Oliver Stone

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Oliver Stone
Oliver Stone by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Stone at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con
Born
William Oliver Stone

(1946-09-15) September 15, 1946 (age 73)
Residence Los Angeles, California, U.S.
NationalityAmerican
Alma mater Yale University
New York University (BFA)
OccupationFilm director, screenwriter, film producer, author
Years active1971–present
Known for
Spouse(s)
Najwa Sarkis
(m. 1971;div. 1977)

Elizabeth Burkit Cox
(m. 1981;div. 1993)

Sun-jung Jung(m. 1996)
Children3, including Sean Stone
Military career
AllegianceFlag of the United States.svg  United States
Branch United States Army
Years1967–1968
War Vietnam War
Awards Bronze Star, Purple Heart Medal(2), Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Combat Infantry Badge

William Oliver Stone (born September 15, 1946) is an American filmmaker, director, writer [1] [2] [3] and conspiracy theorist. [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]

Contents

Stone won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay as writer of Midnight Express (1978). He also wrote the acclaimed gangster movie Scarface (1983). Stone achieved prominence as writer and director of the war drama Platoon (1986), which won Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Picture. Platoon was the first in a trilogy of films based on the Vietnam War, in which Stone served as an infantry soldier. He continued the series with Born on the Fourth of July (1989)—for which Stone won his second Best Director Oscar—and Heaven & Earth (1993). Stone's other notable works include the Salvadoran Civil War-based drama Salvador (1986); the financial drama Wall Street (1987) and its 2010 sequel Money Never Sleeps ; the Jim Morrison biographical film The Doors (1991); the satirical black comedy crime film Natural Born Killers (1994); and a trilogy of films based on the American Presidency JFK (1991), Nixon (1995) and W. (2008). His latest film is Snowden (2016).

Academy Awards American awards given annually for excellence in cinematic achievements

The Academy Awards, also officially and popularly known as the Oscars, are awards for artistic and technical merit in the film industry. Given annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), the awards are an international recognition of excellence in cinematic achievements as assessed by the Academy's voting membership. The various category winners are awarded a copy of a golden statuette, officially called the "Academy Award of Merit", although more commonly referred to by its nickname "Oscar". The statuette depicts a knight rendered in Art Deco style.

The Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay is one of the Academy Awards, the most prominent film awards in the United States. It is awarded each year to the writer of a screenplay adapted from another source. All sequels are automatically considered adaptations by this standard.

<i>Midnight Express</i> (film) 1978 film by Alan Parker

Midnight Express is a 1978 American prison drama film directed by Alan Parker, produced by David Puttnam and starring Brad Davis, Irene Miracle, Bo Hopkins, Paolo Bonacelli, Paul L. Smith, Randy Quaid, Norbert Weisser, Peter Jeffrey and John Hurt. It is based on Billy Hayes' 1977 non-fiction book Midnight Express and was adapted into the screenplay by Oliver Stone.

Many of Stone's films focus on controversial American political issues during the late 20th century, and as such were considered contentious at the times of their releases. They often combine different camera and film formats within a single scene, as demonstrated in JFK , Natural Born Killers , and Nixon . [11] Critics have accused Stone of promoting conspiracy theories. [4] [8] [7] [9] [10]

<i>JFK</i> (film) 1991 American political thriller film directed by Oliver Stone

JFK is a 1991 American political thriller film directed by Oliver Stone. It examines the events leading to the assassination of United States President John F. Kennedy and alleged cover-up through the eyes of former New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison. Garrison filed charges against New Orleans businessman Clay Shaw for his alleged participation in a conspiracy to assassinate the President, for which Lee Harvey Oswald was found responsible by the Warren Commission.

<i>Natural Born Killers</i> 1994 film by Oliver Stone

Natural Born Killers is a 1994 American satirical black comedy crime film directed by Oliver Stone and starring Woody Harrelson, Juliette Lewis, Robert Downey Jr., Tom Sizemore, and Tommy Lee Jones. The film tells the story of two victims of traumatic childhoods who became lovers and mass murderers, and are irresponsibly glorified by the mass media.

<i>Nixon</i> (film) 1995 biographical film directed by Oliver Stone

Nixon is a 1995 American epic historical drama film directed by Oliver Stone, produced by Clayton Townsend, Stone and Andrew G. Vajna. The film was written by Stone, Christopher Wilkinson and Stephen J. Rievele. The film tells the story of the political and personal life of former U.S. President Richard Nixon, played by Anthony Hopkins.

Early life

Stone was born September 15, 1946, in New York City, the son of a French woman named Jacqueline (née Goddet) [12] and Louis Stone (born Louis Silverstein), a stockbroker. [13] He grew up in Manhattan and Stamford, Connecticut. His parents met during World War II, when his father was fighting as a part of the Allied force in France. [14] His American-born father was Jewish and his French-born mother was Roman Catholic, both non-practicing. [15] Stone was raised in the Episcopal Church, [16] [17] and now practices Buddhism. [18]

Manhattan Borough in New York City and county in New York, United States

Manhattan, , is the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City, coextensive with New York County, one of the original counties of the U.S. state of New York. Manhattan serves as the city's economic and administrative center, cultural identifier, and historical birthplace. The borough consists mostly of Manhattan Island, bounded by the Hudson, East, and Harlem rivers; several small adjacent islands; and Marble Hill, a small neighborhood now on the U.S. mainland, physically connected to the Bronx and separated from the rest of Manhattan by the Harlem River. Manhattan Island is divided into three informally bounded components, each aligned with the borough's long axis: Lower, Midtown, and Upper Manhattan.

