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Led by an unforgettable performance from Tom Cruise, Born on the Fourth of July finds director Oliver Stone tackling thought-provoking subject matter with ambitious élan. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

In the mid 1960s, suburban New York teenager Ron Kovic (Tom Cruise) enlists in the Marines, fulfilling what he sees as his patriotic duty. During his second tour in Vietnam, he accidentally kills a fellow soldier during a retreat and later becomes permanently paralyzed in battle. Returning home to an uncaring Veterans Administration bureaucracy and to people on both sides of the political divide who don't understand what he went through, Kovic becomes an impassioned critic of the war.

Cast & Crew

Tom Cruise
Ron Kovic
Willem Dafoe
Charlie (Villa Dulce)
Kyra Sedgwick
Donna (Ron's girlfriend)
Bryan Larkin
Young Ron
Jerry Levine
Steve Boyer
Josh Evans
Tommy Kovic
Anne Bobby
Suzanne Kovic
Oliver Stone
Screenwriter
Ron Kovic
Screenwriter
John Williams
Original Music
Robert Richardson
Cinematographer
David Brenner
Film Editor
Joe Hutshing
Film Editor
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News & Interviews for Born on the Fourth of July

Critic Reviews for Born on the Fourth of July

All Critics (48) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (41) | Rotten (7)

  • Tom Cruise, who takes Kovic from clean-cut eager teen to impassioned long-haired activist, is stunning.

    June 6, 2008 | Full Review…
  • A compelling, elegiac film, particularly encouraging after the simplified morality of Platoon.

    June 24, 2006 | Full Review…
  • Born on the Fourth of July is...the most ambitious nondocumentary film yet made about the entire Vietnam experience.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 3.5
  • Signaled Oliver Stone's transition from iconic commentator to tremulous anarchist.

    October 17, 2002 | Rating: 91/100
  • Stone has found in Cruise the ideal actor to anchor the movie with simplicity and strength.

    May 12, 2001
  • Nothing Cruise has done will prepare you for what he does in Born on the Fourth of July.

    January 1, 2000 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Born on the Fourth of July

  • Jan 10, 2018
    One of Cruise's best and bravest performances, the fantastically directed Born on the Fourth of July is a tribute to veterans, America and Ron Kovic, whilst also being a huge compliment and showcase of the talents of Tom Cruise and Oliver Stone. The best of Oliver Stone's war trilogy.
    Harry W Super Reviewer
  • Nov 05, 2013
    The ending feels rushed and unearned, which is a shame because the rest of the movie is a sad, slow examination of the collapse of patriotic idealism. Stone probably sees a piece of himself in Ron Kovic, which is why a lot of the beginning feels so personal. I'm the first to admit Cruise's weaknesses as an actor, but this is a unusually strong performance from him.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 21, 2013
    Director Oliver Stone continues his exploration of Vietnam in the biopic Born on the Fourth of July. Based on an autobiography the story follows Ron Kovic, who enlisted in the Marines to fight in Vietnam, but is paralyzed during a firefight and comes home to an America that he doesn't understand. Starring Tom Cruise, Willem Dafoe, and Stephen Baldwin, the cast is quite formidable. While Cruise delivers an impressive performance, the script fails film and has trouble capturing the transformation of Kovic from a jingoistic veteran to a leader in the anti-Vietnam War movement. Born on the Fourth of July has some compelling and dramatic character moments, but it doesn't come together as a cohesive story.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 07, 2012
    Born on the Fourth of July is a solid, well acted and brilliantly directed Anti war film. Based on the true story of Vietnam War veteran Ron Kovic, who due to a wound, became paralyzed. Through years of struggle, Kovic finally was able to get his life back on track and become an anti war activist along the way. Tom Cruise gives a great performance as Kovic. This is a stunning film that is an eye opening viewing, and Oliver Stone did a great job here. This is one of his finest films, and this is a great departure from his previous Vietnam War film, Platoon, which is hands down Stone's greatest work. However with this film, he crafts a masterful film yet again, and captures a totally different side of the Vietnam War struggle, in part the struggle that many Vietnam War veterans had to endure when coming home from the war. This is a great film with a powerful story, and you see it through Ron Kovic's eyes as he became disillusioned afterwards, and how he dealt with it, and ultimately redeemed himself by becoming a voice for the anti war movement. The performances are great and the story is enthralling and this is a must see for even war film fans. This is a superb film that is among Stone's strongest directorial efforts. Tom Cruise is terrific in the part, and this is actually one of many of his best performances. This is a superb film that is powerful and thought provoking. With a great cast and a captivating story, Born on the Fourth of July is a must see for film fans.
    Alex r Super Reviewer

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