Box art for Born on the Fourth of July

Born on the Fourth of July


The biography of Ron Kovic played by TOM CRUISE. Paralyzed in the Vietnam war, he becomes an anti-war and pro-human rights political activist after feeling betrayed by the country he fought for.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 17
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Unflinching story of Vietnam vet turned activist.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this mature drama contains extreme and disturbing verbal and physical violence and graphic scenes depicting the Vietnam war and the protests against it. They should also know that the film includes scenes of sexual impotence and prostitution.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about issues surrounding what happens in war, including collateral damage, and perceptions and definitions of patriotism. Other possible explorations include how people can reject a war without betraying those who fight and how can people use their rights to peacefully express contradictory opinions.

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: A great performance by Cruise

- Clint Morris, Moviehole, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fresh: Stone does populist anti-war with a passion.

- Cole Smithey,, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rotten: Stone has created a film whose overblown parts add up to far less than the epic whole he had in mind.

- Desson Thomson, Washington Post, Saturday, January 1, 2000

Audience Reviews

3 stars

A biopic based on the life of Ron Kovic, an idealistic poster boy for the American dream who volunteered for Vietnam only to return home to a different world both traumatized and paralysed. I've never been a big fan of Tom Cruise, but he gives the performance of his career as the Vietnam vet who became the spokesman of a disenfranchised generation. Being based upon Kovic's own book the film is a very personal journey and as such is a little episodic, often resembling one of those "triumph of courage" daytime telemovies rather than the overt politicism of many of Stone's other films of the time. It also limits his Vietnam experiences to the bare minimum which means that it lacks both the context and outright anger of Salvador and the emotional drama of Platoon leaving something of a half way house between the two. The supporting cast also don't get much of a look in so it feels a little superficial but it is an intelligent, well made film carried by a strong central performance. It does lack the power of Stone's best work however.

- garyX, Tuesday, April 19, 2011

4 stars

Cruise pulls out all the stops in his visceral portrayal of a guy who goes from trusting and unthinking patriot to wounded and wondering casualty of the Vietnam War. Certainly one of the very best of this genre, it's core point simply a question : when has blind obedience ever been an American ideal?

- ApeneckFletcher, Sunday, May 29, 2011

4 stars

This is some fine directing right here from Mr. Political Subject himself. This movie uses one of the oldest tricks in the book for dramatic effect....Slowmotion....and it does it really well. Tom does possibly his best role here? And it's a very interesting story. Willem Dafoe makes a brief but oscar worthy apperence. There are a lot of very beautiful shoots in this movie. Escpecially that first shoot after we cut to the war. That is just iconic. This movies story draws many similarities to The Deer Hunter but it's still very diffrent and uniqe. A really good movie and a great work by Tom Cruise

- TheGame90, Sunday, February 12, 2012