Stamford, Connecticut City in Connecticut, United States

Stamford is a city in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States. According to the 2010 census, the population of the city is 122,643. As of 2017, according to the Census Bureau, the population of Stamford had risen to 131,000, making it the third-largest city in the state and the seventh-largest city in New England. Approximately 30 miles from Manhattan, Stamford is in the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk Metro area which is a part of the Greater New York metropolitan area.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 70 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Stone attended Trinity School in New York City before his parents sent him away to The Hill School, a college-preparatory school in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. His parents were divorced abruptly while he was away at school (1962) and this, because he was an only child, marked him deeply. Stone's mother was often absent and his father made a big impact on his life; father-son relationships were to feature heavily in Stone's films perhaps because of this. [19]

Trinity School (New York City) independent school in New York City

Trinity School is a highly selective independent, preparatory, co-educational day school for grades K-12 located in New York City, USA, and a member of both the New York Interschool and the Ivy Preparatory School League. Founded in 1709 in the old Trinity Church at Broadway and Wall Street, the school is the fifth oldest in the United States and the oldest continually operational school in New York City.

The Hill School school in Pennsylvania, United States

The Hill School is a coeducational preparatory boarding school located on a 200-acre (81 ha) campus. in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, about 35 mi (56 km) northwest of Philadelphia. The Hill is part of the Ten Schools Admissions Organization (TSAO).

Pottstown, Pennsylvania Borough in Pennsylvania, United States

Pottstown is a borough in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, United States about 40 miles (64 km) northwest of Philadelphia and 20 miles (32 km) southeast of Reading, on the Schuylkill River. Pottstown was laid out in 1752–53 and named Pottsgrove in honor of its founder, John Potts. The old name was abandoned at the time of the incorporation as a borough in 1815. In 1888, the limits of the borough were considerably extended. Pottstown is the center of a productive farming and dairying region.

He often spent parts of his summer vacations with his maternal grandparents in France, both in Paris and La Ferté-sous-Jouarre in Seine-et-Marne. Stone also worked at 17 in the Paris mercantile exchange in sugar and cocoa – a job that proved inspirational to Stone for his film Wall Street . He speaks French fluently. [20] Stone graduated from The Hill School in 1964.

La Ferté-sous-Jouarre Commune in Île-de-France, France

La Ferté-sous-Jouarre is a commune in the Seine-et-Marne département in the Île-de-France region in north-central France.

<i>Wall Street</i> (1987 film) 1987 film by Oliver Stone

Wall Street is a 1987 American drama film, directed and co-written by Oliver Stone, which stars Michael Douglas, Charlie Sheen, and Daryl Hannah. The film tells the story of Bud Fox (Sheen), a young stockbroker who becomes involved with Gordon Gekko (Douglas), a wealthy, unscrupulous corporate raider.

Stone was admitted into Yale University, but left in June 1965 at age 18 [14] [21] to teach high school students English for six months in Saigon at the Free Pacific Institute in South Vietnam. [22] Afterwards, he worked for a short while as a wiper on a United States Merchant Marine ship in 1966, traveling from Asia to Oregon across the rough Pacific Ocean in January. [23] He returned to Yale, where he dropped out a second time (in part due to working on an autobiographical novel A Child's Night Dream , published 1997 by St. Martin's Press). [24]

U.S. Army

In April 1967, Stone enlisted in the United States Army and requested combat duty in Vietnam. From September 16, 1967 to April 1968, he served in Vietnam with 2nd Platoon, B Company, 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division and was twice wounded in action. [22] He was then transferred to the 1st Cavalry Division participating in long range patrols before being transferred again to drive for a motorized infantry unit of the division until November 1968. [25] For his service, his military awards include the Bronze Star with "V" Device for valor, the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster to denote two awards, the Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

Writing and directing career

1970s

Stone in February 1987 Oliver Stone 01.jpg
Stone in February 1987

Stone graduated from New York University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in film in 1971, where his professors included director and fellow NYU alumnus Martin Scorsese. [26] The same year, he had a small acting role in the comedy The Battle of Love's Return . [27] Stone made a short, well received 12-minute film Last Year in Viet Nam. He worked as a taxi driver, film production assistant, messenger, and salesman before making his mark in film as a screenwriter in the late 1970s, in the period between his first two films as a director: horror films Seizure and The Hand .

