Born on the Fourth of July was the second instalment of Oliver Stone’s Vietnam trilogy and explores the domestic and personal cost of the US’s involvement in south east Asia during the 1960s and 70s.
Tom Cruise plays a gung-ho young patriot dazzled by tales of derring-do, the glamour of smart uniforms and the threat of the spread of Communism.
The story is based on the experiences of quadriplegic Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic, whose injuries left him paralysed and unprepared to be reintegrated into a country that no longer supported the war and resented those who had fought in it. Kovic became a prominent anti-war campaigner and Stone’s sensitive portrayal follows him from all-American child through the blurred rules of engagement in Vietnam to his struggle to be recognised by the country for whom he had sacrificed so much.
The film received several Oscar nominations, indeed many consider this to be Cruise’s finest performance. However, he missed out on academy recognition and Stone picked up the film’s only gong for best director.
Born on the Fourth of July – Tuesday at 10.00pm on Sky Cinema Select.