A Private’s Perspective: Oliver Stone & Vietnam


Stone as a G.I. in Vietnam in 1968.

“In 1976—eight years after returning home from his tour in the Vietnam War, five years after graduating from film school at New York University, and two years before Michael Cimino’s The Deer Hunter (1978) would catapult the Vietnam War back into the spotlight of collective memory—Oliver Stone welded his profession to his past when he penned the screenplay for a Vietnam combat film that would become the Vietnam combat film. Ten years, one career as a cab driver, seven screenplays, two directorial efforts, and one screenwriting Oscar later, Stone had accumulated enough clout and enough money ($6 million) to bring Platoon to the big screen. It was a full-fledged, if minor, Hollywood production, initially opening in only six theaters on December 19, 1986. Over the course of two months, the film gained enough attention for distributors to grant it a wide release on February 6, 1987. By the 59th Annual Academy Awards on March 30, 1987, Stone’s autobiographical film had swept the country, was tied for the most Oscar nominations (eight) that night, and took home four awards (best editing, sound, director, and picture). Prior to Platoon’s success, Stone had been a hardworking screenwriter who was glad to use his talents on gripping, gratifying action movies and horror flicks. Audiences had no reason to expect that, as a director, the writer of films like Midnight Express, The Hand, Conan the Barbarian, Scarface, and Year of the Dragon would be relentlessly political, polemical, and shockingly direct—that he would achieve mastery in the art of controversial films. Between 1986 and 1995, Stone wrote and directed 10 films (eight of which would get a wide release) that confronted corruption on Wall Street, drug use in the 1960s, government conspiracies to assassinate J.F.K., the glorification of murder by mass media coverage, and Richard Nixon’s provocative presidency. In those nine years, his films would collect a total of 33 Oscar nominations and 10 trophies, along with a flood of festival and critical awards. And it was during this same period that Stone created three films that arguably lie at the heart of his entire 47-year career: the Vietnam War trilogy. …”
Bright Wall / Dark Room
NY Times: Oliver Stone Rewrites History — Again
Bill Moyers Journal: Filmmaker Oliver Stone on the Vietnam War (Video)
W – Oliver Stone


Oliver Stone on location for ‘‘Platoon’’ in 1986.

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Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
This entry was posted in Bill Moyers, Lyn. Johnson, Movie, Nixon, Vietnam War and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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