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Born on the Fourth of July

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Movie Info & Cast

Synopsis

The second of three films by co-writer/director Oliver Stone to explore the effects of the Vietnam War (Platoon and Heaven and Earth are the others), Born On The Fourth Of July tells the true story of Ron Kovic (Tom Cruise), a patriotic, All-American small town athlete who shocks his family by enlisting with the Marines to fight in the Vietnam War. Once he is overseas, however, Kovic's gung-ho enthusiasm turns to horror and confusion when he accidentally kills one of his own men in a firefight. His downfall is furthered by a bullet wound that leaves him paralyzed from the chest down. He returns home, spends an appalling, nightmarish stint in a veterans' hospital, and follows an increasingly disillusioned and fragmented path that ultimately leaves him drunk and dissolute in Mexico. However, Kovic somehow turns himself around and pulls his life together, becoming an outspoken anti-war activist in the process. The film is long but emotionally powerful; many consider it Stone's best work and Cruise's best performance. Both were nominated for Oscars, as was the film itself, but only Stone, who co-wrote the film with Kovic from the latter's book, won for Best Director.~ Don Kaye, All Movie Guide

Cast

  • Tom Cruise
  • Bryan Larkin
  • Tom Cruise
  • Raymond J. Barry
  • Bryan Larkin
  • Caroline Kava
  • Raymond J. Barry
  • Josh Evans
  • Caroline Kava
  • Seth Allen
  • Josh Evans
  • Jamie Talisman
  • Seth Allen
  • Sean Stone
  • Jamie Talisman
  • Anne Bobby
  • Sean Stone
  • Anne Bobby
  • Jenna von Oÿ

Did You Know?

Trivia

  • The entire film was shot in shades of red, white, or blue, depending on the emotional level (battle scenes are all in reddish hues, dream sequences in white, sadness in blue, etc).
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Goofs

  • Reeboks (first made in 1978) at a 1972 Republican convention.
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Quotes

    • Ron Kovic: People say that if you don't love America, then get the hell out. Well, I love America.
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Metacritic

100

But Stone has found in Cruise the ideal actor to anchor the movie with simplicity and strength. Together they do more than show what happened to Kovic. Their fervent, consistently gripping film shows why it still urgently matters.

Metacritic review by Peter Travers
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
100

Nothing Cruise has done will prepare you for what he does in Born on the Fourth of July. His performance is so good that the movie lives through it. Stone is able to make his statement with Cruise's face and voice and doesn't need to put everything into the dialogue.

Metacritic review by Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
100

Stone's feisty, intensely personal style of film making is well-known. With Born on the Fourth of July we are treated to a poignant, spirited and captivating - for the broken heartedness of it all - performance by Tom Cruise. [25 Dec 1989, p.E1]

Metacritic review by Peter Stack
Peter Stack
San Francisco Chronicle