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Born on the Fourth of July (1989)

 -  Biography | Drama | War  -  5 January 1990 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 61,526 users   Metascore: 75/100
Reviews: 160 user | 64 critic | 16 from Metacritic.com

The biography of Ron Kovic. Paralyzed in the Vietnam war, he becomes an anti-war and pro-human rights political activist after feeling betrayed by the country he fought for.

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(book), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Josh Evans ...
Tommy Kovic
Jamie Talisman ...
Jimmy Kovic
Anne Bobby ...
Suzanne Kovic
Samantha Larkin ...
Patty Kovic
...
...
Timmy
...
Steve Boyer
Richard Panebianco ...
Joey Walsh
Rob Camilletti ...
Tommy Finnelli
...
Billy Vorsovich
Michael McTighe ...
Danny Fantozzi
Richard Haus ...
Recruiting Sgt. Bowers
Edit

Storyline

The biography of Ron Kovic. Paralyzed in the Vietnam war, he becomes an anti-war and pro-human rights political activist after feeling betrayed by the country he fought for. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A story of innocence lost and courage found.

Genres:

Biography | Drama | War

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

5 January 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Born on the Fourth of July  »

Box Office

Budget:

$14,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$70,001,698 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film's anti-war message meant that Universal were very nervous about its box office chances so they kept the budget low. To keep costs down, most of the cast didn't receive an upfront salary. See more »

Goofs

Ron's family watches JFK's inauguration in Washington, DC in January 1961. It is sub-freezing there. Outside the Kovic home in Long Island, NY at the same time, it appears to be early fall. See more »

Quotes

Steve Boyer: You could start out as a cashier... and then work your way up to becoming a manager of one of these places - just like your dad.
Ron Kovic: I get $1700 a month from the government. I think I'm just going to lay low, and look around...
Steve Boyer: [dismissively] That's charity money, Ronnie; this isn't.
Ron Kovic: Charity?
Steve Boyer: All I'm saying is that you got to - you got to put the war behind you, you know; you got to forget about this chair you're in!
Ron Kovic: [leans forward] Sometimes, Stevie, I think people, they know you're back from ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Cast credits are sorted by location. See more »

Connections

Features Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In (1967) See more »

Soundtracks

Moon River
Written by Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini
Performed by Henry Mancini
Courtesy of RCA Records
Published by Famous Music Corporation
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A Patriot's Fall From Grace

What defines a great film? I believe that for a movie to be great, it should move you. It should make you think. It should make you reconsider your views and outlooks. It should make you take a closer look at its subject matter. It should draw attention to itself. Above all, you should gain some amount of enjoyment from a great film. I believe that BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY was a great film. I say this because, whether or not you agree with Ron Kovic's message, and although Oliver Stone almost ruined it with his attempts to personalize reality, the movie still made people stop and look. It literally defined the Vietnam War for a generation of Tom Cruise fans, and made many more aware of what the vets went through. The cinematography, score and fabulous acting made it a pleasure for many people to watch, if only to see how Cruise would deliver his next line.

The film grossed $70,001,698 nationwide. In 1989, when BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY was released, movie tickets cost five dollars. Therefore, over fourteen million American people went to the theater to see this movie. The number of viewers increases when you take into consideration the people who rented it on video or watched a television broadcast. It had that special something that made people think about issues that they might not have thought about before. It is lamentable that by 1989, many of the members of Generation X had paid little or no attention to the Vietnam War, even though only sixteen years had passed since the war's end. The younger generation was reminded that the war did, indeed, happen, and that the country was still being lambasted with the side effects.

The camera work was extremely effective in relaying the messages in the film. Different moods within the film were indicated by different tints in the color. Combats were filmed in red, while blue indicated sadness, and white tints where used in the dream sequences. Whether intended or not, the colors of choice also coincide with that of the American flag, which is very appropriate for the film. The film also employed a wide variety of interesting angles without becoming confusing to the viewer.

The musical score is one of the best of all time. John Williams is a genius in the music industry. His fabulous music can make a film feel the way it was intended to. He seems to simply know what sequence of notes will produce what emotions. Along with Williams' music, the score also includes some of the popular music from the time of the film's setting. For instance, AMERICAN PIE by Don McLean, MY GIRL by the Temptations, and MOONRIVER by Henry Mancini, all give the viewer who remembers the music a sense of nostalgia, taking them back to those years.

Two words sum up why the movie got the attention it did: Tom Cruise. Many critics were skeptical whether or not the pretty boy of RISKY BUSINESS and TOP GUN fame had what it took to portray a real life Vietnam veteran and make the audience believe he was that person. Fans crowded into the theaters to watch Cruise's handsome face (which was not so attractive through most of the film). Critics went to watch him blow the role. But he proved himself and went above and beyond what was expected of him in one of the most moving performances I have ever seen. He literally became Ron Kovic.

Many people were affected by BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY. It had great cinematography. Its soundtrack was inspiring and beautiful, pulling out of the viewer all possible emotions. Tom Cruise's performance as Ron Kovic blew almost everyone away. In short, BORN ON THE FORTH OF JULY has what it takes to be a great film. It overcomes Stone's blatant manipulation of facts, such as the violent conflict that in the movie occurs during a republican convention, but in reality occurred during a democratic convention. Powerful and touching, it drives its point home and back again, never missing a beat.

8 out of 10 stars


52 of 62 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Democrats esclated the Vietnam War and Republicans ended the war. mymai5500
Any idea what happened to the Dafoe character? housecountrywife
Anyone know if Ron Kovic has ever walked again? cadeis-1
song playing in the background during pool room scene bobbynear
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