Born on the Fourth of July
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  • born on the fourth of july- special edition dvd
    One of Oliver Stone's masterpieces, Born on the Fourth of July, is a gripping epic about a paralyzed vietnam vet Ron Kovic who must come to terms with a country, a war, and himself that he doesn't understand. Be pulled in by a powerful Oscar nominated performance by Tom Cruise, equal to his nominated performance in Magnolia. Follow him from a young gung ho teen who is pro war and pro america, to a disshovled vet who argues against the war and his contry's direction. The DVD technology only adds to this award winning film. A must have for true film buffs and fans of both Oliver Stone and Tom Cruise....more info
  • Powerful story of the Vietnam era in microcosm
    I'm no fan of Oliver Stone (see my 1 star review for Platoon) or his politics, and even though this film's ultimate "message" is overtly political (Vietnam was a worthless cause, based on lies) and somewhat mendacious in pushing that left-wing agenda (it was the Republicans' fault), I still rate it highly based solely on its portrayal of Ron Kovic's personal story. This movie depicts with heartbreaking realism the experience of an All-American boy who comes home from the Vietnam War paralyzed from the waist down. Surely it can't be considered political to tell that story, can it? That would be the specious and self-interested argument of your typical neocon warmonger, who would like to keep the cameras away from Walter Reed, where the 19 and 20 year old victims of their phony war learn to cope with life without arms or legs or recognizably human faces. I think it's a good thing for the flag-waving public to understand the consequences of their jingoism and see what soldiers have to sacrifice. This movie makes that lesson quite clear. It can be raw and explicit, but so is getting your spinal cord snapped in two. Tom Cruise gives a fantastic performance here, the supporting cast is first rate, and the extraordinary attention to visual detail combine to create a moving and powerful film. My one complaint is that it doesn't really explain Kovic's conversion from super-patriot to anti-war activist, and represents him as a singularly inarticulate spokesman, at that. It seems to present his argument as amounting to nothing more than "I'm mad" and "The government lied!". Perhaps the real life Kovic had a more cogent position, but I didn't get that from the movie. In any case, it's an emotional and powerful look at one soldier's ordeal of tragedy and recovery....more info
  • This movie sucks
    This is one of the most pointless movies that I have ever seen. I guess one of the points to the movie that I missed was that I was supposed to feel sorry for Ron throughout the movie. The only time I ever felt sorry for him was when he was stuck in the hospital and no one took care of him. With the exception of him becoming disabled and was in the hospital, I felt that he brought a lot of his troubles on himself.

    Another point to this movie that I missed was that his being disabled and fighting in a terrible war gave him an excuse to do whatever he wanted. Rather than getting a job or doing something useful, he drank, told his sad story to anyone who wanted to listen, and cussed at his parents who take care of him. Oh yeah, he took a trip to Mexico to be touched by a hooker and fought with another disabled vet.

    The third point that I missed was that Ron changed his view on the war because of everything that he suffered. Going back to point number one I felt that he brought a lot of the troubles on himself. Before he went on his trip to Mexico, his girlfriend rejectes him because he is disabled and doesn't agree with her views on the war. The movie also shows his brother arguing with him over the war.

    The last point that I missed in the movie was that I am supposed to think that Ron found some kind of purpose in his life by speaking out against the war. So what? He does it because of point number three. Ron has only changed his views on the war but he is still the same selfish person that he was before the war. I'd be really impressed if he did something for someone else or thought about someone else.

    So unless you agree with what the director is trying to say-don't watch this movie because it is pointless....more info
  • Born on the 4th of July
    Tom Cruise did a great job in this movie. It's a story about Viet Nam injured Vets and how they were treated & the poor condition of the VA hospitals and how one Vet fought the system....more info
  • Reality hurts
    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. The pangs of this reality hurt, just does as their own reality.

