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Tom Cruise delivers a riveting and unforgettable portrayal of Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic in Oliver Stone's Academy Award-winning masterpiece. Based on a true story, the acclaimed film follows the young 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 this 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.
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Oliver Stone's Born on the Fourth of July unfurls itself with an ambitious flourish, like a stirring, patriotic anthem. It's his Main Street symphony, and in every frame, you feel his passion to make a grandiose social statement, to unload the movie equivalent of the Great American Novel and to define our age. In every frame you feel him emptying out his heart and soul. This is an impassioned movie, made with conviction and evangelical verve. It's also hysterical and overbearing and alienating. Using Ron Kovic's autobiographical account of his lower-middle-class, small-town American upbringing, Stone stretches an epic canvas and splatters onto it all his beliefs about Vietnam, America, family, patriotism, and just about everything that's happened here in the last quarter-century.
Writer-director [Oliver] Stone, who based his earlier film Platoon on his own war experiences, has been trying to film the [Ron] Kovic story for years...Nothing Cruise has done will prepare you for what he does in Born on the Fourth of July...This is a film about ideology, played out in the personal experiences of a young man who paid dearly for what he learned. Maybe instead of anybody getting up in Congress and apologizing for the Vietnam War, they could simply hold a screening of this movie on Capitol Hill and call it a day.
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Jay Carr, Boston Globe
...a knockout...uses a crippled Vietnam veteran's disability as metaphor for a country's paralysis.
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
...fervent, consistently gripping film...
Oliver Stone again shows America to itself in a way it won't forget.