Fireworks in Pop Culture: The History of a Cliché

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Artists from Alfred Hitchcock to Katy Perry have exploited firecrackers' easy symbolism

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Focus Features

Physics and chemistry make fireworks go boom with pretty lights. But staring up into a night sky, watching luminance blossom in vivid colors, it's easy to think of other things. Love, perhaps. Triumph. Maybe patriotism.

At least, that's what filmmakers, songwriters, and pop-culture creators of all kinds hope is the case. Fireworks have become cheap shorthand, go-to symbols of all things epic and explosive and powerful. For the Fourth of July, we've compiled some of the more egregious examples though the years of how the humble firecracker has been used and abused:

What other movies, songs, or TV shows have committed crimes against fireworks? Leave a comment.

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Spencer Kornhaber is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where he edits the Entertainment channel. More

Before coming to The Atlantic, he worked as an editor for AOL's Patch.com and as a staff writer at Village Voice Media's OC Weekly. He has also written for Spin, The AV Club, RollingStone.com, Field & Stream, and The Orange County Register.

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