    ...more info
  • "Ronnie, you're doing the right thing. Communism has got to be stopped." ( * * 1/2)
    Everybody and their brother thinks this is a war film classic. I don't. I grew up in Massapequa, knew Ron Kovic (slightly), hung out at Arthur's Bar, got my hair cut at Sparky The Barber's, I played in Sally's Woods as a kid, and watched God knows how many holiday parades down Broadway. Growing up, they occurred on every major holiday except The Feast of The Assumption.

    Massapequa's the kind of place you love and hate at the same time. It's a fly in the amber. The schools are excellent. Businesses like All-American and Krisch's Ice Cream Parlor have been there since 1955 and remain surprisingly unchanged. The town's underlying values remain intact, mostly because the kids that grew up there in the Fifties inherited their parents' houses and have passed them on to their kids now. On the Fourth of July the smoke from "illegal" fireworks is so dense that spy satellites can't penetrate it (this is a documented fact). There's been a spate of new construction, if you can consider a spate to have lasted 25 years, but beyond that, it's still home as I remember it.

    So the ersatz Massapequa (a town in Vermont that they dressed up) in this film was a little disconcerting to me: "Lemke Hardware wasn't even on the same street as Krisch's, and Krisch's is Krisch's, not Boyer's!"

    Hollywood.

    And this wasn't even the original film. The original BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY by Brian DePalma starred Al Pacino and was made, or partly made, in 1978. The Internet Movie Database tells me that the "financing fell through" but I can recall the Pequa Theater marquee showing "Love Story" during some filming. They were actually going to use Massapequa to represent Massapequa in that version.

    Actually, the sets don't bother me half as much as Tom Cruise. Pacino would have made this movie a TRUE classic. Cruise is real good at playing the teenaged Ronnie Kovic, but he utterly blows the role once Ronnie Gets His Gun. Cruise spends most of the movie overacting shamelessly, like yelling "Penis, penis, penis!" in a badly-acted "drunk" scene, and turning the heart-rending bitter anger of Ron Kovic's searingly sad book into something like pablum for the ease of audience digestion. We needed grit and despair in this movie. We got Tom Cruise, and not the Tom Cruise of A FEW GOOD MEN or THE LAST SAMURAI, we got the Tom Cruise of Jumping On Oprah's Couch Tom Cruise.

    War is hell. It should be presented as such. And so should it's hellish consequences. Like the Massapequa it presents the Ron Kovic of this film is not the real deal.
    ...more info
  • An eye-opener
    Another addition to our family library, which we keep filled with books that entertain and/or educate.

    This movie, however, is not for the younger kids nor for the weak of heart, but for older members of the family, especially kids who might have fallen for the "John Wayne is cool" view point of war (or in our day, perhaps Mortal Kombat is cool view point of life) OR the young pacifist who believes that those who go to war are bad.

    We're all so tenderly human, and that's what this movie shows. The reason some find this depressing, I think, is that it shows the loss of innocence of the man who wrote this autobiography, Ron Kovic, who goes to war during the Vietnam era longing to be a hero, and returns damaged emotionally and physically, and receives the welcome of a baby-killer.

    Note: When the book version of this movie was due to come out, back in the 70's, I was working in a bookstore. Long-haired ex-vets would come in, looking for the book and I (duh) didn't understand why they were so enthusiastic. The book was the first attention given to what the war experience did to those who fought in it, which later opened the doors for WWII veterans to be able to talk about the emotional horrors of war.

