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Born on the Fourth of July Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Nothing Cruise has done will prepare you for what he does in Born on the Fourth of July. His performance is so good that the movie lives through it. Stone is able to make his statement with Cruise's face and voice and doesn't need to put everything into the dialogue.

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  • 40

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal

    Born on the Fourth of July would be merely a hilariously inept gathering of Vietnam War movie cliches. Instead it is an unrelenting series of dramatic blows; almost every scene packs violence, sleaze, screamed rage and an ear-splitting music with headbutt force. For someone who despises the military, Mr. Stone is quite bellicose. [21 Dec 1989, p.1]

  • 50

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Dave Kehr

    for all its flaws, Born on the Fourth of July provides the final proof that Tom Cruise is the real thing-a movie star with all the natural, unforced ability to connect with an audience that the title implies. [20 Dec 1989, p.1]

  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Mike Clark

    A fresh-slant Vietnam picture in which lead Tom Cruise achieves indisputable greatness, July is otherwise a "more often than not'' achievement. But though it's as full of itself as Stone's watchably windy Talk Radio, the film's roundhouse punches propel you into remote Mike Tyson-land when they connect. [20 Dec 1989, p.1D]

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 17+

Unflinching story of Vietnam vet turned activist.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this mature drama contains extreme and disturbing verbal and physical violence and graphic scenes depicting the Vietnam war and the protests against it. They should also know that the film includes scenes of sexual impotence and prostitution.

  • Families can talk about issues surrounding what happens in war, including collateral damage, and perceptions and definitions of patriotism. Other possible explorations include how people can reject a war without betraying those who fight and how can people use their rights to peacefully express contradictory opinions.

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: The film includes various types of social intolerance and undue violence on the part of soldiers and the police, but it also revolves around the brave story of a Vietnam veteran who pulls himself up from depression and bodily injury to fight the system.

What to watch for
  • violence false5

    Violence: Graphic acts and results of physical violence are shown during the Vietnam scenes. Violence at the hands of police is shown during moments of protest, and drunken acts of violence are shown between injured Vietnam veterans. The film also includes various acts of verbal violence, both between the main character and his family and members of society at large.

  • sex false5

    Sex: The film includes discussion of impotence (due to injury), nudity, and sex with prostitutes.

  • language false5

    Language: Profanity used throughout the film to express the frustration, pain, and chaos of various moments (war, injury, social unrest, etc.)

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: None, except for a recurring New York Yankees motif.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false5

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Excessive drinking and drug use, often to heal the mental and physical pains of the main character (or at least make him forget them). The film also shows the drug use usually associated with the 60s and 70s.