A young man leaves Ireland with his landlord's daughter after some trouble with her father, and they dream of owning land at the big give-away in Oklahoma ca. 1893. When they get to the new... See full summary »
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 <email@example.com>
Including cameos by Oliver Stone there are at least 11 other actors credited in this film that also appeared in Oliver Stone's earlier Vietnam War film "Platoon". See more »
In the movie, Ron is, by 1972, a full-fledged anti-war activist. Ron materializes on the floor of the Republican National Convention with a few other Vietnam Veterans Against the War. They make a scene, attract a few cameras, block the aisle, and rile the delegates, a mass of bloated Republican faces in straw boaters. One of them spits on Ron. Security guards move in, roughly pushing and pulling the veterans from the hall, physically preventing reporters from following. Outside, Ron is thrown from his wheelchair by an undercover cop and beaten. Actually, Robert Dornan persuaded security guards to let Kovic into the convention. Mr. Dornan says he made Mr. Kovic promise not to make a scene. That, however, did not stop the Vietnam veteran, who joined forces with two other disabled anti- war veterans. "It was not as big a disturbance as the movie showed, but it was a disturbance," says Mr. Dornan. "They were screaming. The guards came down and politely pulled their chairs backward. [They] put them out peaceably." A United Press International report of the incident describes the scene this way: "After about five minutes, security agents wheeled them in protesting out a side door. I went out and watched him and the other two congratulating one another, bragging about what they'd accomplished." See more »
People say that if you don't love America, then get the hell out. Well, I love America.
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Let's start with the good news. "Born on the Fourth of July" is an absorbing piece of work, based on a true story, about Ron Kovic (Tom Cruise), a gung-ho Marine-turned-war-protester. We first meet Kovic as an all-American boy as strong in his faith as he is in his will to succeed. After high school he proudly joins the Marines, hoping he'll be shipped to Vietnam to stop the spread of communism. But the barbarities of war, including civilian casualties, friendly fire and a paralyzing bullet through the chest, gradually turn him against the conflict. Director Oliver Stone's method of telling Kovic's story over a period of several years is highly effective and convincing. Cruise is at his best as Kovic, portraying a wide range of emotions and developing apathy with the viewer. The audience feels what he feels, from confusion on the battlefield to the terror of being paralyzed from the waist down.
Now for the bad news. The picture is overly political, with Stone once again (and unnecessarily) casting Republicans as the bad guys and Democrats as the good guys (seemingly ignoring that the Dems initially sent the troops to 'Nam). The film also takes a while to build up steam, and the all-American life of the pre-Marine Kovic seems a little too perfect to be believable. Obviously a story such as this requires adequate screen time, but the 145 minutes is slightly drawn out, particularly toward the end. And although one of its central themes is the opposition to the war that greeted returning vets, the genesis and rationale of that opposition are not adequately explored.
As a whole, however, "Born of the Fourth of July" is recommended. Kovic's biography and Stone's masterful storytelling are a perfect match. It's not your typical war movie. In fact, it's not your typical movie, period.
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