    I read the book, and years later watched the movie - either of these are incredible experiences - if you like Saving Private Ryan, you will want to watch this movie, too....more info

  • THEY ALWAYS BLAME AMERICA FIRST
    In 1989 Oliver Stone came out with "Born on the Fourth of July", the true story of Ron Kovic, a gung-ho Marine who is paralyzed in combat in Vietnam. The film is realistic and compelling. Stone is a master and Tom Cruise as Kovic gives one of his best-ever performances, proving him to be a bona fide acting talent. The film depicts the heartbreaking American experience in Vietnam, and the character arc of Kovic is as complete as any ever captured. He returns home, desperate to believe that his sacrifice was in a noble cause, but this is chipped away by the well-known elements of '60s radicalism. The "generation gap" between longhaired youths and crew cut, religious parents is profound. Kovic sinks into the depravity of drugs and alcohol, but battles back to become a "hero" of the anti-war Left. He wheels into the 1972 Republican National Convention, where he tries to tell the clean-cut, well-heeled patriots that they are wrong and he is right. The idea is that they are all warmongers who have not fought, while he is a pacifist because he has. While there is truth to the premise, in choosing to tell this story, Stone establishes Hollywood as the home of solidly liberal ideas. In 1972, Nixon won 49 states over the ant-war McGovern. The idea that all those Americans, subject daily to reports from Peter Arnett and Dan Rather, the bias of Walter Cronkite, and the hate of the New York Times and the Washington Post, chose Nixon because they were bloodthirsty imperialists is just malarkey. Furthermore, Nixon had made 18-year olds eligible to vote. The concept that all of American youth protested in the streets is a myth. The anti-war movement was propped by TV that made pockets of outrage look like a widespread movement. The Silent Majority spoke out in '72. Big time.
    Stone's depiction is fair in and of itself, but he takes advantage of the power of his medium in creating a mindset that such horrors as Kovic experienced are just part of the "Vietnam experience." Kovic's life mirrors soldiers going back to the Roman Legion and beyond. The Left has taken Vietnam as one of those core issues and stuck to it, just as they found themselves wedded to Alger Hiss, Bill Clinton and now the losing side of the War on Terrorism. McCarthy was going after genuine Communists, and genuine Communists were trying to enslave South Vietnam. It took some fighting to stop them. Nixon and Kissinger had the best plan available to them at the time, and the public recognized it. Watergate killed them and the Democrats used it to abandon our allies. Millions died because of them. Democrats will have you believe that we "created" the "killing fields." They have to say things like that, to cling to this nebulous theory, somehow unable to blame the rabid haters and murderers of Communist history, apparently because they are wedded to McCarthyism. Their movies are their best tool in perpetuating their lies. Not on my watch.