In 1979, Stone was awarded his first Oscar, after adapting true-life prison story Midnight Express into a hit film of the same name for British director Alan Parker (the two would later collaborate on a 1996 movie of stage musical Evita ). Stone's screenplay for Midnight Express was widely criticized for its inaccuracies in portraying the events described in the book and vilifying the Turkish people. The original author, Billy Hayes, around whom the film is set, spoke out against the film, protesting that he had many Turkish friends while in jail. [28] Stone later apologized to Turkey for over-dramatizing the script, while not repudiating the film's stark brutality or the reality of Turkish prisons. [29]

1980s

Stone wrote further features, including Brian De Palma's drug lord epic Scarface, loosely inspired by his own addiction to cocaine, which he successfully kicked while working on the screenplay. [30] He also penned Year of the Dragon (co-written with Michael Cimino) featuring Mickey Rourke, before his career took off as a writer-director in 1986. Like his contemporary Michael Mann, Stone is unusual in having written or co-written most of the films he has directed. In 1986, Stone directed two films back to back: the critically acclaimed but commercially unsuccessful Salvador , shot largely in Mexico, and his long in-development Vietnam project Platoon , shot in the Philippines.

Platoon brought Stone's name to a much wider audience. It also finally kickstarted a busy directing career, which saw him making nine films over the next decade. Alongside some negative reaction, Platoon won many rave reviews (Roger Ebert later called it the ninth best film of the 1980s), large audiences, and Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director. In 2007, a film industry vote ranked it at number 83 in an American Film Institute "AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Movies" poll of the previous century's best American movies. British TV channel Channel 4 voted Platoon as the sixth greatest war film ever made. [31]

Platoon was the first of three films Stone has made about the Vietnam War: the others were Born on the Fourth of July and Heaven & Earth , each dealing with different aspects of the war. Platoon is a semi-autobiographical film about Stone's experience in combat; Born on the Fourth of July is based on the autobiography of US Marine turned peace campaigner Ron Kovic; Heaven & Earth is based on the memoir When Heaven and Earth Changed Places , in which Le Ly Hayslip recalls her life as a Vietnamese village girl drastically affected by the war and who finds another life in the USA.

Stone also directed the acclaimed Wall Street , which won Michael Douglas an Academy Award for Best Actor as a ruthless Wall Street corporate raider, and Talk Radio , based on Eric Bogosian's Pulitzer-nominated play.

1990s

The Doors , released in 1991, received criticism from former Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek during a question and answer session at Indiana University East in 1997. During the discussion, Manzarek stated that he sat down with Stone about The Doors and Jim Morrison for over 12 hours. Patricia Kennealy-Morrison—a well known rock critic and author—was a consultant on the movie, in which she also has a cameo appearance, but she writes in her memoir Strange Days: My Life With and Without Jim Morrison (Dutton, 1992) that Stone ignored everything she told him and proceeded with his own version of events. From the moment the movie was released, she blasted it as untruthful and inaccurate. [32] The other surviving former members of the band, John Densmore and Robby Krieger, also cooperated with the filming of Doors, but Krieger distanced himself from the work before the film's release. However, Densmore thought highly of the film, and in fact celebrated its DVD release on a panel with Oliver Stone.

During this same period, Stone directed one of his most ambitious, controversial and successful films to date: JFK , that depicts the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. In 1991, Stone showed JFK to Congress on Capitol Hill, which helped lead to passage of the Assassination Materials Disclosure Act [33] of 1992. The Assassination Records Review Board (created by Congress to lessen, but not end the secrecy surrounding Kennedy's assassination) discussed the film, including Stone's observation at the end of the film, about the dangers inherent in government secrecy. [34] Stone published an annotated version of the screenplay, in which he cites references for his claims, shortly after the film's release.

I make my films like you're going to die if you miss the next minute. You better not go get popcorn. [35]

1994 saw the release of Stone's satire of the modern media, Natural Born Killers . Originally based on a screenplay by Quentin Tarantino, but significantly rewritten by Stone, Richard Rutowski, and David Veloz, [36] critics recognized its portrayal of violence and the intended satire on the media. Before it was released, the MPAA gave the film a NC-17 rating; this caused Stone to cut four minutes of film footage in order to obtain an R rating (he eventually released the unrated version on VHS and DVD in 2001). The film was the recipient of the Grand Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival [37] that year.

Stone went on to direct the 1995 Richard Nixon biopic Nixon , which was nominated for Oscars for script, John Williams' score, Joan Allen as Pat Nixon and Anthony Hopkins' portrait of the title role. Stone followed Nixon with the 1997 road movie/film noir, U Turn , and 1999's Any Given Sunday , a film about power struggles within and without an American football team.

2000s

Stone and Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, January 14, 2009 Oliver Stone and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.jpg
Stone and Argentina's President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, January 14, 2009

After a period from 1986 to 1999, where he released a new film at least every 1–2 years, Stone slowed down in the 2000s, though still finding some success.

In 2004, Stone directed the critically savaged Alexander . He later radically re-edited his biographical film of Alexander the Great into a two-part, 3-hour 37-minute film Alexander Revisited: The Final Cut, which became one of the highest-selling catalog items from Warner Bros. [38] He further refined the film and in 2014 released the two-part, 3-hour 26-minute Alexander: The Ultimate Cut. After Alexander, Stone went on to direct World Trade Center , based on the true story of two PAPD policemen who were trapped in the rubble and survived the September 11 attacks.

