Born on the Fourth of July was released in 1989 and was a big hit around the World, portraying a powerful and emotional story in a role that was career-defining for Tom Cruise, and which many people feel he has never bettered. Let’s take a look back at this classic film with some facts you probably didn’t know…..
1. The film had a unique look
The movie was shot with filters in place depending on the mood of the film, with red being battle scenes and blue being sad scenes, for example to heighten the emotional impact.
2. Cruise used method acting
From the scenes when Ron is paralysed onwards, Tom Cruise tried to remain in a wheel chair as much as possible, even off set to get used to it and experience the feeling first hand.
3. There was a risky suggestion
Both director Oliver Stone, and Tom Cruise stated that they wanted to use a real nerve agent to cause genuine paralysis in Cruise!
4. They had to relent
After looking at different options, they were unable to find a nerve agent that was safe enough to guarantee Cruise would make a full recovery and the idea was dropped.
5. Cruise was a day early
The film has the iconic title of Born on the Fourth of July, but Tom Cruise himself was ironically born on the third of July!
6. The real Ron Kovic had a big impact on the script
Ron Kovic, on whom the film is based, wrote a lot of the script with director Oliver Stone at a café in Venice, California.
7. It’s not one for the kids
The film is harrowing and moving, but it is also full of expletives, with the word “fuck” being used in the film a massive 289 times!
8. They couldn’t film on location
Oliver Stone had to film the movie in the Philippines, as the relationship between the US and Vietnam were still too tense to film on location there, where Stone originally wanted.
9. Stone got his first choice
Stone had only one name in mind when casting Ron Kovic, and that was Tom Cruise, who he was able to successfully cast in the role at the first attempt.
10. He was a popular choice
Not only was Cruise Oliver Stone’s first choice, but Ron Kovic stood by this decision and was very pleased with Tom Cruise’s depiction of him.
11. Kovic rewarded Cruise
Ron Kovic was so pleased, and so moved by Tom Cruise’s portrayal of him in the movie, that he gave Cruise his Bronze Star as a thank you!
12. Stone got an award from his mentor
When he received the Best Director Oscar for Born on the Fourth of July, Oliver Stone was presented with the award from his former teacher at film school, Martin Scorcese!
13. Three brothers appear
Three of the Baldwin brothers appear in the movie, William, Daniel and Stephen, though none of them appear on screen at the same time.
14. The film was almost made years before
Several years before the film was made, there was talk of a version of the film being made by William Friedkin and starring Al Pacino as Ron Kovic.
15. Pacino almost appeared in the version that was made
After being considered for the main role in Friedkin’s version, Al Pacino was also nearly cast in Oliver Stone’s version, but as Kovic’s father, though he turned the role down.
What are your memories about watching Born on the Fourth of July? Is it one of those powerful and incredibly poignant films that stuck with you for years? Have you watched it again, or is it one of those films you felt only ever needed to be watched once and it lasted a lifetime? Let us know all of your thoughts in the comments as always!