    STEVEN TRAVERS
    AUTHOR OF "BARRY BONDS: BASEBALL'S SUPERMAN"
    STWRITES@AOL.COM...more info

  • Did not get the hype
    I needed to review the movie for a project, did not understand what all the hype was about.The movie was predictable....more info
  • Tom Cruise comes out fighting
    True story depicts how high school student Ron Kovic (Tom Cruise) wants nothing more than to join the Marines and serve his country. Despite discouragement from family and friends, he enlists after graduation and is shipped off to Vietnam. While in combat he makes a horrible mistake, and his resulting lack of vision leads to his being wounded. Ron is left paralyzed from the chest down, and returns home in a state of bitterness. His body mends far ahead of his mind, and his resulting disillusionment with the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam war leads to his becoming an antiwar activist. Vivid recreation of the 1960's war movement with a stellar performance by Cruise. Every proud American should own this film, which is more rewarding with each viewing....more info
  • Born on the Fourth of July
    Helmed by "Platoon" director and Vietnam vet Stone, "Born" is a profoundly moving portrait of a macho athlete whose horrific battle experience causes him to reassess his politics and reorient his give-`em-hell attitude. Cruise, in an ambitious turn away from heartthrob roles, plays Kovic with precision and conviction, especially at his darkest moments, delivering the finest work of his career. Co-written by Stone and Kovic, "Born" reflects the pain and anger felt by an entire generation of returning US soldiers, and will leave a lasting impression....more info
  • Platoon is better.
    Tom's performance is the best thing in this movie, the score is good, the cinematography is good, its pretty powerful and has some shocking things in it, it also explains alot about the truth of vietnam, everything else is good but not great. There is some smut that could have been taken out, it also ends to abruptly and i would like to know what happened to him, did he die, or live happily or well as happily as he could ever after, what happened? Besides those 2 flaws its pretty good, but platoon is better. Toms best performance is in The Last Samurai which is also a better film. I hope Alexander proves to be Stone's best which i think it will be. 7 out of a 10 for this movie. ...more info
  • THEY ALWAYS BLAME AMERICA FIRST
    In 1989 Oliver Stone came out with "Born on the Fourth of July", the true story of Ron Kovic, a gung-ho Marine who is paralyzed in combat in Vietnam. The film is realistic and compelling. Stone is a master and Tom Cruise as Kovic gives one of his best-ever performances, proving him to be a bona fide acting talent. The film depicts the heartbreaking American experience in Vietnam, and the character arc of Kovic is as complete as any ever captured. He returns home, desperate to believe that his sacrifice was in a noble cause, but this is chipped away by the well-known elements of '60s radicalism. The "generation gap" between longhaired youths and crew cut, religious parents is profound. Kovic sinks into the depravity of drugs and alcohol, but battles back to become a "hero" of the anti-war Left. He wheels into the 1972 Republican National Convention, where he tries to tell the clean-cut, well-heeled patriots that they are wrong and he is right. The idea is that they are all warmongers who have not fought, while he is a pacifist because he has. While there is truth to the premise, in choosing to tell this story, Stone establishes Hollywood as the home of solidly liberal ideas. In 1972, Nixon won 49 states over the ant-war McGovern. The idea that all those Americans, subject daily to reports from Peter Arnett and Dan Rather, the bias of Walter Cronkite, and the hate of the New York Times and the Washington Post, chose Nixon because they were bloodthirsty imperialists is just malarkey. Furthermore, Nixon had made 18-year olds eligible to vote. The concept that all of American youth protested in the streets is a myth. The anti-war movement was propped by TV that made pockets of outrage look like a widespread movement. The Silent Majority spoke out in '72. Big time.
    Stone's depiction is fair in and of itself, but he takes advantage of the power of his medium in creating a mindset that such horrors as Kovic experienced are just part of the "Vietnam experience." Kovic's life mirrors soldiers going back to the Roman Legion and beyond. The Left has taken Vietnam as one of those core issues and stuck to it, just as they found themselves wedded to Alger Hiss, Bill Clinton and now the losing side of the War on Terrorism. McCarthy was going after genuine Communists, and genuine Communists were trying to enslave South Vietnam. It took some fighting to stop them. Nixon and Kissinger had the best plan available to them at the time, and the public recognized it. Watergate killed them and the Democrats used it to abandon our allies. Millions died because of them. Democrats will have you believe that we "created" the "killing fields." They have to say things like that, to cling to this nebulous theory, somehow unable to blame the rabid haters and murderers of Communist history, apparently because they are wedded to McCarthyism. Their movies are their best tool in perpetuating their lies. Not on my watch. ...more info
  • Intensely moving exploration of the Vietnam War years
    Born on the Fourth of July follows the journey of Ron Kovic from his innocent childhood in the 1950's through his experience in the Vietnam war and its aftermath. His painful journey reflects the tumultuous journey that America took during the Vietnam War years.

    Tom Cruise, delivering an intense performance as Kovic, and director Oliver Stone, a Vietnam Veteran, allows us to share in the raw emotions of the character. John Williams provides a brilliant score to add to the emotional punch.

    This film was made when Stone could command a big budget post-Platoon and before he succumbed to the excesses of his later films - Born on the Fourth of July stands as his finest film....more info
  • A powerful, engaging film
    Ron Kovic, Oliver Stone and Tom Cruise form a creative triumvirate (as story source, director, and lead actor, respectively) in this moving Vietnam War saga. Together they achieve a piece de resistance in filmmaking. Cruise's performance is particularly scintillating in the role of crippled war veteran Kovic. Under the aegis of Stone he efficaciously moves through the vicissitudes of Kovic's life and personal ethos. Cruise's style lends itself well to a character that has one enduring passion that does not diminish in intensity, but does change focus (the strength of purpose is just as strong as he explains to his father why he must go to war as when he denounces the conflict to reporters at the Republican convention).