In 2007, Stone was intended to direct his fourth Vietnam War film Pinkville , about a Pentagon investigation into the My Lai massacre of Vietnamese civilians. The film was to have been made for United Artists, [39] but the company officially cancelled the production start due to the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike. Shortly after the strike, Stone went on to write and direct the George W. Bush biopic W. , that chronicles the controversial President's childhood, relationship with his father, struggles with his alcoholism, rediscovery of his Christian faith, and continues the rest of his life up until the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

2010s

Oliver Stone with Rino Barillari in "Piazza de Ricci" exit of the restaurant "Pierluigi" in Rome - September 25, 2012 Oliver stone, Rino Barillari, The king of paparazzi.jpg
Oliver Stone with Rino Barillari in "Piazza dé Ricci" exit of the restaurant "Pierluigi" in Rome – September 25, 2012

In 2010, Stone returned to the theme of Wall Street for the sequel Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps . [40] In 2012, Stone directed Savages , based on a novel by Don Winslow.

In 2014, Stone announced that his Martin Luther King project, which he had worked on for three years, was aborted by the producing studios, Warner Bros. and DreamWorks, following the objection of King's estate to his screenplay, which deals with King's adultery. Later Stone commented in a BBC interview: "These are not rumours; these are facts and Hoover had the tapes." [41]

The cast of Snowden speaking at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con International in San Diego, California. Snowden cast by Gage Skidmore.jpg
The cast of Snowden speaking at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con International in San Diego, California.

In 2015, he was presented with an honorific award at the Sitges Film Festival. His most recent film is Snowden , starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as whistleblower Edward Snowden. Snowden finished filming in May 2015 and was released on September 16, 2016.

On May 22, 2017, various industry papers reported that Stone was going to direct a television series about the Guantanamo detention camp. [42] [43] [44] [45] Daniel Voll was credited with creating the series. Harvey Weinstein's production company is financing the series. Stone is reported to be scheduled to direct every episode of the first season. However, Stone announced he would quit the series after sexual misconduct allegations surfaced against Weinstein in October 2017. [46]

Documentaries

Stone with Hugo Chavez at the Venice International Film Festival, July 9, 2009 for the screening of South of the Border Flickr - nicogenin - 66eme Festival de Venise (Mostra) Hugo Chavez - Oliver Stone.jpg
Stone with Hugo Chávez at the Venice International Film Festival, July 9, 2009 for the screening of South of the Border

Stone made three documentaries on Fidel Castro: Comandante (2003), Looking for Fidel , and Castro in Winter (2012). He made Persona Non Grata , a documentary on Israeli-Palestinian relations, interviewing several notable figures of Israel, including Ehud Barak, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Shimon Peres, as well as Yasser Arafat, leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

In 2009, Stone completed a feature-length documentary, South of the Border about the rise of populist governments in Latin America, featuring seven presidents: Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, Bolivia's Evo Morales, Ecuador's Rafael Correa, Cuba's Raúl Castro, the Kirchners of Argentina, Brazil's Lula da Silva, and Paraguay's Fernando Lugo (all of whom hold negative views of US foreign policy in South America). Stone hoped the film would get the rest of the Western world to rethink socialist policies in South America, particularly as it was being applied by Venezuela's Hugo Chávez. Chávez joined Stone for the premiere of the documentary at the Venice International Film Festival in September 2009. [47] Stone defended his decision not to interview Chávez's opponents, stating that oppositional statements and TV clips were scattered through the documentary and that the documentary was an attempt to right a balance of heavily negative coverage. He praised Chávez as a leader of a movement for social transformation in Latin America (the Bolivarian Revolution), along with the six other presidents in the film. The documentary was also released in several cities in the United States and Europe in the mid-2010. [48] [49]

In 2012, the documentary miniseries Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States premiered on Showtime, Stone co-wrote, directed, produced, and narrated the series, having worked on it since 2008 with co-writers American University historian Peter J. Kuznick and British screenwriter Matt Graham. [50] The 10-part series is supplemented by a 750-page companion book of the same name, also written by Stone and Kuznick, released on October 30, 2012 by Simon & Schuster. [51] Stone described the project as "the most ambitious thing I've ever done. Certainly in documentary form, and perhaps in fiction, feature form." [52] The project received positive reviews from former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, [53] The Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, [54] and reviewers from IndieWire, [55] San Francisco Chronicle , [56] and Newsday . [57] Hudson Institute adjunct fellow historian Ronald Radosh accused the series of historical revisionism, [58] while journalist Michael C. Moynihan accused the book of "moral equivalence" and said nothing within the book was "untold" previously. [59] Stone defended the program's accuracy to TV host Tavis Smiley by saying "This has been fact checked by corporate fact checkers, by our own fact checkers, and fact checkers [hired] by Showtime. It's been thoroughly vetted ... these are facts, our interpretation may be different than orthodox, but it definitely holds up." [60]

Stone at the 2017 Sarajevo Film Festival Oliver Stone SFF 13 aug 2017.jpg
Stone at the 2017 Sarajevo Film Festival

Stone was interviewed in Boris Malagurski's documentary film The Weight of Chains 2 (2014), which deals with neoliberal reforms in the Balkans. [61]

