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Oliver Stone


Oliver Stone

Biography Page 3

Director, Screenwriter, Producer

Film critics praised the film, giving it rave reviews for both its acting and technical aspects. As for the general public, the film caused a great deal of debating for its political significance. At the time, Platoon was the top grossing film in the country. Eventually the movie brought in a total of $136 million in box office sales. The film was also a recipient of several awards, including a Directors Guild of America Best Directors Award, eight Academy Award nominations and four Oscars including the prestigious Best Picture of 1986.

Because his father worked on Wall Street, Stone had always wanted to write a film about the lifestyle. He got the idea while working on Scarface. Through his research, he noticed several similarities between the "professions" such as the tension, get-rich-quick mentality and high levels of stress that plague all that are involved. Stone co-wrote the script for Wall Street with Stanley Weiser, and the film starred Michael Douglas as a trader who corrupts his protégé' played by Charlie Sheen. 

The film was shot on location in Manhattan New York and was released in December of 1987.The biggest criticism of Wall Street was that the film seemed too unrealistic and not thoroughly thought out. Critics commented on how they felt Stone avoided the real issues of the stock market, rather on crude and ruthless lifestyles of unrealistic characters and situations. Although numerous critics were not giving the film high praises, Wall Street was popular and successful at the box office, and Michael Douglas received an award for Best Actor in 1987.

Stone fought to get the film made for the next 10 years but no one would take on the project

The next year, Oliver Stone was brought on as a script supervisor before finally taking the helm as Director for Talk Radio. The film was based on a script for a play about a real-life talk show host. The same group that worked on Wall Street, producer Edward R. Pressman and co-producer A. Kitman Ho, produced the movie. 

Although Born on the Forth of July was released into theaters in 1989, the process of making the film began in the early 70's. Initially, Stone was brought in to re-write a screenplay for the film in 1978. After the script was complete, producer Martin Bergenan hired a director (Dan Petrie) and a main actor (Al Pacino). Four days before the filming was to begin the project was canceled. The main reason was that the investors fell through with the funding, and consequently Al Pacino moved on to a new project. 

Stone fought to get the film made for the next 10 years but no one would take on the project. Finally, after the success of Platoon, Stone had quite a bit of credibility. Actor Tom Cruise and Stone happened to have the same agent, and had discussed doing a movie together. Eventually one thing led to another and the result was Born on the Forth of July staring Tom Cruise. The film had a budget of $17.8 million. Although the film was from a very different point of view than Stone's previous war-based film Platoon, Stone was criticized all the same. 

The difference this time was that the critics felt Stone's sincerity towards the main character was too much, that he was emotionally overwhelming. Like so many times before, this Oliver Stone movie did extremely well in the box office despite the criticisms. Oliver Stone received the Best Director of the Year award from the Directors Guild of America, and Born on the Forth of July received 8 Academy award nominations, taking home 4.

Whether fact or fiction, his films always focus on some aspect of humanity and all our trials, tribulations and triumphs

Throughout the 1990's Oliver Stone continued to explore the depths of humanities dysfunctions. He had always worshiped Jim Morrison, proclaiming once that the day Morrison died, for him, was in comparison to how others felt when JFK died; in other words, he was completely shattered. When the opportunity was presented to make a film about his life (The Doors, 1990) Stone jumped at the opportunity. 

Natural Born Killers (1994) exemplified the way the media turns real life tragedy into public entertainment. The film, in general, is used to satirize tabloids, to poke fun at justice and the law, and to open people's eyes to the idea that not everyone views right and wrong in the same manor. 

Two of Stone's films in the 1990's focused on ex-Presidents of the United States, JFK (1991) and Nixon (1995). Both films were highly criticized due in most part to people feeling that Stone was basing the story on his point of view. Critics felt the films were too bias, that the facts were steered away from, and too much focus was placed on conspiracy, as well as Stone's own perspective. 

Although Oliver Stone is only in his 50's, he is credited for writing and or directing over 20 full-length feature films. Whether fact or fiction, his films always focus on some aspect of humanity and all our trials, tribulations and triumphs. Although often criticized and typed as a pulp writer, Stone has written and directed many of the most talked about and enjoyed films of the last 20+ years. To this day, he continues to search for inspiring people and their stories.

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