Born on the Fourth of July

“Thou shalt not kill, Mom. Thou shalt not kill women and children!”

It was originally Al Pacino and his producing partner Martin Bregman who optioned Ron Kovic’s autobiographical book “Born on the Fourth of July” in 1977 so Pacino could play the role. They hired a young Oliver Stone to adapt it but after a few years of not getting anywhere, they dropped it. Stone told Kovic that if he made it, he’d circle back to get it made. True to his word, after the success of Platoon, Stone reached back out and they began the process again, this time with Stone directing. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we close out our Oliver Stone in the 80s series with Stone’s 1989 film Born on the Fourth of July.

We talk about the small amount of Vietnam in this second film of Stone’s Vietnam trilogy and how it’s interesting in how much that element shapes the overall story. We discuss Tom Cruise in the lead role and how this is a perfect example of Cruise always pushing to be the best and why we love him so much here. We argue over whether the facial hair and wig work is good or not. We run through the list of all the other fantastic performers seen over the course of this epic life story. We debate the nature of biopics and if there’s another word to describe this type or not. We chat about Robert Richardson and all the amazing cinematographical choices made throughout this film. And we marvel at the incredible John Williams score which works so well.

We have a great time talking about this film so check it out then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins!

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