On March 5, 2014, Stone and teleSUR premiered the documentary film Mi Amigo Hugo (My Friend Hugo), a documentary about Venezuela's late President, Hugo Chávez, one year after his death. The film was described by Stone as a "spiritual answer" and tribute to Chávez. [62] At the end of 2014 according to a Facebook post Stone said he had been in Moscow to interview (former Ukrainian president) Viktor Yanukovych, for a "new English language documentary produced by Ukrainians". Foreign Policy called the documentary "beyond redemption, a work of cinematic malpractice that marks him as a 'useful idiot'". [63]

Two years later in 2016, Stone released Ukraine on Fire. In the documentary, Stone argued that Russia was justified in invading Crimea. Newsweek stated that "The less said about that orgy of alternative facts, the better". [63]

Stone's series of interviews with Russian president Vladimir Putin over the span of two years was released as The Putin Interviews , a four-night television event on Showtime on June 12, 2017. [64] The segments have been described as an advocacy project toward President Putin. [63] On June 13, Stone and Professor Stephen F. Cohen joined John Batchelor in New York to record an hour of commentary on The Putin Interviews. Stone also appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in a controversial interview about the film. [65]

Other work

In 1993, Stone produced a miniseries for ABC Television called Wild Palms . In a cameo, Stone appears on a television in the show discussing how the theories in his film JFK had been proven correct (the series took place in a hypothetical future, 2007). That same year, he also spoofed himself in the comedy hit Dave , espousing an (accurate) conspiracy theory about the film President's replacement by a near-identical double. In 1997, Stone published A Child's Night Dream (St. Martin's Press), a semiautobiographical novel first written in 1966–1967.

On September 15, 2008, Stone was named the Artistic Director of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts Asia in Singapore. [66]

Personal life

Family

Oliver Stone and his wife in Tehran. 2018 Fajr International Film Festival Oliver Stone and his wife in Closing ceremony of the 2018 Fajr International Film Festival 09 (cropped).jpg
Oliver Stone and his wife in Tehran. 2018 Fajr International Film Festival

Stone has been married three times, first to Najwa Sarkis on May 22, 1971. They divorced in 1977. He then married Elizabeth Burkit Cox, an assistant in film production, on June 7, 1981. [67] [68] They had two sons, Sean Stone/Ali (b. 1984) and Michael Jack (b. 1991). Sean appeared in some of his father's films while a child. Sean Stone currently works for the Russia state media company Russia Today. Oliver and Elizabeth divorced in 1993. Stone is currently married to Sun-jung Jung from South Korea, and the couple have a daughter, Tara (b. 1995). [69] Stone and Sun-jung live in Los Angeles. [70]

Religion and humanism

Stone is mentioned in Pulitzer Prize-winning American author Lawrence Wright's book Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief as having been a member of Scientology for about a month, saying "It was like going to college and reading Dale Carnegie, something you do to find yourself." [71] In 1997, Stone was one of 34 celebrities to sign an open letter to then-German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, published as a newspaper advertisement in the International Herald Tribune , which protested against the treatment of Scientologists in Germany and compared it to the Nazis' oppression of Jews in the 1930s. [72] In 2003, Stone was a signatory of the third Humanist Manifesto. [73]

In 1999, Stone was arrested and pleaded guilty to alcohol and drug charges. He was ordered into a rehabilitation program. He was arrested again on the night of May 27, 2005 in Los Angeles for possession of an undisclosed illegal drug. [74] [75] He was released the next day on a $15,000 bond. [75] In August 2005, Stone pleaded no contest and was fined $100. [76]

Sexual assault allegations

In 2017, former Playboy model Carrie Stevens alleged that in 1991, Stone had "walked past me and grabbed my boob as he waltzed out the front door of a party." [77]

The allegation Stevens made surfaced after Stone announced he would no longer direct The Weinstein Company's television series Guantanamo following the revelation of the Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct allegations. [77] Stone also drew criticism for defending Weinstein, saying

I'm a believer that you wait until this thing gets to trial. I believe a man shouldn't be condemned by a vigilante system. It's not easy what he's going through, either. During that period he was a rival. I never did business with him and didn't really know him. I've heard horror stories on everyone in the business, so I'm not going to comment on gossip. I'll wait and see, which is the right thing to do. [78]

Later both Patricia Arquette and Melissa Gilbert came forward to say he had acted inappropriately towards both of them. [79] [80]

Political views

Stone with Greek politician Alexis Tsipras and Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek, July 8, 2013 Alexis Tsipras, Oliver Stone, Slavoj Zizek (8752107280).jpg
Stone with Greek politician Alexis Tsipras and Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek, July 8, 2013

Stone has been described as having leftist political views. [63] [81] [82] [83] [63] [84] He has also drawn attention for his opinions on controversial world leaders such as Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Hugo Chávez. [63] [85] In Showtime's The Putin Interviews, Stone called Joseph Stalin "the most famous villain in history, next to Adolf [Hitler]", who "left a horrible reputation, and stained the [Communist] ideology forever ... it's mixed with blood, and terror." [86]

