One on One
Oliver Stone
Meet the director whose films have challenged social norms for over 30 years.
Last Modified: 13 Mar 2009 12:37 GMT

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This week on One on One, meet a man whose own life could make for a gripping film script but who is himself a multi-Oscar-winning director and writer.

For more than 30 years Oliver Stone has been focused on creating box-office blockbusters that challenge those in authority and societal norms.

Although he was born to a Jewish father and Roman Catholic mother, Stone now describes himself as closer to the Buddhist philosophy. However, he still harnesses his anger at social injustice to fuel his passion for filmmaking.

But in spite of his reputation for being short-tempered, he remains highly respected for his incredible body of award-winning work.

Stone won his first Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for Midnight Express in 1978. The film is a visceral story of an American caught trying to smuggle drugs in Turkey.

Most of his films contain strong social critiques including his acclaimed and violently hard-hitting 1986 movie, Platoon. His 1989 film Born on the Fourth of July earned Tom Cruise his first Academy Award nomination for playing the wheelchair-bound, frustrated veteran and Stone an Oscar for Best Director.

Stone's 1993 film Heaven and Earth took a critical look at the Vietnam war through the eyes of a Vietnamese village girl who suffers extreme hardships.

This trilogy reflects Stone's own experiences as a decorated US Vietnam war veteran – a time he reflects on with a fair amount of bitterness.

Sharp social commentary continues throughout his movies. In 1987's Wall Street he pokes a finger at greed in the financial world and the yuppie lifestyle.

The prolific director has also turned his eyes towards Latin America – making a film on the long-serving Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, in 2004 as well as Alexander, which was made soon after and quickly became known as a true epic production.

Over the years, Stone has also focused on the lives of a number of US presidents, JFK in 1991, Nixon four years later, and the timely W. – which took a crack at the controversy of George Bush's presidency and was released at the end of his final term in office.

Into his sixth decade, Olive Stone has not slowed down or lowered his sharp whip as he continues to make films that challenge our social conventions.

This episode of One on One aired on Friday, March 13, 2009.

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