Oliver Stone

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Oliver Stone (2016)

William Oliver Stone (born September 15, 1946 in New York City ) is an American director , screenwriter and producer , who is best known for political films. He has been awarded an Oscar three times .

life and career

Oliver Stone's father, Louis Stone, is of Jewish descent and his mother is a French- born Catholic. The parents agreed on a compromise to raise Oliver episcopalian . Stone later converted to Buddhism . The family was wealthy, the son attended Trinity School in Manhattan before graduating from college at The Hill School in Pennsylvania . He regularly spent his holidays with his grandmother in France. He is fluent in French.

At the age of five, Oliver was already writing puppet theater pieces for his cousins. When he was seven, he wrote his first stories for which his father paid him a quarter of a dollar a piece. When he was nine, he began writing a 100-page book about his family and life in general.

At the age of 14, Stone was sent to boarding school by his parents. His parents then divorced in Oliver's absence. The father had affairs with wives from friendly families. He was a broker on Wall Street until he was financially shipwrecked by poor investments. Stone processed these experiences in the stock market critical film Wall Street . His father's bankruptcy made Stone realize for the first time that he had previously led a privileged life.

After a rather unsuccessful year at Yale University , Stone went to Vietnam and worked as an English teacher. He returned to Yale one more time, but left the university again after a short time, because he was too busy writing the extremely long novel A Child's Night Dream , which was rejected by a number of publishers. Stone threw half the manuscript into the East River in frustration . He went back to the Vietnam War as a volunteer . Stone attributes this decision to the influence of his father and the films of the time:

“I believed in the John Wayne image of America. My father was a Republican and he taught me that this was a good war because the communists were bad guys and we had to fight them. And then there was the romanticism of World War II as it showed up in the films we watched. The reality was obviously very different. "

- Oliver Stone

Stone served in Vietnam from April 1967 to November 1968. He insisted on being at the front , was wounded twice and honored with the medals Purple Heart and Bronze Star for "extraordinarily courageous behavior in combat operations". Stone later processed his war experiences in his anti-war film trilogy Platoon , Born on July 4th ( Born on the Fourth of July ) and Between Heaven and Hell ( Heaven & Earth ).

After returning from the war, Stone witnessed the student revolt in Berkeley . He spent some time in Mexico . On his return to the United States, he was arrested for possession of marijuana , his father put bail on him and he was released. Stone began studying at New York University Film School , where Martin Scorsese was his first teacher. After finishing his studies, Stone wrote ten scripts that were never realized and worked as a taxi driver and copier. In 1972 he was able to sell his first screenplay and film it himself, the horror B-movie The Ruler of Evil ( Seizure ).

Another dry spell followed. Stone worked for a sports film production company and wrote another 14 scripts, including Platoon , in which he processed his nightmarish experiences during the war. He was able to sell the book, but the production of a film was postponed for the time being. For Columbia Pictures Stone finally wrote the screenplay to 12 at night - Midnight Express (Midnight Express) , for which he his first 1978 Oscar was awarded. Stone had made a breakthrough in Hollywood . He wrote other scripts for Conan the Barbarian (Conan the Barbarian) , Scarface and In the Year of the Dragon (Year of the Dragon) .

During the period of his success, Stone became addicted to drugs , lived a wild party life and ended up nearing bankruptcy. What saved him was the overwhelming success of his film Platoon , for which he received the second Oscar - his first as a director. It was followed by another directing Oscar for Born on 4 July (Born on the Fourth of July) . In both films, Stone addressed the Vietnam War and sparked political debates. This was followed by other zeitgeist and political critical films such as John F. Kennedy - Tatort Dallas (JFK) , Natural Born Killers and Nixon - The Fall of a President (Nixon) .

His works JFK , Natural Born Killers and The Doors , which Stone made along with eight other feature films with the multiple Oscar-winning cameraman and image designer Robert Richardson , are particularly impressive with their special optics . A wide variety of camera and film formats that are generated from the entire range of visual forms of expression are typical for these films. In the films JFK ' and Natural Born Killers , Richardson / Stone used the formats VHS , 8mm , Super-8 , 16mm , Super 16 (in black and white, also in color) 35mm and 70mm film as well as special camera filters and camera lenses. These formats are mainly characterized by a completely different grain size . In the subsequent film cut , the already hectic and restless looking sequences are additionally reinforced by a high cut frequency. Using these techniques in combination with appropriate camera settings, lighting techniques, mask images, costumes and locations, the effect of a documentary is achieved.

