- 0:00:36 War Romantics
- Ron: It was a long time ago, sometimes I can still hear their voices across Sally's woods. There was Billy, Steve, Tommy, and the tall kid from down the street. Joey, yeah it was Joey Walsh. And my best friend was Timmy Burns who live two blocks away from me. We turned the woods into a battlefield and dreamed that some day we would become men.
- 0:08: 51 Saying great things
- The Kovic family gathers round the television as President John Kennedy addresses the nation. Mrs. Kovic turns to young Ron and tells him about a dream where he is speaking to a crowd. This scene serves as an important foreshadowing in the film.
John Kennedy- "In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility -- I welcome it. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans -- born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace. Let every nation know that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty."
Mrs. Kovic - "I had a dream, Ronnie, the other night, and you were speaking to a large crowd, just like him, just like him. And you were saying great things."
John Kennedy- "Ask not, what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."
- 0:10:00 The price is SACRAFICE
- Coach: You wanna win you gotta suffer! You wanna be the best you gotta pay the price of victory! The price is sacrifice! Sacrifice people!
- 0:10:46 Mom’s word of encouragement
- Mrs. Kovics: There's the next conference champion. . . . Your brother is a hard worker, Tommy. 'Cause he wants to be the best. Win or lose in school, sports, in life, as long as you do your best, that's what matters to God.
- 0:14:51 Find out if you really are a man
- Recruiter: First off young men, let's get one thing straight. Not everybody becomes a United States Marine. We want the best, and we'll accept nothing but the best, because there is nothing prouder, nothing finer, nothing standing as straight as a United States Marine. Now they've got the Army, they got the Navy, they got the Air Farce, but if you want to join them be my guest. But if you want a challenge, if you want to try something difficult, you want to try to achieve the impossible, you try 13 weeks of Hell at Parris Island in South Carolina, and you find out if you got what it takes. You find out if you really are a man. Then the Marines might be what you're looking for.
- 0:16:48 I’m going in. Our chance to do something.
- Timmy: My brother's up in school at Adelphi, and he said that there is gonna be a big war over there, and what is it?
Timmy: Vietnam, and he said that, that the Marines are gonna be the first ones in, and it ain't gonna last too long.
Ronnie: That's right. So if we don't sign up soon, we're going to miss it. I've already decided. I'm going in.
Steve Boyer: Really? Just like that?
Ronnie: I'm not waiting. I'm going in now.
Steve Boyer: Come on, Ronnie, you're crazy.
Ronnie: No, you're crazy. Our Dads got to go to WW2, this is our chance to do something. To be part of history, guys.
Billy: Yeah, just like our Dads.
Steve Boyer: You should think about what you are doing, you know, Ronnie.
Ronny: Screetch screetch screetch screetch (laughter)
Steve Boyer: It could be dangerous over there, you know, you you could get yourself killed -- did you ever think about that?
Tommy: Ahhh, where you going squirrel-head? College?
Steve Boyer: Well, I want to do something with my life. Yeah, I can get a degree in Business Administration.
Ronnie: Yeah and you don't think that you need to serve your country?
Tommy: Don't you care about anybody but yourself? Huh?
Billy: Better dead than red.
- 0:23:30 Ron’s reasons for joining the Marines
- Ron walks into the living room where his father is sitting and watching a broadcast from Vietnam. Ronnie explains to his parents that he wants to go, and his intensity is alarming.
Ronnie -" What do you think, Dad--about that?"
Dad- "I don't know, 13,000 miles, it's a long way to go to fight a war. I just hope they send you to Europe or Korea or someplace safe…"
Ronnie- "They can't, every Marine has a tour of duty over there. It's not like the Army, what's the matter with you, anyway? You served. Uncle Bob served."
Dad- "I know Ronnie, I know."
Ronnie-"And what, don't you remember what President Kennedy said? There's not gonna be an America anymore unless there are people who are willing to sacrifice. I love my country Dad."
Dad- "I know, Ronnie, I know."
Mom- "You're right, Ronnie, you're doing the right thing. Communism has to be stopped. It's God's will you go. I'm proud of you—be careful, that's all."
Ronnie- "Don't you know what it means to me to be a Marine, Dad? Ever since I was a kid I've wanted this. I wanted to serve my country. and I wanna go. I wanna go to Vietnam, and I'll die there if I have to."
Dad- "What a nice night for the prom."
- 0:35:10 Tent Confessions
- Ron tries to explain to his Executive Officer that he shot Wilson accidentally during the confusion of the ambush. The XO seems to ignore what Ron is saying to him and dismiss the conversation.
X0-" Stand easy Sergeant. Yeah, Kovic, the Lieutenant told me that was a pretty rough time."
Ron- "Yes, sir, it was pretty bad."
XO-"Ran into a few of them."
