aliens' main cannon, Russell sacrifices himself by ramming his fighter into the cannon just as it is about to fire and triggers a chain reaction that destroys the whole ship. Other forces around the world bring down the remaining destroyers using Casse's method.
David and Hiller are discovered in the mothership, but when they fire their nuclear weapon, their ship is freed and they escape with seconds to spare. The mothership is destroyed and the 1947 spacecraft crashes in the desert near Area 51, with David and Hiller emerging safe and sound from the wreckage. The world celebrates as the main characters watch debris from the mothership enter the atmosphere.
Rated as certificate 12 and not to be supplied to persons below that age.