Oliver Stone at the premiere of Alexander in Cologne

His ambitious film project about Alexander the Great , Alexander (2004), which he had been preparing for over 15 years , was " panned " by many critics , which pained Stone very much. The film was a financial failure, but its magnitude was diminished with good DVD sales.

Stone's next film, World Trade Center, was one of the first cinematic confrontations with the September 11, 2001 attacks . The film was well received by Stone's right-wing critics, while more liberal and left-wing observers accused it of making a harmless and romanticizing film.

Stone has been nominated for an Oscar eleven times (as of 2013). Films with his participation have received 37 Oscar nominations.

Oliver Stone is an avowed drug user , which brought him into conflict with the law on several occasions. At the time he was working on Scarface, he was recovering from his cocaine addiction . On the DVD for Natural Born Killers , producer Jane Hamsher reports that Stone consumed hallucinogenic mushrooms while filming . During the shooting of Platoon , the director is said to have smoked marijuana with his cast in order to make a scene in which the soldiers smoke marijuana appear as realistic as possible.

In 1997 Stone was one of the signatories of an open letter to Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl , which compared the behavior of the German state towards the Scientology organization with the persecution of Jews in the Third Reich. The letter was printed in the International Herald Tribune and caused great outrage in Germany.

Oliver Stone was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame . In a list of the greatest directors in film history, it came in at number 43 in the magazine Entertainment Weekly .

In 2007 it was announced that Stone had started a project called Pinkville . It is about the cinematic processing of the My Lai massacre on March 16, 1968. The actors are / were Sean Penn and Channing Tatum under contract. Even Bruce Willis is to loud Variety play a lead role in the 40 million US dollars to be realized film.

In 2012 Stone produced, in collaboration with historian Peter Kuznick, a ten-part television documentary about American history from 1940 until Obama's election . The 900-page booklet also comes from him.

After Hurricane Sandy hit the US east coast during the presidential election in late October 2012 , Stone criticized both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney for failing to address climate change in their campaign debates. The problem has been known for a long time, but nothing is done about it because it is inconvenient. It is easier to get elected when you talk about jobs.

Stone appeared in the video Stop Watching US in the course of the surveillance and espionage affair in 2013 and called the whistleblower Edward Snowden a hero. On February 20, 2015, Stone began shooting his feature film about Edward Snowden in Munich. The film Snowden with Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the title role was released in Germany on September 22, 2016.

Controversy over Stone's films

Oliver Stone in February 1987

Stone's films not only frequently address politically controversial issues, they also spark political disputes.

The filming of the investigation after the assassination attempt on John F. Kennedy under the title JFK - Tatort Dallas ( JFK ) sparked discussions in the United States about how the state was dealing with the event that was traumatizing the nation, but also about an implication of Stone's involvement State of Kennedy's assassination. The controversy the film sparked eventually led to the fact that Congress passed a bill that exposed millions of pages of government documents about the Kennedy assassination that should have remained under wraps for several decades.

Critics accused the director of polemicizing and manipulating the viewer by mixing historical facts and fictional events. Stone then released a cited version of the script to meet criticism (he did the same with his film Nixon - The Fall of a President ( Nixon ), who was criticized for the same reasons).

Like Scarface , for whom Stone wrote the script, Natural Born Killers was accused of glorifying violence. Stone replied that the film does not glorify violence, but rather satirically show the glorification of violence by America's media. Stone even had to answer in court for Natural Born Killers because crime writer John Grisham accused him of being responsible for two young people killing an acquaintance of his after seeing the film. Stone was acquitted. There are reports from the producer Jane Hamsher from the time the film Natural Born Killers was made, which she published in her book Killer Instinct . It criticizes the Hollywood scene and Oliver Stone as unscrupulous filmmakers.

Stones scripts for 12 at night - Midnight Express ( Midnight Express ) and Year of the Dragon ( Year of the Dragon ) was accused of racism. The first film describes inhumane conditions in a Turkish prison, the second is about a gang war within the Chinese mafia in New York. It sparked violent protests from Chinese-born Americans.

His musician biography The Doors was accused of falsifying actual processes. The Doors song Light My Fire was never sold for advertising purposes, and Jim Morrison did not lock his wife in a closet and then set it on fire. Ray Manzarek , the Doors keyboardist, accused Stone of falsifying the script and was banned from the set while filming. Until his death, Manzarek took the position that The Doors was a good film, but that it was not true to the facts. Stone was also criticized for asking lead actor Val Kilmer to consume small amounts of heroin under the supervision of a doctor in order to better understand Morrison's intoxication and play the role more realistically. Kilmer refused, but reportedly experimented with other drugs while filming.

