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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
3,462 ( 973)
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
Bryan Larkin ... Young Ron
Raymond J. Barry ... Mr. Kovic
Caroline Kava ... Mrs. Kovic
Josh Evans ... Tommy Kovic
Seth Allen Seth Allen ... Young Tommy
Jamie Talisman Jamie Talisman ... Jimmy Kovic
Sean Stone ... Young Jimmy
Anne Bobby ... Susanne Kovic
Jenna von Oÿ ... Young Susanne
Samantha Larkin Samantha Larkin ... Patty Kovic
Erika Geminder Erika Geminder ... Young Patty
Amanda Davis Amanda Davis ... Baby Patty
Kevin Harvey Morse Kevin Harvey Morse ... Jackie Kovic
John Getz ... Marine Major
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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:

Born on the Fourth of July See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$14,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$172,021, 25 December 1989

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

Taxi Driver has a disturbed Vietnam veteran Travis Bickle who tries to assassinate the president and goes on a killing spree at the ending. 1980's Don't Answer the Phone has crazed Vietnam Vet Kirk Smith stalking and murdering the women of Los Angeles. Also Christopher Walken's disturbed and suicidal Nick in the Deer Hunter winds up killing himself and endangering the people around him. And Sylvester Stallone's John Rambo in First Blood gets into a conflict with several locals and law enforcement officials; ends up going into crazy Vietnam flashbacks and winds up killing most of the town. All of this can be seen as part of the dangerous Vietnam Veteran Trend. In the 1970s, (and the early 80s); as the Vietnam War ended and the veterans came home and re-entered society, there was a fear that the veterans were disturbed, dangerous; might be a threat to society. This was a reflection of our overall ambivalence about the war in general. One of the outgrowths of these negative attitudes was that Vietnam Veterans were often portrayed in movies as dangerous, and self-destructive psychopaths. Taxi Driver, Don't Answer the Phone; First Blood and Deer Hunter were all part of this trend. This trend flip flopped in the mid to late 1980s where Vietnam Veterans were now being deified in the movies. Where John Rambo was a psychopath in First Blood Part 1; in Rambo: First Blood Part 2 he is enlisted by his sergeant Richard Crenna to go on a mission back to Vietnam to save POWs that are still trapped there. He goes from misunderstood Frankenstein-Psychopath in part 1, to hero in part 2. Arnold Schwartzenegger's Commando was another Vietnam Hero in the eighties; trying to save his daughter Alyssa Millano, who has been kidnapped by terrorists. Good Morning Vietnam has DJ Robin Williams entertaining the heroic soldiers of the Vietnam war; Born On the Fourth of July has Tom Cruise portraying an almost Christ-like paraplegic War Veteran Ron Kovic and his transition from from soldier to protester. And on television in the 1980s we had China Beach; which had Dana Delaney and the other heroic nurses of the Vietnam war dealing with the war and it's traumas. The transition in movies from Psychotic Kirk Smith in 1980s Don's Answer the Phone; to the saintly Ron Kovic in Born on the Fourth of July nine years later is staggering; and suggests the dramatic transitions in society's attitudes towards the war during that period. See more »

Goofs

During the parade at the beginning of the film set in 1956, several parade goers and participants are wearing 1980s-era clothing and hairstyles. See more »

Quotes

[Ron is attempting to walk in the hospital; Willie is beside him]
Ron Kovic: Am I good? Hey
[drags himself forward]
Ron Kovic: , am I good?
Willie: Man, you're one crazy Marine, Kovic - so gung-ho and everything, but you don't know shit about what's really happenin' in this country.
Ron Kovic: Fuck you, Willie.
Willie: I'm serious man. It ain't about burnin' the flag and Vietnam, man. While we fight for rights over there, we ain't got no rights at home. It's about Detroit and Newark, man. It's about racism, man.
Ron Kovic: Is that right?
Willie: Because you can't...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Cast credits are sorted by location. See more »

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Vietnam War Movies (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Cielito Lindo
Written by Quirino Mendoza, Arranged by Trini López (as Trini Lopez)
Performed by Trini López (as Trini Lopez)
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records, Inc.
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
Published by Polygram International Publishing, Inc.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
"You can take your Vietnam and shove it up your ass" Stone's 2nd best film to date
20 November 2001 | by Quinoa1984See all my reviews

Oliver Stone's Born on the Fourth of July to me is better than Platoon, or at least more psychologically moving and cinematically compelling. While Platoon, Stone's totally personal account of the Vietnam war is quite accurate and superb in many ways, this film is better if only because it's not Stone's story. He takes the tale of Ron Kovic (who wrote the book with the same name as the film and scripted by him and Stone) and turns it into a blisteringly awesome and ultimately harrowing picture that has performances, scenes and direction that top Platoon (maybe it's a sign that practice makes perfect)

Anyway, the tale centers on Ron Kovic (played to a utter T by Tom Cruise) good old-boy-type of American kid who decides he wants to fight for his country in the Vietnam war even if he has to die for his country. He fights, witnesses horror and makes a tragic mistake and comes back home a crippled from the waist down veteran, who has to endure the emotional and physical pain of just being a veteran of Vietnam in a country where they are put down more than revered. All this, and more (including one of the most volcanic scenes I have ever seen between Cruise and Dafoe on a Mexico road) lead him to become a anti-war activist.

In making the big theme of the picture Kovic and his feeling on the war, Stone depicts his journey excellently by showing his desire to be in it, his confusion afterwards, his eventual hatred and then placement in being against the war all the while still being a patriot. Not only does it work as a saga/war movie, but also as a 180 degree change tale. Must, must see for all Stone fans and for anybody who wants to see what Cruise can actually do with proper direction and script.


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