    As for Stone he adroitly avoids trying to parlay the `period piece' aspect of the film, and instead concentrates on the bitter ironies (a friend gives the recently paralyzed Kovic some trite business advice `you've got to walk before you can run') and adumbrations (a man brags that his family has participated in all that nations wars and will continue to as the camera shows his grandson). And by keeping the actual Vietnam combat footage in perspective with the whole of Kovic's experience he avoids making `Platoon II' (not an easy feat by the way considering that Tom Beringer and Willem Defoe play key roles in the movie, and some other cast members of Stone's previous Vietnam epic sneak in and out of scenes)
    ...more info
  • Best Darn Movie I have ever seen
    I loved the color in this movie and the superior acting. You haven't lived until you have seen Tom Cruise in Born On The Fourth Of July. There are no words to express the incredible viewing experience this movie provides....more info
  • 2.5 stars out of 4
    The Bottom Line:

    Though Born on the Fourth of July has its share of powerful and/or effective moments, nearly all of them occur in the film's first half; overlong, and with a tendency to ramble, this is a flawed film.

    ...more info
  • Oliver Stone Does it Again!
    A whiny reporter at Stone's press conference during the opening of JFK once asked him about his being hung up on the 60s.When it comes down to making films about that generation, Stone delivers the goods!(Platoon,Doors,JFK,Born on 4th). This is a powerful and moving real life account of Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic, and should be viewed by all Americans.The film evokes the sense of polarization in America during the Vietnam War. Technically, like JFK, the film is also brilliant.Film is edited and photographed beautifully.John Willliams score is haunting and magnificent. Familiar character actors(such as Frank Whaley) that have been in other Stone films show up here.I think that this is Cruise's best performance.Willem Dafoe has a short scene with Cruise as does Tom Berenger(interesting that Stone chose these actors as they were the metaphorical fathers to Sheen in Platoon!).Excellent film!...more info
  • Depressing
    This movie is a meaningful history and commentary on the Vietnam War and its veterans. But it is horribly depressing. If one wants to watch a disturbing, and I mean DISTURBING, docu-drama about the Vietnam War, then this is it. But it's NOT entertainment, and it's not for the sensitive....more info
  • Limey Vision
    Flint Westwood Here - its late here in Limey Land - the 51st State of the US of A. I am quite shattered at this stage. As for Mr Cruise, he ROCKED in this movie. The beard never suited him though, although, he looked much better with a beard in Collateral. This was his mistake, not getting his beard trimmed. I think he must have thought he was a hippy at the time. Led Zep all looked like extras from Catweasle around 1972. Whats Catweasle I hear you Yankees cry. Its a Brit show about a crazy looking wizard from the 13th Century. Cruise's beard looks just like Catweasle's. Perhaps Cruise should have been a time traveller like Dr Who. Never mind.

