- Sep 15, 1946
- New York, New York, USA
Undoubtedly one of the most controversial directors in Hollywood, Oliver Stone has made films that are remarkable for both the way in which their subject matter is handled and the degree of controversy such handling inspires. Although he has served as a producer, screenwriter, and actor on a variety of films, Stone is consistently identified with his… More Bio:
Undoubtedly one of the most controversial directors in Hollywood, Oliver Stone has made films that are remarkable for both the way in which their subject matter is handled and the degree of controversy such handling inspires. Although he has served as a producer, screenwriter, and actor on a variety of films, Stone is consistently identified with his more political works, from 1986's Platoon, the first of his so-called Vietnam trilogy, to Nixon, his 1995 take on the finer points and parables of the Nixon administration. Despite this association with political films, Stone has stated that he considers his films "first and foremost to be dramas about individuals in personal struggles," and that he believes himself to be a dramatist rather than a political filmmaker.
Born in New York City on September 15, 1946, Stone grew up nurturing his love of films. He was particularly inspired by Luis Buñuel and Jean-Luc Godard, whose Breathless inspired the nascent filmmaker with its speed and energy. After a year at Yale, Stone dropped out and moved to Vietnam, where he taught English for a year. A year in Mexico followed, during which he wrote an unpublished novel and got arrested for marijuana possession. In 1967, Stone, like thousands of other men during that decade, enlisted in the military and went to Vietnam, where he received both a Bronze Star and Purple Heart during his year of service.
Upon his return from Vietnam, Stone enrolled at New York University, where he studied filmmaking under Martin Scorsese. As a student of Scorsese's, he participated in his first film project, Street Scenes 1970, a collection of student films on which Stone acted as a cinematographer. Four years later, he directed his first feature, Seizure, for which he also acted as editor and screenwriter. The film's overriding theme of psychological trauma proved to be good preparation for Stone's next project, the 1978 film Midnight Express. For his work as the film's screenwriter, he won his first Academy Award, for Best Adapted Screenplay.
After making his directorial debut for a major studio (Orion) with 1981's The Hand (a production for which he also served as screenwriter and had a minor acting role), Stone wrote a number of films, including 1982's Conan the Barbarian, Scarface (1983), and Michael Cimino's Year of the Dragon (1985). In 1986 Stone had his directorial breakthrough, with his internationally acclaimed Platoon. The film won him his first Best Director Oscar (as well as a slew of other awards, including the Oscar for Best Picture) and become the third-highest grossing film of 1986, as it redefined the way in which the Vietnam War was portrayed on film. Stone effectively opened the way for a new -- albeit controversial -- approach to looking at the war, and in so doing, his name became almost irretrievably associated with films of a more political, revisionist nature.
Stone's next directorial effort, the same year's Salvador, fully embraced the political tilt that Platoon had hinted at. The story of American photojournalist Richard Boyle (James Woods), Salvador explored the various politics at play during the early-'80s war in Central America. The film won widespread praise, and Stone, who was also its producer and screenwriter, followed it up with a similarly acclaimed effort, Wall Street (1987). A tale of greed, corruption, and power, the film reflected the American state of mind in the 1980s. It went on to win a Best Actor Oscar for star Michael Douglas, who supplied a chilling portrayal of the film's central source of sleaze, Gordon Gekko.
After completing 1988's Talk Radio, which was adapted from its star Eric Bogosian's stage production, Stone went on to make the second installment of his Vietnam trilogy, Born on the Fourth of July (1989). The film received a large dose of enthusiastic acclaim and a second Best Director Oscar for Stone, as well as seven other nominations, including Best Picture and Best Ac
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