Undoubtedly one of the most controversial directors in Hollywood, Oliver Stone has made films that are remarkable for both the way in which their subject matter is handled and the degree of controversy such handling inspires. Although he has served as a producer, screenwriter, and actor on a variety of films, Stone is consistently identified with his more political works, from 1986's Platoon, the first of his so-called Vietnam trilogy, to Nixon, his 1995 take on the finer points and parables of the Nixon administration. Despite this association with political films, Stone has stated that he considers his films "first and foremost to be dramas about individuals in personal struggles," and that he believes himself to be a dramatist rather than a political filmmaker.
Born in New York City on September 15, 1946, Stone grew up nurturing his love of films. He was particularly inspired by Luis Buñuel and Jean-Luc Godard, whose Breathless inspired the nascent filmmaker with its speed and energy. After a year at Yale, Stone dropped out and moved to Vietnam, where he taught English for a year. A year in Mexico followed, during which he wrote an unpublished novel and got arrested for marijuana possession. In 1967, Stone, like thousands of other men during that decade, enlisted in the military and went to Vietnam, where he received both a Bronze Star and Purple Heart during his year of service.