7.2/10
82,894
183 user 72 critic

Born on the Fourth of July (1989)

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.

Director:

Writers:

(book), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
3,536 ( 477)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Won 2 Oscars. Another 13 wins & 25 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Action | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A young hot-shot stock car driver gets his chance to compete at the top level.

Director: Tony Scott
Stars: Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Robert Duvall
The Firm (1993)
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A young lawyer joins a prestigious law firm only to discover that it has a sinister dark side.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Tom Cruise, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Gene Hackman
Cocktail (1988)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A talented New York City bartender takes a job at a bar in Jamaica and falls in love.

Director: Roger Donaldson
Stars: Tom Cruise, Bryan Brown, Elisabeth Shue
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Neo military lawyer Kaffee defends Marines accused of murder; they contend they were acting under orders.

Director: Rob Reiner
Stars: Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore
Jerry Maguire (1996)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

When a sports agent has a moral epiphany and is fired for expressing it, he decides to put his new philosophy to the test as an independent agent with the only athlete who stays with him and his former secretary.

Director: Cameron Crowe
Stars: Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr., Renée Zellweger
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Fast Eddie Felson teaches a cocky but immensely talented protégé the ropes of pool hustling, which in turn inspires him to make an unlikely comeback.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Paul Newman, Tom Cruise, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A Chicago teenager is looking for fun at home while his parents are away, but the situation quickly gets out of hand.

Director: Paul Brickman
Stars: Tom Cruise, Rebecca De Mornay, Joe Pantoliano
JFK (1991)
Drama | History | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison discovers there's more to the Kennedy assassination than the official story.

Director: Oliver Stone
Stars: Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Jack Lemmon
Far and Away (1992)
Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A young Irish couple flee to the States, but subsequently struggle to obtain land and prosper freely.

Director: Ron Howard
Stars: Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Thomas Gibson
Top Gun (1986)
Action | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

As students at the United States Navy's elite fighter weapons school compete to be best in the class, one daring young pilot learns a few things from a civilian instructor that are not taught in the classroom.

Director: Tony Scott
Stars: Tom Cruise, Tim Robbins, Kelly McGillis
Platoon (1986)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A young soldier in Vietnam faces a moral crisis when confronted with the horrors of war and the duality of man.

Director: Oliver Stone
Stars: Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe
Nixon (1995)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A biographical story of former U.S. President Richard Milhous Nixon, from his days as a young boy, to his eventual Presidency, which ended in shame.

Director: Oliver Stone
Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Joan Allen, Powers Boothe
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Josh Evans ...
Jamie Talisman ...
...
Samantha Larkin ...
...
...
...
Richard Panebianco ...
Rob Camilletti ...
...
Michael McTighe ...
Richard Haus ...
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:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

5 January 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Nacido el cuatro de julio  »

Box Office

Budget:

$14,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$172,021 (USA) (25 December 1989)

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  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Oliver Stone became the sixteenth man to win a second directing Oscar, joining an elite pantheon that includes Milos Forman, Billy Wilder, David Lean, Elia Kazan, and John Ford. Since his win, Clint Eastwood, Steven Spielberg, Ang Lee, and Alejandro González Iñárritu have been added to the list. See more »

Goofs

Reflections of camera and operator visible in the shiny black brim of Ron's hat during the second parade. See more »

Quotes

Doctor: We want to make one thing very clear to you, Ron. The possibility of your ever walking again is minimal... almost impossible. You're a T6 - paralyzed from the mid-chest down. Probably... you'll be in a wheelchair for the rest of your life. (pause) Do you understand what I'm saying?
Ron Kovic: Well, doctor...
Doctor: Hmm?
Ron Kovic: Doctor, will I ever be able to - to have children?
Doctor: No.
[pause]
Doctor: No, but we have a good psychologist. He's helped a lot of people.
Ron Kovic: I'll walk again.
Doctor: No you won't...
Ron Kovic: No, I know I'll walk again!
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Cast credits are sorted by location. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Directors: The Films of Oliver Stone (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

