Independence Day is a 1996 American science fiction disaster film co-written and directed by Roland Emmerich. The film stars Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Mary McDonnell, Judd Hirsch, Margaret Colin, Randy Quaid, Robert Loggia, James Rebhorn, Vivica A. Fox, and Harry Connick, Jr. The film focuses on a disparate group of people who converge in the Nevada desert in the aftermath of a destructive alien attack 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. The screenplay was written by Emmerich and producer Dean Devlin.
While promoting Stargate in Europe, Emmerich came up with the idea for the film when fielding a question about his own belief in the existence of alien life. He and Devlin decided to incorporate a large-scale attack when noticing that aliens in most invasion films travel long distances in outer space only to remain hidden when reaching Earth. Principal photography for the film began in July 1995 in New York City, and the film was officially completed on June 20, 1996.