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Born on the Fourth of July 1989

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...

Release Date:
December 20, 1989
Duration:
145 min
Cast:
William Mapother, Bob Gunton, Tom Sizemore, R.D. Call, Lili Taylor, David Warshofsky, Beau Starr, James Le Gros, Jack McGee, David Herman, Mike Starr, Reg E. Cathey, Daniel Baldwin, Vivica A. Fox, Willem Dafoe, Stephen Baldwin, Lisa Barnes, Mike Miller, Ed Lauter, Wayne Knight, Tom Cruise, Dale Dye, Lucinda Jenney, John C. McGinley, Tom Berenger, Mark Moses, John Getz, Jason Gedrick, Kyra Sedgwick, Jayne Haynes, Bryan Larkin, Cody Beard, John William Galt, Willie Minor, Norma Moore, John Achorn, Peter Benson, Andrew Lauer, Billie Neal, Ed Jupp Jr., Joseph P. Reidy, Byron Minns, Markus Flanagan, Frank Girardeau, Frank Whaley, Brian Tarantina, William Baldwin, Michael Wincott, Frank Cavestani, Bruce MacVittie, Anthony Pena, Alan Toy, Chris Pedersen, Corkey Ford, David Neidorf, Ivan Kane, Paul Sanchez, Nick Nicholson, Oliver Stone, Henry Strzalkowski, J.R. Nutt, William Wallace, Edith Diaz, Peter Crombie, Seth Allen, Ben Wright, Don Wilson, Jake Weber, Raymond J. Barry, Melinda Renna, Josh Evans, Michael Smith Guess, Anne Bobby, Tony Frank, Norm Wilson, Dean Mauro, Delia Sheppard, Michelle Hurst, Holly Marie Combs, Mark Edward Walters, Rick Masters, John Del Regno, Jodi Long, Damien Leake, Rocky Carroll, Mark Miller, Erika Geminder, Sami Chester, Begonya Plaza, Richard Poe, Caroline Kava, Jamie Talisman, Samantha Larkin, Jerry Levine, Richard Panebianco, Rob Camilletti, Michael McTighe, Richard Haus, Kevin Harvey Morse, Karen Newman, Liz Moore, Stacey Moseley, Mel Allen, Richard Grusin, Harold Woloschin, Ryan Beadle, Sean McGraw, Sean Stone, Jenna von Oÿ, Ellen Pasternack, Joy Zapata, Bob Tillotson, Michael Compotaro, Paul Abbott, Bill Allen, Claude Brooks, Christopher W. Mills, John Falch, Dan Furnad, Fred Geise, Greg Hackbarth, Chris Walker, Richard Lubin, Sergio Scognamiglio, Abbie Hoffman, Edie Brickell, Keri Roebuck, Geoff Garza, Amanda Davis, Gale Mayron, Jason Klein, Jessica Prunell, Lane R. Davis, Johnny Pinto, Michael Sulsona, Cordelia González, Eduardo Ricaro, Elbert Lewis, Kevin G. McGuire, Ken Osborne, Chuck Pfeiffer, Chip Moody, Eagle Eye Cherry, Philip Amelio, Jimmy L. Parker, William G. Knight, David Carriere, Kristel Otney, Pamela S. Neill, Elizabeth Hoffman, Lorraine Morin-Torre, Annie McEnroe, Réal Andrews, Chris Adamec, Ran Barker, Allan Hale, Ron Kovic, Fernando Lara, Íce Mrozek, Bud Sabatino, Marvin Frank Stone III, Steve Thomas, Dean Denton, Luv Adele Gaerlan, Norman D. Wilson, Theresa Bell, Mike Miller, Peter Benson, Lisa Barnes, E. Lee Smith ...
Genres:
Drama, Biography, War ...
Country:
USA

