most Americans, the name “Oliver Stone” is synonymous with “conspiracy” and “scandal.” He has directed 12 major films that have
made American’s rethink their opinions on our government, our society, and ourselves. Stone is easily among the best filmmakers in
American movie history.
Oliver Stone was born September 15, 1946 in New
York City. In the 1960s, America became
involved in a conflict in Vietnam, and many people Stone’s age began enrolling
in college primarily to avoid entering the war. Stone did the exact opposite when he dropped out of Yale to join
the Army for the Vietnam War. In the
war, Stone was awarded the Purple Heart for getting shot in the neck and the
Bronze Star for single-handedly wiping out a machine gun nest with a grenade.
experiences in the war, like many of his fellow soldiers, changed his life
forever. Following his return to
America, Stone enrolled at N.Y.U. to study film under another great filmmaker,
Martin Scorsese. After Stone graduated,
he began his career as a screenwriter.
His early credits include 8 Million Ways to Die, Year of the
Dragon, Scarface, Conan the Barbarian, The Hand, and Midnight
Express, which earned him his first Oscar.
Stone wrote and directed two more films: Salvador and Platoon. Salvador, although not especially
praised or considered one of Stone’s greater films, introduced America to
Stone’s political opinions. Platoon was
based on Stone’s experiences in the Vietnam War, and reminded Americans of the
war they tried to forget. That year,
Stone received three Oscar nominations: Best Director (Platoon) and two “Screenplay
Written Directly for the Screen” nominations (Platoon and Salvador). Stone won the Oscar for Best Director, and Platoon
won the Oscar for Best Picture.
he won his Best Director Oscar, Stone directed eight more films in ten
years. Immediately after Platoon,
Stone wrote and directed Wall Street and Talk Radio. Critics and audiences everywhere praised
these films, and further established Stone as both a great writer and director. His next film Born on the Fourth of July,
based on the life of Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic (who also co-wrote the script),
has been regarded by many as a masterpiece and Stone’s best work. That year, Oscar again shined for Stone as
he won his second Best Director Oscar.
After his next film, The Doors, Stone his “Godfather” JFK,
based on the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and the events surrounding
it. This film established Stone as a
conspiracy theorist and a controversial artist. Stone followed JFK with Heaven & Earth,
concluding the trilogy of his Vietnam War films. He then made Natural Born Killers, a satirical vision of
Americans’ views on mass murderers. As
a result of the film, Stone was dubbed a violence-loving person, and was accused of inspiring the deaths of ten people. Stone followed with his “Godfather II”, Nixon,
which showed the country that Richard Nixon, one of the most enigmatic
Presidents ever, actually loved the country and its people, but would commit
illegal acts for it. Two years later he
directed U-Turn, and then, two years after that, directed Any Given
Sunday, his view on modern football.
Stone’s busy schedule in the 1990s, he managed to produce and write other
movies too. He produced Iron Maze,
South Central, Zebrahead, The Joy Luck Club, Freeway,
The People vs. Larry Flint, Savior, and The Corruptor, and
though Stone has made movies that may seem anti-American, he still loves
America. A true patriot is a person
willing to save their country from itself, which is what Stone attempts to do
with his films. People who oppose Stone
say he abuses his freedom of speech with his often violent and controversial
films. However, Stone is one of the few
people who uses their freedom of speech, and, with that, tries to warn
Americans that if we are unwilling to change, our country will fall.