American Pie
Written by Don McLean
Performed by Don McLean
Under license from CEMA Special Markets
Courtesy of Capitol Records, Inc.
Published by Music Corp. of America, Inc. & Benny Bird Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

An ambitious film but it doesn't pull it off despite being worth a look for Cruise alone
23 August 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Having had an all-American upbringing in Long Island, Ron Kovic leaves school and decides to sign up for the marines to represent his country in Vietnam and make a difference. Having seen all manner of horrors, Ron is shot and wounded in the field and finds himself in a veterans hospital where he hopes to regain the use of his legs despite the advice of doctors. When he realises he will never walk again, it starts his mental collapse and he becomes increasing disillusioned with the country and he lost his legs for.

There is nothing I dislike more than hearing uninformed people from other countries spouting about Northern Ireland so I'll be very careful about launching into any sort of preaching – I'll leave that to Stone himself. It isn't that I don't want to know more it's just that I have so much to learn about my own culture and history that who has the time for wandering off to learn about America's! Anyway, there is no need for me to get on a soapbox because this film has a darn good go at doing it by itself. The basic plot is fine and very involving, mostly because it is a real person, not just a character but it weakens its impact by playing to the simplistic side of things. For example there is no question about Ron being a clean cut, shy boy, nor is there any complexity about how badly he is treated afterwards. In some regards this is fair enough but at times I wished that Stone had not been so strong in his sense of moral outrage because it doesn't give the subject the balance and subjectivity that it deserves to be presented with.

This alone does not make it a bad film however, and it isn't ever bad – just a touch heavy handed at points but it is very difficult to watch impassively and uninvolved. The film shows Kovic's collapse and gradual disillusionment really well in a way that stands for the mental and/or physical suffering of many vets who must have come back to find that the sacrifice they had made was not even supported by the vocal section of the populace. In a way, focusing on this one man makes for a story that is intimate but also has wider significance but in another way it means the film has to go into very specific areas that don't work so well. In particular I didn't think that Ron's Mexican trip worked that well and some aspects of his life were simply forgotten about (Donna?) and I wondered why they had even bothered to include them at all. Anyway, despite these comments the film still worked for me and it is an impacting story even if Oliver Stone is not the person I would have chosen to tell the story – a very good director but 'non-partisan' is not a term that could ever be laid at his feet and at points this film gets a little sermonising as a result.

A big factor in this film working is a superb performance by Cruise who was still, at this point, a clean cut poster boy and not the one I would have imagined taking this role! In the first of two performances that I believe he should have won an Oscar for (the other being SA for Magnolia), Cruise is very brave and very strong in the lead, convincingly taking us from a patriotic young boy to a injured soldier to a broken man to a man trying to put all the pieces together. Credit to both Cruise and the editor that this is done convincingly and without too many big jumps in character. Outside of Cruise though, nobody is really given a great deal of material to work with and all their characters are pretty two-dimensional and fleeting. If anything the support cast's main impact is to keep bringing well known faces to the screen; these include Barry, Sedgwick, Whaley, Baldwin (times two!), Dale Dye, Berenger, LeGros, Bob Gunton, Vivica Fox, Mike Starr (and brother), Dafoe, Sizemore, Eagle Eye Cherry, Wayne Knight and John C McGinley. Few of these have much to do but it is impressive how many faces there are that have since gone on to become well-known actors in their own right (I personally was surprised to see McGinley's only contribution being pushing a wheelchair or Fox being on screen (topless) for about 3 seconds with only one line) but this actually takes away from the film more than it gives now.

Overall this is an impacting film but not a great one. The story has a few bits that don't really work and aren't delivered very well, while Stone's direction occasionally gets all preachy on us but, although the now all-star cast are not great, Cruise is superb and deals with the difficult role well.

A very ambitious film and not one that manages to get it all right but still a film that is hard to ignore even if the same subject has been done better in other films.


50 of 89 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page