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Born on the Fourth of July
Tom Cruise and Willem Dafoe




Overview -
Set in the years between 1956 and 1976; Produced and released in 1989. One of the best films made about the devastating impact of the Vietnam War on the body politic, BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY is superbly executed by director Oliver Stone, who evokes what may be Tom Cruise's best performance as Vietnam vet Ron Kovic. Before the war starts, Kovic is a normal American kid, going to school, hanging out with his friends, and bagging groceries for pocket money. But as the Vietnam conflict begins to impact the lives of everyone around him, the patriotic teenager decides to enlist. Although his father (Raymond J. Berry) is not happy with his decision, his mother (Caroline Kava) could hardly be more enthusiastic. Once in combat, Kovic becomes disillusioned with his commanding officer (John Getz) who dismisses the fact that Kovic accidentally shot one of their own men in combat. Shortly thereafter, Kovic is paralyzed from the chest down by a bullet in the spine. He must begin a lengthy and excruciatingly painful rehabilitation, which includes a period in the shockingly negligent Bronx Veteran's Hospital. He finally returns to his hometown, now a confused, embittered, and alienated man. His family is also unsettled, unsure about how to deal with this very changed person. After a dissipated spree with other disabled vets like Charlie (Willem Dafoe), Kovic begins talking to antiwar activists like Donna (Kyra Sedgwick) and starts to reevaluate his thinking. In sum, BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY is a deeply moving true account of the effects of war on its survivors.

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Blu-ray (New Box Art)
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More About Born on the Fourth of July

 
 
 

Overview

Set in the years between 1956 and 1976; Produced and released in 1989. One of the best films made about the devastating impact of the Vietnam War on the body politic, BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY is superbly executed by director Oliver Stone, who evokes what may be Tom Cruise's best performance as Vietnam vet Ron Kovic. Before the war starts, Kovic is a normal American kid, going to school, hanging out with his friends, and bagging groceries for pocket money. But as the Vietnam conflict begins to impact the lives of everyone around him, the patriotic teenager decides to enlist. Although his father (Raymond J. Berry) is not happy with his decision, his mother (Caroline Kava) could hardly be more enthusiastic. Once in combat, Kovic becomes disillusioned with his commanding officer (John Getz) who dismisses the fact that Kovic accidentally shot one of their own men in combat. Shortly thereafter, Kovic is paralyzed from the chest down by a bullet in the spine. He must begin a lengthy and excruciatingly painful rehabilitation, which includes a period in the shockingly negligent Bronx Veteran's Hospital. He finally returns to his hometown, now a confused, embittered, and alienated man. His family is also unsettled, unsure about how to deal with this very changed person. After a dissipated spree with other disabled vets like Charlie (Willem Dafoe), Kovic begins talking to antiwar activists like Donna (Kyra Sedgwick) and starts to reevaluate his thinking. In sum, BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY is a deeply moving true account of the effects of war on its survivors.

Awards:
1989 - Academy Awards - Best Film Editing Winner
1989 - Academy Awards - Best Director Winner

Main Cast & Crew

Oliver Stone - Director
Tom Cruise
Willem Dafoe
Kyra Sedgwick
Raymond J. Barry
Caroline Kava
Bryan Larkin
Jerry Levine
Josh Evans
Jamie Talisman
Anne Bobby

 

Details

Blu-Ray Disc Format
  • Format: Blu-ray (New Box Art)
  • Run Time: 144
  • Color Format: Color
  • UPC: 191329089903
  • Genre: Drama
  • Rating: R (MPAA)
  • Release Date: April 1999

Related Categories:
Movies > Dramas

Related Keywords:
Politics
True Story
Vietnam
Personal Triumph
Physically Impaired
Theatrical Release
Essential Cinema

 

Movie Reviews

More Details

Notes:
Theatrical release date: December 20, 1989. Massapequa, New York, was represented by Dallas, Texas, in the film. Incidentally, star Tom Cruise was born on the third of July. Oliver Stone has been criticized for overly expressing his political views with this film. A small example is how Kovic and his vet pals are harshly rejected from a Republican rally but later, at a Democratic rally, they are warmly welcomed.

Reviews:
"...Tom Cruise gives an astounding, deeply felt performance..." - 01/11/1990 Rolling Stone, p.29


"...A film of enormous visceral power....[Cruise's performance] defines everything that is best about the movie..." - 12/20/1989 New York Times, p.C15


Included in the New York Times "10 Best Films of 1989" List - 12/24/1989 New York Times, p.II, 22


"...Cruise sets himself apart from the rest by proving with stunning ferocity that the most popular guy at the movies can also be a fine actor..." - 01/05/1990 USA Today, p.1D


Rating: B - 07/08/1994 Entertainment Weekly, pp.58-9


"...You'd be hard pressed to remain untouched by the trials of paralysed Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic....Gripping during the pre-war and combat sequences..." - 10/01/1999 Total Film, p.102


"This '89 epic features cameos from Kovic himself and anti-war legend Abbie Hoffman." - 08/01/2005 Uncut, p.135

 

BAM Customer Reviews