XO- "You want to see me about something, Sergeant
Ron- "Yes sir. Like I said to the captain uh sir… it was a very confusing day. The villagers--
X0-"Yeah. I know about the villagers, Sergeant."
Ron- "They…the villagers—
XO-"It was very, very unfortunate. The enemy used the villagers as cover."
Ron- "Yes, sir. They popped up, started firing. We were running back, sir. It was real glary. Very confusing and that's when it happened, sir."
Ron- "Sir, that was when Wilson was killed, sir."
XO-"Yeah, I know about Wilson."
Ron- "Sir, see… he was the last one out, and that's when it happened, sir. Sir, I think I might—I might have killed him, sir."
XO-"I don't think so."
Ron- "He was coming up over the dune. It was very confusing, and I think I might have killed him."
XO-"It's hard. I was out a couple of weeks ago. Sometimes it's…very hard to tell what's happening."
Ron- "Yes, sir. But sir, I think I killed Wilson."
XO-"I don't think so, Kovic."
Ron-"But sir, I want you to know that--"
XO-"Don't talk like that. I don't need anybody to come in here and tell me this shit. I'll take your head off. Is that clear?"
XO- "That clear?"
XO-"All right. Carry on."
- 0:55:21 Inhumane treatment
- Ron: WASHINGTON! Washington. What do you? Where the fuck were you? I been pushing this call button, I been staring at my own fucking vomit for two fucking hours. What's the matter with you fucking people? I lay in my own shit, why don't you change the sheets? This God-damn fucking place. I need a bath.
Washington: Don't be raising your voice to me Mr . . .
Ron: I need a bath.
Washington: . . . Mr. Kovic, you watch your mouth!
Other patient: Ohhh, you woke me up man.
Ron to Washington: Well, help me huh? What's the matter with you? I don't feel right. I don't feel right either. I need to see the doctor! I need to see him NOW!
Washington: He's not available now . . .
Ron: I WANT TO SEE HIM NOW!
Washington: He's busy.
Ron: He's always too busy, isn't he!
Other Nurse: What's eating you now, Kovic? You going off the deep end?
Ron: Fucking shit!
Other Nurse: They'll amputate that leg you keep going . . .
Ron: What do I have to do, what do I have to do . . .
Other Nurse: Man, don't you ever put your hands on me . . .
Ron: All I'm saying is I just want to be treated like a human being.
- 1:16:23 War stories
- Ronnie and Timmy spend the evening of the Fourth of July in Ronnie's backyard, talking about their experiences in Vietnam. They both explain when and how they got injured and how it's affected them.
Timmy- "I think the whole town got devastated, Ronnie. I don't think we got a friend left. It's really funny."
Ron- "When did you get hit, Timmy?"
Timmy- "September the 18th. Near Dong Ha. A lot of bad shit up there Ronnie, I'm telling you. Things I don't even wanna talk about. You know. I mean, uh…it was crazy. Shooting anything that—anything that moved you know? When did you—when did you get hit?"
Ron-"Me, well, uh January 20th. Yes. Someplace off—I don't even remember. Up in the DMZ. Walked into a whole battalion of them. Got shot in the foot. I got up like I was…back in the woods again, like I was John fuckin' Wayne, emptying a mag, screaming, Come on Charlie! Motherfucker, come out Charlie! Rat-tat-tat-tat. I heard this crack above my right ear, and I just felt my body…drop out from under me. Christ, I thought I was dead for sure."
Timmy- "Was the uh, how was the hospital?"
Ron- "It sucked."
Timmy- "I know."
Timmy-"I'll tell you something, Ronnie sometimes at night…I get these headaches, you know? They're bad. And, uh…they just kind of come over me, and these doctors don't' know shit, you know. They just come, like I'm going crazy or something. I don't feel—I don't feel like me anymore, you know? I feel like—When they come, I feel like somebody else. "
Ron-"What do you do?"
Timmy-"Nothing. Not a thing, you know? Well, mostly I do a lot of drugs. Do anything you can, you know? You get through it any way you can."
Ron- "When I was in the hospital, I thought, ‘Yeah, yeah this makes sense'."
Timmy- "What makes sense?"
Ron- "Cause I failed, Timmy."
Timmy- "What are you talking about?"
Ron-"Cause I…Cause I killed someone—some people. I—I made some terrible…mistakes."
Timmy-"Ronnie, we all made mistakes. I mean, you…you had no choice. Those pansy demonstrators will never understand. Don't talk about it. It was insane over there, it was crazy."
Ron-"Sometimes I wish—I wish I'd—When I got shot in the foot, I could have laid down. Who gives a fuck now if I was a hero or not? I was paralyzed, castrated that day. Why? ‘Cause I was so s—stupid. I'd have my dick and my balls now, and I think—I think, Timmy, I'd give everything I believe in, everything I got—all my values just to have my body again, just to be whole again. But I'm not whole. I never will be, and that's…the way it is, isn't it?"