Latin America

Stone has had an interest in Latin America since the 1980s, when he directed Salvador , and later returned to make his documentary South of the Border about the left-leaning movements that had been taking hold in the region. He has expressed the view that these movements are a positive step toward political and economic autonomy for the region. [87] He supported Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez and admired the Colombian militant group FARC. [88]

Stone has criticized the U.S.–supported Operation Condor , a state terror operation that carried out assassinations and disappearances in support of South America's right-wing dictatorships in Argentina (see Dirty War), Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. [89]

Middle East

Stone called Saudi Arabia a major destabilizer in the Middle East. He also criticized the foreign policy of the United States, saying: "We made a mess out of Iraq, Syria, Libya, but it doesn't matter to the American public. It's okay to wreck the Middle East." [90]

U.S. presidential politics

According to Entertainment Weekly, Stone voted for Barack Obama as President of the United States in both the 2008 and 2012 elections, instead of John McCain and Mitt Romney, the GOP candidates for the presidency. [91] Stone was quoted as saying at the time: "I voted for Obama because ... I think he's an intelligent individual. I think he responds to difficulties well ... very bright guy ... far better choice yes." [92] In 2012, Stone endorsed Ron Paul for the Republican nomination for President, citing his support for a non-interventionist foreign policy. [93] He said that Paul is "the only one of anybody who's saying anything intelligent about the future of the world." [94] then later: "I supported Ron Paul in the Republican primary ... but his domestic policy ... made no sense!" [92] In March 2016, Stone wrote on the Huffington Post his support for Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders for the 2016 Democratic nomination. [95] In September 2016, Stone said he was voting for Green Party candidate Jill Stein for President. [96]

Speaking at the San Sebastián film festival, Stone said that many Americans had become disillusioned with Barack Obama's policies, having originally thought he would be "a man of great integrity." He said: "On the contrary, Obama has doubled down on the (George W.) Bush administration policies," and "has created ... the most massive global security surveillance state that's ever been seen, way beyond East Germany's Stasi". [97]

In April 2018, Stone attended a press conference at the Fajr Film Festival in Tehran, where he likened President Donald Trump to "Beelzebub", the biblical demonic figure. [90]

Iran and Holocaust controversy

Oliver Stone in Tehran. 2018 Fajr International Film Festival Press conference Oliver Stone in Tehran 24.jpg
Oliver Stone in Tehran. 2018 Fajr International Film Festival

In an interview with The Times newspaper on July 25, 2010, Stone claimed that America does not know "the full story" on Iran and complained about Jewish "domination" in parts of the U.S. media and foreign policy, notably his view that Adolf Hitler was misunderstood due to Jewish control of the media.[ citation needed ] When Stone was asked why so much of an emphasis has been placed on the Holocaust, as opposed to the 20-plus million casualties of the Soviet Union, for example, suffered in World War II, he stated that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) was an overly powerful Jewish lobby within the U.S. The remarks were heavily criticized by Jewish groups, including the Simon Wiesenthal Center.[ citation needed ] Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said, "Oliver Stone has once again shown his conspiratorial colors with his comments about 'Jewish domination of the media' and control over U.S. foreign policy. His words conjure up some of the most stereotypical and conspiratorial notions of undue Jewish power and influence." [98]

Yuli Edelstein, the speaker of Israel's Knesset and the leading Soviet refusenik, described Stone's remarks as what "could be a sequel to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion ", [99] and the American Jewish Committee, [100] as well as from Israel's Diaspora Affairs and Public Diplomacy Minister. [99]

A day later, Stone stated:

In trying to make a broader historical point about the range of atrocities the Germans committed against many people, I made a clumsy association about the Holocaust, for which I am sorry and I regret. Jews obviously do not control media or any other industry. The fact that the Holocaust is still a very important, vivid and current matter today is, in fact, a great credit to the very hard work of a broad coalition of people committed to the remembrance of this atrocity—and it was an atrocity. [101]

Two days later, Stone issued a second apology to the ADL, which was accepted. "I believe he now understands the issues and where he was wrong, and this puts an end to the matter," Foxman said. [102]

WikiLeaks

Oliver Stone is a vocal supporter of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Stone signed a petition in support of Assange's bid for political asylum in June 2012. [103] In August 2012, he penned a New York Times op-ed with filmmaker Michael Moore on the importance of WikiLeaks and free speech. [104] Stone visited Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy in April 2013 and commented, "I don't think most people in the US realize how important WikiLeaks is and why Julian's case needs support." He also criticized the documentary We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks and the film The Fifth Estate , saying "Julian Assange did much for free speech and is now being victimised by the abusers of that concept". [105]

In June 2013, Stone and numerous other celebrities appeared in a video showing support for Chelsea Manning. [106] [107]

