Born on the Fourth of July: Is Boyer Burger a Real Restaurant?

‘Born on the Fourth of July,’ an anti-war film starring Tom Cruise, takes the viewers on a journey through Ron Kovic’s life as his perception of the military and patriotism expressed through war efforts molds with time and experience. After Ron enlists in the army and serves two tours in Vietnam, he returns home in a wheelchair, paralyzed due to a gunshot and profoundly traumatized due to the cruelty he witnessed. Moreover, his return to the States remains highlighted by a deplorable time at VA Hospitals and a lack of understanding of his trauma. Thus, realizing the brutal reality of war, Ron becomes an advocate for peace.

Within his story, Ron’s arrival in his hometown after his discharge crests his narrative halfway through, introducing the idea of anti-war sentiments to the veteran. One aspect of the same emerges from his visit to the Boyer Burger restaurant, owned by a friend.

Boyer Burger is Not a Restaurant in Real Life

‘Born on the Fourth of July’ charts a biographical tale, bringing to screen the real life of Ronald Lawrence Kovic, a war veteran who became a prominent peace activist. The film’s ties to reality are solidified through Kovic’s 1976 eponymous novel, which serves as the source material upon which the cinematic adaptation bases itself. Furthermore, Ron Kovic’s involvement in the film’s making as a co-screenplay writer alongside filmmaker Oliver Stone further strengthens the authenticity behind the tale. Even so, if the occasion calls for it, the on-screen narrative diverges from reality or adds a distinct element to the story.

The same seems to be the case for Boyer Burger, the fast food place run by Steve Boyer, one of Ron’s high school friends. The establishment bears no mention in Kovic’s original book and lacks a counterpart in reality as well. For the same reason, its existence remains confined within Stone’s cinematic endeavor. According to reports, the filming for the restaurant took place in Dallas, Texas, in the Elmwood neighborhood. Nonetheless, no identical establishment exists in the city at the moment. Likewise, while fans may find similarly christened restaurants, there aren’t any records confirming the existence of a Boyer Burger Place.

As such, Boyer Burger doesn’t seem to have any tangible basis in a real-life establishment. Instead, it’s confined to the role it plays in Ron Kovic’s on-screen story. In the film, the restaurant’s primary purpose is to showcase the two-faced nature of Steve Boyer, who frequently equips tricks to save money, even if it means hoodwinking his town. Afterward, Steve and his business venture’s inclusion in the annual Fourth of July parade showcases the deceptive nature of the parade.

Naturally, the scene emulates the first parade that appears on screen, which ignites on-screen Ron’s sense of patriotism, driving him to look up to the military in his youth. Thus, the restaurant remains an instrumental tool in the thematic representation of Ron’s relationship with the holiday parade. On the other hand, Steve’s flippant offer of hiring Ron to work the cash register at his Boyer Burger location also depicts his lack of respect and appreciation for the veteran. As such, it highlights the disconnect between the general public’s perception of the war and the protagonist’s lived experience of it.

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