The explicitly political Stone has also been accused of not being political enough, for example in Wall Street , which focuses too much on lifestyle instead of financial power structures, and in World Trade Center , which is limited to personal fates. Stone is also accused of involuntarily reiterating the alleged links between the attacks and Saddam Hussein . The Fidel Castro portrait of the Comandante was criticized as a fascinating but at the same time uncritical and even idealizing image of the Cuban head of government. Stone called himself a friend and admirer of Fidel Castro and said of him: “He is a driven man, a very moral man. He cares a lot about his country. In this way he is selfless. "


“I see my films primarily as dramas about individuals in personal struggles, and I see myself first as a playwright, then as a political filmmaker. I am interested in different points of view. In the end, the planet's problems are universal and nationalism is a very destructive force. And I like anarchy in movies. My heroes were Buñuel and Godard . Out of breath was one of the first films that I remember really defining me because of its pace and energy. They say my remedies are not subtle. But that is first and foremost what we need: a cinema that shakes us, our nerves and our hearts. "


Short films

  • 1971: Last Year in Vietnam
  • 1979: Mad Man of Martinique

Feature films




Film editor

  • 1971: Last Year in Vietnam
  • 1974: The ruler of evil (Seizure)

camera operator

  • 1970: Street Scenes
  • 1971: Last Year in Vietnam




  • 2003: Comandante
  • 2004: America Undercover, 1 episode
  • 2012: Oliver Stone - Untold History of the United States
  • 2017: The Putin-interviews (The Putin interviews)



Oliver Stone has received numerous awards and nominations for his films. Most of his work is recognized as a director, screenwriter and producer. So far Stone has received three Oscars and was nominated for eight more. He has already received the award five times at the Golden Globes and has been nominated for three other trophies. Stone also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame . Over 56 awards and 49 nominations can be traced back to Oliver Stone. The following selection lists the most popular prices.

Academy Awards
Golden Globe Award
BAFTA Film Award
Primetime Emmy Awards
  • 1995 : Award in the category of best television film for Indictment: The McMartin Trial
Grammy Award
  • 1979 : Nomination in the category Best Album with Original Music Written for a Film or a TV Special for 12 noon - Midnight Express
Berlin International Film Festival
Venice International Film Festival
  • 1994 : Awarded the Special Jury Prize for Natural Born Killers
  • 1994 : Nomination for the Golden Lion for Natural Born Killers


Oliver Stone is in his third marriage to the Korean Sun-jung Jung. The actor, director and producer Sean Ali Stone comes from his second marriage to Elizabeth Burkit Cox . His niece Caroline Goddet was married to the actor Erol Sander .

Web links

Commons : Oliver Stone  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Oliver Stone in the Internet Movie Database , accessed on October 14, 2009.
  2. Oliver Stone on Prisma.de
  3. Info on the-numbers.com
  4. The logic of escalation. ( Memento from December 30, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) In: Süddeutsche Zeitung from January 20, 2008.
  5. Filmstarts: http://www.filmstarts.de/nachrichten/18470301.html
  6. latinoreview.com: Stone, Penn, Carnahan, Bale! ( Memento of February 14, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) , June 12, 2007.
  7. Variety : United Artists Near Deal for "Pinkville" ( Memento of November 9, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) , August 27, 2007.
  8. ^ The Untold History of the United States. Internet Movie Database , accessed May 22, 2015 .
  9. ^ Tutorials in American History. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, December 16, 2012, media, p. 35.
  10. Kia Makarechi: Oliver Stone: Sandy Is 'Punishment' For Obama & Romney's Silence On Climate Change. In: The Huffington Post , October 30, 2012. Retrieved May 19, 2014.
  11. An interview with Oliver Stone. ( Memento of March 27, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) In: The Progressive , December 10, 2012. Retrieved on May 19, 2014.
  12. Shooting in February: Oliver Stone shoots a film about Edward Snowden in Bavaria with FFF funding. ( Memento from February 4, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) FilmFörderFonds Bayern (December 16, 2014), accessed on April 6, 2015.
  13. Jane Hamsher, 1997: Killer Instinct. ( Memento of February 13, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  14. Report on tomdispatch.com
  15. Film review on jump-cut.de
  16. Info ( Memento from June 13, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) on dir.salon.com
  17. IMDB.com: Oliver Stone Awards , accessed November 2, 2016
  18. https://www.marathi.tv/celebrity-spouses/caroline-goddet/ , accessed on July 4, 2020