Oliver Stone was born in New York on 15 September 1946 where he also graduated with a Bachelor in fine arts degree at New York University in 1971. The legendary Martin Scorsese was among his teachers. Stone spent a considerable amount of time in military service by choice, more specifically Vietnam, which explains his accuracy with the making of his notorious war movies.
His first critically acclaimed screenplay was Midnight Express, a real life adaptation from a book about life in a Turkish jail. Stone missed the mark with some of the scenes and dialogue in an attempt to dramatize the plot for which he apologized later on. The next big feature on his list was Scarface for which he wrote the script. He admitted to his own cocaine addiction while writing the script.
His career get a big push after being the writer/director of Platoon in 1986. It was a ruthless piece of work, to say the least, depicting the Vietnam War, filled with big names like Charlie Sheen and Willem Dafoe. He would continue with focusing on the Vietnam War with Born on the Fourth of July and Heaven and Earth making use of true life tales.
In-between the Vietnam War trilogy Stone was responsible for one the best portrayals of career greed – Wall Street (1987). Charlie Sheen is the stockbroker who believes strongly in himself and desperately wants to climb to the top of Wall Street dynasty. Michael Douglas contributed with an unforgettable role as the finance magnate Gordon Gekko. In 2010, he filmed the sequel to the ever popular Wall Street which he directed in the 1980's called Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps which was inferior to the movie from 1987.
Needless to say Stone has always had a taste for more controversial films, for instance the speculative JFK. It was seen as one of his most ambitious movies along with Nixon. He also started to dabble with more alternative methods as can be seen in U Turn and Natural Born Killers, the latter written by the king of "in your face" movies Quentin Tarantino.
In 1999, Oliver Stone released Any Given Sunday featuring Al Pacino and Jamie Foxx. The story is based on the politics of American football and how it influences the love of the game. Perhaps not one of Stones best movies, but in the sub genre of sport movies it stands well.
The tempo of his work slowed down as the year 2000 came. In 2004, he directed Alexander which went on to generate great commercial success, but wasn’t hailed by critics. A few years later, after finishing World Trade Center and a cancelled project called "Pinkville", Stone directed W., a biopic film surrounding the early life and troubles of the former U.S. president George W. Bush.
Stone is by no means the type of director that likes to make a movie without a hidden agenda, especially if it involves politics. He has a certain approach not everyone will appreciate or even like, but he does manage to create a surge of emotions. Unlike other well-known directors who have a string of movies behind their names Stone is more selective, limiting the chance of creating something meaningless.