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Ron Kovic: They burned the flag and they demonstrated against us; it's on the cover of the paper today. They have no respect. They have no idea what's going on over there, Mom - the men that are sacrificing their lives. People are dying every day over there, and nobody back here even seems to care. It's a bunch of goddamn shit if you ask me!
Mrs. Kovic: Ronnie, don't take the Lord's name in vain - not in front of the children. I agree with everything you say!
Ron Kovic: I served my country - and they just want to take from it - just take, take! Love it or leave it, that's what I think.
The autobiography of Vietnam War Vet. Ron Kovic, Born On the Fourth of July was published in 1976. In 1989, the film version directed by Oliver Stone and starring Tom Cruise as Kovic was released. Stone won his second Oscar as director, his third overall, and Cruise got his first Oscar nomination.
Ron Kovic, a young man from Long Island, goes off to fight in Vietnam. During his second tour of duty, Kovic accidentally kills a fellow soldier, Private Wilson, which deeply scars him emotionally. During a firefight, Kovic is permanently paralyzed from the waist down. Once he is discharged, Kovic comes home a changed man. He feels that his country hasn't done much of anything to help his fellow Vietnam veterans. Subsequently, he joins the anti-war movement. And goes to Mexico.
This work features examples of:
- Author Tract: Probably Oliver Stone's most preachy film.
- California Doubling: Scenes in Vietnam were actually shot in the Philippines due to the political climate.
- A Man Is Not a Virgin: Subverted; Kovic tries to have sex after his tours of duty, but even with a prostitute, he doesn't enjoy the experience.
- Returning War Vet
- Significant Birth Date: Ron Kovic was born on July 4th, 1946; hence, the title of the book and film.
- Strawman Political: Thankfully averted, for both ends of the spectrum.
- The Vietnam War