Born on the Fourth of July
What parents need to know
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's the story?
Oliver Stone's BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY is based on the true story of Vietnam veteran turned antiwar activist, Ron Kovic (played by Tom Cruise). Eighteen year-old Kovic, inspired by John F. Kennedy, and encouraged by his mother, and a marine recruiter, joins the United States Marines in 1964 with hopes of serving his country in Vietnam. The film examines his ultimate disillusionment while "in country" and the debilitating injury which ends his tour of duty. His postwar treatment at the hands of his family, an understaffed and under-funded veteran's administration, and a changing society, lead Ron into veteran-driven antiwar activism. Filled with violence, social and personal turmoil, and religious struggle, the film depicts a painful view of a complex time in American history.
Is it any good?
Born on the Fourth of July garnered Oliver Stone a Best Director Oscar and marked one of Tom Cruise's first forays into serious adult acting. This film garnered Cruise's first of three Academy Award nominations for best actor, followed by Jerry Maguire (1996) and Magnolia (1999).
There are also fine cameo performances by Willem Dafoe and Lili Taylor, and riveting footage and reenactments of the 1972 Republican and 1976 Democratic National Conventions. (The real Kovic had protested at the former and spoken at the latter.) The film also boasts an excellent soundtrack.
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.