Your rating: 0

Solar rating: 7.8

3

Imdb rating: 7.2

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The media is the criminal in the Paris Hilton tape scandal. Without the media, no one would have ever found out about the tape, save a few internet freaks. Because of the media, everyone knows about that girl's misfortune.
That reminds me... I recently saw a news commercial that said: "What is this reporter doing walking through a nuclear power plant? Proving how easy it would be for a terrorist to do the same!" ... the only thing that news report is doing is putting ideas in the minds of anyone who may be considering terrorist action (people of whom there are few).
Well I saw Born on the Fourth of July... finally. Tom Cruise and Willem Dafoe were amazing. I love Oliver Stone. Although I didn't LOVE the film, it was definetly worth the time, it was very well made, and it had some very memorable and powerful moments.
They say everything happens for a reason. I agree, but I don't think it's in some all-important way. Whenever I learn about something, it begins to turn up more. I saw Born on the Fourth today - and on Tough Crowd they were talking about Ronnie and Born on the Fourth. Just an example.
I watched Batman Forever - for the actors. Jim Carrey did the best job out of all of them if you ask me - he found the true motivation behind a madman. I love how they felt it necessary to do a close up of Kilmer's butt and hold it.
Every day is the same. I have nothing to do but sit in front of this damn computer and watch television. I can't wait to get to Full Sail and actually DO stuff.
PS - I've found that doing these short, off-the-cuff reviews of every film I see and entries about everything i do (LIKE THIS ONE) just isn't satisfying. From now on I'll do reviews only if I'm truly compelled to write them, and entries only if i've really got something worth reading. And I'll do my best to do a good job - STARTING WITH TAPE.
PPS - It absolutely amazes me how many people can get so excited about crappy movies. It's all over RT - click anywhere in the forums and you'll see it.
The Final Programme (1973, Robert Fuest) **½
Very British sci-fi yarn. The sets were impressive, as they were on Fuest's Dr. Phibes films. Most of the film concerned a search for some missing microfilm...and was very confusing. The ending was ludicrous. Maybe a second viewing will help clarify the plot.

Born on the Fourth of July (1989, Oliver Stone) ****
Traditionally I have not been a fan of Tom Cruise or Oliver Stone, but this film single handedly may change that fact. Stunning cinematography. A tour de force for Cruise. Excruciatingly realistic depiction of war, from combat, to the field hospital, to the veteran's hospital, and beyond.
Whew. Long week. Not to mention I've got a full weekend of ultimate ahead (spring season almost underway- root for University of Pittsburgh's En Sabah Nur!), so I won't be able to see any movies this weekend... :( Note to all aspiring youngsters: COLLEGE IS OVERRATED. STAY HOME AND WATCH MANY MOVIES A DAY.

Yeah, so here's my attempt at catching up:
Requiem for a Dream (2000)

A jostling wakeup call that documents the self-destruction of four connected individuals. Heartbreaking, but often times the editing style so obviously forced an emotion on me that I was taken out of the engaging story. People say that the editing is great, but I think that it's the cinematography that deserves praise here: completely distorting and confusing. Marion walking into the elevator with the mounted camera was a great scene that skewered our normal view of her character. Each character's transformation and resurrection at the end is solemn and ambiguous, and makes the whole experience a bit depressing.

Not Another Teen Movie (2001)
An unfunny spoof of the recent- and not so recent- surge of teen movies that just ends up being a bunch of simple jokes that anyone could have seen coming. I don't know why I gave it a 3/10. Maybe simply because it made fun of the "weird kid" and his floating bag from American Beauty.

Armageddon (1998)
So, tell me how this got Criterion-ed? HOW? It's bad enough that the casual and frequent "tension-relieving laugh moments" take over the film and completely undermine any sense of peril, but Bay adding in those unnecessary shots of solitary children from various parts of the world- as if he was trying to make this film for them- was just insulting. He ended up making a bad comedy that failed as well as an ode to the future generations.

Russian Ark (2003)
I really admire Sukovsky for undertaking such an artistic project- I'm talking about reliving Russian history through the subjective eyes of both the archival museum and the opinionated French host- but, well, you all know... Everybody who hears about the film talks about it: The single sustained shot. It totally took away from the beautiful idea, and never added anything to the story. I come from the school of thought that believes that every technique, every shot included, must further the telling of the story, and this (even the director admits it) is solely because he felt like experimenting with this idea. Sadly, it turns the grand and inventive idea into a curator's tool and museum tour resource. I must give this a fresh rating though because I'm astonished at the thought and love that the director put in to the content and discussion within said tour.

Born on the Fourth of July (1989)
As written, BONFOJ is a worthy nod to the real Ronnie Kovic, a once blind advocate for the U.S.'s involvement in Vietnam who is embittered when he becomes paralyzed in battle. The execution of his experiences in Vietnam serve as a firm foundation for his internal conflict, but the film dozes of in the second half (especially the sections set in Mexico, which, despite one spot of light in an unconventional sex scene, hold little emotional weight). Here, Cruise does an admirable job portraying this life (spanning a few decades), but I've seen him more convincing and intense. I liked the scenes in the recovery hospital, but most of the rest of the movie was directed to mediocrity. Oh and suggestion for Oliver Stone: dramas do not successfully have wheelchair fights.