    FLCW 9.2.2005 ...more info
  • Good movie
    I like this movie! Born on the Fourth of July was written in Santa Monica, California during the fall of 1974 in exactly one month, three weeks and two days. It tells the story of Kovic's life growing up in Massapequa, New York, joining the Marines going to Vietnam, getting shot, finding himself wheelchair bound, and eventually starting a new life as an anti-war activist....more info
  • A Must See For All Americans
    Tom Cruise gives one of his all-time best performances as Ron Kovik, a young man who joins the marines fresh out of high school with ideas of grabbing his piece in history by participating in the Vietnam War and keeping with his families' tradition of military service. In Vietnam he discovers that war is not as it seems, that innocent people are murdered needlessly everyday and , he himself, is guilty of theses same crimes. While in Vietnam, he is wounded in a firefight with the Viet Cong, which results in paralysis from the chest down. He is sent to a veteran's hospital that is in deplorable condition, trying in vain to regain use of his legs. Eventually Ron realizes he is to be bound to a wheelchair for life, and he returns to his family's home. However, upon return he finds that things have changed and he believes his (and other veteran's) sacrifices have gone largely unnoticed and his personality becomes bleak and angry, as his condition haunts him and sends him into alcoholism and depression. Like so many other unfortunate veterans, Ron has returned home to a commuity that neither recognizes nor appreciates his sacrifices and, as often happened in that case, he lost his sense of purpose in life. With little visible support, Ron decides to get away and head to Mexico, where he will hit bottom but in doing so, he finds himself again and returns home to eventually find his sens of self. The movie itself it excellent but it is not for children, as it deals with an intense subject: the loss of innocence and the attempt to regain some sense of life in a world which seemingly does not acknowledge Ron's existence. Cruise's performance hits home and probably has struck a nerve with most veterans, as they realize how hard it must be to adapt back to society after taking part in a war that stripped him physically and emotionally. I wish teachers would show this movie to students in High School so they can have a deeper understanding of what war is like and the psychological effects it has, and always will have, on our veterans. It will awaken you to a subject that America has tried to sweep up under the rug: the heroes of wars past who went to a foreign country to fight for Americans and freedom, only to return home and find that we wouldnt extend our thanks and acceptance towards them. Too many times we feel that it is an expected behavior for a soldier to go and fight, but many today dont understand soldiers feel pain, Ron Kovik felt pain and you will share that pain in Born On the Fourth Of July....more info
  • The second-best movie of all time.
    Based on the autobiography of Ron Kovic, this heart-wrenching, painful film is so extremely well done that if it were steak it would be burnt beyond recognition. Stone's directing, for which he won an Oscar, is flawless.
    In his role, Tom Cruise plays a young, ambitious, patriotic Ron Kovic, itching to serve in Vietnam and fight for Democracy and American values. He leaves behind his girlfriend and his family for a chaotic, hellish war. His platoon kills women and children. With the heat and dust muddling his vision and the steady staccato of gunshots impairing his senses, Kovic fatally shoots one of his own men. On a similar day, a half-crazed, expletive-screaming Kovic is wounded. At a hospital overrun by the dying, Kovic's last rights are administered. You can see everything on Cruise's face: guilt, pain, fear and acceptance of death.
    But he doesn't die; instead, he returns home a paralyzed misfit. His agonizing trials at home and in Mexico, where he goes to recuperate, follow. And just when it seems that Kovic will never overcome the painful memory of Vietnam and many missed opportunities, he realizes that bravery isn't jumping in uninformed to the misguided war of attrition. Ron Kovic shows what it is to be a true American: to fight for the truth. ...more info
  • Stunning Achievement: Cruise's Best Role
    Oliver Stone gives Cruise his best role as Ron Kovic in "Born on the Fourth of July." Cruise forgoes his easy way out with a smile and shows (as he has in several other films) he really has acting chops.

    It is impossible not to be moved by Cruise's inhabiting the life of Ron Kovic and to feel the pain, the displacement and abandonment Kovic - and thousands of other soldiers - must have felt. That Kovic was a patriot, a hero actually born on the 4th of July makes his outspoken acts of anti-war activism resonate all the more.

    Those - like me - who have accused this actor of not being to act his way out of the proverbial paper bag should take a look at Mr. Cruise here. Watching his Kovic from idealistic young man, to disenchanted hero, to miserable self-pitying to inspiration and a voice the voice of realism for a generation realist will be nothing less than wowed. At each step, Cruise puts Kovic first and foremost and makes believable every emotion. There is more than self-pity when, knowing how he's going to spend the balance of his life he cries "who will love me?" It will break your heart and fill you with rage all at once.

