Born on the Fourth of July

Born on the Fourth of July

(Oliver Stone, 1989)

Rating: 4.5/5

Reviewed by Dave Lancaster

Summary: Tom Cruise's first truly great role as paralysed Vietnam vet Ron Kovic is handled brilliantly by Oliver Stone on Oscar winning form. Undeniably powerful.


Of Oliver Stone's loosely threaded Vietnam trilogy, (the others being 'Platoon' and 'Heaven and Earth'), 'Born on the Fourth of July' retains its power the most. Stone picked relative newcomer Tom Cruise at just the right point in his career, when he was an A-lister but also when he was an actor who hadn't truly proven his range (aside from his remarkable turn in 'Rain Man').

Cruise, who bagged his first Oscar nomination, is perfect as the naïve God-fearing Ron Kovic who blindly signs up to go to Vietnam. Injured and subsequently paralyzed from the waist down, Kovic sees true horror in the battlefield, but the film is more interested in the coming home.

The injured vets aren't seen as the heroes they are; instead they're cast aside as if America wants to ignore their contribution in a controversial war. The anti-war movement resents their call to arms. Cruise isn't the obvious choice to play an outsider, a man who is hated and weakened, but his work here is incredible. (Interestingly, Tom Berenger and Willem Dafoe, the two warring stars of 'Platoon' have small roles here again playing polar opposites in the same army)

Stone charts Kovic's disintegration towards booze and prostitutes with stark reality and a lack of pretentious audacity which marked his later work. In 'Platoon' you could feel that Stone had a tour of Vietnam. With 'Born on the Fourth of July', you know he's been trying to get over it ever since. 'Platoon' is immediate with its pain, but this cuts deeper takes us further.

 

Other film news

'Outstanding' George Clooney to receive Cecil B. DeMille Award at Golden Globes

George Clooney's crowded trophy cabinet is set to see a new addition: the 'Syriana' and 'Argo' double Oscar winner is set to receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award from the Golden Globes at the 2015 ceremony.

Police responded to 'lying' Django Unchained actress after complaints of 'lewd acts' in car

'Django Unchained' co-star Daniele Watts made the headlines recently when she was pictured crying alongside a police officer having been detained. She and her partner claimed on their Facebook pages that the 'racist' LAPD assumed that she was a prostitute and he her client prompting them to demand her ID to which she refused as she deemed her right. However, the full story may have more to it...

Mark Ruffalo reveals he begged 'Star Wars Episode VIII' director for a role

'Avengers Assemble' star and Oscar nominated 'The Kids Are Alright' actor Mark Ruffalo has revealed that he has actively campaigned for a role in the new 'Star Wars' film - regardless of how minor the part may be.

'Fight Club' director David Fincher and 'L.A. Confidential' novellist James Ellroy team up for TV crime series

Oscar nominated director David Fincher is teaming up with one of crime fiction's most renowned writers - David Fincher - for a new HBO series.

George Clooney talks his decision direct celebrity phone hack scandal film 'Hack Attack'

Oscar winning actor and producer George Clooney will direct 'Hack Attack' - a film drama about the British phone hacking scandal that targeted celebrities, politicians and royalty.

Hollywood pays tribute to comic Joan Rivers

Carried to her grave in a mahogany casket by six pallbearers, Rivers was laid to rest in New York city - the place where he storied career took off.

Jennifer Lawrence nude photos leaked following iCloud hack on '100 A-listers'

Following a reported massive Apple iCloud attack, hackers have leaked numerous images of celebrities including Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence.

Emmys 2014: The full list of winners and a rundown of the snubs and surprises

Television's biggest night, the Emmy Awards, was dominated by the swansong of 'Breaking Bad'. Stars Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul and Anna Gunn took home awards while the show itself won the big one for Best Drama Series. On the comedy side of things, 'Modern Family' won yet again.

'Gandhi' director and 'Brighton Rock' star Richard Attenborough dies at 90

Richard Attenborough, the multi-Oscar winning filmmaker and character actor, has died aged 90.

'Deathly Hallows' director returns for Harry Potter spin-off trilogy 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them'

Veteran 'Harry Potter' franchise director David Yates ('Order of the Phoenix', 'Half-Blood Prince' and both parts of the 'Deathly Hallows' finale) will return for the forthcoming spin-off trilogy.

'I pity the criminals today': Mr T reports for jury duty

Lawrence Tureaud, or as the world knows him: Mr T, recently reported for jury duty in Chicago.

'Hunger Games' star Jennifer Lawrence and Coldplay frontman Chris Martin reportedly dating

Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence is now reportedly in a relationship with Coldplay singer Chris Martin, according to E! Online.

Wife of Robin Williams' full statement following Oscar winner's suicide

In the wake of the devastating shock suicide of Robin Williams' suicide, the comic and Oscar winning dramatic actor's wife has released a statement.

Terry Gilliam's long-delayed 'Don Quixote' film will finally shoot with modernized plot

If any of you have seen the 2002 documentary 'Lost in La Mancha', you'll know just how much director Terry Gilliam has struggled to bring his film 'The Man Who Killed Don Quixote' to the big screen. Ill cast members and set destruction led to his Johnny Depp-led nearest attempt being scrapped before shooting could be completed, but now it looks like the 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' filmmaker will get another shot.

Arnold Schwarzenegger reveals title of strangely spelled Terminator sequel

'Terminator: Genisys' is coming. And that's not a typo.

Jon Voight takes aim at Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem in scathing Israel opinion column

Oscar winner Jon Voight isn't happy. In fact he's 'more than angry'. The 'Mission Impossible' and 'Coming Home' star has given fellow Oscar winning actors Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem a dressing down in an opinion piece he wrote for The Hollywood Reporter.

Lionsgate sues online pirates over 'Expendables 3' leak

Film studio Lionsgate has launched legal action against the online pirates who shared a high-quality copy of 'The Expendables 3' weeks before its official release.

Bill Murray cast as Baloo in new 'Jungle Book' film

The forthcoming live-action film version of 'The Jungle Book' has added another big name to its cast - 'Ghostbusters' star Bill Murray has just signed on to play Baloo.

Drew Barrymore pays tribute to half-sister found dead in car 'surrounded by pills'

'Scream' and 'E.T.' star Drew Barrymore's half-sister Jessica has been found dead.

'King Kong' prequel 'Skull Island' producers seeking Joe Cornish to direct

The producers of 'King Kong' prequel 'Skull Island' are reportedly keen to get Joe Cornish to direct the big budget spectacular.

Find Your Cinema

Cinemas Online supply showtimes for every cinema in the UK. To find out what's playing near you and to register for weekly showtimes updates from your local cinema, just enter your postcode:

Advertisement : content continues below
Advertisement : content continues below
Advertisement

| Privacy Policy | Contact Cinemas Online