Stone, Oliver

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Stone, Oliver

Oliver Stone, 1946–, American filmmaker, screenwriter, and producer, b. New York City, studied filmmaking with Martin Scorsese at New York Univ. (B.F.A., 1971). Stone enlisted (1967) in the army and saw combat in Vietnam, winning a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. He adapted the screenplay for Midnight Express (1978; Academy Award) and created other scripts before directing his first Hollywood film, The Hand (1981). Stone won critical plaudits for Salvador (1986), but it was not until he wrote and directed the grimly realistic Vietnam War drama Platoon (1986; Academy Award, best director) that he catapulted to popular success. In his exploration of various uniquely American themes, Stone has become a controversial figure, frequently criticized for mingling fact and fiction in some films (e.g., JFK, 1991) and for portraying extreme violence in others (e.g., Natural Born Killers, 1994). His many other movies include Wall Street (1987) and a sequel, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010), Born on the Fourth of July (1989; Academy Award, best director), The Doors (1991), Nixon (1995), World Trade Center (2006), and W. (2008, a dramatized portrait of George W. Bush). South of the Border (2010) is an extremely positive portrayal of South America's left-wing leaders, in particular Hugo Chávez; the contemporary marijuana wars in California and Mexico are the subject of Savages (2012). Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States (2012) is a 10-part television documentary that generally excoriates the United States for various events from World War II to Barack Obama.

See his Platoon and Salvador: The Screenplays (1987) and his autobiographical novel A Child's Night Dream (written 1966, pub. 1997); N. Kagan, The Cinema of Oliver Stone (1995); D. Kunz, ed., The Films of Oliver Stone (1997); C. Salewicz, Oliver Stone, Close Up (1998).

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