DONE!! The next five should be up shortly...


Just wanted to wish everyone a very HAPPY 4TH OF JULY
I figured today that I would go ahead and review movies for one of my all time favorite directors and a few of his movies.

Oliver Stone:
I, for the most part, love his work. He is original and almost all ways groundbreaking. He never seems to take no for an answer in his movie nor does he ever seem to say we can't do that its to violent.

Platoon:
My favorite of Stone's pictures and definately one of his very best. I love how he manages to keep you on the edge of your seat while leaving you in total shock as to the very violent and brutal nature of both sides of the Vietnam War. I also love how he has no problem showing you that America was a country that did lots of wrong during this war and wasn't the picture perfect country we always try to be.

JFK:
Possible the most controversial film of Stone's pictures but I liked it just the same. The acting is marvelous and the direction superb but I did have trouble with the plot. It is so insanely biased that it kinda aggrevates you to no end. I wonder why Stone didn't think to put in some evidence to support the current judgement. I think this film is good if you can get away from its biasness and lots of half truths.

Born on the Fourth of July:
This one I'll Keep Really short, I enjoy the film, well acted and well directed. The only problem is it is occasionally flooded by overacting extras and dull moments.

Natural Born Killers:
Another controversial film for Stone, one of the most misunderstood films too. I think this movie takes a hard look into the thoughts of people in general and just adds a more violent twist. One problem is at times it is a bit too violent.
Oliver Stone is certainly hit and miss as a director, but in my opinion, Born on the Fourth of July is a bullseye. The second film in his Vietnam trilogy (which also includes Platoon and the overdramatic and borderline sadistic Heaven and Earth), Born on the Fourth of July focusses on one man, and the effect the Vietnam War has on his life. And that intense focus provides much of the film's power. This isn't about how Vietnam affected a platoon (Platoon), a squad (Casualties of War), or a trio of friends (The Deerhunter). This film is about one man, his successes and failures, and the part that Vietnam played in the unfolding narrative of his life.

The man is Ron Kovic (Tom Cruise), and Born on the Fourth of July is based on his autobiography, which makes the film is even more intriguing and ultimately harrowing with the knowledge that the events portrayed in the film are true. The opening third of the film shows Ron in high school, on the wrestling team and struggling to find a date for prom, and the sweetness of this first hour is beguiling. I've rarely seen a film capture a sense of nostalgia so effortlessly. Ron signs up for the Marines so he can serve his country and is subsequently wounded in Vietnam. Not much of the film actually takes place in Vietnam; rather, the years before and after Ron's service are the crux of the film. He finds himself disenchanted with his government after his return and becomes an outspoken opponent of the war, much as Stone himself did.

Born on the Fourth of July is one of Stone's more straight-forward films, made before he hit his technical pinnacle (JFK, Natural Born Killers) and then eventually drowned in his own personal brand of directorial excess (Nixon, U-Turn). There is a stretch in the middle, featuring Willem Dafoe, that is tedious and unnecessary, seemingly endless. The film has some obvious weaknesses and would benefit from having a good 40 minutes excised from it, but it is a mostly brilliant piece of work, and I find something new to admire everytime I see it.
Garden State (2004)

The film started of well. Tom cruise was decent but unimpressive. The first half was promising, but the ovwerwrought melodrama , especially in the second half brings it down.After cruise is injured and sent to a hospital, it all goes to hell, both for the film and the character in the film. The sequence with Cruise going down to Mexico and meeting Defoe is utterly unnecessary and really bogs down the movie. The entire sequence could be excised and the film would flow better and enjoy better editing. The plodding pace, ovelong film are but some of the problems inherent within the film. And the director's unabashedly manipulative stance threatens to be a tad off putting at times. Its like he's almost trying to force his political opinion down the audience's throats. But nonetheless this is an Oliver Stone film, and some of his flair still shines through. The music is excellent and Stone manages to craft moments of movie magic.

Alas, these moments are, more often than not over shadowed by overwrought melodrama and an overlong script. Stone tries to make his point, but the problem is that the message is delivered with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. There are moments of brilliance, yet the film, while ambitious remains a decidedly flawed film inspite of the critical accolades it has won. And vis a vis Stone's superior JFK, Born on the Fourth of July inevitably disappooints.



7.25/10
review to come
Theres no denying this movie's power. The best performance Cruaise has ever given, or ever will be given can be found here. The vietnam scenes are terrific, in the fact that it's not the lush, green setting that we're used to, but sandy dunes. Great movie. top 5