Sgt. Barnes: Talking about killing? Hmm? Y’all experts? Y’all know ’bout killing? I’d like to hear about it, potheads. [takes pipe and inhales drag] Why do you smoke this shit? So as to escape from reality? Me, I don’t need this shit. [beat] I am reality. There’s the way it ought to be. And there’s the way it is. Elias was full of shit. Elias was a crusader. Now, I got no fight with any man who does what he’s told, but when he don’t, the machine breaks down. And when the machine breaks down, we break down. And I ain’t gonna allow that in any of you. Not one. [beat] Y’all love Elias. Oh, you wanna kick ass. Yeah. Well, here I am, all by my lonesome, and ain’t nobody gonna know. Six of you boys against me. Kill me. [beat] I shit on all of you.
Ron Kovic: We went to Vietnam to stop communism!. . .We shell women and children!
Mrs. Kovic: You didn’t shoot women and children! What are you saying?
Ron Kovic: That was the war, communism, the insidious evil! They told us to go.
Mrs. Kovic: Yes, yes that’s what they told us.
Ron Kovic: Thou shalt not kill, Mom. Thou shalt not kill women and children! Thou shalt not kill! Remember? Isn’t that what you taught us? Isn’t that what they taught us?
Mrs. Kovic: Stop it! Stop it! I don’t want you in this house. You’re out of this house!
Mr. Kovic: Okay, Ron, you’ve made your point now stop.
Ron Kovic: No! I haven’t made my point. You tell her, dad. They are killing everyone now!
Mrs. Kovic: I didn’t force you to go!
Ron Kovic: Yes you did! Yes you did! And it’s all falling apart! King! Kennedy! Kent State! We all lost this fucking war.
Mrs. Kovic: It’s not my fault!
Ron Kovic: Fucking communism won; it’s all for nothing.
Mrs. Kovic: That’s not true, Ronnie.
Ron Kovic: What do you know?! You tell her dad! Tell her! It’s a lie! It’s a fucking lie! There’s no God. God is as dead as my legs! There’s no God, there’s no country! Nothing. Just me and this fucking wheelchair for the rest of my life. Nothing but me and this dead penis.
Mr. Kovic: Not with the catheter for God’s sake!
Ron Kovic: Penis!
Mrs. Kovic: Eli, I can’t stand it anymore! To hell with you!
Ron Kovic: In church they say it’s a sin if you play with your penis. I just wish I could.
Mrs. Kovic: Don’t say penis in this house!
Ron Kovic: Penis! Penis! Big fucking erect penis, Mom! Penis! Penis!
Gordon Gekko: The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind.
I think I first saw this film when I was in High School. If I remember correctly, I rented it because I was going through a Willem Dafoe phase (yes, really). My mother watched it with me because she had really enjoyed the film when it first came out. Then she told me about how she’d seen the real Ron Kovic speak at an event once and she thought Cruise had really captured his spirit. There’s a lot of themes in this movie; because it is directed by Oliver Stone, it isn’t particularly subtle with its point of view. But, from what I gather, neither was Ron Kovic. The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards, winning two: Best Sound, Best Cinematography, Best Original Score, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing (Won), Best Actor, Best Director (won), Best Picture. The other films nominated for Best Picture that year were Dead Poets Society, Field of Dreams, My Left Foot and winner Driving Miss Daisy.