William Oliver Stone was born on September 15, 1946 to stockbroker, Louis Stone and Jacqueline Goddet in New York City. His parents divorced in 1962, an incident that deeply affected him.
He graduated from The Hill School located in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, in 1964. By the time he was seventeen, he began to work at the Paris mercantile exchange in sugar and cocoa.
He then enrolled at the Yale University, from where he dropped out after his first year to take up a teaching position at the Free Pacific Institute in South Vietnam. Serving the same for just about six months, he took up employment as a wiper with the United States Merchant Marine ship.
From September 1967 to November 1968, he served in the 25th Infantry Division of the United States Army. He was posted to combat duty in Vietnam. For his heroic efforts and bravery, he received numerous awards and medals.
In 1971, he graduated from film school at the New York University. It was during this time that he had made a short twelve minute film, ‘Last Year in Viet Nam’. The documentary was well received and widely appreciated.
In 1974, he made his directorial debut with the horror-thriller film, ‘Seizure’, for which he also co-wrote the screen play. With a run time of 98 minutes, the film depicts the story of a horror writer who virtually lives his nightmare.
In 1981, he wrote and directed his next psychological horror film, ‘The Hand’. Based on Marc Brandell’s novel titled, ‘The Lizard’s Tail’, the movie starred Michael Caine and Andrea Marcovicci.
In 1986, he directed the Academy Award nominated war-drama film, ‘Salvador’, which was based on the Salvadoran Civil War. The film was critically acclaimed but remained commercially unsuccessful.
Next, he came up with his Academy Award winning film, ‘Platoon’. This was his first film of his series of films depicting Vietnam War. ‘Platoon’was very well received by the critics and audiences alike. Apart from directing, he wrote the screenplay for Al Pacino’s drug lord tale ‘Scarface’ and ‘Year of the Dragon’ with Mickey Rourke
In 1987, he directed the Academy Award winning film, ‘Wall Street’, which was released by 20th Century Fox. The film was very well received by critics.
Two years henceforth, he directed the Academy Award and Golden Globe winning film, ‘Born on the Fourth of July’. The film was the second in the series of movies depicting Vietnam War. Based on a bestselling autobiography with the same title, the movie did exceptionally well at the box office.
In 1991, he directed the political thriller film, ‘JFK’, which was based on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It is his most controversial, ambitious and successful filmtill date, which went on to win two Academy Awards.
In 1993, he directed the Golden Globe winning film, ‘Heaven & Earth’, which was the third and the last film based on Vietnam War. The film was based on the memoir, ‘When Heaven and Earth Changed Places’. Unlike his other directorial ventures, the response that ‘Heaven & Earth’ met with was quite low.
In 1994, he directed the Golden Globe nominated film, ‘Natural Born Killers’. This crime action film was satirical in nature as it mocked the role of modern media in society.
In 1995, he directed the biographical film titled, ‘Nixon’, based on the life of US President Richard Nixon. The film earned four Academy Award nominations and a Golden Globe nomination.
Year 1997 witnessed the release of his film, ‘U Turn’, which was based on the book ‘Stray Dogs’ by John Ridley. The film received a series of mixed reviews from film critics.
In 2004, he made the epic historical drama film titled, ‘Alexander’, which was a failure at the American box office. The film was also criticised for factual errors.
In 2006, he directed the drama film, ‘World Trade Center’, which was based on the September 11 attacks at the World Trade Center in New York. The film was positively reviewed by critics.
In 2009, he made the documentary film, ‘South of the Border’, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival. The 102-minute documentary was well received.
In 2010, he directed the American drama film, ‘Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps’, which was inspired by the 2008 financial crisis in the United States of America.
In 2012, he directed the crime thriller film, ‘Savages’, which was based on a novel of the same title. The film was an average at the box office and received mixed reviews.
ACHIEVEMENTS AND AWARDS
‘Platoon’ won the Directors Guild of America Award for ‘Outstanding Directing – Feature Film’. The film was also voted to be the ‘6th Greatest War Film ever made’ by Channel 4.
‘Born on the Fourth of July’ remained at the number one position at the box office for a continuous period of six weeks. The film was a grand success at the box office and earned whopping amount of $161,001,698.
He has received three Academy Awards for his work on the films ‘Midnight Express’, ‘Platoon’, and ‘Born on the Fourth of July’.
In 1992, he was the recipient of the Golden Globe for the category of ‘Best Director – Motion Picture’ for ‘JFK’. Additionally, he has in his kitty Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Feature Film, Independent Spirit Award for Best Director and BAFTA Award for Best Direction