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Born on the Fourth of July (1989)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama, War  |  5 January 1990 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 72,217 users   Metascore: 75/100
Reviews: 172 user | 70 critic | 16 from

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.



(book), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Josh Evans ...
Tommy Kovic
Jamie Talisman ...
Jimmy Kovic
Anne Bobby ...
Suzanne Kovic
Samantha Larkin ...
Patty Kovic
Steve Boyer
Richard Panebianco ...
Joey Walsh
Rob Camilletti ...
Tommy Finnelli
Billy Vorsovich
Michael McTighe ...
Danny Fantozzi
Richard Haus ...
Recruiting Sgt. Bowers


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A story of innocence lost and courage found.


Biography | Drama | War


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

5 January 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Geboren am 4. Juli  »

Box Office


$14,000,000 (estimated)


$70,001,698 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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). See more »


When Ron visits the family of the man he accidentally killed in Vietnam, the chair swing is broken. When he comes out of the house moments later, the swing is fixed. See more »


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.
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 »


Featured in Hollywood Vietnam (2005) See more »


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Written by James E. Myers (as Jimmy De Knight) and Max Freedman (as Max Freeman)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Absorbing Piece of Work
13 August 2006 | by (Manitoba, Canada) – See all my reviews

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.

35 of 46 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Recent Posts
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
Equipment used in Vietnam scenes -- accuracy question JackSparrow92
Tom Cruise was born today bossdog677
Indictment of "socialized" medicine suenickmarch-1
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