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Top 10 Films by Oliver Stone - Director's Edition

Updated on June 28, 2016
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10 Best Films by Oliver Stone - Director's Edition

You would have to be living under a rock to not have heard the name Oliver Stone before now. Stone has made no bones about tackling controversial topics, which has furthered his legendary status in the entertainment business and solidified his name as one that we’ll always remember.

Of the 3 Academy Award nominations for Best Director, he has won twice (in 1987 for Platoon, 1986 and in 1990 for Born on the Fourth of July, 1989). Of course Stone’s accomplishments aren’t limited to directing, as he also has numerous writing and screenplay credits under his belt as well. In fact before his awards for directing, in 1979 he won an Academy Award for Best Writing, Screenplay based on material from Another Medium Midnight Express (1978).

Let’s take a look at some of Stone’s work, in no particular order (because they are all amazing and I refuse to call one better than the other), that I personally rank as 10 of his most prized contributions to society.

1. Platoon (1986)

A semi-autobiography of Stone’s own time in Vietnam, is obviously personal and has garnered accolades that it is perhaps the truest to life film that has been made about Vietnam. The film stars Tom Berenger (Sgt. Barnes), Willem Dafoe (Sgt. Elias) and Charlie Sheen (Chris Taylor), and graphically yet realistically portrays the hell that was the life of these soldiers.

The conflict between Berenger and Dafoe’s characters throughout the film remains tense and unnerving, and is arguably Berenger’s best ever performance.

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2. Wall Street (1987)

Michael Douglas’ performance as Gordon Gekko was super crazy good, and here we have another terrific performance from the early Sheen years. The cast included the lusted after Daryl Hannah as well as Martin Sheen. Wall Street is one of those movies that you can watch a hundred times and still be shocked by the dirty, gritty, cut-throat mentality of the stock market.

3. JFK (1991)

This film is one of Stone’s finest pieces of art and beautifully telling, and selling, of the JFK assassination conspiracy theory. Kevin Costner as Jim Garrison turns in one his finest performances accompanied by an all-star cast with equally impressive performances which includes the likes of Gary Oldman, Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Tommy Lee Jones and Joe Pesci and more.

4. Born on the Fourth of July (1989)

Similar to the true-to-life feel of Platoon, Born of the Fourth of July is another film that convincingly tells the story of Tom Cruise as Ron Kovic, a soldier sent to Vietnam and his trauma and difficulty returning to society post-war. Tom Cruise offers up one of his best ever, if not best ever, performances

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5. The Doors (1991)

Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison – wait, Val Kilmer was Jim Morrison in this biographical film about the Doors. Accompanying Kilmer was the 90’s girl next door, Meg Ryan gracing the screen with a strong performance and holding her own next to Kilmer, who undoubtedly embodied the essence of Morrison.

6. Natural Born Killers (1994)

And now we have another example of why Stone’s name is sometimes synonymous with controversy. Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis as Mickey and Mallory Knox were frightening as serial killer lovers on their blood soaked honeymoon.

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7. U Turn (1997)

Sean Penn is a gambler in deep debt to the Russian mafia who gets derailed in an Arizona town where he meets a sultry femme fatale played by the always sizzling Jennifer Lopez and gets caught up in a web of lustful deceit and manipulation. This film is packed full of offbeat performances by Nick Nolte, Billy Bob Thornton, Joaquin Phoenix and more.

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8. Any Given Sunday (1999)

The portrayal of a fictional NFL team that includes a heavy hitting cast with the likes of Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz and Jamie Foxx. In turn, the film offered Jamie Foxx his breakout role leading him further down the road in his career (can anyone say Ray?).

9. Savages (2012)

Blake Lively finds herself kidnapped after her two lovers, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Taylor Kitsch get mixed up with the Mexican cartel. These best friends will stop at nothing to rescue their lover, which ends in a standoff with the incredibly sexy Selma Hayek and always gritty Benicio Del Toro.

10. Talk Radio (1988)

In this lesser known film by Stone, Eric Bogosian plays snarky radio talk show in a film inspired by the murder of Denver host Alan Berg in 1984.

To further showcase Stone’s genius, I would be remiss to not add that he is also responsible for the creation of several screenplays and original stories. To name just a few, which were not listed as they were not directed by Stone, we have Conan the Barbarian (1982) and screenplays for Scarface (1983) and Year of the Dragon (1985).

Obviously the above is not inclusive. What do you think I’ve missed from Stone’s resume of pure genius? Let me know in the comments below!

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    • bowlins profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandra Bowlin 

      2 years ago

      Prisana - You are so right! What an excellent movie!! I really debated limiting my list to only 10 - because they're all really remarkable. Oliver Stone is one of my all time favorites!

    • Prisana profile image

      Prisana Nuechterlein 

      2 years ago from Thailand and Colorado

      I was sad that you left Heaven and Earth off of your list. Have you seen this movie? Excellent.

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