Ukraine

In December 2014, Stone made statements supporting the Russian government's narrative on Ukraine, portraying the 2014 Ukrainian revolution as a CIA plot. He also refutes the claim that former Ukrainian president (who was ousted as a result of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution) Viktor Yanukovych, was responsible for the killing of protesters as claimed by the new Ukrainian government. He said Yanukovych was the legitimate president who was forced to leave Ukraine by "well-armed, neo-Nazi radicals". He said that in "the tragic aftermath of this coup, the West has maintained the dominant narrative of ’Russia in Crimea’ whereas the true narrative is ’USA in Ukraine’". [108] [109] [110] [111] [112] [113] The University of Toronto's Stephen Velychenko, the author of several books on Ukrainian history, and James Kirchick of The Daily Beast criticized Stone's comments and plans for a film. [114] [115]

Promotion of conspiracy theories

Stone’s interest in conspiracy theories goes beyond creating fictional films on the subject and has expanded into promoting conspiracy theories in books, public appearances, and documentaries. Some of these ideas include:

Russian gay propaganda law

Russia passed a law in 2013 banning the targeting of minors in the propagandizing of homosexuality. [124] In a 2019 interview with Vladimir Putin, Stone characterized the law as “sensible”. [125]

Award and nominations

Academy Awards

YearCategoryFilmResult
1979 Best Adapted Screenplay Midnight Express Won
1987 Best Director Platoon Won
Best Picture Won
Best Original Screenplay Nominated
Salvador Nominated
1990 Best Picture Born on the Fourth of July Nominated (shared with A. Kitman Ho)
Best DirectorWon
Best Adapted ScreenplayNominated (shared with Ron Kovic)
1992 Best Picture JFK Nominated (shared with A. Kitman Ho)
Best DirectorNominated
Best Adapted ScreenplayNominated (shared with Zachary Sklar)
1996 Best Original Screenplay Nixon Nominated (shared with Stephen J. Rivele
Christopher Wilkinson)

Filmography

YearFilmDir.Wri.Pro.Academy AwardsGolden Globe AwardsBAFTA AwardsGolden Raspberry Awards
NominationsWinsNominationsWinsNominationsWinsNominationsWins
1973 Sugar Cookies NoNoYes
1974 Seizure YesYesNo
1978 Midnight Express NoYesNo422633
1981 The Hand YesYesNo
1982 Conan the Barbarian NoYesNo11
1983 Scarface NoYesNo31
1985 Year of the Dragon NoYesNo25
1986 Salvador YesYesYes2
8 Million Ways to Die NoYesNo
Platoon YesYesNo844332
1987 Wall Street YesYesNo111111
1988 Talk Radio YesYesNo
1989 Born on the Fourth of July YesYesYes82542
1990 Blue Steel NoNoYes
Reversal of Fortune NoNoYes2131
1991 The Doors YesYesNo
JFK YesYesNo824122
1992 Zebrahead NoNoYes
South Central NoNoYes
1993 Heaven & Earth YesYesYes11
Wild Palms NoNoYes
The Joy Luck Club NoNoYes1
1994 Natural Born Killers YesYesNo1
The New Age NoNoYes
1995 Nixon YesYesYes411
Indictment: The McMartin Trial NoNoYes
1996 Freeway NoNoYes
Evita NoYesNo41238
The People vs. Larry Flynt NoNoYes232
Killer: A Journal of Murder NoNoYes
1997 U Turn YesYesNo2
Cold Around the Heart NoNoYes
Gravesend NoNoYes
1998 Savior NoNoYes
1999 Any Given Sunday YesYesYes
The Corruptor NoNoYes
2001 The Day Reagan Was Shot NoNoYes
2003 Persona Non Grata YesNoNo
Comandante YesNoNo
2004 Alexander YesYesNo6
Looking for Fidel YesYesNo
2006 World Trade Center YesNoNo
2008 W. YesNoNo
2009 South of the Border YesNoNo
2010 Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps YesNoYes1
2012 Savages YesYesNo
Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States YesYesYes
2016 Snowden YesYesNo1
All Governments Lie NoNoYes
2017 The Putin Interviews YesYesYes
2019 Revealing Ukraine NoNoYes
Total43143322207171

Bibliography

Books

Interviews

Screenplays

Related Research Articles

<i>Platoon</i> (film) 1986 American war film directed by Oliver Stone

Platoon is a 1986 American anti-war film written and directed by Oliver Stone, starring Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe, Charlie Sheen, Keith David, Kevin Dillon, John C. McGinley, Forest Whitaker, and Johnny Depp. It is the first film of a trilogy of Vietnam War films directed by Stone, followed by Born on the Fourth of July (1989) and Heaven & Earth (1993). The film, based on Stone's experience from the war, follows a U.S. Army volunteer (Sheen) fighting in the war while his two sergeants argue over the leadership of the platoon.

Comandante is a political documentary film by American director Oliver Stone. In the film, Stone interviews Cuban leader Fidel Castro on a diverse range of topics. Stone and his film crew visited Castro in Cuba for three days in 2002, and the film was released in 2003, having its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival early that year. The film was partly produced by HBO and was planned for broadcast. Shortly before airtime, after Cuba executed three hijackers of a ferry to the United States and imprisoned more than 70 political dissidents, HBO pulled the program.

Robert Richardson (cinematographer) American cinematographer

Robert Bridge Richardson, ASC is an American cinematographer. He has won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography three times, for his work on JFK, The Aviator, and Hugo. Richardson is and has been a frequent collaborator for several directors, including Oliver Stone, John Sayles, Errol Morris, Quentin Tarantino, and Martin Scorsese. He is one of three living persons who won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography three times, the others being Vittorio Storaro and Emmanuel Lubezki.

