Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 30 Ratings

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  • Summary: Based on a true story, the film follows the young Ron Kovic from a zealous teen who eagerly volunteers for the Vietnam War, to an embittered veteran paralyzed from the mid-chest down. Deeply in love with his country, Kovic returned to an environment vastly different from the one he left, and struggled before emerging as a brave new voice for the disenchanted. (Universal Studios)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. Reviewed by: Barry Mcllhenney
    Some will find it overly long, but with such a pivotal performance by Cruise and a veritable platoon of Hollywood elite supporting, who can begrudge a bit more screen time?
  2. Stone's feisty, intensely personal style of film making is well-known. With Born on the Fourth of July we are treated to a poignant, spirited and captivating - for the broken heartedness of it all - performance by Tom Cruise. [25 Dec 1989, p.E1]
  3. 100
    But Stone has found in Cruise the ideal actor to anchor the movie with simplicity and strength. Together they do more than show what happened to Kovic. Their fervent, consistently gripping film shows why it still urgently matters.
  4. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    Never the most subtle of directors Oliver Stone brings a jackhammer brutality to Born on the Fourth that the material no longer needs. [22 Dec 1989, p.C1]
  5. Possibly because Stone empathizes so enormously with co-writer Kovic, who came back from Vietnam at the age of 21 paralyzed from the chest down, the director has lost the specificity that made "Platoon" so electrifying. In its place he uses bombast, overkill, bullying. His scenes, and their ironic juxtapositioning, explode like land mines. [20 Dec 1989, p.1]
  6. 60
    This is an impassioned movie, made with conviction and evangelical verve. It's also hysterical and overbearing and alienating.
  7. Worst of all, the movie's conventional showbiz finale, brimming with false uplift, implies that the traumas of other mutilated and disillusioned Vietnam veterans can easily be overcome if they write books and turn themselves into celebrities.

See all 16 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 4
  2. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Ben
    Mar 31, 2009
    This may not be a movie you revisit very often, but it is an extremely inspiring tale of Ron Kovics life. It gives Vietnam Veterans a true face, and is a great movie to watch for anyone wondering about the political terror of the vietnam war. Also, Tom Cruise gives his finest performance as Kovics, and the film is not as in your face as some of Stones other work. Expand
  2. Jan 17, 2014
    A true and pragmatic story of how our government took zealous young men and transformed them into cynical alcoholics by using them for their own greedy purposes. As far as we all should know, Vietnam was solely for profiting of oil. Stone's direction and script is feisty and captivating, by affectively making each scene dramatic and not corny. Although, I can still see no aberration from Stone's previous work, as it's all on contentious and widely distributed ideas and topics. Cruise is a revelation as Ron Kovic, a man whose life is more auspicious and pessimistic than any normal person. Stone seems to be the only one who can make war and political dramas that don't become clich├ęd Collapse
  3. Sep 25, 2013
    This is one of those movies that disguises itself as a riveting drama with a complex message and well-though out scenes. But in fact, this movie falls short of this idea. The movie doesn't have a lot of the elements you would think it would, and the overall feel of the movie is depressing. It as if the rug got pulled from under it, but there was nothing there in the first place. Expand
  4. Sep 27, 2011
    If you want to go see Tom Cruise complaining about how unfair life is to him then this is definitely the movie for you. I know it is supposed to be another powerful Oliver Stone Vietnam film and I have respect for Platoon. But really did this film need to be so friggin' long? This was one of Cruise's worst roles and that is saying something. If you want to see a good Cruise film, try Tropic Thunder. Otherwise ignore this bloated, over-long, poorly acted mess of a film that didn't deserve any Oscars that year much less best Director. Expand


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