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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 73,010 users   Metascore: 75/100
Reviews: 172 user | 70 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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Won 2 Oscars. Another 13 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »



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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 <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

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
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Did You Know?


Both Raymond J. Barry and Caroline Kava, who play Mr. and Mrs. Kovic, parents to Ron Kovic a Vietnam veteran, previously appeared together in Year of the Dragon (1985), a movie which was also co-written by Oliver Stone. In that movie, it's Raymond J. Barry who's plays a Vietnam veteran. 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 »


Ron Kovic: [to Charlie] I had a mother; I had a father, things - things that made sense. Do you remember things that made sense? Things you could count on? Before we all got so lost? What are we gonna do, Charlie? What am I gonna do?
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Crazy Credits

Cast credits are sorted by location. See more »


Referenced in Forrest Gump (1994) See more »


A Hard Rain's a Gonna Fall
Written by Bob Dylan
Performed by Edie Brickell
Courtesy of Geffen Records
Published by Warner Bros., Inc.
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User Reviews

'There was another war waiting for the soldiers when they returned home.'
24 October 2004 | by (New York State) – See all my reviews

When asked why he wanted to make another film about Vietnam after the success of 'Platoon,' Oliver Stone is quoted as saying, 'There was another war waiting for the soldiers when they returned home.' Indeed, he was right. 'Born On the Fourth Of July,' based on the book by Ron Kovic, follows Kovic's account of his experiences in Vietnam and the indifferent nation that he returned to. Although released in 1989, it holds up to the current situation that exists in Iraq now-many refer to it as the new Vietnam. Regardless of anyone's opinion on the current Iraq war, 'Born On the Fourth of July' is one of the most affecting, and important war related films of all time.

As the film opens, we find a young Kovic pretending to be a soldier with friends-a time when the idea of being a soldier was heroic since their father's had been heroes in WWII. The film then follows Kovic as a popular athlete in high school up to his recruitment as a Marine. Kovic rationalizes his reasons for joining up as Communists have missiles pointed at us now and we have to save our country from its threats.

During his time in Vietnam, Kovic sees the true nature of war. His platoon mistakenly fires upon a town where the enemy is supposedly hiding; however, they end up killing women and children. During the confusion that follows, Kovic accidentally shoots a fellow soldier-his guilt would encompass him for years to come. But when Kovic himself is wounded in a field, he is sent home paralyzed from the waist down. He spends the first few months in a veteran hospital, which in this case, was a slum. The doctors inform him that he will never be able to use his legs again, and that he no longer has the ability to have children.

When he returns to his home, he realizes that the world has changed. People protest the war, sometimes protesting against the soldiers themselves. His own family is indifferent to the war, as are his old friends. In one scene, he is told by an old friend who has become successful as a fast food manager, 'people here-they don't give a s**t about the war! To them it's just a million miles away.'

Eventually becoming disillusioned by everything in his hometown, Kovic spends a great deal of time with other veterans like himself at a resort in Mexico. Later he becomes an activist-his first public activism took place at the 1972 Republican National Convention where he was televised for exposing the reality of what soldiers endured in Vietnam, but also on the reasons why we did not belong there in the first place.

'Born On the Fourth of July' spends a good deal of time focusing on the misplaced patriotism that the politicians spewed at the public to drum up support not only for Vietnam, but the Cold War, in general. The film shows this by Kovic's own mother constantly reminding her son that he was doing the right thing by going over there and fighting and that he was in God's hands. When Kovic returns home and his disillusionment grows, he gets drunk one night and yells at his mother, 'There is no God. There is only me in this chair for the rest of my life!'

The film does stand up today just as strong as ever. With soldiers returning home from Iraq, and the constant media attention of terrorist attacks over there and seeing our own soldiers ambushed all the time, those who fight now must feel the same anger and frustration that Kovic felt year ago. It does make one wonder, when will the politicians ever truly get it! ****

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Did you well up in these scenes? dazfiddy
Democrats esclated the Vietnam War and Republicans ended the war. mymai5500
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Anyone know if Ron Kovic has ever walked again? cadeis-1
Equipment used in Vietnam scenes -- accuracy question JackSparrow92
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