The cinema of Oliver Stone

Art, authorship and activism

By Ian Scott and Henry Thompson

The cinema of Oliver Stone


  • Hardcover
  • Paperback

Book Information

  • Format: eBook
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-0711-4
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Published Date: September 2016
  • BIC Category: PERFORMING ARTS / Individual Director, PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / Direction & Production, PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / History & Criticism, The arts / Film theory & criticism, The arts / Individual film directors, film-makers, Film Studies, Individual film directors, film-makers, Film production: technical & background skills, Film history, theory & criticism


This book analyses the work of Oliver Stone - arguably one of the foremost political filmmakers in Hollywood during the last thirty years. From early productions like Platoon (1986) and Wall Street (1987) to contemporary dramas and documentaries such as World Trade Center (2006), Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010) and The Untold History of the United States (2012) Stone has re-defined political filmmaking in an era when Hollywood and the United States in general has been experiencing rapid and radical change.

Drawing on previously unseen production files as well as hours of interviews with the director and his associates within the industry, this book is a thematic exploration of Stone's life and work, charting the development of political and aesthetic changes in his filmmaking. Those changes are mapped onto academic debates about the relationship between film and history as well as wider critiques about Hollywood and the film industry.


'A wonderful, bracing book, Scott and Thompson have brought exemplary clarity and thoroughness to the complex and multifaceted career of Oliver Stone. Dividing Stone's work into major themes such as War, Money, and Love, the authors provide a focused exploration of the critical intelligence that permeates all of the filmmaker's work -- and the political thinking that informs it. Full of insights, this beautifully written book is a major contribution to the literature of film.' - Robert Burgoyne, Chair in Film Studies, University of St Andrews. Author of Film Nation: Hollywood Looks at US History (2010)

'The Cinema of Oliver Stone: Art, Authorship and Activism is a remarkable and timely book on one of the key American directors of the second half of the twentieth century. With its unparalleled access to the film-maker and his archive, its lucid and comprehensive engagement with both the films and the political context in which they were made, the project emerges as not only the definitive book on Oliver Stone but also one of the most compelling books on American film in the last decade.' - Terence McSweeney, Visiting Research Fellow at the Rothermere American Institute at the University of Oxford. Author of The 'War on Terror' and American Film: 9/11 Frames Per Second (2014)

'Oliver Stone has cast greater light on late-twentieth and early twenty-first century America than any other movie-maker. In this incisive, erudite, and very well conceived volume, Ian Scott and Henry Thompson offer a nuanced and thematic analysis of Stone's cinematic importance and with the benefit of their numerous interviews with him - his understanding of the United States and its place in the world. Well-written and deeply researched, this fine book is a major contribution to film studies and should also be read by anyone interested in America's recent past and current politics.' - Iwan Morgan, Commonwealth Fund Professor of American History, University College London. Author of Reagan: American Icon (2016)

'The Cinema of Oliver Stone is a fascinating examination of one of the most important political filmmakers of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Ian Scott and Henry Thompson offer telling insights into how Stone's films altered the ways in which audiences have thought about war, politics, money, love and corporations. This is must reading for anyone interested in the intersection of Hollywood and politics.'
Steven J. Ross author of Hollywood Left and Right: How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics


Introduction - Oliver Stone: the remaking of a maverick filmmaker
1. War
2. Politics
3. Money
4. Love
5. Corporations


Ian Scott is Senior Lecturer in American Studies at the University of Manchester

Henry Thompson is a former Teaching Fellow at the University of Manchester

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