Born on the Fourth of July (1989)


Biography, Drama, War


Oliver Stone




Tom Cruise, Raymond J. Barry, Caroline Kava, Josh Evans, Frank Whaley, Jerry Levine, Kyra Sedgwick, Rob Camilletti, Stephen Baldwin, Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe, John Getz, Bryan Larkin, Seth Allen, Jessica Prunell, Hally Marie Combs, Cordelia Gonzales, Vivica A. Fox


Paralysed in the Vietnam war, Ron Kovic (Tom Cruise) becomes an anti-war hero and pro-human right activist after he feels betrayed by his own country.


Oliver Stone is far from being my favourite director. I've enjoyed a couple of his films, but I hated the others which is pretty much why I didn't have very high expectations for Born on the Fourth of July and why I never bothered watching it. Now that I've seen it, I can say it doesn't make much of a difference whether I've seen it or not because it is yet another film portraying the life of a Vietnam veteran.

The only thing that differentiates this film from the rest of the genre is the story. It is the true story (which by the way doesn't prevent the film from being partially inaccurate) of Ron Kovic, a Vietnam veteran who at first was proud and happy to have fought for his country but then felt betrayed by it as he had to deal with the effects of the war, a war that had transformed him physically, mentally and emotionally.

However, the story and its execution are a bit flawed. While it's able to deliver the triumph of human will, it isn't always as focused as it should and it feels incredibly rushed toward the uplighting ending. Olive Stone was clearly more interested in showing the effects of the war on Kovic - and he did it quite well - but he spends too little on the redemption of the protagonist. Isn't redemption supposed to be more important?

But after all Born on the Fourth of July has a strong central character which makes up for that. And a strong performance from Tom Cruise who, supported by a solid dialogue and equally solid supporting cast, delivers the attitude and feelings of Kovic wonderfully.


  1. L'ho rivisto oggi... Trasuda di sceneggiature anni 90. C'è dramma, si tocca... Ma lo trovo troppo esasperato. Comunque l'ho gradito.

    1. Sono d'accordo. Poteva essere fatto un po' meglio, ma non è male.