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Every one-star review for every number one box-office movie of the 1990s

Born on the Fourth of July

Directed byOliver Stone
Produced byA. Kitman Ho / Oliver Stone
Screenplay byOliver Stone / Ron Kovic
Based onBorn on the Fourth of July by Ron Kovic
StarringTom Cruise, Kyra Sedgwick, Raymond J. Barry, Jerry Levine, Frank Whaley, Willem Dafoe
Music byJohn Williams
CinematographyRobert Richardson
Edited byJoe HutshingDavid Brenner
ProductioncompanyIxtlan Productions
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release dateDecember 20, 1989
Running time145 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$17.8 million
Box office$161 million

Born on the Fourth of July is 1989 American biographical war drama film based on the eponymous 1976 autobiography by Ron Kovic. Directed by Oliver Stone, and written by Stone and Kovic, it stars Tom Cruise, Kyra Sedgwick, Raymond J. Barry, Jerry Levine, Frank Whaley, and Willem Dafoe. The film depicts the life of Kovic (Cruise) over a 20-year period, detailing his childhood, his military service and paralysis during the Vietnam War, and his transition to anti-war activism. It is the second instalment in Stone’s trilogy of films about the Vietnam War, following Platoon (1986) and preceding Heaven & Earth (1993).

Born on the Fourth of July

Producer Martin Bregman acquired the film rights to the book in 1976 and hired Stone, also a Vietnam veteran, to co-write the screenplay with Kovic, who would be played by Al Pacino. When Stone optioned the book in 1978, the film adaptation became mired in development hell after Pacino and Bregman left, which resulted in him and Kovic putting the film on hold. After the release of Platoon, the project was revived at Universal Pictures, with Stone attached to direct. Shot on locations in the PhilippinesTexas and Inglewood, California, principal photography took place from October 1988 to December, lasting 65 days of filming. The film went over its initial $14 million production budget, and ended up costing $17.8 million after reshoots.

Upon release, Born on the Fourth of July was praised by critics for its story, Cruise’s performance and Stone’s direction. The film was successful at the box office as it grossed over $161 million worldwide, becoming the tenth highest-grossing film of 1989. At the 62nd Academy Awards, it received eight nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Cruise, his first nomination, and the film won for Best Director, Stone’s second in that category, and Best Film Editing. The film also won four Golden Globe Awards for Best Motion Picture – DramaBest Actor – Motion Picture DramaBest Director and Best Screenplay.

IMDb’s One Star reviews from the last decade

IMDb’s One Star reviews from the last decade

parker-53094 31 October 2020

I would rather draw a dot on the wall and stare at the dot for 2 hours than have to endure watching Born on the 4th of July again.

Tom Cruise is a hack. A pathetic little worm.. Therefore, he was the perfect choice for this “movie” since Ron Kovic whom Cruise portrays is this whiney little annoyance of a man/boy. It’s a perfect acting role for Tom Cruise. That’s why I gave this cinematic bow movement 1 Star….for its casting!

This movie is supersaturated with cliches’s, lies and propaganda fit only for the types of radicalized snot-nosed useful idiots you find wandering around college campi. This movie is the epitome of Liar Liar Pants on Fire.

It shamelessly rewrites history so as to place the burden of Vietnam War Guilt squarely on the shoulders of President Nixon. However, President Johnson (D) is who actually involved America in this foreign misadventure. Hollywood needs to work on their research skills…idk, tell some truths once in awhile.

I could go on and on tearing this movie up. But why bother? This movie rests upon a monolithic pile of leftwing donkey droppings.

I could sprinkle this movie over the Sahara Desert and proceed to plant corn there without annual crop rotations! Feed the entire world even.

This movie is a piece of junk !

The only movie I ever walked out of

tpkatsa1 9 November 2018

Was a teenager when this came out – took my girlfriend to see it. It was so awful and depressing that after about 20-25 minutes we both walked out. It was the only movie that I have ever walked out of.

Mel Gibson’s We Were Soldiers, a story of true Vietnam war heroism, is infinitely better than this.

What’s sad is that Tom Cruise is a legendary actor (“Top Gun” remains one of the best military-theme movies ever). It’s too bad that his talents were wasted on this dreck.


jadenator3000 6 July 2018

Had I not been with several friends, I would have walked out. All I can say. Awful.