    The supporting cast, under Stone's direction bring alive a harrowing story - a true story.

    The extras on this special wide screen version are not worth shouting about - but are worth noting. As is standard with many DVD's these days the director gives an informative narration during the film which is worth listening to, but (in my opinion) inteferes with the film (unless you watch it twice in a row).

    Worthwhile and recommended.
    ...more info
  • Oliver Stone grinds his axe fine
    I didn't want to like this movie. I'm usually resistant to any film whose director grinds an ax so relentlessly as Oliver Stone has been known to, and never so obviously as with this film. But I recently ran across the NY Times list of 1000 best films, and "Born On the Fourth of July" is listed there. While any such list is naturally debatable, it caused me to want to see more of those on the list that I hadn't seen, and a satellite channel was running this film at a convenient time. I must say, the excellence of Stone's craftsmanship, and of Tom Cruise's performance, wore down my resistance to his message, although it took almost half of this lengthy biopic to get past my defenses.

    What we have here is the true story of a man whose birthday coincides with that of his country, a young man who was properly raised to love all things American. His patriotism led him to volunteer for the Marine Corps and the Vietnam war in the late 1960s, where everything he had ever believed was challenged in the strongest possible terms. The watershed events that finally moved him from traditional all-out American patriot to an American who loves his country but distrusts the government and opposes war, however, were events that mostly followed that famously horrifying war, and said events were often as horrifying in their own way as the things he experienced in Vietnam.

    This truly is an excellent film, no doubt about it. Stone, a Vietnam vet himself, frames his story expertly, brings out superb performances from all of his players, and included Mr. Kovic (on whose autobiographical book this film is based) at every stage of the production. The pacing of the tale is smooth and understandable for its nearly 2-1/2 hour length, and the viewer never has a serious problem wondering where Cruise's character is coming from emotionally or intellectually.

    "Born On the Fourth of July" has proven to be the capstone of Oliver Stone's career, and was the performance that took Tom Cruise from teen idol to respected actor. No wonder, as Cruise at times does more in this film with a look than he had been able to accomplish with pages of dialogue earlier in his career.

