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(Review originally written at 20 February 2004)

"Born on the Fourth of July" is probably one of the best anti war movies with only just a few minutes set in Vietnam itself.

The great thing about "Born on the Fourth of July" is that it doesn't only focuses on the individual (such as is in many other Vietnam movies is the case) but also focuses on the effect that it had on the family and friends and how it changed an entire country.

The movie starts of really well and keeps the pace high. It's too bad that after the Vietnam scene's (which are in my opinion the best of the movie, even though they are only just a few minutes short) the movie gets a bit slow and not always interesting to watch. Only when the anti-war demonstrations start the movie gets interesting again until the abrupt and not satisfying ending comes. Still the movie works effective and shows a "beautiful" portrayal of the effects of war in many different kinds of ways.

Visually the movie looks wonderful even though some of the scene's are way over the top at times. Mainly thanks to Robert Richardson's cinematography, some good editing and Oliver Stone's directing the movie looks like eye candy. But it's also a feast to the ears, John Williams musical score is powerful as well as emotional and suits the movie perfectly. Truly yet another John Williams masterpiece.

The movie is also well casted. Tom Cruise is great as Ron Kovic. Also look out for a at that time still unknown Tom Sizemore as a crazy Vietnam veteran, he is even named in the opening credits like they already knew back then that he would become a star later. Also notable is Willem Dafoe in his role as Charlie that should have been bigger in my opinion.

Powerful Vietnam movie that has it flaws but still is very effective.

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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