Timmy- "For Christ's sake, Ronnie, it's your birthday, you're alive. You made it, smile."
- 1:34:15 Tell them what they did to me
- Ron: I don't believe in him [Jesus] anymore. ‘Cause he only had to spend three days up there, me I got to spend the rest of my life. I wish I were dead like him
Mom: you don't know what you're saying
Ron: That's that's the problem, Mom, I'm not dead. I got to live. I got to live, and I got to roll around, I got to remind them of Vietnam, and you don't want to know, you don't want to see us, you want to hide us, you want to hide us ‘cause it is a can of shit, and I am a fucking dummy.
Mom: He won't listen -- He won't change.
Dad: Ronnie, please, you got to take your mom seriously. You can't drink in this house.
Ron: I believed in everything they told us. They told us GO FIGHT!, GO KILL!, SERGEANT MAN MARINE CORP . . . (more inaudible Marine cadence) . . . and its all a lie.
Mom: What?! Stop it! You sleep it off. What did they do to you in that war? What happened to you? You need help Ronnie. You need help
Ron: You need help! With all your God and your perfect dreams about me . . .
Mom: Oh you're going to wake up all the neighbors.
Ron: You're ashamed of me. You're embarrassed by me!
Dad: Give me some air, let me talk to him alright
(inaudible group bickering)
Ron: FUCK YOU!
Mom: What did you say to me?
Dad: You don't talk to your mother like that
Mom: What did you say to me?
Ron: (crying) Fuck you!
Mom: You're going to wake the whole neighborhood.
Ronny: Wake ‘em up! Tell them! Hughjacks! Camalletes! Welches! You tell them all! Tell them what they did to me! What they did to this whole block, this whole country.
- 1:35:44 Thou shalt not kill
- Ron: We went to Vietnam to stop Communism. We . . . we shot women and children.
Mom: You didn't shoot women and children. What are you saying?
Ron: They said the war, Communism, the insidious evil, they told us to go.
Mom: Yes, that's what they told us.
Ron: (whispering) Thou shalt not kill, mom, thou shalt not kill women and children (crying) Thou shalt not kill, remember. Isn't that what you taught us? Isn't that they taught us.
Mom: STOP IT! Stop it! Stop it! I don't want you in this house. You're out of this house!
Dad: Ron come on now. You made your point, now stop.
Ron: No! I haven't made my point yet. You tell her, Dad. They're killing everyone now
Mom: I didn't force you to go.
Ron: Yes you did! Yes you did!
- 1:37:34 PENIS!
- Penis! Penis! Giant, erect penis! I never even got time to learn how to use it. It's gone in some jungle! Some fucking jungle over in Asia, just gone.
- 1:38:18 Who will love me?
- Ron: I'm so fucked up. fucked up . . .
Dad: Ronnie, maybe a little trip is all you need. That place down in Mexico you were talking about
Ron: I'm not going to Mexico, I don't want to go no place, I don't want to go no place
Dad: Ronnie, I think you should go. What can I do Ronnie? What do you want?
Ron: I want to be a man again, who is going to love me, Dad? Who is ever going to love me? (Crying)
- 2:08:12 Television interview
- At the Republican National Convention in Miami Beach, Ron speaks to a reporter about his views on the Vietnam War.
Reporter- "Why are you here tonight? What do you have to say?"
Ron- "My name's Ron Kovic. I'm a Vietnam veteran. I'm here to say this war is wrong, that this society lied to me and my brothers…It deceived the people in this country. It tricked them into going 13,000 miles to fight a war against a poor peasant people who have a proud history of resistance, who have been struggling for their own independence for 1000 years—the Vietnamese people. I can't--I can't find the words to express how the leadership of this government sickens me.
Now, people say…people say if you don't love America, then get the hell out. Well, I love America, but when it comes to the government, it stops right there. The government is bunch of corrupt thieves. They are rapists and robbers. We are here to say we don't have to take it anymore. We are here to tell the truth. They're killing our brothers in Vietnam. We want them to hear the truth. Is this what we get, spit in the face? Is this what we get? Is this what we get, spit in the face? We're never going to let the people forget that war! You're not sweeping it under the rug because you didn't like the ratings. This wheelchair, our wheelchairs, this steel, our steel is your Memorial Day on wheels. We're your Yankee-Doodle Dandy come home. We're your Yankee-Doodle Dandy.
Why are they gassing up in the parking lot? Why are they fighting us? Because it's a lie. The truth is they've killed a generation of young men. They have sacrificed a whole generation of young men. Stop the bombing! Stop the war!"
Richard Nixon- "I say to you tonight… in these times, when there is so much of a tendency to run down those who have served America in the past and today, let's give those who have served in Vietnam, the honor and the respect that they deserve and that they have earned."