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 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.
The second film in Oliver Stone's Vietnam trilogy moves from the brutality of war in Platoon
to its equally traumatic aftermath. Based on the memoir of combat veteran Ron Kovic, the film stars Tom Cruise as Kovic, whose gunshot wound in Vietnam left him paralyzed from the chest down. He is deeply embittered by neglect in a veteran's hospital and by the shattering of his patriotic idealism because of the horror and futility of the Vietnam conflict. While painfully and awkwardly adjusting to his disability and a changing definition of masculinity, Kovic joins the burgeoning movement of antiwar protest, culminating in a climactic appearance at the 1976 Democratic national convention. A powerfully intimate portrait that unfolds on an epic scale, Born on the Fourth of July
is arguably Stone's best film (if you can forgive its often strident tone), and Cruise's Oscar-nominated role is uncompromising in its depiction of one man's personal anguish and political awakening. --Jeff Shannon