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Born on the Fourth of July (1989)

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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:

Oliver Stone

Writers:

Ron Kovic (book), Oliver Stone (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
3,877 ( 84)
Won 2 Oscars. Another 13 wins & 25 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Cruise ... Ron Kovic
Raymond J. Barry ... Mr. Kovic
Caroline Kava ... Mrs. Kovic
Josh Evans Josh Evans ... Tommy Kovic
Jamie Talisman Jamie Talisman ... Jimmy Kovic
Anne Bobby ... Suzanne Kovic
Samantha Larkin Samantha Larkin ... Patty Kovic
Tom Berenger ... Recruiting Gunnery Sgt. Hayes
Frank Whaley ... Timmy
Jerry Levine ... Steve Boyer
Richard Panebianco Richard Panebianco ... Joey Walsh
Rob Camilletti Rob Camilletti ... Tommy Finnelli
Stephen Baldwin ... Billy Vorsovich
Michael McTighe Michael McTighe ... Danny Fantozzi
Richard Haus Richard Haus ... Recruiting Sgt. Bowers
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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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

5 January 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Nacido el cuatro de julio See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$14,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$172,021, 25 December 1989, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$70,001,698

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$161,001,698
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Ixtlan See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby SR (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The actor who played young Ron Kovic, Bryan Larkin, was originally from Massapequa, New York, the town the character he was playing was from, and where the bulk of the movie takes place. Of course, most of the movie was filmed in Texas, including the young Ron Kovic scenes. Ironically, Bryan Larkin left his hometown of Massapequa for Texas to film scenes that are meant to be in Massapequa. See more »

Goofs

During the fighting in Oct. 1967 the Marines are shown using M14's and a Bazooka. In Oct. 1967 Marines would have already been issued the M16A1 rifle and instead of a Bazooka it would have been a LAAW instead. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Kovic: [enters the room, beaming] Ronnie, Ronnie, you're doing the right thing! Communism has to be stopped! It's God's will that you go, and I'm proud of you.
[gently pats his shoulder]
Mrs. Kovic: Just be careful, that's all.
[pause]
Ron Kovic: Don't you know what it means to me to be a Marine, Dad? Ever since I was a kid I've wanted this - I've wanted to serve my country - and I want to go. I want to go to Vietnam - and I'll die there if I have to.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film's title is seen after the end credits have finished. See more »


Soundtracks

You're a Grand Old Flag
Written by George M. Cohan
Performed by the Pride of the 48
Courtesy of Alshire International, Inc.
Published by George M. Cohan Music Publishing Co.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Reality hurts
4 February 2007 | by anupam-satyasheelSee all my reviews

When you see a war veteran campaigning against the very war in which he was willing to die once, you begin to have second thoughts about the intent behind the war. Many Americans went deep into this deliberation when veterans like Ron Kovic went on record questioning the wisdom behind US's offensive against Vietnam. Regardless of historical outcome of the war, the question will haunt USA forever -was the Vietnam War a noble and just cause. Your answer could be anything depending upon your political and ideological preferences, but the reality of thousands who lost their lives and limbs continues to hurt.

Oliver Stone's Born on Fourth of July - based on the true story of Ron Kovic - takes the audience through the triumph and trauma of a crusader who went from one side of the war debate to the other. Ron wanted to fight for his country and stop the evil force of communism dead in its tracks. He went to Vietnam to defend his nation but came back soon, injured and doomed to suffer further. In the inadequately equipped hospital, his dreamer instincts crashed against the harsh realities of political ambivalence, not for the first time though.

Over next eight years that are depicted in this masterpiece, the character of Ron Kovic (played by Tom Cruise with unprecedented brilliance) goes through the trauma of knowing that no one will "love him now", that even his own sibling is not on the same side of ideology, that the government had more pressing issues than taking good care of war veterans, that his countrymen did not necessarily endorse of his view point. The reality that he killed a soldier from his own army, the reality that he was the unfortunate one to butcher children and women in Vietnam, the reality that he would not be able to father a child, the reality of his realization that his government had made a wrong case for the war - it all kept gnawing at his conscience. It kept gnawing him until he opened up to speak about what was wrong about this war. Thus 'ended' the patriotic fervor of a driven person, but he continued his passion as an antiwar activist.

Born on Fourth of July may have been the story of one Ron Kovic, but there are many others whose sentiments would echo with this veteran's. At the end, there is no easy way out of this debate. War always comes with its baggage of pain, trauma and hurt. Whether Vietnam was a mistake or not - the arguments would go on forever. So would the history of people who aspired to be motivated by JFK's historical urge - Ask not what your country can do for you, See what you can do for your country - only to realize that in every war there is only one casualty - the human spirit. And this reality hurts.


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