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Oliver Stone

Oliver Stone, Film Director, NYC

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William Oliver Stone (born September 15, 1946), known as Oliver Stone, is an American film director, and screenwriter.


Stone was born in New York City. His father was a Jewish stockbroker and his mother a Roman Catholic of French birth. He was raised an Episcopalian as a compromise, but has since converted to Buddhism.

At the age of 14, Stone's parents sent Oliver away to attend high school at The Hill School, an exclusive college-preparatory school in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. His parents divorced while he was away at The Hill School, and only then did Stone learn of his father's extramarital affairs with the wives of several family friends. Stone's father took him to a prostitute to lose his virginity, in his midteens. Stone graduated from this boarding school in 1964, the same year as former JP Morgan & Co. CEO, Douglas A. Warner III. Stone then attended Yale University and New York University. He attended Yale, dropping out after one year. He then taught English at the Free Pacific Institute in South Vietnam for six months after which he worked in the United States Merchant Marine, and traveled to Oregon and Mexico, before returning to Yale, where he dropped out a second time.

A veteran of the Vietnam war, Stone served with the United States Army from April 1967 to November 1968. He specifically requested combat duty and was assigned to the 25th Infantry Division and the 1st Cavalry Division, and was wounded twice in action. His personal awards include the Bronze Star with "V" device for valor for "extraordinary acts of courage under fire", and the Purple Heart with one Oak Leaf Cluster.

He has made three films about Vietnam -Platoon (1986), Born on the Fourth of July (1989), and Heaven & Earth (1993). He has called these films a trilogy, though they each deal 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 Ron Kovic. Heaven & Earth is based off the memoir When Heaven and Earth Changed Places, the true story of Le Ly Hayslip, a Vietnamese girl whose life is drastically affected by the war.

During this same period, Stone wrote and directed Wall Street, (1987), which earned Michael Douglas an Academy Award for Best Actor, and The Doors, (1991), starring Val Kilmer.

Stone has won three Academy Awards. His first "Oscar" was for Best Adapted Screenplay for Midnight Express (1978). He won Academy Awards for Directing Platoon and Born on the Fourth of July.

For Year of the Dragon (1985) he received a Razzie nomination in the category Worst Screenplay. Other films whose screenplays he participated in are Conan the Barbarian (1982), Scarface (1983), 8 Million Ways to Die (1986) and Evita (1996). In addition, he has written or taken part in the writing of every film he has directed, except for U Turn (1997). The very first film that he directed professionally was the obscure horror picture Seizure (1974).

A distinct feature in Oliver Stone's films is the use of a multitude of different cameras and film formats, from VHS to 8 mm film to 70 mm film. He sometimes uses several formats in a single scene, as in JFK (1991) and Natural Born Killers (1994).

In the past decade, Stone has directed U-Turn (1997), which he describes as a small film that he would enjoy seeing as a teenager, Any Given Sunday (1999), a film about power struggles within and surrounding an American football team, and Alexander (2004), a biographical film about Alexander the Great.

He later said he was stung by the critical pans of Alexander, which (despite being one of the highest-grossing films internationally in 2004) was a financial failure; production and marketing costs were not recovered. Stone has recently said that the film has recouped the cost (over 3.5 million DVDs sold in the U.S. alone). He re-edited the film as the Director's Cut, which was shortened from 175 minutes to 167 minutes. A third version of the film, a 3 hour and 45 minute extended cut, was released February 27, 2007 on the DVD format.

After Alexander, Stone went on to direct World Trade Center, which centered on two Port Authority Police Department (PAPD) cops during the September 11, 2001 attacks. The main undercurrent of the film is hope through times of trial. The film did not do as well as it was expected, grossing $70 million (as of 2006-11-17), though the film was made on a budget of $63 million. As of 2006-12-19 the worldwide box office for World Trade Center was $161,735,806.

On September 30 Stone received the Honorary Patronage of the University Philosophical Society, Trinity College Dublin.

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