    As with almost any 'Nam film, the gore of battle and over-the-top filthy language of its scarred survivors mean that viewing it is more of a cathartic experience than a pleasant one, but beyond that my only nitpick is that one scene has some vets listening to Don McLean's "American Pie" in 1968, three years before the song was recorded. With that minor caveat, the film has given me a lot to think about. While I don't agree with Stone's politics, there is no question that he, Kovic, and others have arrived at their perspective honestly and forcefully, and this film serves as a fine record of a time in our country's history when we fought a second civil war of sorts. Men like Stone and Kovic are the living casualties of that time, and they deserve our respect....more info
  • Penetrating Look At The Afternmath Of Vietnam!
    To date, no one has evoked the turbulent realities of life during the sixties as well as babyboomer Oliver Stone. His heart-rending portrayal of the fate of a naive young man out to imitate the heroic exploits of screen icons John Wayne and Audie Murphy is a modern classic, a cautionary tale of the horrible consequences of blindly trusting the government to do what is is right by this young man and hundreds of thousands just like him. Kovics enlists in the Marines and volunteers for duty in Vietnam, thereby fatefully and tragically changing the arc of his young life as a result. While this true story based on the best-selling autobiography of disabled Vietnam vet Ron Kovics is first and foremost Kovics' personal story, it is also very much the story of the Vietnam war's aftermath, of its bounty brought home, and the movie quite accurately depicts its searing impacts on the lives of all the survivors of the war itself (whether direct participants or not) and the fractious, violent and sometimes bloody clash between the traditional true believers on the one hand and a whole range of thoughtful dissenters on the other against continuation of the war. Tom Cruise is superb here, and the uncensored truth of the times and trials and wracking search for a new sort of meaningful balance in his new life of permanent disability if a deep dark look at the realities of what the war did to millions of young men who wanted nothing more than to honorably serve their country. This is a terrific movie, and one that deserved all the acclaim and awards it won for everyone involved. Two thumbs up from this aisle seat for "Born On The Fourth Of July"....more info
  • A very surprising Cruise
    Regardless of what your politics are - or what you think of Oliver Stone's politics - Born on the Fourth of July, which is based on a gritty memoir by Vietnam war veteran Ron Kovic, is an engrossing movie, not least because of Tom Cruise's performance. Up until starring in this movie, he was always acting as some young hot shot - an attorney, a pool player, a car dealer, it doesn't matter - someone young and arrogant and hot-headed who usually wound up committing himself reluctantly to a greater cause. Here he begins the movie as an idealistic teenager aspiring to serve his country and winds up totally unravelled, in what is one of his most wild and tortured performances. It's incredible (and very disturbing) to watch. Here is one of the rawest portrayals of a man struggling to deal with the impact that war has had on his life....more info
  • Stone's Oscar winner
    The controversial filmmaker Oliver Stone copped an Best Director Oscar for his true story about Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic's rebirth as a peace activist. Also Cruise scored an Oscar nod for his fine performance as Kovic and he's ably supported by a fine cast which includes a very young Kyra Sedgwick as his first love, Tom Berenger as a Marine recruiter, and Wilem Dafoe as a fellow parapalegic vet. The story concerns Kovic's change from a patriotic young man to a battle scarred parapalegic, disillusioned Vietnam vet to finally a committed peace activist. It's quite a journey and this may well be Cruise's best performance to date alongside his best supporting performance in "Magnolia". Forget about his off screen antics and his Scientology posturing and check this one out for his fine performance. I really think that Stone should also have received a Best Picture for this film too. By the way, the HD copy is a winner also. ...more info
  • "Fourth" Sparkles and Fizzles
    "Born on the Fourth of July" is a metaphor for America's transformation from an idealistic nation to a cynical and fragmented society. And we see this transformation through the eyes of the film's tragic hero, Ron Kovic, who changes from an all-American, gung ho Marine wannabe to a cynical, embittered paralyzed Viet Nam vet.

    The primary strength of this film is its ability to draw you into Kovic's world. You feel Kovic's sense of bitterness and betrayal when he comes home to find that America is now a hostile and divided nation and that veterans like him are not welcome. If anything, they're scorned for having fought in Viet Nam.

    Another strength of this film is Oliver Stone's use of foreshadowing. The night before Kovic leaves for boot camp, Kovic runs through a rainstorm to be with his girl at the senior prom. As they dance, Henry Mancini's "Moon River" plays in the background and in watching this scene, one gets a sense of foreboding that this will be the last time Kovic and his girl friend will ever share such an intimate moment.

    While "Born on the Fourth of July" has its merits, it also has some glaring shortcomings. Namely, it's an uneven film that requires the viewer to "fill in the blanks." Throughout the film, Stone gives the viewer an overview of Ron Kovic's life and how he changed from an idealistic high school student-athlete to a radical anti-war activist. However, the audience is forced to draw their own conclusions as to how, when and why this change occurred.

    Stone also plays fast-and-loose with the truth in this film and he seems more intent on making a political statement rather than a biographical docu-drama. As other commentators have pointed out, Kovic never was a demonstrator at the 1972 Republican Convention. While this bit of fiction serves to promote Stone's political views, it's also self-defeating as it undermines the film's credibility.

    "Born on the Fourth of July" is something of a revisionist film that also tends to be rather sanctimonious at times. Yet, for all its shortcomings, "Born on the Fourth of July" is a powerful, evocative film that will play with your emotions....more info

  • EXCELLENT
    this was a great movie, and I love the ending. The acting was great, the story was wonderful, and the sets/etc. were so believable. I am amazed at what a great job Tom Cruise did....more info