Pietro Scalia is an Italian-American film editor.

<i>Born on the Fourth of July</i> (film) 1989 American film directed by Oliver Stone

Born on the Fourth of July is a 1989 American biographical war drama film based on the eponymous 1976 autobiography by Ron Kovic. Directed by Oliver Stone, and written by Stone and Kovic, it stars Tom Cruise, Kyra Sedgwick, Raymond J. Barry, Jerry Levine, Frank Whaley and Willem Dafoe. The film depicts the life of Kovic (Cruise) over a 20-year period, detailing his childhood, his military service and paralysis during the Vietnam War, and his transition to anti-war activism. It is the second installment in Stone's trilogy of films about the Vietnam War, following Platoon (1986) and preceding Heaven & Earth (1993).

Shane Salerno American screenwriter

Shane Salerno is an American screenwriter, producer, and director. His writing credits include the movies Armageddon, Savages,Shaft, and the TV series Hawaii Five-0. He was chosen by director James Cameron to work on the four sequels to Avatar, set to release in 2020, 2021, 2023 and 2025. He spent ten years writing, producing, financing, and directing the documentary Salinger, and co-writing with David Shields the companion book which became a New York Times bestseller. Salerno is also the founder and president of The Story Factory, which produces film and TV series based on literary properties.

John M. Newman is an American author and retired major in the United States Army. Newman was on the faculty at the University of Maryland from 1995 to 2012, and has been a Political Science professor at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia since January 2013.

<i>South of the Border</i> (2009 film) 2009 film by Oliver Stone

South of the Border is a 2009 American documentary film directed by Oliver Stone. The documentary premiered at the 2009 Venice Film Festival. Writer for the project Tariq Ali calls the documentary "a political road movie". Stone stated that he hopes the film will help people better understand a leader who is wrongly ridiculed "as a strongman, as a buffoon, as a clown."

The New Year's Day battle of 1968 was a military engagement during the Vietnam War that began on the evening of 1 January 1968. It involved units assigned to the U.S. 25th Infantry Division and a regiment of the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN).

R. James Woolsey Jr. Directors of CIA

Robert James "Jim" Woolsey Jr. is an American lawyer and diplomat who headed the Central Intelligence Agency from February 5, 1993, until January 10, 1995. He held a variety of government positions in the 1970s and 1980s, including as Under Secretary of the Navy from 1977 to 1979, and was involved in treaty negotiations with the Soviet Union for five years in the 1980s. His career also included time as a professional lawyer, venture capitalist and investor in the private sector.

Sean Christopher Stone is an American actor, film director, producer, cinematographer, screenwriter, and TV host. He is the son of Elizabeth Burkit Cox and film director Oliver Stone. He converted to Islam in 2012.

The Untold History of the United States is a 2012 documentary series created, directed, produced, and narrated by Oliver Stone about the reasons behind the Cold War, the decision to drop the atomic bombs, and changes in America's global role since the fall of Communism.

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William Edward Binney is a former highly placed intelligence official with the United States National Security Agency (NSA) turned whistleblower who retired on October 31, 2001, after more than 30 years with the agency.

Edward Snowden American Whistleblower and Former National Security Agency Contractor

Edward Joseph Snowden is an American whistleblower who copied and leaked highly classified information from the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013 when he was a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee and subcontractor. His disclosures revealed numerous global surveillance programs, many run by the NSA and the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance with the cooperation of telecommunication companies and European governments, and prompted a cultural discussion about national security and individual privacy.

<i>Snowden</i> (film) 2016 biographical political thriller film by Oliver Stone

Snowden is a 2016 biographical thriller film directed by Oliver Stone and written by Stone and Kieran Fitzgerald. Based on the books The Snowden Files by Luke Harding and Time of the Octopus by Anatoly Kucherena, the film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Edward Snowden, a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) subcontractor and whistleblower who copied and leaked highly classified information from the National Security Agency (NSA) beginning in 2013. In addition to Gordon-Levitt, the film features an ensemble cast including Shailene Woodley, Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto, Tom Wilkinson, Scott Eastwood, Logan Marshall-Green, Timothy Olyphant, Ben Schnetzer, LaKeith Lee Stanfield, Rhys Ifans and Nicolas Cage. An international co-production of Germany, France, and the United States, principal photography began on February 16, 2015 in Munich.

<i>Trump: The Kremlin Candidate?</i> 2017 film

Trump: The Kremlin Candidate? is a documentary film first broadcast by the program Panorama on BBC One, examining links between Trump associates and Russian officials and the relationship between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. It features investigative journalist John Sweeney, who journeyed to Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, and the United States during the course of his research. The documentary first aired in the United Kingdom on 16 January 2017, four days before the Inauguration of Donald Trump. Sweeney had prior experience on the subject matter, having interviewed Trump in 2013, and Putin in 2014. The film was directed by Matthew Hill, Tomiko Newson, and Nick Sturdee.

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